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    Better Sex With Diabetes

    To Pump or Not to Pump

    Some people think insulin pumps don't get in the way of good sex. Others feel that having tubes attached makes them less attractive or kills the mood.

    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. If you're worried about falling asleep or forgetting to reconnect, you can set the alarm on your pump or cell phone.

    If you don't want to disconnect your pump, using long tubing can give you more freedom to move around. And it helps to let your partner know where it's attached so the person doesn't grab it by accident. If it does get yanked out and starts to bleed, though, it's not a problem, Roszler says. "Just put pressure on the area until the bleeding stops."

    With a regular partner, a glitch like this, or disconnecting a pump during foreplay, may not be awkward. But what if you're with a new partner you haven't told about your diabetes? This is not a problem for Sparling or Johnson, who are both married. But Johnson says he could see that some people might prefer insulin shots over a pump if they're playing the field.

    "With an injection, you might not have to mention your diabetes unless and until you want to," he says. "A pump kind of forces the disclosure."

    Sparling believes in "full disclosure" about diabetes before intimacy -- for safety reasons, if nothing else. And she thinks a sexual partner should be able to accept that you wear a pump if you accept it. If not, she says, you might want to reconsider whether they are a good choice for a partner.

    Good Diabetes Health = Good Sex

    Taking care of your diabetes is the best sex strategy. Good blood glucose control can prevent or ease sexual issues so you can "do everything you want to do in sex," Sparling says. "And what better impetus to diabetes control is there, especially if you're young, than getting to have a good, healthy sex life?" 

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    Reviewed on February 11, 2015