Why I spoke up about sex as part of #TheOne campaign – by Kris

I recently took part in filming for a short video for Diabetes UK’s #TheOne campaign, and after the video was released I was overwhelmed by the number of positive responses Sophia and I got for telling our story.

Alongside the praise though, there were people who said that making the video was ‘brave’, so I wanted to write a short blog to explain why I did it, and why I don’t think it’s brave to do so.

Why I spoke up about sex as part of #TheOne campaign

I wanted to take part in this campaign to show two things. First, that it is possible to be sex positive with Type 1 diabetes – just because I’ve got tubing attached to me and have to have some Lucozade nearby doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy sex every bit as much as someone who doesn’t have Type 1.

The story I told with Sophia in our video is a silly one. It’s about a time when I got ahead of myself and forgot to take my pump off before making my hands (among other things) slippery, and then went on to have a mild hypo where the slipperiness continued to be a pain in the bum. It was exactly the sort of story I thought needed to be shared in a campaign about sex, relationships and Type 1.

It’s something we laugh about, it’s something that could only happen to someone with Type 1, and most importantly absolutely nothing bad happened as a result of it. It was a bit cringey to sit in front of a camera and tell this story to a room full of strangers, but everyone involved was lovely and giggled along at our mishaps (much to the annoyance of the sound recordist…).

Sex is a really important part of relationships for most people, and yet it’s something people really struggle to discuss in an open way. People take sex really seriously, and worry about it a lot. They worry whether the things they do are normal, or whether they do it right. They worry about what their partner is thinking. These are all the things on people’s minds before you even think about throwing in something like Type 1 diabetes.

I first touched on some of the issues around Type 1 and sex in a blog a couple of years ago – and the posts about sex and relationships are the ones that have always got the most hits. Lots of other people talk about the impact that Type 1 has had on their relationships, I’ve always been lucky that it has never weighed that heavily on any of my relationships. I’ve never felt like I needed to hide it, nor felt unable to talk about things that are worrying me. I guess that’s why I have more time to think about things like the issues around sex and Type 1.

Sex is supposed to be fun rather than a source of embarrassment

Sex is supposed to be fun, and when it doesn’t go to plan it should be funny rather than a source of embarrassment. Yes, if you’ve got really lube-y hands then disconnecting your pump can be a faff – but I’d never trade either of them away. My pump has really helped me with my diabetes management, and the lube – well I won’t go into detail there.

Hopefully by being honest and open about my mishaps it might help others to be open and honest about their own. It shouldn’t take bravery to laugh at a funny thing that happened!

The message really is that Type 1 diabetes doesn’t need to hold us back from anything – whether in the classroom or playing sports, from boardroom to bedroom. People with Type 1 can do all the things anyone else can do – and importantly that counts for misbehaving as much as anything.

Read Kris’s personal blog

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