Most commonly, women who have diabetes will experience a lower sex drive compared to women without the condition. This can be for several reasons:
- Blood glucose level changes can cause irritability or a lack of energy.
- Depression and anxiety associated with diabetes can lower a desire for sex.
- Anti-depressive medications can lower sex drive.
- Autonomic neuropathy can lead to vaginal dryness and painful sex.
In some cases, nerve damage in women living with diabetes can make it more difficult for a woman to experience an orgasm. Sex can also be uncomfortable and unpleasant when a woman has a yeast infection or experiences vaginal itching.
Diabetes can also cause sexual complications in men. Most notably, erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation. Those with erectile dysfunction cannot get or maintain an erection. In men with retrograde ejaculation, semen empties into the bladder, rather than out of the tip of the penis. In both cases, diabetes-related autonomic neuropathy is likely the cause. This type of nerve damage often occurs when a person maintains poor control over their glucose levels.