Let’s Talk About Sex


Sex is like any physical activity for those with type 1—it requires a little extra preparation (like checking blood glucose (BG) before things get rolling) and emergency sugar within reach. There’s also the issue of devices—where to put them, how to talk about them. On or off? In the bed or beside it? Break after foreplay? (Which isn’t the easiest.) And how do our blood sugars affect orgasm, lubrication or erection? Between the lows and highs of daily life, there’s a natural high of sex that can bring us alarmingly low if we aren’t careful.

Type 1 is the third player in this ménage à trois

Here at Beyond Type 1, we wanted to know how you accommodate for this extra partner under the sheets. We’ve asked our audience to share their little secrets and here’s what we heard:

I have been low during sex before. We hadn’t seen each other for three months, so as you can guess neither of us wanted to stop. The Mr cracked open a Coke can that was beneath the bed (always keep them nearby) and I hoped on top so I could drink and downed the Coke as we continued, neither of us really batted an eyelid because downing Coke on the go is usual. ???? I was 2.4 though, so carrying on was a bit daft. -Holly, 22, diagnosed at age 3.

“It was my first time in bed with a new guy I was seeing, and about half an hour in I heard my mom’s voice calling my name from outside my bedroom window! My blood sugar had gone low but my phone was on silent and I couldn’t hear the alerts from my Dexcom or the calls from her, so she came over to check on me! I quickly threw on some clothes to go talk to her, but by the time I opened my door she had already run back to her car! Luckily my date was really nice about it, but needless to say it was one of the most awkward moments in my type 1 diabetes (T1D) life.” –Mallory, 24, diagnosed at age 7.

“During sex my blood sugar will drop low so I can’t keep an erection… I need to eat something and take a five-minute break, then back to it!” -Jeffrey, 22, diagnosed at age 22.

I’ve dropped (low) in the midst of it all???? -Kat, 21, diagnosed at age 14.

I have to at least suspend so I don’t go low after getting down. It can get pretty bad. The first time I fooled around after getting my pump, not knowing I didn’t suspend and ended up in the 40s shortly after. I can only imagine what would have happened if I actually did the deed! Now, I know. Ha ha. -Allison 

“The one time I decided to keep my pump on during sex, it ended up underneath the girl, and afterwards we discovered an imprint of a T:Slim on her butt that lasted almost three days.” –Jesse, 23, diagnosed at age 9.

Occasionally there is the screech of “the pump” as we save it from bouncing off the bed or untangle but it’s just like another limb now ???? -Hayley, 22, diagnosed at age 3.

Pump gets taken off … Dex typically doesn’t work ????  -Emily

Omnipod, no cords. That way you can get tangled up with each other and not your pump. -Jess

Generally the Mr and my “sessions” are really long—one to three hours, so even though it’s a workout and a half I have to leave my pump on. If I don’t my bloods creep up and and I end up getting acetone breath which just kills everything. ???? We have become very efficient at untangling from pump tubing and always identify where my site is before we start.

If I want my pump out of the way I wear a band. Either arm or waist to tuck my pump into and that seems to work fine. Otherwise it just roams the bed. We had a long, honest talk about it all before we first had sex. All around what to do if I go low, if my site gets ripped out, where we should put my pump, what to do if we get tangled etc.. That was the best thing we could’ve done, because when we arrived at those situations we knew what to do. -Holly, 22, diagnosed at age 3.

100 percent in the pump off camp. Where would you clip it?? When the pump hits the night stand, you know the magic is about to happen. Bow-chicka-wow-wow! -Liv

Take the pump off! Trick is to remember to put it back on after ???? -Elizabeth

With the other OmniPod users, it stays on and with no cords, it’s a “no tangle” zone. -Anonymous

I don’t have a pump but do have a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and I’m a bit concerned about how it’s all going to work. I’m also currently single so a little nervous about how new partners might respond. Hypos mid event are frustrating! Stops you from reaching that level of enjoyment I’ve found … -Abbey

Pump usually off, with the pump, CGM and juice box beside the bed. My partner is really aware of my devices and the “unhooking” of the pump by my partner. Is like kissing for most other couples. We also stop half way through, so I can have a juice box or glucose tab and he has water. I think a big help is your partner being really aware of it and learning to laugh about things 🙂 -Brooke

Pump on or off all depends on the situation … The worse was on our anniversary away and I was going “downtown” and my wife asked if everything was okay. I guess my technique was lacking so as I started to move up and I faceplanted on the bed. My wife got me a Coke and tested, but I was still too low to read. T1 gets in the way sometimes but not every time. – John

Even though I’m having fun and want to get down, my first thoughts are always “be careful of the Pump, be careful of the CGM.” There’s a certain level of innate awareness. – Michael, 22, in a relationship with a T1D.

I have gone low during sex. And what happens is I have no feeling of climax. It’s a bummer. I’ll be enjoying myself, not really noticing that I’m low, but then, nothing. No feeling of orgasm. I am a woman, I am under very good blood sugar control. I often take less insulin on “date night” just so I won’t go low. No matter how well I plan, sometimes I’m surprised and it’s not a fun surprise! I’ve never heard any talk about this. I don’t like to complain! I always look to the positive and I usually have a wonderful time! –Aimee, 62, diagnosed at age at 16.

Disconnect your pump and#livebeyond-Bryce, 20, diagnosed at age 10.

*several names have been changed to reflect requests of anonymity

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