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When Diabetes Affects Your Sex Life

by David Spero, RN

Another potential source of sexual pleasure for women is the G-spot, a spongy mass of tissue believed by some to exist on the front wall of the vagina. Its existence is doubted by others, but it certainly can’t hurt to try stimulating it: If it feels good, it feels good; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You can stimulate the G-spot by inserting one or more fingers into the vagina, curving them toward the belly button, and stroking with a “come-hither” finger flexing. Not all women enjoy this, but many report the best orgasms of their lives from G-spot stimulation.

Men also may not require an erect penis to have an orgasm. Many men can have intensely pleasurable orgasms from stimulation of the prostate gland, even if they can’t have erections or ejaculations. The prostate can be stimulated by stroking or pressing on the perineum, the area between the scrotum and the anus, or by inserting a finger into the anus. Men can also enjoy having other sensitive areas stimulated with hands, mouth, or toys, whether or not it leads to orgasm. Again, use lubricants, try different ways of touching, and pay attention to your partner’s response.

Most women and men have pleasures zones they have never explored or are unaware of. For example, many women and men find anal stimulation very pleasurable. And then there’s the whole rest of your body to explore. It helps to explore yourself to see what gives you pleasure. You might even draw a map of your body with the pleasurable spots marked with an X.

Massage is a terrific way to give and receive pleasure. You don’t have to be an expert. Just have some nice massage oil, start with long, gentle strokes to warm up the muscles before going deeper, and ask your partner what feels good as you proceed. Massage between partners can include genitals, too, if that’s what both people want.

Sex toys are another way to improve a sexual experience. Some vibrate, some oscillate, and some just sit there. You can use any of them in partner sex as well as masturbation.

Communicating about sex is important, too. You have to tell your partner what you like and what you don’t like. One idea is to take clothes off, lie down facing each other, and just talk about sex, perhaps while looking into each other’s eyes.

Building the relationship
Toys, erections, lubrication, and orgasms don’t take the place of a strong, intimate, loving relationship. And having a good relationship is the best way to have good sex.

Dr. Burks says, “Intimacy involves sexual feelings and actions, but also loving feelings, cuddling, holding hands, honesty, commitment, and acceptance.”

Psychologist and certified sex therapist Joe Nelson writes, “A doctor can prescribe medicine like Viagra or Cialis, but a couple may still need to work on the relationship before the medicine will help. The causes of sexual problems for people with diabetes are not just physical.” Disagreements or hard feelings about money, housework, or values may need work before sexual issues can be addressed.

Building intimacy in a relationship takes being open, honest, and brave. Each person needs to learn to express his feelings and desires without attacking the other person. It’s also important to learn to listen attentively to what the other person has to say. It gets easier with practice. Many couples find that talking about sexual issues is a good place to start and opens the door to better communication in all areas of their relationship. However, if you and your partner are having trouble, you might consider getting help from a therapist.

Finding a partner
The same things that can help to build intimacy in an established relationship — communication, courage to open yourself to others, willingness to explore new approaches — are needed to find a partner in the first place. It can be scary to start conversations and get to know people, because when you do, you risk rejection. For this reason, people with diabetes often wonder how or when to bring up their diabetes in dating situations.

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