Blood Sugar, Insulin Pumps, and Spontaneity
For some women with diabetes, worrying about low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, during sex makes it difficult to live in the moment. "Hypoglycemic events during sex are a real buzz kill," says Kerri Morrone Sparling, who blogs about her life with type 1 diabetes from her home in Providence, R.I. "Your body just shuts down during a low, so it crushes the enjoyment."
Lois Jovanovic, MD, FACE, CEO and chief scientific officer of Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., suggests that women who are concerned about low blood sugar eat a hard candy or a little ice cream before getting intimate. "Or if you have surprise sex in the middle of the night, afterward have something with sustained sugar, like juice with the fruit pulp in it or milk," she adds.
Sparling, who wears an insulin pump, has found a way to deal with her diabetes so that "spontaneity is never an issue." She wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which she can simply consult to see if she's "in a decent range" to get romantic. She often wears her infusion set on her thigh because, she says, she feels sexier when it's adhered, working, and out of sight.
Sparling removes her pump before sex, as she does when she exercises. (Pumps can be safely disconnected for 45 minutes to an hour.) Afterward, she checks her blood sugar again and takes a dose of insulin if her blood sugar is high or has a snack if it's low. "I don't know other people who have so many cookies by the bed," she says.
"For me, this works," Sparling says. "But just like everything else, you need to find what works for you and to not be afraid to go through a trial-and-error period."