Help for Your Diabetes Relationship Challenges

Relationship experts help you navigate sticky situations you may encounter while living with diabetes.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
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Challenge: “My partner’s not interested in sex.”
Sexual problems, like erectile dysfunction (ED), often crop up with diabetes because the disease can deaden nerve endings and damage blood vessels needed for arousal and orgasm. In fact, men with diabetes are twice as likely to have erection problems. If you’ve been having difficulty in the bedroom, it’s possible your wife is avoiding sex to spare you the embarrassment of not being able to make love together as you once did.

Solution: First, talk to your partner. Say, “My ED is just the diabetes, not a reflection of my attraction to you. Let’s figure out how we can still be intimate and sexual together.” Then, go have a candid conversation with your doctor or diabetes educator. In the age of medically approved erection enhancers that run the gamut from medications to injection therapy, erection pumps, even penile prostheses, you can have diabetes and make love, too. You can also expand your definition of sex: “Sexuality is so much more than our genitals,” says Freed. 


April 2013