Glucose Sensors and Insulin Pumps: Diabetes Between the Sheets

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5.4 minutes: that’s the average length of time for intercourse¹. Those 5.4 minutes can seem very long and stressful to people living with diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) who wear a diabetes management device on their bodies (a glucose sensor or insulin pump). They may wonder what to do with their “instruments” during intimacy. Here are a few thoughts!

Accept your devices

Those who wear a diabetes management device sometimes feel unattractive, and embarrassed about it. It’s important to communicate openly with your partner; they shouldn’t have any problem accepting the presence of your devices under the cover. 

Accepting the diabetes management devices on your body is a question of time and practice. In the beginning they may seem embarrassing, but once both partners are used to them, they become invisible. 

Some people are afraid of accidentally ripping a device off during intercourse. Don’t worry! Be careful of those wandering hands. But if it does happen, the effects on the device and your diabetes will probably be minor. 

Should you stay connected during intercourse?

People with diabetes who wear an insulin pump with tubing can choose whether or not to remove it before sex. With “patch” insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), that’s not an option: taking them off ends the current session and requires a replacement device be reinserted after. Most insulin pumps with tubing can be removed for a short period of time without causing any kind of malfunction. Why not take advantage! If you use a pump with tubing, go ahead and check with your doctor or health care provider. They will tell you how long you can leave your insulin pump disconnected.

But the decision depends entirely on what you, are comfortable with. Some people with diabetes remove their insulin pumps with tubing to avoid any accidents during intercourse, while for others, the pump’s presence doesn’t affect intimacy. It’s your choice!

If you decide to take it off, don’t forget to connect it again afterwards.

Watch out for glycemic roller coasters!

No matter which diabetes management devices you use, make sure you monitor your blood sugar levels (just like at any other time).

 High blood sugar? Take a dose of insulin before getting serious. 

 Low blood sugar? A little fast acting carb should do the trick. If it happens during intercourse, you’ll end up laughing about it afterwards.

People living with diabetes can keep wearing their devices during intimacy. The important thing is to do what’s right for you.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16422843

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