Next month, I’m rounding out what has been a really busy year of conferences at the IDF World Diabetes Congress. One of the talks I’m giving is on the experiences of women with diabetes when it comes to sex. (*I was going to call this post ‘Sex on stage’, but then wisely thought better of it.)

The symposium will include a session about men with diabetes and their experiences, and a talk given by a healthcare professional highlighting some research in the area. (Spoiler alert: there is not much research when it comes to women, sex and diabetes.)

For my talk, I want to not only draw on my own experiences, but also bring together what I’ve heard from other women living with diabetes. Whenever I’ve written here about this issue, (including here and here and here) I’ve received lots and lots of private messages as well as some post comments – women want to talk about it!

The main themes that seem to resonate time and time again are:

  1. There is very limited education and information when it comes to women with diabetes and sex, sexual function and sexual health
  2. Many (most?) women with diabetes have never had a HCP talk to them, or ask them questions about their sexual health – other than contraception and the importance of planning for pregnancy
  3. Many (most?) women believe that diabetes does impact on their sexual function, and those diagnosed after they were already sexually active report that diabetes absolutely does impact on sex
  4. Lots of women say that the visibility of diabetes (devices on bodies, scarring etc) makes them feel self-conscious and impacts how they feel about themselves and about sex.

I know that when I spend time with my good women friends with diabetes, talk about sex and how we feel about it, and our bodies, comes up. It used to take a couple of glasses of wine to get us comfortable enough to start the conversation, but these days, we launch straight in. Are we all chronic over-sharers, or are we just desperate to connect with others who get it and might have some tips and tricks to share? I think it’s the latter…although I think sometimes the former, too!

So, now is where you come in! If you are a woman living with diabetes (ANY type and duration of diabetes, any age), I would love to hear your experiences, including about discussions you’ve had with your HCP team about this issue. I’m also interested in any advice or information women have found useful. And if you are one of the women who has never had a conversation about it, or been told that diabetes does not impact on women’s sexual function, I want to hear from you too. Oh, and if you have any great resources, articles, blog posts or anything else you’d like women to know about, please share in the comments section.

You can comment on this post and use a pseudonym if you’d prefer to remain anonymous, or send me a private message here. If you could include your age and how long you’ve had diabetes, that would be great. I will be using quotes in my talk, but no names will be shared (unless you would like me to).

I was really pleased to see that this was a topic suggestion by a few people for the Living with Diabetes stream at the IDF Congress, because I truly believe we need to talk about diabetes and sex a whole lot more. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject, or one that people are embarrassed to discuss. And women need to be taken seriously when we say that diabetes does impact our sex lives.

Please help out – the more voices, the merrier. And I’ll do what I can to have the session live streamed so that we can continue the discussion beyond what happens in the Congress conference centre.


I am the Chair of the Living with Diabetes Stream at the International Diabetes Federation’s World Diabetes Congress which will be held in Busan in December 2019. My flights and accommodation, and conference registration have been paid for by the IDF. I am not receiving any payment to speak at the conference, or for my role as stream Chair.