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Sex can be put on the back burner if you have chronic conditions. Sex and sexuality are at the top of the list when it comes to maintaining quality of life, no matter what other problems a person may face.

People with type 2 diabetes are no different. It’s important to recognize and address sexuality issues that affect people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can cause sexual complications for both sexes.

A common sexual health issue seen in people with type 2 diabetes is a decrease in libido, or lower or loss of sex drive. This can be frustrating if someone had a thriving libido and satisfying sex life before a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

There are a number of causes of a low libido associated with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage associated with diabetes, can cause sexual issues. Numbness, pain, or lack of feeling can also occur in the genitals. This can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED).

It is possible that neurological problems may make it difficult to feel sexual stimulation. Sex can be painful or un enjoyable if there are these side effects.

Relationship concerns

Communication about sexual issues is important. A lack of communication can affect the sexual and intimate aspects of a relationship.

It is easy for couples to check out of a relationship if they have a health condition. It may be easier to avoid discussing the issue than to seek a solution.

If one partner becomes the primary caregiver of the other, it can also change how they view one another. It’s easy to get caught up in the roles of “patient” and “caregiver” and let the romance slip away.

The most widely reported sexual health issue facing men with diabetes is ED. Some cases of diabetes are first diagnosed when a man seeks treatment for ED.

Failure to achieve or maintain an erection until ejaculation can be caused by damage to the nerves, muscles, or vascular structures. According to a 2017 systematic review, bout half of men with diabetes will experience ED at some point.

Side effects of certain medications can alter testosterone levels, also causing ED. Other conditions that accompany diabetes can also contribute to ED. They include:

Retrograde ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation is another sexual health issue that men may experience as a complication of type 2 diabetes. It occurs when semen is ejaculated into the bladder instead of out of the penis.

It’s caused by your internal sphincter muscles not working properly. These muscles are responsible for opening and closing passages in the body. Abnormally high glucose levels can result in nerve damage to the sphincter muscles, causing retrograde ejaculation.

For women, the most common sexual health issue that comes with type 2 diabetes is vaginal dryness. This can be the result of The hormones change. or reduced blood flow to the genitals.

Women who have diabetes have increased rates of vaginal infections and inflammation. Both of these can make sex painful. Nerve damage to the bladder can also cause incontinence during sex.

Women with diabetes are also more likely to have more frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs). This can also make sex painful and uncomfortable.

Sexual problems with type 2 diabetes can be hard to deal with. You may feel that giving up on sexual expression is easier than finding ways to cope.

You can try to maintain an active sex life despite having diabetes. You may find some things helpful, such as lifestyle changes, medications, and communication with your partner.

Try a different time of day

If you have low energy and fatigue, try having sex at a different time of day. Nighttime may not be the right time. Sex is not something you can have energy for after a long day with diabetes.

Sex can be had in the mornings or afternoons. You and your partner should experiment to see what works best.

Use lubricants to overcome dryness

Liberally use a lubricant to deal with vaginal dryness. Water-based lubricants are best, and there are a plethora of brands available. Don’t be afraid to stop during sex to add more lubricant.

Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) can help both men and women with issues such as decreased libido, vaginal dryness, and ED.

Ask your doctor if this is something you can do. HRT can be derived from:

  • There are pills.
  • There are patches.
  • creams
  • The medications are injected.

Good overall health is important for a healthy sex life. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels is important for people with diabetes. Sex uses energy and so be aware of your blood sugar levels.

If you’re using medications that increase the amount of insulin in your body, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can also occur during sex. Consider checking your blood sugar levels before engaging in sexual activity.

Also keep in mind that what’s good for your heart is good for your genitals. Sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication, and erection all have a lot to do with blood flow. Engage in a lifestyle that promotes good heart health and proper blood circulation.

This includes participating in regular physical activity. Exercise can also have the added benefits of improving your energy level, mood, and body image.

People with type 2 diabetes have incontinence. If you have urine leaks, talk to your partner. Adding the bed can help.

Lay down a couple of towels or purchase incontinence pads to help ease the situation.

Discuss sexual health issues with your doctor. Sexual dysfunction can be a sign of disease progression, or that treatment isn’t working.

“Don’t be afraid to talk about the side effects of drugs. There are different medications that have different side effects.”

Also, feel free to ask about ED drugs. If you aren’t a good candidate for ED drugs, then penile pumps may also be an option.

“Pay attention to your relationship. When desire isn’t at its peak, find other ways to express intimacy. You can express your feelings that don’t involve sex.”

“Make time for a couple that isn’t focused on caring. The topic of diabetes is off-limits on a date night. Discuss your feelings with your partner.”

Support groups and counseling can help with the emotional issues associated with chronic conditions or sex.

It is important to have a healthy sex life. Sexual activity may be more challenging if you have type 2 diabetes.

Sexual issues can be resolved when diabetes treatment is successful. Maintaining a healthy sex life is dependent on communicating with your healthcare professional about any issues.