The Link Between Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction

In the famous words of George Michael, “Sex is natural, sex is good.” Of course, we know the obvious — when the mood is right and the chemistry is there, sex can be mind-blowingly awesome.

From lowering blood pressure to even helping ease stress and anxiety, sex offers quite a few health-related benefits. But if you’re one of the 300+ million Americans living with Type 2 diabetes, sex might not be that spectacular to you.

Diabetes can affect sexual function by weakening sexual desire, sexual arousal and sexual pleasure. Poor blood sugar control will lead to hormone imbalance, neurovascular damage and inflammation, which will directly affect sexual health.

Diabetic patients often take certain drugs to treat other diseases that may affect sexual function.

This article details how diabetes affects your sex life.

Is there any connection between diabetes and sex?

Sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and vaginal dryness often coexist with diabetes. Hyperglycemia can cause nerve damage to sexual organs and disrupt blood circulation. one

Problems related to sexual desire and arousal are related to hormonal imbalance, such as low testosterone level, which is more common in men and women with diabetes. one

People with diabetes can have a healthy sex life. However, advanced age, prolonged diabetes, poor blood sugar control, complications, psychological stress, lifestyle factors, weight and drugs may all lead to sexual dysfunction. 

Can drugs used to treat diabetes cause sexual problems?

Few studies have investigated drugs for diabetes management, such as insulin and oral drugs, and their direct impact on sexual health. Most studies have linked sexual dysfunction with drugs used to treat other diseases of diabetic patients. For example, drugs used to treat hypertension and depression are more likely to cause sexual problems in diabetics. 

How to treat sexual problems caused by diabetes drugs?

If your blood sugar level is under reasonable control and you are experiencing sexual problems, your medication may be part of the problem. Your health care provider may be able to find alternative drugs to replace the problematic drugs.

Symptoms and gender differences


Decreased libido, orgasm disorder and erectile dysfunction in elderly men are related to type 2 diabetes. Decreased testosterone level, poor blood sugar control, aging, overweight, poor blood flow and nerve injury will all reduce men's ability to erect and maintain it.

Nerve damage or arterial obstruction of penis will affect the blood flow of penis and reduce sexual desire.

Men with diabetes are also at increased risk of Peyronie's disease, a disease in which scar tissue in the penis causes bending and painful erection. If you feel pain during sexual intercourse, it is important to seek help from your medical professional.


Like men, women with diabetes may encounter problems that affect sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasm and pain during sexual intercourse. It's hard to find out why women have low sexual desire. Many times, emotional problems, menopause or other things completely unrelated to diabetes are the culprit. one

The problem of awakening may be the result of nerve injury (autonomic neuropathy). When the nerve is damaged, the feeling is damaged, which affects the ability of orgasm. Neuropathy can also lead to vaginal dryness, which is a common symptom with age before and after menopause.

The problem of blood flow can also lead to vaginal dryness and damage the blood flow of vagina and clitoris.

How to treat diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you may not want to share your sexual problems, but it is important to discuss your problems with your medical team. Lifestyle changes and good blood sugar control are related to the improvement of sexual function. one

It is required to meet with certified diabetes care and education experts, receive education, training and support to achieve your blood sugar goals. They can identify areas of diabetes self-management that you can improve, and help you make diet plans, drug management, stress management and so on.

give up smoking

Quitting smoking has been proved to improve sexual function and help prevent the problem from getting worse. Smoking is also related to poor blood sugar control, heart disease, retinopathy, poor blood flow and peripheral neuropathy.

Get emotional support

A healthy sex life means that the body feels relaxed and comfortable. Body image problems, insecurity and stress about diabetes will reduce your sexual desire and arousal.

low libido

Form healthy habits

Eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing stress can improve your overall health and diabetes, and improve your sex life, and vice versa. Start with small, sustainable changes that suit your lifestyle. For example, eat an extra serving of vegetables every day, walk for 15 minutes three times a week, or go to bed early for 20 minutes.

Other treatments

There are other treatments for diabetes. Women with dry vagina can use lubricants. Men with erectile dysfunction can take Viagra (sildenafil) or other drugs. Depending on the problem, men can also choose penis pump, support sleeve, testosterone injection and gel. 

There are several approaches that both men and women benefit from, including seeing a doctor who specializes in sexual medicine and talking with a mental health professional. The latter is an important step because relationship problems, body issues, stress and a host of other emotional baggage can affect all aspects of your sex life. You may be too self-conscious to get in the mood or get aroused, or maybe you're too stressed to have an orgasm.

A counselor can also help you and your partner work out any strain your sexual dysfunction may have caused. It creates such emotional tension in a relationship that can permeate the entire relationship—not just in the bedroom. So talk it out and find a way to work around your sexual problems.

In general

Diabetes patients are at increased risk of sexual dysfunction. Poor blood sugar control, drugs, blood vessels and nerve damage will all affect a person's sexual desire, sexual arousal and orgasm ability. It is important to discuss your sexual health with your health care provider. Sometimes your drugs are the culprit, and they may provide another choice. Finally, consider making lifestyle changes. Managing your diabetes well, including eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and reducing stress, will benefit your entire body, not just your nether regions. It's very likely that a good sex life leads to better health—and better health leads to good sex.

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