Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction

Sadly, diabetes can affect everything… including what happens in your bedroom.

This week, for our Saturday information column Ask D’Mine,your host Wil Dubois (veteran type 1, diabetes writer and educator) requires on this sticky subject. Prepare for an R-rated, yet quite informative read.

Mary, kind 1/ LADA from Wisconsin, writes:Some day I would like to read a column about dyspareunia; all we hear about erectile dysfunction.

Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: Your wish is my command. Let us discuss dyspareunia. (Yes, I had to Google it myself.) However, you lovers of language are really going to get off on the roots of the word, at least I did. The word, such as the titles of many medical conditions, comes to us in the Greek. Dys, naturally, means “poor,” and we often use this as a prefix in medicine. Examples would include dysplasia, dysmenorrhea, dysuria, also . It has also worked its way into common use with words such as dysfunctional; as well as the modern slang of somebody dissing in regards to us in precisely the exact same root.

Clearly we’re talking about bad something here. So what does pareunia mean? That comes from parenunos, meaning “bedfellow.” So that is it. Bad Bedfellow.

Dyspareunia translates.

Why would someone be bad? Well speaking it may be since it HURTS. And that is what dyspareunia (dis-puh-ROO-ne-uh) is actually all about. It’s a difficult to diagnose, and cure, ailment that makes it hurt to, umm, get it on. And it is an equal opportunity medical condition that affects both men and women — although it favors women (in a bad way).

By definition, the pain can be caused by either physical or psychological causes — but apparently that is controversial. And this annoyance is not limited to wild monkey sex, it can occur in almost any (and for many people, all) sexual encounters. It can also occur before, during, or even after sex.

As you can imagine, we’re really going to need to extend our PG-13 score here today, as for the rest of the column we’re going to be talking the bolts and nuts of sexual activity. Along with penises and vaginal lubrication.

Ladies first. Apparently one in five women will suffer dyspareunia at a certain stage in her life. My dears, you can seemingly have all kinds of pain: entry pain, penetration pain, thrusting pain, and deep pain. Who knew? ( I suppose one in five women in the world knew.) The pain can be painy-pain, burning pain, or aching pain.

The most common causes of lady-pain are seemingly lack of lubrication out of idiot partners that rush through the all-important foreplay, post-menopausal estrogen shortages, antidepressants and higher blood pressure pills (among others), trauma or surgery, and infections. The actual list of items that can cause a woman to be a bad bedfellow would take me all day to type up, but here’s a link to the top one hundred causes. There’s also a whole ‘nother ball game of girl-pain known as vaginismus, which is a cascade of involuntary spasms of the muscles that line the vaginal wall.

And in the event you’re wondering, no, many women who suffer dyspareunia don’t have a history of sexual abuse.

How’s it treated? Well, that depends on the cause, and as we talked about there are a million and one causes. Therapy can range from something as simple as a pre-coitus treatment tub, to something as complex as surgery. In between are tubes of lube, a change of meds, girl-on-top gender (no kidding), desensitization treatment, and even vaginal self-dilation. There are also some solutions in the medicine chest, but don’t use medical marijuana. For many women that can actually reduce vaginal lubrication.

Sounds miserable. But we’re off the hook, Men. Sex can damage for us, too. With guys the pain can be, from top to bottom: At the tip or foreskin, in the rotating shaft, in the testicles, or deep in the pelvis or abdomen. Guy sex pain can be burning, sharp, searing, or cramping. Yikes!

As with all the fairer gender, the cause of male dyspareunia is widely diverse, but often related to trauma, either to the rotating shaft or the thin skin that covers the penis, which seemingly can be hurt while entering an un-lubricated partner — which I’m guessing would lead to simultaneous dyspareunia. Additionally, I read that dyspareunia in guys can be brought on by death-grip masturbation. I should be able to come up with some sort of snarky quasi-obscene remark about getting a grip, but I’m drawing a blank today.

Other male problems comprise Peyronie’s disease (which causes mad, abnormal bending of the penis of around 90 degrees when erect), overly tight foreskin known as phimosis, prostrate or kidney complications, and gonorrheal infections. Oh, and also a state known as can even make mere stimulation debilitating. So men with urethritis should not surf the porn net.

On the other hand, some men’s penises are allergic to both contraceptive foams and creams; and the well endowed among us sometimes allegedly get the ends of their own penises scratched by the tail of an IUD, if their partner uses one. I tell you, sex is risky business!

And just like with all the women, the therapy varies with the problem. Oh, and I really should point out that the apparent for both men and women: Painful sex is not fun sex. (Assuming you aren’t some sort of pervert who actually appreciates pain.) So if it hurts and you don’t enjoy that sort of thing, get it fixed! Go to a doc, pull down your pants, and declare the problem. As we have seen, the causes are far-ranging, however, many look fixable.

But where does diabetes cum… errr… encounter all of this debilitating sex stuff? Well, I told you that diabetes always makes everything worse, right? Well, 1 study revealed that almost half of my diabetic sisters report dyspareunia. There’s more than 1 reason for this, but chief among the diabetes-driven culprits are the facts that elevated blood glucose seemingly reduces vaginal lubrication, as, naturally, can adrenal disorder. D-ladies are also more prone to uniary tract infections and yeast infections, either of which — along with being a mood-killer — can make horizontal action debilitating. If any of our diabetes meds reduce vaginal lubrication, I could not find any info on this, but many women with diabetes take high blood pressure pills or anti-depressants that can make dyspareunia worse by reducing natural lubrication.

For D-dudes that aren’t circumcised, this nasty phimosis is seemingly connected to diabetes in a big way; and also for the rest of us, Peyronie’s is seen more often in males with diabetes than glucose normals. As for the gonorrhea, I’ve never been able to locate any data suggesting that individuals with diabetes have higher rates of sexually transmitted disease, but it would not surprise me.

Eat, drink, and be merry–for tomorrow we may die, right? However, my informal poll of women with diabetes that practice D-cest (sleeping with our own kind) shows that D-men are waaaaaaaaaay much better endowed than our non-D brothers. Obviously, the only problem appears to be about half the time this super-sized gear does not get the job done correctly.

Oops, sorry, Mary. You said you’re sick of hearing about erectile dysfunction. But hey, it is another one of those dys words…

This isn’t a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and publicly sharing the wisdom of our accumulated experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge in the trenches. But we’re not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small portion of your prescription. You still require the expert advice, therapy, and maintenance of a licensed medical professional.  


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