“How’s your sex drive?” may not be a part of your health questionnaire during your routine diabetes visits. Though sex questions from your doctor may be uncommon, they’re essential to your sexual health and overall wellness.

Diabetes is directly linked to sexual health because high blood sugars can prevent our sex organs from doing what they do best. If your glycemic control is on the fritz, you may experience loss of libido, painful intercourse, or difficulties achieving an erection. But know that your sexual frustrations don’t have to be permanent and that there’s help for you.

This article is your guide to improving blood sugar control for better health and more satisfying sex.

1. Have the sex talk

Struggles to achieve an erection or orgasm aren’t the sexiest topics to discuss. Breaking the ice by starting a conversation with your doctor is one of the most critical hurdles to improving your diabetes and sex life. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward discussing these with your medical provider, your feelings are normal. Having a satisfying sex life is a part of being a healthy human. Remember that your provider is responsible for helping you achieve optimal health and that your diabetes and sex life are prime parts of making this a reality.

It might help open the conversation by asking your medical provider questions, so they do the talking first. Try asking this simple question, “how does diabetes affect my sex life?”

Suppose you don’t feel comfortable approaching your medical provider about sex-related issues, or they aren’t responsive to your sexual concerns. Our Care Team is happy to help you improve all aspects of your health, including your sex life, as part of your diabetes care plan.

2. Stay mindful of your mental health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have depression. In addition, the demands of your daily diabetes care may cause stress, distress, or anxiety. The state of your mental health can significantly impact your diabetes care plan. You may be more likely to skip your medical visits, blood sugar checks, and medications giving rise to high blood sugars and sexual function issues.

If your sexual enjoyment has come to a screeching halt, depression, low self-esteem, relationship tension, resentment, or stress can result.

Try to be mindful of your feelings and never hesitate to seek professional help. Remember not to minimize your emotions because your mental health matters.

You can take care of your mental health by:

  • Communicating existing sexual problems with your partner.
  • Engaging in movement such as dancing, swimming, or walking.
  • Talking to a friend or family member you can trust.
  • Doing activities that relax you, such as reading, journaling, or artwork.
  • Starting breathing, meditation, or prayer exercises.
  • Speaking with a mental health professional.

3. Get relationship support

If your sex life has dwindled, losing healthy connection and intimacy in your relationship can be hard to bear. Tension and frustration that are growing in your relationship affect the ins and outs of your day-to-day life, including diabetes care. Speaking with a sex therapist can help you address concerns about your sexual health and well-being as a couple and help normalize sexual conversations even when it’s hard. You can also reach out to our Diabetes Specialists who can help you to find new strategies.

4. Make healthier food swaps

For better diabetes and sex life, changing up your eating habits can be the way to go. People often think that changing their eating routine means going on a strict diet, which is not true.

Eating healthier starts by making small changes each day. You can make food swaps by trading food with little nutritional value for food with more bang for your nutritional buck. Foods with little nutritional value may lack fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals while offering high amounts of saturated fat and sugars.

Choosing foods with more nutrition offers your body more protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to bring your blood sugars to your target range, improve your sexual function, and rekindle the passion flame between you and your partner.

Try these food swaps:

  • Salad croutons —-----> roasted pecans or pepitas
  • Applesauce —----------> whole sliced apples or pears
  • Sugary cereal —----------> Steel-cut oats with fruit
  • Milkshake —--------> Low-fat yogurt parfait
  • Orange juice —------> tangerine or clementine
  • White rice —-------> brown or wild rice
  • Potato chips —--------> sliced cucumbers and celery
  • Bacon —-------> smoked fish
  • White pasta —------> spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
  • Soda —------> no sugar added sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon
  • Brownie —-----> a piece of dark chocolate with nuts

5. Steer clear of smoking

Smoking can create major roadblocks to enhancing the health of your diabetes and sex life. Research tells us people who smoke are at a higher risk for erectile dysfunction, robbing them of sexual fulfillment (source). Furthermore, smoking can progress type 2 diabetes complications by negatively impacting blood sugar levels (source).

Tossing the cigarettes may be the right path to correct your blood sugars and help with climaxing, although avoiding cigarettes is easier said than done. Seek professional help, coaching, or medical intervention to help you quit. Cutting this habit doesn’t have to be done all on your own. You can boost your overall health and reenergize your life by steering clear of smoking.

6. Don’t forget foreplay

Did you know that foreplay starts long before you and your significant other are in the throes of passion? Love, connection, affection, and closeness help drive people’s sense of belonging, purpose, happiness, and well-being. So engaging in foreplay can help communicate all these things without much effort.

Foreplay can be as simple as a romantic text message, a love note taped to the bathroom mirror, a passionate kiss before heading to work, or a foot rub. If your diabetes has impacted your sexual function, foreplay is a great focus area that may help you regain your confidence and self-esteem while seeking medical and professional help.

Furthermore, studies have proven that spending time engaging in foreplay increases the chances of more satisfying sex (source).

7. Prep for emergencies

Having diabetes means your blood sugars typically run high, but your blood sugars can also dip to unsafe levels. It may help to keep an emergency stash of emergency sweets on your bedroom nightstand in case you’re experiencing low blood sugars while things are heating up. You might stock up on juice boxes, honey sticks, hard candies, or glucose tablets to restore your blood sugars to normal so you can avoid any serious interruptions that may disturb the mood.

Want to have better sex?

9am.health can help boost your diabetes and sex life by offering judgment-free support. Our Care Team provides one-on-one support to help be a sounding board if you need someone understanding to speak with you.