Does Diabetes Affect Your Sex Life? Let’s Find Out!
On the occasion of Diabetes Awareness Month, the writer met with a Type 1 Diabetic, Anurati Agarwal, a 23 year-old from Delhi, to understand sex and diabetes. Anurati completed her graduation in Interior Designing but has now switched her career line to become a Child Counselor. She is pursuing MA in Child Psychology from Goa. She runs a brand named Insuliwin with 2 other co-founders. It is India’s first diabetes merchandise brand. She has had Type 1 Diabetes for the last 8 years now and was diagnosed when she was just 15 years old. For the past two years, she has been trying to create awareness and help fellow Type 1 Diabetics in their journey, through her blog and her page on Instagram @livinlifewithinsulin.
Could you tell us something about the type of Diabetes you have?
Anurati: I am living with Type 1 Diabetes, that is a juvenile chronic condition. It has no cure other than taking insulin. In this kind of diabetes, your pancreas stops producing insulin and you have to take insulin externally through injections or an insulin pump. I am currently on pump. We have to check our sugar levels daily around 4-5 times before and after every meal. So, to ease the pricking a little I wear a libre pro sensor with a Miao Miao transmitter. The sensor sits on my arm. This helps me check my real time sugar levels throughout the day. The readings reflect on my phone.
Have there been times where your diabetes came up while having a sexual encounter?
Anurati: Only a couple of times have my sugar levels dropped after sexual activity. And sometimes, I had to take off my insulin pump so that my levels don’t drop or the wire of the pump doesn’t get tangled.
What can a Type 1 Diabetic keep in mind while engaging in a sexual encounter?
Anurati: I would suggest always keeping your hypo-treat near you. Hypo-treats help to treat low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Always let your partner know about it so that they can help you out if needed. If you’re going on a stay or a trip with your partner, make sure you don’t consume too much alcohol before engaging in sex because it causes severe hypoglycemia.
What would you suggest to someone who has a diabetic partner? What should they keep in mind during a sexual encounter?
Anurati: Make sure that your partner has eaten well and had enough sleep because that can have an impact on the sugar levels. It’s important to have the sugar levels in control for a good sexual experience. Also remind them to keep themselves hydrated, and make your partner comfortable so that he/she can let you know if they’re not feeling up to it. Make them comfortable about their body with the pump and bruises. Learn to love their body and let them love their body too. Never blame diabetes for anything.
This proves that Sex with Diabetes is not really different from what sex for others is. Little additions of pumps don’t stop people from having a pleasurable and memorable sexual experiences. Anurati says “It’s a little complicated, but if you learn to adjust to the lifestyle, it won’t be a problem and if you keep seeing it as a problem then you’ll never be able to enjoy these things. Make your weakness your strength.” Before stepping into exploring anything comes loving yourself first and it is the same for people with Diabetes as well.
Anurati adds “The first step is acceptance, once you start accepting your disability and your body with all those bruises, you’ll be more confident than ever. If anybody makes you feel bad about your condition, then that person doesn’t deserve to be in your life. You didn’t choose diabetes, your diabetes chose you! Always keep yourself and your health at topmost priority,” and that is the most important part of it all.
Cover Illustration: Alfia