How does bipolar disorder affect your sex life ?

How does bipolar disorder affect your sex life ?

Consensual sex among two adults are one of the most important factors in a relationship. The key word being “one” of the most important. Sex makes people feel good, it’s healthy to have, and it’s fun (as long as it’s safe). It releases stress and invigorates you. Most couples can’t get enough of each other, and there’s nothing wrong with being intimate with your partner to show them how much they mean to you. Being intimate not only boots your partners self-esteem, but yours as well. Everyone wants to be wanted, humans are designed to interact sexually with others.

But, what happens to those who have bipolar disorder? What is their sexual life all about? Bipolar disorder tends to affect your sexuality and sexual activity. Your sexual activity can be increased and this is known as hyper sexuality, but it can also be risky especially during a manic episode. During an episode of depression, most people tend to lose interest in sex. These sexual issues can create problems in a relationship and can tend to lower your self-esteem and the self-esteem of your partner.

During a manic episode your sex drive and sexual impulses can often lead to sexual behavior that isn’t typical of you. Here are several examples of hyper sexuality during a manic episode. 1. Greatly increased sexual activity without a feeling of sexual satisfaction. 2. Sex with multiple partners (including strangers). 3. Excessive masturbation. 4. Continuous sexual affairs, despite the risk to relationships. 5. Inappropriate and risky sexual behavior. 6. Preoccupation with sexual thoughts. And last but not least, 7. Increased use of pornography.

Last semester, when I announced I had bipolar disorder, one of my classmates said her baby father also had bipolar disorder, and they had to break up because when he was manic he would have sex with just about everyone. Not just his babymother. At first, she thought of course, he’s a player, but once he was diagnosed she realized it was out of his control. Unfortunately, after trying to stay together they had to put an end to their relationship. He couldn’t help himself, and could you really blame him? Or her? Hyper sexuality is a troubling and challenging symptom if you have bipolar disorder.

I read in this article that stated, “Across several studies they found that anywhere between 25 to 80 percent (with an average of 57 percent) of people who experience mania also experience bipolar hyper sexuality. It also appears in women more than men.” Those numbers are pretty high. I can only assume women outrank men because they are more outgoing and flirtatious, but that’s just my opinion. Who really knows why those are the statistics.

Like my classmate, most adults ruin their marriages and relationships because they are unable to control their sexual urges. Teenagers and young children with bipolar disorder may display inappropriate sexual behaviors towards adults. For example, a student/ teacher relationship. Often this may include inappropriate flirting, touching, and heavy use of sexual context.

There’s others who experience the opposite of hyper sexuality, especially when they are depressed and having an episode. During this time they experience a severely low sex drive, which is known as hypo sexuality. Depression very commonly causes a lack of interest in sex.

Just like hyper sexuality, hypo sexuality often creates relationship problems because your partner doesn’t understand your sex drive issues. This is highly true especially if you have extreme mania with hyper sexuality behavior and then suddenly experience depression and lose all interest in sex. Kind of being hot and cold, which can leave your partner confused, frustrated, and rejected. How can you explain to your partner that it’s not them. It’s simply your brain chemistry. You can’t control these episodes, even if you try. Sometimes they just out beat us and we are left powerless and at their mercy.

Another thing we have to deal with is something called sexual dysfunction, which is caused by depression. For men this includes erectile dysfunction and for women this causes high levels of sexual distress. It’s no secret that medications can have an affect on lowering your sex drive. Even if the temptation exists, we all know that we mustn’t ever stop taking our medications. The side effects can be so dangerous. We know it can trigger either a manic or depressive episode, which we want to avoid. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about the medication you’re on and if it is causing to lower your sex drive. If it’s lowering your sex drive way too much, your doctor can adjust your dosage or change your medication.

Here are some helpful tips to better understand & deal with your sexual issues caused by this chaotic disorder.

First: Recognize symptoms and triggers. Try learning the situations that may trigger your mood swings so that you can avoid them as much as possible. For instance, stress and alcohol might bring on depressive episodes.

Second: Learn the side effects of your medications. Talk to your doctor about which medications are least likely to have sexual side effects. There are also medications available that help individuals with bipolar disorder to have a healthy sex life.

Third: Get a better understanding of sexual health issues. Understanding your consequences of your sexual behavior and actions, so that you can protect yourself and your partner from unplanned pregnancy, STD’s, and HIV is highly significant. This is extremely important during periods of hyper sexuality.

Fourth: Consider behavioral or sex therapy. Behavioral therapy or sex therapy can help you manage sexual issues caused by bipolar disorder. Individual and couples therapy are both highly effective. I say do both, why not.

During a manic episode you may become sexually risky and unconcerned with the consequences of your actions. I’m not one to ever judge, I personally have been there, especially in my early 20’s, before my diagnosis. During a depressive episode, you might feel apathetic about sex or upset by loss of libido. To be quite honest, after my diagnosis and my medications, my sex drive was extremely low. I didn’t want to be touched at all. My sex life was pretty much non existent unless I was feeling hypomanic, which kind of made me feel alive again, because I wanted to have sex. I felt normal. Way too often I deal with depression, so sex is the furthest thing from my mind, but it’s not healthy; not for me or for my relationship.

You have to get your bipolar disorder under control because that is the first step to improving your sex life. When your mood is stable, it is usually easier to address these kinds of sexual issues. There are many people with bipolar disorder who have healthy relationships and very satisfying sex lives. The key is working with your doctor to find the right treatment plan and talking to your partner about any and every sexual issue you may have. Talking to your partner may seem impossible, but trust me if they love you they will understand and try to help. If they don’t, well kick their ass to the curb. Just because we have bipolar disorder doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a great sex life. We deserve to indulge in the sweet nothings of life. As long as we are safe, and aware of our actions – we can have amazing sex lives!

If you’re having trouble with either being hyper sexual or hypo sexual, talk to your partner and your doctor. I believe everyone should have safe, fun, and pleasurable sex.

Goodnight and God bless & once again thank you for reading

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