Monday, July 11, 2016

OUTLANDER and...Diabetes?!

I admit it. I’m obsessed with Outlander, the STARZ television program and series of books by Diana Gabaldon that feature the adventures of World War II combat nurse Claire Randall who accidentally travels to 18th century Scotland.  If you haven’t tried watching or reading Outlander, you can find a wealth of internet articles that list why you should give it a whirl.  There’s fantasy, time travel, romance, violence, intrigue, stunning costumes, Gaelic, witch burnings, fabulous acting, and more.   But I doubt you will find anyone who highlights why I think it is so worthwhile.  I think you should watch it because it could help transform your sex life if you are a woman with diabetes or love one who has it.

If you have read any of my books or articles, which I’m sure will never appear in film or on television, you know that I write about diabetes-related sexual complications and how diabetes affects relationships. In The Secrets of Living and Loving withDiabetes (Surrey Books), I offer quizzes, discussion topics, personal stories and professional guidance to help couples overcome the stresses of living with diabetes.  In a more recent book, Sex and Diabetes – For Him and For Her(ADA), my co-author Donna Rice and I present ways to enjoy intimacy when diabetes-related sexual complications enter your life.

About half of all women with diabetes live with some type of sexual complication. These include vaginal dryness, problems achieving orgasm, pain during intercourse, and even reduced self-esteem that might accompany unwanted weight gain or bruising from injections or insulin pump infusion sets.  Women with diabetes may also require additional time to become aroused.  That’s where Outlander comes in.  The sex, which is steamy and oh so wonderful, features the woman’s perspective.  As far as I know, this is the first show on television to do so. In the story, our hunky Highlander, Jamie Fraser, learns how to satisfy the stunning Claire.  And satisfy her he does.  He learns that women, unlike men, are on a slow simmer and need special nurturing to participate fully in intimate activities.  He is less likely to get a passionate response if he only looks at sexual pleasure from the stereotypical male “wham-bam thank you ma’am” point of view.  How many guys like him actually lived in the 18 century? Probably not many.

Outlander can not only help you and your intimate partner understand a woman’s sexual response, it offers romantic scenarios that are likely to get you in the mood.  Number 13 of’s “13 Problems Only People Obsessed with Outlander Understand,” mentions how Outlander can leave a viewer feeling “awkwardly turned on.”  Well, if you have a difficult time getting your sexual engine going, an episode of Outlander could do the trick.

So sign up for STARZ and let the binge-watching begin.  Or pick up Diana Gabaldon’s books.  They are quite long, but oh so addictive. So far, there are 8 books in the series (Diana is currently writing the 9th). I’m in the middle of number 5. 

Add a dose of Outlander to your life. 

SlĂ inte mhath! (“Good health!” in Gaelic)


Janis Roszler, LMFT, RD, LD/N, CDE, FAND is the 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year (AADE).  She is also a marriage and family therapist, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and award-winning medical media producer.  Follow her on twitter @dearjanis

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Female Viagra? I'm not cheering.

So, it's finally been approved. But I'm not celebrating...yet

Is flibanserin, the "female Viagra," the magic pill women have been waiting for?  I don't think so. I wish I could toast the decision of the FDA to approve this option with a glass of champagne, but I can't. When combined with alcohol, flibanserin seriously increases the risk of low blood pressure and passing out.  Who gains from having this option on the market?  Very few.  See, it isn't for libido problems caused by medical or psychological issues. So, ladies with diabetes-related sexual challenges, this ain't for you.

When I first learned about flibanserin's approval, I reached out to Paul Enzlin. He's my Belgium-based, go-to guy for research on diabetes-related sexual issues in women. Paul and his team at Belgium's Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies do a lot of impressive work over there. Run a search on the National Institutes of Health's site to find some of his studies.  He's amazing. What did Paul have to say?  He's not impressed.

According to Paul, "...the evidence of its efficacy is very weak, its side-effect profile is not very favorable and its cost is quite high based on the need to take these pills on a daily basis." He also believes that this pill underestimates how sex works in women.  He fears that introducing this pill will prompt couples to focus less on libido issues and more on whether or not a woman is willing or unwilling to try a drug. He also thinks that approving this medication is more about getting something on the market for women than finding an option that can really help.

I hope this drug helps the women who take it.  But for the ladies with diabetes and other medical and psychological issues who have lost their mojo, please don't stop looking.  Researchers, don't rest on your laurels and let the research stop here.  Keep the studies going.  And, if possible, develop an option that can be enjoyed with a few sips of champagne.  Intimacy should be fun. If desired, women with diabetes (most can enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol) should be able to toast life's cherished moments with a celebratory glass of antioxidant-rich wine followed by some fulfilling intimate time with the one they love.


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