Diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and sex

Hello, I'm Jay, a sex-positive gentleman from Nova Scotia. While a lot of what I write about on the Indulgence blog is lighthearted, kinky, and intended to explore sexy topics, today I'd like to take a moment to be serious. In particular I'd like to talk about diabetes and erectile dysfunction, how they relate, and what can help.

Diabetes is a common condition which affects approximately 9% of the world's population - about half a billion people. Diabetes, whether it's Type 1 or Type 2, has a side-effect which triples the chances a man will suffer from erectile dysfunction. Why is this? Well, people who have diabetes tend to have higher blood sugar and may have higher blood pressure. These conditions in turn can damage the blood vessels in the penis which normally expand to cause an erection. When enough damage occurs to these blood vessels it becomes more difficult to achieve and maintain an erection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million men in Canada and the United states struggle with erection dysfunction. This means there are a lot of men out there (around 10% of us) who have difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, many as a side-effect of diabetes. To make matters more complicated, men who have diabetes are also at higher risk of heart disease and some erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs do not mix well with heart medication. This can leave men feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do in order to enjoy a fulfilling sex life.
It is a difficult place to be.

There is a spot of good news amongst the doom and gloom though and that is, in part, because so many men struggle with diabetes and ED. Since so many people are affected there are a wide range of solutions and workarounds people have discovered over the years. People who are challenged by ED can try a number of methods to jump-start their sex lives.

For partners of men with ED

Before we talk about the physical side of dealing with ED, let's first talk about the emotional side. Struggling with ED can be frustrating, it can cause anxiety, and depression. As men we're often judged by the size and capabilities of what's between our legs. Having a penis that's being shy can feel like our bodies are letting us down, that we don't measure up. It can be easy to fall into the unjust trap of feeling like we're diminished in the eyes of our lover and it becomes easier to feel insecure in our place in the relationship.

Bearing that in mind, if your lover has ED, I'd recommend trying to be as supportive and encouraging as possible. It's probably frustrating for both of you, having his member out-of-order. While you may be sexually frustrated, he likely feels his body is giving out. Try to reassure him of your love and commitment, try to let him know you appreciate more about him than his pants pole. Let him know you still enjoy all the things he can do with you that don't involve his penis.
Touching and kind words help.

A positive attitude, on the part of both partners, can go a long way to make dealing with ED easier. Not easy, but a man knowing his partner still loves him and is attracted to him when his penis is suffering from technical difficulties will go a long way to make him feel better about the situation and less anxious.

Getting things off the ground

When an erection is refusing to start like a car with a dead battery and ED medication is not a suitable option (as is often the case for people with diabetes) some creativity can help get things working. There are a range of toys for men these days which can help kick-start an erection. These include, though are not limited to, penis pumps, which I've talked about previously. Basically the pump removes air from around the penis, causing a gentle vacuum which causes the penis to expand and become erect.
A gentle nudge in the right direction.

There is also a fascinating toy called the Arcwave which does for men what the Womanizer has done for women. It uses pulsing air pressure to stimulate the skin and massage the penis. Something like this, a toy which can stimulate the male member, can assist in getting an erection.

I also recommend checking out a range of lubricants. There are a number of lubes which are great at adding sensations (such as warming or tingling) which can really spice up foreplay!

Keeping the party going

Once you've coaxed your reluctant rascal into standing up it can be difficult for men with ED to keep the soldier saluting. There are a few toys which can help keep the penis erect. One of the most popular options is a cock ring. We've talked about cock rings before. These rings are usually rubber or silicone and slip over the top of the penis and squeeze the shaft. This gentle squeezing holds blood in the shaft and away from the rest of the body (it's like a reverse tourniquet). This allows the erection to last longer.

Cock rings are pleasantly low-tech, inexpensive, and reusable which makes them a great sex aid for anyone who wants to maintain longer, harder erections - not just people experiencing ED.
It's like a life preserver for your penis.

Explore alternatives

Finally, if the above suggestions are not helping your favourite penis to rise to the occasion there are two further approaches to take. One is to broaden what the definition of sex is for you and your partner. There are a lot of hot things two people can do together beyond penis-in-partner penetration. There's touching, kissing, licking, running your hands over each other. There's bondage, impact play, dripping warm wax on each other, vibrators, role playing. You can flirt, massage, cuddle, talk dirty. You can explore fantasies that were sitting on the shelf, or plan an evening in a hot bath together.
Finding new ways to connect helps keep a couple close.

In short, having an erect penis provides a wide range of sexual options, but there are lots and lots of sexy things you and your partner can do when your penis is taking a time-out. Try to look at this as a chance to broaden your horizons and explore what else you can do that feels fun and naughty with your partner. Maybe stumbling over a fantasy or kink you both like will make foreplay hotter and add rocket fuel to your reluctant erection.

Last, though certainly not least, be sure to talk to your doctor about ED. While some mainstream medications don't mix well with diabetes treatments, your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives or offer other therapies which may help you get back on track.

In short, having ED (from any cause) is difficult and frustrating. However, there are options. There are toys, lotions, lubes, aids, and a rich fantasy life can help too!