Sex & Diabetes: Romancing the Pump

While cuddling on the couch, my girlfriend reacts, “ouch, your pump just hit me!” I said I was sorry, but the mood was temporally ruined. She got over it, and we started to cuddle again. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Later on, I asked her if it bothered her. “Compared to the beeping of your CGM it’s not that annoying.” I wondered if there were another place to put my pump so it wouldn’t get in the way. Could it be less intrusive? I didn’t know, but we talked for a while, and here is what I found out.

The occasional poking didn’t change her wanting to be with me, but she felt that it did ruin the mood from time to time. She gave an example; during foreplay, she felt that it got in the way: Disturbed the natural flow of being intimate with each other. Her two biggest complaints, “I worry about accidentally ripping it out of your body and about breaking the pump.” She said that it was causing her not to be spontaneous and overthink her movement over a fear that she will accidentally hurt me. I have had female followers on my Facebook Page “The Diabetic Diary” express similar issues with their boyfriends.

Our conversation happened before me finding a solution to this problem. Back then, I had to rely on good communication skills. I told her that, “if any of those things happened it wouldn’t be a big deal. I have plenty of backup equipment.” Luckily, that worked and having open communication around my diabetes made our relationship stronger. Excellent communication skills do help in all relationships.

However, when living with an illness that requires so much work, anything that helps reduce issues like this may even reduce diabetes burnout. I always kept an eye out for anything that could contribute to improving my life with diabetes. Over time, I have discovered many little tricks, on my own, from my followers and even my clients.

Eventually, I came across something that helped immensely. If you read my previous blog “Sex, Pumps, and Underwear,” you know pocketed underwear has improved my life. Since then, I got reports back that they have significantly helped some of my Facebook followers’ lives. Some women have reached out and asked if they made underwear for females? As luck would have it, they do make underwear with pockets for women.

The two front pockets are perfectly placed toward the inner thigh making them undetectable so much so that you even forget you are wearing a pump. The underwear and undies resolve other issues like:

  • Preventing the cord from getting snagged on a door handle
  • Regularly having to move it to lie down on the couch
  • Poking the stranger sitting next to you on the subway
  • Worrying that someone will knock it off or break it on the subway
  • Struggling to get the tube through a button-down shirt when wearing a suit

For women and crossdressers alike:

Some of my female clients and online followers have used them when dressing in a strapless dress with great success.

There may be a few on the market, but if interested in the undies or boxer briefs I liked, you can check out the offerings at the Clever Travel Companion. Getting the next size up allows room for the pump with comfort. (Sand Not Included).

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For more information go to his website or Facebook Page or set up a free 30-minute phone consultation to see if talk therapy is right for you.

Medical Disclaimer:
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.

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