When I heard that the theme of this month’s publication was about people living with Diabetes, I immediately thought of the many hundreds of men I’ve met during my work on Men’s Health campaigns.
Back then, I was a PR consultant interviewing men and their wives on how they managed their sex lives when there was sexual dysfunction.
Although most of the men were in their 60’s and war veterans, many others were suffering with impotence (incapacity to sustain an erection) due to a particular illness or disease.
Since then I’ve been fascinated with studies into particular disease states and their inherent affect upon our sexuality.
Nowadays as a Tantra Sexuality Practitioner I’ve noticed that more men and women are seeking out Tantra as a means of therapy to not only support erectile dysfunction (ED as it is commonly known) but also as part of disease management and complete lifestyle change.
According to latest figures cited in Diabetes Australia, around 1.7 million people have Diabetes with 280 new cases every day.
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia, burdening the Australian Healthcare system, costing around $14.6 billion. This disease is increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
There are two types of Diabetes; Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin and is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.
Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors and has strong genetic and family related risk factors. As Type 2 Diabetes is often progressive, most people will need oral medications and/or insulin injections in addition to lifestyle changes over time.
I hear the frustration that many of my clients have in relation to conversations with their doctors. Often men say they feel too awkward or embarrassed to ask their doctor for some information about sexual concerns.
Also, given that doctors aren’t psychologists, they don’t always make the time for an in-depth holistic approach incorporating a general chit-chat to put their patients at ease.
Those people who consider Tantra are usually at the end of their tether, jaded when faced with the prospect of taking prescribed ED drugs for the rest of their sexual days and nights; with depression often symptomatic due to fear around failure in the bedroom.
Diabetes And Sexual Function. Everyone wants to have a good sex life right up until the end of life – after all, this is what having a ‘quality of life’ is about.
The link between sexual dysfunctions is often a direct response to the physiology of one’s body and inherent lifestyle, hence why Diabetes often correlates to decline in arousal for both men and women.
Generally from the research I’ve been able to source, it seems that there’s still little known about women, however the problems are often around poor management of their Diabetes which may lead to issues such as frequent bouts of thrush.
They may occasionally present to their doctor with vaginal dryness, pain during sex, not feeling orgasmic due to decrease in sexual desire. When menopausal, women may see a change in their insulin dosage, which could also impact upon their sex lives.
As for men, they usually make up the majority of my clients in accordance to dysfunction because when there are physiological complications arising from Diabetes, there is little blood flow to the penis – hence poor erections make penetration unlikely.
Men with Diabetes may lose some sexual desire when their blood glucose levels are high.
This is where Tantra often helps. A session is centred on the man re-connecting with his energetic body.
Sexual energy is our life source, and the portal for arousal and desire, so although in the physical body an erection may be difficult to sustain – arousal and orgasmic states are most achievable and often more highly satisfying for both the man and his partner.
So, what are some of the other supportive measures that can be taken?
My own studies into men’s health and subsequent experience in psychology, Tantra, body meridian therapy – energy and touch, have shown that in the majority of situations (say 95%) where there is sexual abstinence due to Diabetes, some function is restored through deep, somatic therapeutic practice.
Jacob* has been coming in to see me regularly for over the past three years, and upon writing this I asked for him to comment on what Tantra and change in lifestyle has meant in the management of his Diabetes.
“I have been a type 1 diabetic for over three decades so I have come from the days of urine testing only to continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump.
I have never let the disease stop me from doing anything – my philosophy is that you live your life with Diabetes, not allow it to run your life. I have run marathons and travelled the world plus work in high-pressured jobs so I live this philosophy.
The one thing I have found though, is that no matter how good my diabetic control, yes it affects my sexual function which has seen a decline in the past 12 years.
I have to say that most diabetic specialists, educators, endocrinologists etc. have no concept of what this means to an individual. Their view seems to be that if you have good blood pressure, eyesight etc. you should be grateful and don’t worry about a sex life.
New technology (pumps, CGMs) is certainly a boon although it requires some understanding, but none of this has focussed on an important lifestyle issue – sex!
Tantra supports my sexuality in a way that sustains arousal and an occasional erection, even though there’s no sexual penetration. I get to feel like a man; I get to feel alive!”
In growing numbers, men and women are rediscovering the key to alleviating and sometimes healing or simply managing ailments is through reconnecting with their bodies.
Often when the situation seems so dire and mainstream medical and pharmaceutical options aren’t completely satisfying, I ask men and women to stop and reflect back over their lives and contemplate where they’ve neglected to confront other areas of dissatisfaction.
We are all more likely to do this when faced with disruption to our sexual, sensual lives. Making love is an act of intimacy so sublime that to be distracted and diseased can impair our sense of self-worth and ruin relationships.
It’s not surprising then that through tantric bodywork and chakra clearing (energy centres within the human body), confidence slowly builds.
When vitality increases, self-esteem and arousal returns. This is inspiring for many men who may suffer in silence, although women (wives, girlfriends and lovers) also feel the impact that ED has upon their partner.
Tantra is a fundamental practice in that it may assist in healing the psyche as well as our physical bodies. I say to those who are ready to commit to their first session that if keen to re-connect with their body, they will regain…
You can read the FULL version of this article in our quarterly eZine, ‘Holistic Living Magazine,’ look for Edition 2 on this archive page. There’s many more articles about diabetes waiting for you too!
Taryn Harvey – Sacred Sexuality Expert
 Diabetes Australia www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
With a background in media and Public Relations where Taryn specialised in the areas of sexual and nutritional health, she worked with many experts in the field of impotence, menopause and food. By witnessing and understanding the communication link between the body and mind, she learned that the value of living a healthy, stress-free lifestyle incorporating regular physical activity and good nutritional eating helped in the prevention of disease.
Giving up her PR career and taking a surprising turn toward sex work, Taryn’s fascination with sexuality and its link to our drive for deeper human connection led to further studies in psychology. Shortly afterward she also explored alternative modalities including chakra balancing, energetic healing and Tantra which supplied greater evidence proving that sexual energy is at the core of our wellbeing.
Now a Diploma accredited Counsellor, Transpersonal Coach & trained Tantra practitioner infusing chakra balancing, meditation and touch, her focus is on raising the awareness of sex energy positivity (Sacred Sexuality) and overall health benefits whilst supporting individuals and couples in exploring intimacy to improve their relationships.
Based in Sydney, Taryn is also a published author. Her first book ‘Trust’ – recently released in 2014 – is a personal account of her journey from PR to Escort to Tantric Sexual Healer, and includes fascinating deep insight with answers to the many questions people ask about sex, escorting, marriage, rejection, fidelity, love & intimacy.