Does the pump (or diabetes in general) affect your sex life?

I know…touchy subject! However…do you have to worry about accidentally disconnecting, the exercise involved, etc. Can you have a normal sex life? Anyone who dates? Do you let a prospective boyfriend/girlfriend know about your pump right away? How do you handle it? Hoping this does not offend anyone!

when i started dating the man who became my husband, i was a little embarrassed about the pump and actually showed it to him on one of our very first lunch dates. he thought it was cool. in fact, it’s because of him that i started diabetties.org.

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I get enough “exercise” during sex, that I just disconnect it and not worry about the lack of insulin. Worse case scenario… I bolus a couple units afterwards… Just enjoy the moment!

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Answer: Not a bit. I’ve worn a pump since I was 20 and was on the dating scene until meeting my husband at age 26 (four years ago). I’ve never had any issues with it.

I always check my blood sugar before, and sometimes during. I make sure I have something like juice handy, just in case. Checking during spoils the mood, but a decent guy would want you to enjoy yourself, too. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, it is no good, just like everything else in life.

I’m actually just dealing with right now. My boyfriend is pretty weirded out by the whole cyborg thing, and I’m not really sure how to tackle this one. I got the pump in September and since then our sex life has dwindled. For a long time I wondered if it was the pump and not other stresses in our life. I have suffered a bit of depression and anxiety in dealing with this disease. Recently he told me it is the pump that bothers him, and he’s not sure why. I am loving the new freedom my pump offers and wouldn’t trade it in for anything. My boyfriend and I live together and he’s been with me through this whole ordeal (I was diagnosed 2 months after we moved in together.) I feel like he hasn’t been able to talk about how the diabetes has affected his life and as a result resents me for it. Any suggestions on how people have dealt with relationships/sex now that they are diabetic. Getting diagnosed at age 29 was a big shock and learning to deal with it has been even bigger.

Hmm, see I figured this was the response I might get. I think one of our problems has been that I have talked freely about it ever since it happened, and I don’t think he has had the same freedom. I was/ and have been pretty sensitive about the whole diabetes situation. He’s a little squimish around blood etc, and has told me that it feels like diabetes has become our entire life since I was diagnosed. I feel like I am partly to blame, because until 2 days ago I hadn’t sought out other diabetics to converse with. I went to one group education session at my hospital two days after being diagnosed and unfortunately it was the day where everyone talked about hospitalization and their worse case scenarios…a fire alarm happened to go off at which point I split before I cried in front of the whole group! In any case, this forum thing is great because I’m starting to feel like it’s good to talk with other people that can understand the disease and take some of the pressure off my boyfriend in that respect… sigh I don’t want to call it quits on this relationship just yet, things have been pretty stressful since I got the disease. I also changed careers and went from filmmaking to being a full time student…I guess there are a few more factors at hand here so it’s a tricky situation. Thanks for the imput!

Thanks Dave! Yah, this pump isn’t going anywhere! It’s liberated me from finding every bathroom in a 5 mile radius of my lunch areas! I’m so glad for the freedom of it! Not to mention that I absolutely hated taking needles! Never again! : )

here’s an older discussion on this

https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/583967:Topic:217925

Thanks for the link Marie, I’m still not sure how to navigate the site so well - is there a way to search specific topics?

Hey, Robyn. If you click on Forum and then type something in the search field like “pump intimacy” or something like that, it will bring up every response and discussion with those search terms.

Also, we have a group here specifically on diabetes and sexuality for women. It is by invitation only, but I believe you can request an invite.

As far as the issue with your boyfriend, I think you’re right that he needs to talk about it. Have you considered disconnecting during intimacy? That might make him more comfortable and many diabetics prefer that. Or perhaps you could wear your infusion sets somewhere non-obvious (like not on the front of the abdomen) during times you plan to initiate activity. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

In the end, this is something he can and WILL get over, but he needs to be able to be honest with you that it freaks him out right now. Many spouses and partners get concerned that they will jostle your setting, but I’ve never had it happen in my nearly ten years on a pump. And if it does, so what? It can be replaced.

He needs to see that it makes you so much healthier and gives you freedom, then its intrusion into your bedroom can be viewed as a necessary evil…until he no longer notices it or cares. The diabetes is an unwelcome intrusion to you, too, and he needs to know that this period of adjustment since your diagnosis will pass eventually.

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Wow, thanks. That’s some great advice. Much appreciated.

Married up for 31 years, diabetic for 35. First, I disconnect the pump when enjoying sex. I know several do and several dont, I am a disconnector. I have for the 10 years I have had the pump and I do i love it.

Diabetes is my life. When i dating, I told folks first date, and hey if they did not like it well they can go jump. I figured, I woudl always be diabetic, and that is something I could never change. Take it or leave it.

As for the BF, this a male perspective, so take it with a grain of salt. I suggest it sounds like an off handed comment. He may regret it, may not. but I suspect he does. Regardless, my thought is that you cannot be anything but a diabetic. I mean it is who you are. We cannot change it I know we wish we could, nobody wants this disease, but we have it and it really has to be a take it or leave it deal.

One more thing, The worst thing is having a low during. I have had that many times over the years, and the wife, is just upset when it does it happen. I suggest taking the BS before and drink some Oj or apple juice. i figure it is worth it.

Just my 2 cents.

All the best.

rick philips

I’ve never had any issues regarding my pump/diabetes effecting my sex life/dating life. As Dave said, if anything the pump has actually helped me maintain a more balanced lifestyle.

As for the dating aspect of pumping/diabetes in general: well you can either wait until it eventually comes up, OR you can just act natural and either tell them or they will see you reaching for something that is not a cellphone/pager, often resulting in a quite humorous conversation.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who was afraid/put off by the pump/diabetes in general, although I could see why some would be.

Robyn, as others have said, maybe try disconnecting your pump. Who knows, it might help things.

Do you mean to say that SEX is something that really happens??? It is not just something portrayed in the movies to entertain us? Amazing!!! I do have two sons though…HMMM…where did they come from? I am 70 now and my memory is going fast!..SIGH!!!

It doesnt effect me at all, and my wife isnt bothered by it at all. I can understand how it might make a new BF/GF uncomfortable at first, but if you educate them about it and show them how it works, that should take care of any issues they might have. If it doesnt, I would probably end the relationship. I dont have time for that.
I usually disconnect for sex, but I am disconnected for no more than 30-ish minutes at a time. I think checking BS prior to intercourse is much more important. I was having sex with my wife once, and suddenly got that low feeling. I tested and I was 37. I usually feel the low coming on around 75, but this time I missed it.

Wow, thanks for all the great advice everyone. I usually do disconnect, but for some reason my boyfriend is still having issues with the infusion set. I’m hoping that it will work itself out eventually, but the problem is that he’s pretty bad about communicating his feelings. I think he feels like he can’t have an opinion because it’s not his disease. Hopefully if we can get past that, the other stuff will go back to normal.

You are on the right track, Robyn, keep up all your efforts in seeking out resources to help you…both in diabetes technology and support groups. And, your bfriend is right in the sense that he stated “it feels like diabetes has become our entire life”. Diabetes is a HUGE part of your life now, and honestly, a huge part of his. Give him credit for acknowledging that; but, also realize, and assure him, that it will continue to be a huge part of your life. You will always have it on the mind…as any determined diabetic should. If you are determined to remain as healthy as you can be, you will always have it on the forefront of your mind. That is not to say you cannot live a powerful, successful life in other areas, but being successful at your diabetes management becomes a priority now and will remain so for life. It’s ok and we all do it. Our spouses and our partners also embrace that. Give him time. If he isn’t willing to face the day to day focus that this disease takes, then perhaps moving on without him is down the road. For now, stay focused and acknowledge that this disease takes time and effort, but with time, it become second nature. Trust that it will get easier.

Melissa, I sooo envy you. When I started IPT about 10 years ago, I was dating a very attractive young lady that absolutely went OFF THE DEEP END when I mentioned that I was planning to start Insulin Pump Theropy. She was nothing short of furious that I was planning on doing it. Several days later, after she figured out that I didn’t view it as an optional decision, she tried to convince me that it was the fact that I had made the decision without consulting her first that made her angry. WTFE. Our relationship ended shortly thereafter, but it was only the beginning…

About a year later, I was with another precious young lady that I’d dated years before… She also knew of my diabetes and had no problem with that… but one night, shortly after starting a very intimate evening, everything came to a horribly abrupt stop. We had moved to the bedroom and gotten very…close… and about a split second after I disconnected from my pump, it was ALL OVER. She wouldn’t have been more turned off if I’d dumped a 20 gallon Gott cooler of ice cold gatorade over her head… I mean it was DONE. I got up, got dressed and drove home feeling… I can’t even begin to describe what…

To answer your question, Thunderowl, yes my pump has impacted my sex life, but I still refuse to give it up…

Thanks! Good advice. : )