July 25, 2012

Female Sexual Satisfaction with Diabetes


A new study on the sexual function of middle aged and older women with diabetes are less satisfied than women without diabetes, a U.S. government-funded study suggests.

Of the population over the age of 65 in the U.S., more than a quarter have diabetes. In the past, most studies done on sexual issues have been based on males. This study shows how insulin-treated diabetic women are more likely to report low sexual satisfaction.

“It’s an area that is very understudied, particularly in older women,” said Dr. Alison Huang of the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study. The team investigated nearly 2,300 Californian women, 40 – 80 years of age.

About 15% of the women in the study had diabetes. Of those diabetic women, roughly 6% were treated with insulin. The sexually active insulin-treated diabetic women were more likely to complain of lubrication and orgasm issues.

A paradoxical finding in the study was that diabetic women had more sexual problems, but they were just as interested in sexual activities and had a similar level of sexual activity as women without diabetes

More interesting was the reporting of women with elevated blood glucose levels. These women were less likely to report low sexual satisfaction. Dr. Huang speculates that it could be that women with higher blood sugar are more impulsive, less concerned about their blood sugar and more interested in sex.

The type of sexual dysfunction experienced by diabetic males is a circulation shortcoming, which could be a deal breaker. Diabetic women, although as ready and willing as nondiabetic women, fall short in the pleasure and reward department.

For what it’s worth, I suspect the inverse correlation between dopamine and C-peptide plays a role in this conundrum. After all, women with Type 2 diabetes tend to have elevated c-peptide. If c-peptide is elevated, chances are the neurotransmitter that triggers ¬†feelings of pleasure and reward is low.

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