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Love among the test strips and tubing

Movie sex isn't real. For anyone. But it's really really not real for anyone living with diabetes.

After all, most people's intimate moments don't include a tube of glucose gel.

While diabetes can make intimacy feel less spontaneous, there are things you can do to keep it from getting in the way this Valentine's Day (or any other day).

First, decide how you want to handle your blood sugar. After all, sex is exercise. You could be in for an overnight low, and attacking that heart-shaped box of chocolates probably isn't the best strategy for treating it. Checking your blood glucose before and after may not seem like an aphrodisiac, but the alternative isn't especially appealing, either.

Next, if you use an insulin pump, determine whether you want to disconnect. You and your partner may not even notice it's there—or your image of a romantic night may not include an electronic device. Either way, there's no wrong answer. You can take the pump off for an hour—set a reminder to reconnect in case you nod off to sleep.1

If diabetes really gets in the way—making things uncomfortable, physically impossible or just not all that interesting—it's time to throw any sense of embarassment to the wind and talk to your doctor or educator. Erectile dysfunction, vaginal infections, dryness and other issues can be common for people with diabetes, but they can all be helped.2

High blood sugar can also put a lid on your desire, so find out what you can do to tighten up your blood glucose numbers.2

You know what's really sexy? Talking. Sharing what's on your mind and, if there's a challenge, finding ways to address it together. So open up. You and your partner will be happy that you did.

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1Roszler J. Any Tips on Pump Use and Sex? Diabetes Forecast. 2013. Available at: http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2013/apr/any-tips-on-pump-use-and-sex.html. Accessed April 30, 2016.

2Neithercott T. Sex and diabetes: what you wanted to know. Diabetes Forecast. 2012. Available at: http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2012/nov/sex-and-diabetes-what-you-wante.... Accessed April 30, 2016.

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