Sex, Pumps & CGMs


Trigger Warning: Adult content within

Sex, pumps & continuous glucose monitors (CGMs)— the information everyone (type 1 diabetes (T1D) or not) wants to know but doesn’t want to be the one to ask! Now before talking about getting physical—let’s be real here. Being tethered to something 24/7 is a special, rather intimate relationship of its own! Remember this one is on you, and you know it best—so own it! This extra, let’s call it “special” relationship can definitely make things more interesting (especially in bed, or wherever you choose). Now, some may think hmmmm technological devices in the bedroom —now that’s some kinky stuff, but remember it’s totally natural for the other party to be either: A) curious  B) concerned or  C) both! 

Curiosity did NOT kill the cat

This is my gut reaction when a forthright individual upon seeing my insulin pump decides to ask, “What about sex?” First, I give them credit for asking— for anyone without a connection to T1D, I think this is one of the first things that runs through people’s minds—and I think it comes from pure curiosity, not trying to be dirty. I follow up by asking, “What do you do?”

When it comes to getting physical, if it is your first time getting up close and personal with said individual, it’s great to be open! Be free to show them or tell them that it doesn’t hurt, or that there will be no dire outcomes should your site come out temporarily—annoying yes, but everything will be okay. Use it as a way to get a bit more personal, and explore some boundaries so you’re both comfortable (it’s easy to forget the feelings and emotions of the other party).

To disconnect or not—that is the question

This is entirely on YOU! We all know with T1D, what works for one may not work for another, so this is where your super power Diabadass skills of knowing you bod better than anyone comes in. Being that I wear a pump, I prefer to disconnect when possible—let’s just say for lack of better words, there is more freedom—BUT you must must must be sure to reconnect, which sometimes can be (ahem) easy to forget. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything ;).  Oh life’s lessons—you live and you learn!  

Put it where it works

Now I don’t wear a pod, so I imagine like a pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) site, it’s all about placement—lower back hip is a decent option, but it’s where YOU feel most comfortable keeping it!. If it’s not an ideal time to disconnect, longer tubing will allow for more range of motion but again with most aspects of T1D—different strokes for different folks, so try out different options and see what works for you. It’s all about trial and error. Find your groove and remember practice makes perfect!

Don’t freak if it falls

I’m going to quote my favorite movie here: “Screws fall out all the time; the world is an imperfect place.” (John Bender, The Breakfast Club). It’s true! Pump sites come out—the world is an imperfect place! Maybe a little too much tugging, or maybe your surroundings get in the way, (Was that door handle always there?). Maybe you’re taking the moment with abandon and it’s a “there go my pants and there goes my pump” situation. Or perhaps it’s simply just too much friction and sweat? Things happen in the heat of the moment—though sometimes it can be a bit of a buzzkill—these incidences can be pretty easy to laugh off with a few expletives later. As far as keeping things in place, Skin tac wipes are great adhesives! (I’m also a fitness instructor so bending, sweating and stretching are a part of my daily routine, and I’ve found these work best for keeping my sites in place.)

Is that you beeping or are you just happy to see me?

Now let’s add another piece of tech to bring to the boudoir! The CGM!!! Beeping and buzzing are not exactly the sounds of Marvin Gaye but here are the benefits: Just like everything else with diabetes, when the control is tight, everything just works better and you feel better too. Regardless of where you are, sex is still a physical activity, and you may run the risk of going low, but that’s why you’ve got that sleek and sexy CGM by your bedside to keep you on track and alert you sooner rather than later!

Mmmm … sugar sugar

Always keep something quick and fast acting nearby (this should really go without saying), but in this occasion keep it so that it is easily accessible. Also, make sure your partner knows too! For a few reasons:

1) In case something happens, your partner knows right where to go

2) It also allows for your partner to feel more comfortable, and potentially helpful!  

Now I’m sure you could find something more creative in this matter, but I know for myself, good old glucose tabs or juice work best to bring my blood sugar up, so I can um get back to business. 😉

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