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Blood Sugar, Insulin Pumps, and Spontaneous Sex

For some women with diabetes, worrying about low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, during sex makes it hard to live in the moment. "Hypoglycemic events during sex are a real buzzkill," says Kerri Morrone Sparling, who blogs about her life with type 1 diabetes from her home in Providence, R.I. "Your body just shuts down during a low, so it crushes the enjoyment."

If you're worried about low blood sugar, it may help to eat a hard candy or a little ice cream before getting intimate. "Or if you have surprise sex in the middle of the night, afterward have something with sustained sugar, like juice with the fruit pulp in it or milk," says Lois Jovanovic, MD, chief scientific officer of Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.

Sparling, who wears an insulin pump, has found a way to deal with her diabetes so that "spontaneity is never an issue." She wears a continuous glucose monitor, which she can check to see if she's "in a decent range" to get romantic. She often wears it on her thigh because, she says, she feels sexier when it's attached, working, and out of sight.

Sparling removes her pump before sex, as she does when she exercises. (Pumps can be safely taken off for 45 minutes to an hour. But many experts suggest using a short/rapid-acting insulin shot to cover the period while the pump is detached.) After sex, she checks her blood sugar again and takes a dose of insulin if it is high or has a snack if it's low. "I don't know other people who have so many cookies by the bed," she says.

"For me, this works," Sparling says. "But just like everything else, you need to find what works for you and to not be afraid to go through a trial-and-error period."

Problems With Sex Drive and Orgasm

Problems getting in the mood -- whether it's because you have less interest in sex or problems having orgasms -- are more common. They can also be more complex if you have diabetes.