Self, Sex

8 Ways People With Type 1 Diabetes Can Achieve Sexual Satisfaction

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diabetes and sex

Looking for sexual satisfaction?

Here are eight great tips I recently shared at TCOYD’s (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) first national weekend conference for adults with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes and sex don't make a very good combination, so hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy a much more fulfilling sex life, whether you have diabetes or not:

1. Take care of your health.

Sex is physical activity. How well do you play tennis or basketball when you are stressed, hungry, or tired? To participate fully, you should be at your best.

Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. If you have diabetes, try to maintain your blood glucose level in a healthy range. Experts also suggest that everyone participate in "flow" activities each day.

Flow activities engage you so fully that you lose track of time and feel less stressed. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Finding Flow, listening to music, doing jigsaw puzzles, yoga, hiking, and other flow activities can help you reach a state of "effortless concentration and enjoyment."

2. Limit your alcohol.

Drinking and sex seem like the perfect pairing, but too much alcohol can make it more difficult for a man to achieve a good erection. It can also cause men and women to become less interested in sexual activity.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests that women limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day and men to a maximum of two drinks per day. One drink is equal to a 5 oz glass of wine, 12 oz beer, or 1 ½ oz distilled spirits (vodka, whiskey, gin, and the like).

3. Don’t smoke.

Both men and women need good blood circulation to achieve a healthy orgasm. Smoking makes it more difficult for blood to flow to the pelvic area. If you smoke, try to quit.

4. Use lube.

Vaginal dryness, a common diabetes and age-related issue, can cause a woman to experience pain during intercourse. Unfortunately, once that happens, she may tense up during future sexual attempts and feel additional discomfort.

Keep a tube of vaginal lubricant near your bed, so you can grab it easily. Choose a fun type and incorporate it into your foreplay. Some are scented, flavored, warming, and more. If you don’t care for one, try another.

If vaginal dryness continues to be a problem, ask your gynecologist for additional options.

5. If you have erectile dysfunction, don't give up if your pills fail. 

Contrary to what the TV ads imply, pills that treat erectile dysfunction (ED), such as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and Stendra don’t work for all men. As a matter of fact, they only work for half of men with diabetes.

If you try ED pills and still have erection issues, don’t give up. You have many other options, including vacuum pumps, penile injections, suppositories, penile sleeves, testosterone treatments, and even implants.

6. Don’t assume.

Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Use "I" language and not "you" language to communicate your needs, wants and preferences, inside and outside of the bedroom. "I" language shares feelings and "you" language attacks and prompts people to feel defensive.

Examples of "I" language: "I feel so relaxed when you massage my feet." "I feel worried when you don’t call."

Examples of "You" language: "You have to stop touching me like that." "You never hug me anymore."

7. Take your time.

Men are microwaves and women are crock pots. Most men get sexually aroused quickly while most women need additional time.

So, try to take things slow. Lead up to intimacy with romantic texts, walks in the park, compliments, and loving hugs.

8. Work on your relationship.

Many men and women have a difficult time responding sexually when their intimate relationship is stressed. A couple’s therapist can help you and your partner communicate more effectively.

Ask your health care provider or religious leader to suggest someone who can help. You can also search for a marriage and family therapist in your area. Enjoy!

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This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.