Sex and Type 1 Diabetes


Editor’s note: Contains adult content

Know Your Blood Sugar Levels Before and After

Let’s be real. Sex is a unique form of physical exercise in that most of us usually look forward to doing it. Like any other activity that requires physical exertion, getting it on will most likely affect your blood sugar levels. If you find yourself dripping in sweat and can hear your own heartbeat, you might be really into your partner; however, there’s also a chance that your blood sugar has spiked and dropped. It’s good practice to check your blood sugar levels before, during and after you have sex—get creative and think about incorporating this into foreplay and post coital cuddling.

Maintain Blood Glucose Levels In The Moment

Stock Your Nightstand

Part of what makes sex fun is its unpredictability. That said, it’s important to expect the unexpected in the bedroom if you have type 1 diabetes. Stock your nightstand with quick fix supplies, such as juice boxes, granola bars and glucose tablets. Having these things an arm’s reach away will allow you to quickly recalibrate your blood sugar if it drops during sex.

Take Breaks

It’s totally reasonable to hit pause in the middle of sex if you experience fatigue and sense a drop in your blood sugar. Check your insulin and eat a snack before you get back to having fun. Listen to your body and let your partner know if you need a moment to refuel.

Think About What You’re Drinking

Alcohol can play a role in dramatic drops in blood sugar levels. If you choose to mix drinking and sex, stick to white wine, champagne, or other beverages with high sugar contents to keep your blood sugar in check.

Consider Wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor

Continuous glucose monitors are devices approved by the FDA that keep track of your blood sugar levels automatically every five minutes, sounding an alarm if levels drop too low or climb too high. While these monitors help with planning or with keeping sex spontaneous, a 30-second blood sugar test can be done discreetly and wherever you happen to be getting it on.


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Type 1 and Sex: Technical Difficulties

Keeping tabs on your blood glucose levels is an important practice to prevent potential roadblocks that might happen during any stage of sexual play.

What Women Should Know

Many women with type 1 diabetes experience vaginal dryness as a result of high blood sugar levels, which may contribute to pain or discomfort during sex, a lackluster sex drive, potential difficulties reaching climax and a generally reduced sexual response. Whether you’re all about foreplay or aiming for The Big “O,” don’t forget to keep lubricants nearby. Remember that blood glucose levels can spike depending on what products you apply to your skin, so be sure the one on your nightstand is sugar-free. In addition, practicing daily Kegel exercises will strengthen the muscles in your southern regions and improve your body’s sensitivity to stimulation.

What Men Should Know

High blood sugar levels may lead to potential obstacles in the bedroom for men with type 1 diabetes, possibly leading to erectile dysfunction and a variety of problems with ejaculation. Poor blood glucose control can cause nerve damage, a catalyst for retrograde ejaculation, which is what happens when semen travels to the bladder instead of through the penis during ejaculation. If you’re experiencing either of these things, talk to your physician: there are many options you might choose to explore to tackle these technical difficulties such as Viagra or Cialis, testosterone injections and gels, and maybe even vacuum pumps.

And remember, whether you have type 1 diabetes or not, better communication means better sex! Talking to your partner about potential roadblocks before things get hot and heavy is always a good idea.

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 03/31/16, UPDATED 12/21/22

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.