Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce any insulin, a hormone that helps process glucose (blood sugar) for cells to use. It is sometimes called juvenile diabetes, but it can occur at any age.
This type of diabetes is distinguished from type 2 diabetes, in which the body can produce insulin, but it may not make enough. Or the body does not use insulin properly.
Most diabetics have type 2 diabetes. About 5% have type 1, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Sexual problems are common with both types, but a 2018 study in Diabetes Care provided insights specifically for type 1.
Researchers collected data on 508 women and 551 men with type 1 diabetes. They found that 45% of the men had erectile dysfunction (ED) and 42% of the women had some form of sexual dysfunction, although the particular form was not directly specified.
A 2017 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine investigated erectile dysfunction in 600 men with type 1 diabetes. The authors reported that 61% of the men had experienced ED at least once. For 42% of the men, ED was intermittent, but for 13% it was chronic.
In general, diabetic men are two to three times more likely to develop ED, and they are usually younger at the onset of ED than men without diabetes.
To learn more about ED and diabetes, please see these links:
Diabetic women often experience poor arousal, low desire, insufficient vaginal lubrication, and orgasm difficulties. They are also more prone to yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
See more information on diabetes and women’s sexual health here:
Both men and women with diabetes may have depression and anxiety as well, which can affect sexual function.
Sometimes, diabetes-related sexual problems can be alleviated with lifestyle changes. Controlling blood sugar, through diet and/or medication, is essential. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are important, too. For those with depression, counseling or sex therapy are often beneficial.
American Diabetes Association
“Type 1 Diabetes”
Wessells, Hunter, et al.
“Burden of Urological Complications in Men and Women With Long-standing Type 1 Diabetes in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Cohort”
(Full-text. October 2018)
“Over 60% of Adults with Type 1 Diabetes Experience Sexual Dysfunction, Urologic Complications”
(September 22, 2018)
“In Type 1 Diabetes, Urologic Issues and Sexual Troubles Often Coexist”
(Last updated: October 16, 2018)
“Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: What’s the Difference?”
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Bak, Ewelina, et al.
“Does Type 1 Diabetes Modify Sexuality and Mood of Women and Men?”
(Full-text. Published online: May 11, 2018)
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Palmer, Melody R. PhD, et al.
“Longitudinal Patterns of Occurrence and Remission of Erectile Dysfunction in Men With Type 1 Diabetes”
(Full-text. Published online: August 25, 2017)
“Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Men with Type 1 Diabetes”
“Manage Diabetes for Better Sexual Health”
(December 6, 2016)