Sexual lifestyle among young adults with type 1 diabetes

Orit Pinhas-Hamiel*, Efrat Tisch, Noa Levek, Rachel Frumkin Ben-David, Chana Graf-Bar-El, Mariana Yaron, Valentina Boyko, Liat Lerner-Geva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Sexual lifestyles including sexual activity, problems, satisfaction, and the formation and maintenance of relationships are greatly affected by physical health. Data are limited regarding the sexual lifestyle of adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Fear of hypoglycemic episodes during sexual intercourse and intimacy issues can impact individuals with T1DM. The aim of this study was to assess sexual lifestyles of individuals with T1DM. Methods: Fifty-three patients with T1DM, 27 (51%) males, mean ± SD age 27.9 ± 8.3 years completed the Hypoglycemia Fear Survey-II and the Sex Practices and Concerns questionnaire. Results: Thirty-seven (70%) reported they never or almost never had concerns in their sexual lifestyles that were related to their diabetes. None experienced severe hypoglycemia during sex, but 21 (40%) reported occasional mild hypoglycemic events. More than two-thirds do not take any measures to prevent hypoglycemia before sex (decreasing insulin dose, snacks, and measuring blood glucose levels). Fear of hypoglycemia during sex was reported by 18 (35%); those who reported increased fear experienced mild hypoglycemic events during sex (61.1% vs 26.5%, P =.01), were singles (94.4% vs 64.7%, P =.02), and had higher scores on the Worries subscale of the Hypoglycemia Fear Survey-II (42.8 ± 12.8 vs 34.9 ± 10.5, P =.04) compared with those who did not. Conclusions: Among young people with T1DM, most do not have concerns regarding sex that are related to their diabetes, and most do not take specific measures before or after sex. One-third, however, fear of hypoglycemia during sex, mostly singles and those who experienced hypoglycemia in the past. Caregivers should be aware and address these concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2837
JournalDiabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Hypoglycemia Fear Survey-II (HFS-II)
  • fear of hypoglycemia
  • sexual lifestyle
  • type 1 diabetes
  • young adults


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