7 More Sexual Solutions
"You don't want to over-think sex, but if you're aware of different aspects of sex with diabetes, you can develop a process that works," Campbell says. These tips may help:
Don't sweat spontaneity. It's easy for thoughts of diabetes-related differences or inadequacy to dampen your sex drive, especially after you have children and the window for intimacy shrinks. "You start checking your blood sugar and making adjustments a couple of hours ahead," Turner says. "And then you start kicking yourself: Why can't I be normal? And you lose your confidence."
Remember that other people are in the same boat, says Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N, a diabetes educator and coauthor of Sex and Diabetes. "Every couple with kids has things they have to arrange so they can be intimate," she says. "Everyone has stuff that gets in the way of intimacy."
Know your body at different blood glucose levels. "I encourage men to learn how sex is for them at different blood sugar levels," Campbell says. "Then they can determine their own best levels for having sex."
Some experts recommend checking blood sugar levels regularly before sex to guard against hypoglycemia. Others say it's an individual choice that depends on factors such as whether you're prone to hypoglycemia at night or after vigorous exercise. If you decide to do testing before sex, Campbell says, "Don't make it part of the sexual process."
Get moving. The more you exercise, the less likely you are to have erectile dysfunction.
Treat depression. Emotional issues -- such as stress, depression, anxiety, and conflict with your partner -- can affect any couple's sex life and relationship. If you've been feeling depressed for two weeks or more, talk to your doctor. Counseling or medication can help depression and other emotional issues.
Eat right: The Mediterranean diet. Some research shows that erectile dysfunction is less common in men with type 2 diabetes who follow a Mediterranean diet. Other research has shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces metabolic syndrome -- the grouping of obesity, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and abnormal lipids that increases a person's risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Ask your doctor if the diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, and whole grains, is right for you.
Don't smoke. In addition to causing cancer, heart disease, and emphysema, smoking can also contribute to ED. In fact, men who smoke are about twice as likely to develop ED than those who don't smoke. So if you smoke, it's one more good reason to quit.
Limit alcohol. Excessive drinking can also affect ED. Alcohol restricts blood flow to the penis and can affect how much testosterone your body produces. Both these things can have an effect on your sex drive and erections.