How diabetes can impact your sex life
Feb 6, 2012, 8:12 a.m.
Getting older doesn't have to equate to losing your sexual drive, but many senior adults are discovering that diabetes and libido often go hand in hand. This isn't to say that if you're diagnosed with diabetes, your sex life is over. But it is important that you recognize some of the more frustrating diabetes side effects so you'll be better equipped to deal with them, and ultimately more motivated to do what you can to stay as healthy as possible.
The Different Impacts on Men and Women
Men are known to be the most impacted by diabetes side effects, with both lack of sex drive and incidents of erectile dysfunction contributing to a significantly deflated sex life. But it's not just men that are impacted. A sizable percentage of women also experience dramatically lowered libido as one of the most common diabetes side effects.
Frequency of Sexual Activity
One bit of encouraging news about diabetes and libido reminds us that being diagnosed with diabetes doesn't necessarily mean you'll spend the rest of your days twiddling your thumbs on a steamy Saturday night. A recent study by doctors at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which included 2,000 participants from ages 57 to 85, found that a good percentage of them were still having sex -- just not as frequently as people in the same age group who didn't have diabetes. 70 percent of men with diabetes in the study had sex between two and three times per month, while 62 percent of the women in the study were just as sexually active.
Other Sexual Dysfunctions
Another of the most common sexually related diabetes side effects is described as sexual dysfunction. This isn't defined as having no sex, but can be best described as experiencing frustrating complications -- like having difficulty climaxing, or climaxing too soon. The latter issue is one that's specific to men who experience sexual dysfunction as a result of their diabetes, but diabetic men and women both experienced higher incidents of inability to climax during sex.
Not a Life Sentence
Doctors are quick to point out the fact that diabetes won't necessarily deliver a lethal blow to your sex life. There are many things you can do to avoid compounding your diabetes with complications, which may as a result have a more powerful impact on your sex life.
Lose weight and exercise regularly. This is a good idea if you've got diabetes or not, but shedding extra pounds is also known to improve the quality of life for many diabetes sufferers, regardless of age. In addition to lessening the complications of diabetes, losing weight and taking up regular exercise are known to improve the body's natural libido, leading to a more fulfilling sex life.
Sleep well. It's no secret that getting a good night's sleep goes hand in hand with good health. Being overly tired when you're trying to have sex with your partner can also have a powerful negative effect on your ability to perform.
Manage your stress. Do whatever it takes to decrease the amount of stress you're under, whether that's exercising, meditating, or talking to a counselor. If you're already stressed out about your sex life (or lack thereof) worrying about it will only make matters worse when the opportunity arises.
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