Request D’Mine: Diabetes and Sex

Got questions about life with diabetes? So do we! That’s why we offer our weekly diabetes information column, Ask D’Mine, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes writer and community educator Wil Dubois.

This week, Wil is taking on some fantastic ol’ fashioned questions regarding sex and diabetes. Some pillow-talk should obviously be confined to the bedroom, but if there are critical diabetes or medical questions involved then a bit public sex-talk can be a healthy thing.

Btw, next month (April) happens to be Sexually Transmitted Illness Awareness Month, so in the immortal words of Salt-N-Peppa in their 1991 song: “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby”…

Nikki, type 1 in Nevada, inquires:Hey, Wil, are individuals with diabetes more or less inclined than “ordinary” people to get sexually transmitted diseases?

Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: Since having diabetes increases the threat of erectile dysfunction in both women and men, you might expect that our rates of STD’s are. After all, you can’t grab it if your not getting it , right? However, you’d be incorrect. Regrettably, having diabetes appears to earn everything worse. Yeah, you guessed it. It ends up that the “D” in STD stands for diabetes.

While I couldn’t find any “hard” statics (sorry, I couldn’t resist) the people at Joslin say that STDs are more readily transmitted to people with diabetes. What the eff’s up with that?

Well, your best biological protection from a STD is your skin. (Being cautious and selective about whom you sleep is your best environmental protection; and wearing a condom is your best engineered protection.) But back to your skin, which is usually naked once you receive a STD. Skin Care is actually incredibly hard stuff. Uh… unless you’ve got diabetes. In our case, our skin is often compromised. The most frequent skin damage with PWDs? Dry, cracked skin. A crack in your skin is an open doorway to a opportunistic microorganism.

Orgasm followed. Nasty.

And needless to say, when you get sick, what do we typically know about the course of any illness within a person with diabetes? We get it and it’s more difficult to take care of.

What can you do? Same as with our other D-risks. Maintain your down sugar, and keep your trousers up in dubious company. Oh, right. And keep your skin healthy and use a condom. And when all that fails, get treatment straight away if you suspect a STD.

Mathew, type 1 in Idaho, writes: I read online that some morons think you can grab diabeteLets Talk About Sex and Ds throughout sex! How on earth does bullshit like this get out into the world?

Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: When I read your question I naturally assumed you’re drunk or stoned (or both) if you wrote it. But then I checked. Shore ’nuff, there seem to be a lot of young people earnestly asking if they can get the big D by getting it on with us.

  • Here and here, people are worried about the dangers of getting diabetes by having sex with fat men and women. No kidding.

OK, so some of those people are clearly morons, as Mathew suggested. However, what I find alarming is not that the question is requested, but that it looks asked so often. On the other hand, the majority of the answers look pretty well balanced, while sprinkled with some outrage and disbelief from the diabetes community.

But honestly people, is the state of overall diabetes awareness and wellness education really that low? I submit that it’s. In general, I think that many people simply know about diseases that affect themselves or people closest to them. Now while diabetes is at epidemic levels, we form 1 are still “only” at roughly 10% of the populace here in the fantastic ol’ US-of-A; and somewhere around 4 or 5% globally.

If all people with diabetes had at least one person who loved them (sadly, not always true), we had impact at best 20 percent of the populace on our own shores. That leaves 80% of the people who live in the dark. Eighty percent of the people believing that you get diabetes by being obese, or by eating too much candy, which everybody with diabetes requires insulin.

Why don’t you feel you could catch diabetes by sleeping with someone who’s part of this outbreak? Assuming a complete state of D-ignorance, is that actually such a moronic question to ask?

Now, something to consider before some of you goes on a rant: How much can you really understand about Asthma? Rheumatoid Arthritis? Lupus? Parkinson’s? Gastroesophageal reflux disease? Conjunctivitis? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? Psoriasis? Diverticulitis? Gynecomastia? Osteomyelitis? Peyronie’s? Alopecia?

I will bet you do not even understand what some of those are, unless you or one of your loved one suffers from one of them.

Yet all these are real issues that affect real men and women. And I really don’t know it for a fact, but I bet they’ve blogs, meet-ups, and online communities. Communities no doubt yelling for people to understand their diseases and their issues. Just like us.

The fact that we know little or nothing about the majority of the diseases and conditions on that list doesn’t make us bad or uniformed citizens. There’s only so much you can learn.

However, what does that say about that our expectations that everyone else on Earth have a better understanding of our disease?

This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs publicly and publicly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that understanding in the trenches. But we’re not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a little part of your total prescription. You still require the professional advice, therapy, and maintenance of a licensed medical professional.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn’t stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. For more information regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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