How do we handle sexual intimacy when my husband has diabetes?


My husband and I have been married for 43 years and I am thankful I love him with all my heart. We have a problem in our marriage we can't be together sexually. My husband is a diabetic and has a problem with erectile dysfunction it really discourages him makes him feel less than a man. I told him it's ok we can cuddle and be close to each other. He can't take the medications they have today because he has a heart condition too. What would be God's answer for us we both love each other and want to be together that way but can't? We are looking for an answer but one that would please God.


Prolong diabetes damages the nerves in the body, which can make life difficult in many ways. Since sexual arousal and erections require functioning nerves to send signals to the appropriate organs, men with diabetes often reach a point when they are no longer able to be sexual as they once were.

Though the situation is not what either of you wants, it is the trial that is before you. "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). So rather than looking at what is lost, let us look for what can be done. Just as your husband had to make adjustments to his eating habits because of his diabetes, he has reached a stage in life where other adjustments are required.

First and foremost, you have to remember that the purpose of marriage is not to have sex. Sex is the icing on the cake, but it is not the cake itself. The primary purpose of marriage is companionship. "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). The reason God gave Adam Eve was because of his need for a companion. "And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him"" (Genesis 2:18). Just because he can't have or hold an erection, it doesn't mean he can be romantic. His mouth still works, so he can say he loves you and whisper sweet things in your ear. His hands still work, so he can hold your hand as you stroll down the street and give you hugs for no particular purpose. And you can do the same for him. Just because he is suffering from diabetes, it doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself from him.

Second, recognize that in 43 years of marriage, you have built some powerful habits. Younger couples will see a closed door, shrug, and go look for another way. Older people tend to keep jiggling the handle hoping that perhaps this time the door will open. While intercourse is the primary way married couples express themselves sexually, it is not the only method available.

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love" (Proverbs 5:18-19). In case it is not clear, "your fountain" in this passage is referring to the husband's genitals. Notice that the act of sexual enjoyment is not restricted to only intercourse.

"Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices" (Song of Solomon 8:14). "Mountains of spices" in this verse is referring to the wife's breasts.

You and your husband can still engage in sexual play. Since orgasm is more difficult for him, it means the two of you can have fun for longer periods of time. Nor should it be viewed as just him bring you sexual satisfaction. Just because he has difficulties with erections, it doesn't mean that the rest of his body no longer responds to sexual stimulation. (As an aside, technically the mechanisms for erections, orgasm, and ejaculations in a male are separate systems. One can work without the others. Thus, depending on the extent of his nerve damage, you may find out that you can still cause him to have orgasm or ejaculations without his being able to have an erection.) So learn to give each other massages, play around in a hot tub, or simply cuddle up before a fire. Express your love for each other and don't worry about "performance."

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