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Diabetes and Sexual Issues Article Archives

October 2011

Preconception Counseling and Birth Control Options

Being your own advocate is imperative for women with diabetes, especially when it comes to gynecologic care. As soon as a young woman is ready to become sexually active, she needs to talk with her doctor about contraceptive options. This conversation should continue through the time when she is ready to stop taking contraceptives and prepare for a family.

comments 0 comments - Posted Oct 18, 2011

Resolving Erectile Dysfunction

Dear David and Aisha, I am a 39-year-old married man who has had type 1 diabetes for 22 years. My A1C levels run around 7.5%. About six years ago, I started having trouble with erections. Now they are very rare, even with ED pills. I know you say that there is more to sex than intercourse, and my wife and I still enjoy ourselves however we can. But we both miss the erections.

comments 7 comments - Posted Oct 5, 2011

January 2011

Herbs, Sex, and Diabetes

Talk about a win-win situation! It seems that many aphrodisiacs--herbs that boost sexual energy and function--can also bring down blood sugar, cholesterol, and/or blood pressure.  At least four herbs have shown these double benefits in scientific studies.

comments 1 comment - Posted Jan 6, 2011

September 2010

Your Meds and Your Love Life

Dear Diabetes Health, I am 62 years old. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1997, and I am doing OK on metformin. My last A1c was 7.2 %. About a year ago, they put me on medicine for my blood pressure (which was 142/90) and for cholesterol.  I started having less interest in sex, which I had really liked before.

comments 0 comments - Posted Sep 7, 2010

June 2010

Lonely Nights

Dear Diabetes Health, I have been married for 14 years.  I am 36 and my husband is 39, and we have a seven-year-old daughter. About six months, ago my husband found out that he has type 2 diabetes.

comments 0 comments - Posted Jun 29, 2010

April 2010

Sex and Diabetes: Diabetes for Couples

Dear Diabetes Health, I am a 60 year old married woman who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes eight years ago.  In the last two years, I have lost interest in sex. I just don't feel like it, although I still like hugs.

comments 3 comments - Posted Apr 26, 2010

March 2010

Depression or Sex?

Dear Diabetes Health, I am a 55-year-old man who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago, and I think it made me depressed. The depression eventually got so bad that I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. My doctor referred me to the psych clinic, where they put me on Paxil (paroxetine). The medication is helping my depression, but ruining my sex life.  Basically, I can't get an erection, but I don't really care because I'm not interested anyway. I have no desire. My wife is still interested, however, and she is really upset about my lack of desire for sex.  I don't like hurting her, and I don't want us to break up over this, but the depression was awful. I don't want to go back to that. What can I do? 

comments 4 comments - Posted Mar 16, 2010

February 2010

Scared of Lows

Dear Diabetes Health, I'm 26 years old and engaged to a woman I've known since college.  We live together, love each other, and have good sex, but now I'm having doubts. A year ago, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She started taking insulin, and it has been rough. Four times now she has started sweating and shaking and saying strange things. Twice this happened during sex. 

comments 11 comments - Posted Feb 3, 2010

January 2010

Out of Love

Dear Diabetes Health, I hope you can help me. I am 49 years old and was diagnosed with type 2 five years ago.  My husband still wants sex. I don't even want him to touch me.  He is very mean to me. He yells at me and calls me names.

comments 16 comments - Posted Jan 12, 2010

Diabetes Technology and Intimacy

The first time that my fiancé Richard and I got, um, "intimate," I had some explaining to do. "Er, that's for my diabetes. So's that. And this thing. Oh, and this too." Richard was a bit overwhelmed. I think his exact words were, "Are you bionic or something?"

comments 3 comments - Posted Jan 6, 2010

December 2009

Is Testosterone the Wonder Drug?

Dear Diabetes Health, I am 57 years old. About five years ago, I saw my doctor because I was feeling tired. My waist size was up, and I was not interested in sex. I almost never got an erection. The doctor diagnosed type 2 diabetes and put me on metformin. He also prescribed Viagra, which helped sometimes, but not all the time.

comments 5 comments - Posted Dec 10, 2009

October 2009

Sex and Diabetes: Lubes and Libido

Dear Diabetes Health, Hello!  I am 60 years old and have had type one for about 24 years. It has been quite some time since I had a relationship, and now I have one coming at me.  The problem is, I am very dry. The commercially sold products don't seem to help,  and Intercourse isn't comfortable. What do you recommend that I try?  And what about a libido enhancer?  I need this relationship to work because living alone is tough, and my partner likes his intimacy.  Please!!!

comments 2 comments - Posted Oct 31, 2009

Sex and Diabetes

Dear Aisha and David - I am a 22-year-old woman with type 1, on a pump.  I've only had one real boyfriend, and we broke up two months ago.  He said that my diabetes didn't have anything to do with it, but I'm not sure. I think that the lows scared him. Sex with him was good, but I don't have much to compare it with.  

comments 7 comments - Posted Oct 2, 2009

August 2009

Sex and Diabetes: Climax Change

Dear Sex and Diabetes,

comments 7 comments - Posted Aug 22, 2009

July 2009

Sex & Diabetes: Not Wanting It

Dear Aisha and David: I am a 66-year-old woman who has had diabetes for over 64 years. My husband is 52. He wants sex two or more times day. I hate it.  I have no sexual drive, and most of the time it is painful. It was not always like this, but he has always wanted more sex than any man I know! We talk about things, but he basically ignores a lot of what I say when it comes to sex. He is actually a very caring person and has put up with a lot considering all the complications I have after 64 years of diabetes.  We have been together for 18 years (married for nine). He waits on me hand and foot. I have to tell him to let me do things myself! 

comments 14 comments - Posted Jul 10, 2009

June 2009

May 2009

Study Says That Over One-Third of Type 1 Women Have Sexual Problems

A ten-year study that tracked 652 women with type 1 diabetes found that 35 percent of them reported some sort of sexual problem, including loss of desire (57 percent of those reporting problems), problems experiencing orgasm (51 percent), pain during intercourse (21 percent), reduced arousal (38 percent), or decreased vaginal lubrication (47 percent).

comments 4 comments - Posted May 19, 2009

Sex and Diabetes: From Her Point of View

Dear Sex & Diabetes, I have had type 1 diabetes since the age of ten.  When my husband and I were first married, I had no trouble with my sex drive. After the births of our three children, however, I noticed a big decrease in desire.  I have also had a hysterectomy and have gained 50 pounds since we were first married.  Do you think my weight has something to do with it?  I really don't feel it is fair to put my husband through my lack of desire. He still seems to want me.

comments 2 comments - Posted May 12, 2009

April 2009

Pretty in Pump

Many people with diabetes who have ditched multiple daily injections in exchange for an insulin pump regret not doing so sooner. Ask them why they didn't, and arguably the most common answer has something to do with vanity. Still, while many might feel overjoyed by their optimum blood sugar control, they're not in love with their new appendage and may struggle with self-image as a result.

comments 1 comment - Posted Apr 25, 2009

Sex and Diabetes

Welcome to Diabetes Health's new column on sex and diabetes, by David Spero RN and Aisha Kassahoun. Once a month, we'll publish questions submitted by our readers, along with David and Aisha's responses. Send your questions to and watch for their answers to appear in this column. 

comments 9 comments - Posted Apr 14, 2009

February 2009

Erectile Dysfunction Pill for Men with Diabetes Enters Phase 3

Avanafil, a pill that may permit diabetic men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction to engage in intercourse without the restrictions on food or alcoholic intake associated with other ED treatments, is entering a second phase 3 study-the crucial step before a drug manufacturer seeks FDA or European approval to market.

comments 5 comments - Posted Feb 24, 2009

December 2008

Women Have Double the Fracture Risk with Avandia and Actos

Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone), two medications used to lower blood sugar in type 2 patients, double the risk of fractures in women, but not in men, says a new study.

comments 0 comments - Posted Dec 22, 2008

Testosterone and Diabetes—An Important Link?
Testosterone and Diabetes—An Important Link?

Until fairly recently, low testosterone in men (I call it "low T") was treated only in patients with severe and obvious T deficiencies, such as men with congenital hormonal conditions that affected their pituitary gland or those who had lost both testicles to trauma, tumors, or infections.  However, as the medical community has learned more about the benefits of T therapy for men with less obvious causes of low T (e.g., improved sexual desire and function, energy, and body composition), there has been concomitant interest in how T relates to other medical conditions, including diabetes.  It turns out that the relationship between low T and diabetes is quite involved, although the final chapter on the ultimate nature of the relationship is still to be written.  

comments 1 comment - Posted Dec 15, 2008

May 2008

When It Comes to Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction Is the Canary in the Coal Mine
When It Comes to Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction Is the Canary in the Coal Mine

Two new studies say that erectile dysfunction (ED) may be a warning sign of diabetes, as well as a warning of approaching cardiovascular disease.

comments 0 comments - Posted May 30, 2008

April 2008

Blast From the Past: A Doctor's Pre-Viagra-Era Sex Advice For Men Still Holds a Lot of Water

Do men with diabetes have special problems when it comes to sex? If so, are there special solutions as well? Bernie Zilbergeld, PhD, renowned sex psychologist and author of “Male Sexuality,” shares with us his extensive knowledge on the subject of male sexuality.

comments 2 comments - Posted Apr 16, 2008

January 2008

New Book Describes the Ins and Outs of Sex and Diabetes
New Book Describes the Ins and Outs of Sex and Diabetes

Among the many possible complications of diabetes is sexual dysfunction. It's not talked about as much as something like neuropathy, so people (especially women) often don't connect their sexual problems to their diabetes. And even if they do, they often can't raise the topic with their healthcare team.

comments 0 comments - Posted Jan 2, 2008

May 2007

Women's Sex Survey Results Are In
Women's Sex Survey Results Are In

We’ve gotten the results from our women's sex survey, and now the word is out about you, your diabetes, and sex...

comments 0 comments - Posted May 3, 2007

March 2007

Diabetes Health Sex Survey

Diabetes Health would like your help in addressing the lack of information about women, sex, and diabetes. To that end, we've set up a survey on our website, packed with questions about how having diabetes affects your sex life and how you overcome the hurdles that diabetes raises.

comments 0 comments - Posted Mar 28, 2007

February 2007

Men, Sex, and Diabetes
Men, Sex, and Diabetes

When it comes to sex and diabetes, it’s sometimes hard not to get discouraged. Estimates of the number of diabetic men who experience sexual dysfunction range from 20 percent to a stunning 80 percent. And men with diabetes are three times more likely to experience sexual problems than men without diabetes.

comments 18 comments - Posted Feb 1, 2007

Women, Sex, and Diabetes
Women, Sex, and Diabetes

Although most research about the effect of diabetes on sex has focused on men, some studies report that women are at higher risk for sexual dysfunction than diabetic men. It’s high time that the woman’s side of the story was given the attention that it deserves.

comments 1 comment - Posted Feb 1, 2007

April 2006

Erectile Dysfunction Can Affect Quality of Life in Type 2s

For men with type 2 who suffer from erectile dysfunction, quality of life can decrease over the course of three years, according to the results of a recent study.

comments 0 comments - Posted Apr 1, 2006

ED Can Lead to Decreased Quality of Life in Type 2 Men
ED Can Lead to Decreased Quality of Life in Type 2 Men

For men with type 2 who suffer from erectile dysfunction, quality of life can decrease over the course of three years, according to the results of a recent study.

comments 2 comments - Posted Apr 1, 2006

March 2005

Diabetes and Dating
Diabetes and Dating

Jan and Kevin were starting to “get romantic” when Jan noticed that Kevin was, uncharacteristically, losing interest. His skin had become moist and clammy and his movements slowed. Jan ran for his monitor. Kevin checked his blood glucose—it was in the low 50s. Fortunately, he had some glucose tablets at the bedside and quickly treated his low.

comments 0 comments - Posted Mar 1, 2005

February 2005

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile Dysfunction

Note: The content of this column might not be suitable for younger readers.

comments 2 comments - Posted Feb 1, 2005

‘The Secrets of Living and Loving With Diabetes’
‘The Secrets of Living and Loving With Diabetes’

Editor’s note: The following review contains content that may be unsuitable for our younger readers.

comments 0 comments - Posted Feb 1, 2005

January 2005

Getting a Head Start on Valentine’s Day
Getting a Head Start on Valentine’s Day

Hot off the presses and in time for the holiday comes “The Secrets of Living and Loving With Diabetes: Three Experts Answer Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask.”

comments 0 comments - Posted Jan 1, 2005

September 2004

Canadian Men's Clinic
Canadian Men's Clinic

Approximately 50% of men with Diabetes will experience erectile difficulties.

comments 0 comments - Posted Sep 1, 2004

February 2004

Give Your Relationship a Reality Check

Having a chronic disease like diabetes can put a great deal of pressure on a relationship. In fact the divorce rate for people with chronic diseases is known to be higher than that of the general population.

comments 0 comments - Posted Feb 1, 2004

December 2002

Erectile Dysfunction Common With Diabetes

Warning: This article contains language of an adult nature and is not recommended for our young readers.

comments 1 comment - Posted Dec 1, 2002

November 2002

Vacuum Therapy Device for ED Now Available

Despite the widespread publicity their condition has received, a high percentage of men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) have failed to seek treatment with prescription therapies. This failure to seek treatment is primarily attributed to the great difficulty men have discussing ED with their doctors.

comments 4 comments - Posted Nov 1, 2002

Longer Duration of Type 2 Impairs Erectile Function in Men

For men over the age of 50, increasing duration of type 2 diabetes is positively associated with increased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) when compared to men without diabetes.

comments 0 comments - Posted Nov 1, 2002

August 2002

Study Shows Women With Diabetes More Likely to Experience Sexual Problems

The topic of sexual problems among women with diabetes has been highly underreported, says Lois Jovanovic, MD, from the Sansum Medical Research Institute in Santa Barbara, California. While nearly 2,000 studies addressing sexual dysfunction among men with diabetes have been published in the past five years, Jovanovic observes that a "paltry" 13 articles about sexual dysfunction among women with diabetes appeared during that same period.

comments 0 comments - Posted Aug 1, 2002

September 2000

Viagra: Not Just For Erectile Dysfunction Anymore

Viagra, the anti-impotence drug manufactured by Pfizer, may also be an effective remedy against gastroparesis, a common digestive condition among people with diabetes.

comments 0 comments - Posted Sep 1, 2000

April 1999

Viagra Proven to Treat Erectile Dysfunction in Men with Diabetes

Erectile dysfunction is a complication that affects 35 to 75 percent of men with diabetes. It is most often associated with diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. According to the February 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), erectile dysfunction occurs at a younger age in men with diabetes than in men without the disease.

comments 1 comment - Posted Apr 1, 1999

December 1998

Sexual Dysfunction in Women with Diabetes

The emergence of Viagra on the drug market has spurned several studies directed at sexual function in men with diabetes.

comments 1 comment - Posted Dec 1, 1998

October 1998

A New Era for Impotence?

This story is intended for adult readers.

comments 0 comments - Posted Oct 1, 1998

September 1998

Viagra Users Cautioned

Viagra, the wonder drug for men suffering from impotence, may be contraindicated for individuals taking nitrate-based heart medications, such as nitroglycerin for chest pains.

comments 1 comment - Posted Sep 1, 1998

May 1998

First Impotence Pill Approved by FDA

Viagra, the first oral medication for impotence, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March. In clinical studies, 64 to 72 percent of the patients successfully completed intercourse after taking Viagra.

comments 0 comments - Posted May 1, 1998

April 1998

NBC Turns Down Impotence Ad

During the expensive and highly coveted Super Bowl commercial air-time viewers saw everything from Jerry Seinfeld hanging with Superman to chameleons hawking Budweiser beer. One thing viewers didn't see, however, was a commercial on impotence.

comments 0 comments - Posted Apr 1, 1998

January 1998

You’re Not Alone: Women, Diabetes and Sexual Health

Developing intimacy involves trusting and learning to understand the other person. Unfortunately, sexual issues, especially for women with diabetes, are often kept in the dark.

comments 1 comment - Posted Jan 1, 1998

February 1997

Women, Sex and Diabetes

Last month Diabetes Health reported on men, sex and diabetes. In this issue, we look at some of the concerns women with diabetes may have about sex.

comments 1 comment - Posted Feb 1, 1997

A New Ally Against Impotence

Now impotence sufferers have another valuable ally. VIVUS Inc. has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its new product MUSE (Alprostadil), a urethral suppository for the treatment of impotence.

comments 0 comments - Posted Feb 1, 1997

August 1996

Hard News For Impotency Sufferers

Hope may be in store for men who experience one of the most common side-effects of diabetes: impotence. In the past, men have relied on mechanical devices and injections to boost their sex lives, but a new drug called sildenfil may offer aid without the need for pumps or sharp needles. Pfizer Inc. from Sandwich, England, was testing a drug for angina, the chest pain preceding a heart attack, when the subjects of the study reported an unexpected bonus: improved erections.

comments 0 comments - Posted Aug 1, 1996

February 1996

A Return To Normal, Pos-T-Vac Helps Me Over Come Erectile Dysfunction

The Pos-T-Vac is a simple device intended to help men overcome erectile dysfunction. According to its manufacturer, Pos-T-Vac, Inc., it is "easy to use, non-invasive... even those with severe arthritis can have a return of normal sexual activity with a very user-friendly system along with the most comfortable constriction band available."

comments 1 comment - Posted Feb 1, 1996

January 1996

Study Shows Sex Hormones Linked To Diabetes Complications

A recent study reported in the September 1995 issue of Diabetes Care by David S.H. Bell, MB, at the University of Alabama, may have answered a question long debated by diabetes researchers. It has been known for some time that long-term diabetes complications rarely occur before puberty. Whether this is a result of the short duration of diabetes before puberty or because pre-puberty diabetes simply does not cause complications has remained a controversial question.

comments 0 comments - Posted Jan 1, 1996

October 1995

Hormones And Hemoglobin: Special Issues For Women

Female hormones are both a blessing and a curse. They make us feminine and fertile, but they upset our diabetes control. With each monthly cycle, insulin needs are influenced heavily by changing hormone levels.

comments 1 comment - Posted Oct 1, 1995

September 1991

Women, Sex And Diabetes

Few studies have looked closely at female sexuality and diabetes. What are the special issues that arise? In this interview, Eileen Walko, MD, and Daryn Stier, MSW, LCSW, poignantly discuss what all women with diabetes should know.

comments 3 comments - Posted Sep 1, 1991

Men, Sex, And Diabetes

Do men with diabetes have special problems when it comes to sex? If so, are there special solutions as well? Bernie Zilbergeld, PhD, renowned sex psychologist and author of Male Sexuality, shares with us his extensive knowledge on the subject of male sexuality.

comments 3 comments - Posted Sep 1, 1991

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