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What’s a Normal Sex Life with Bipolar?

I get asked about the sex life of the bipolar on a regular basis. People want to know what’s “normal” or can they have that mythical “normal” sex life. Some of these people are partners of people with bipolar and others are the people with bipolar themselves. It seems we’re all a bit mystified as to how this mental illness affects our sex lives.

Well, I can’t say what is normal for you, but I can tell you what I know about bipolar and sex.

Are Bipolars Sexually Weird?

Well now. If I were to tell you about what it’s like to have sex with me it would probably involve more panting, smacking, scratching, screaming, gnawing and clawing than your average person. But that’s me. That’s just how I roll. It’s not necessarily indicative of the bipolar population as a whole.

What I will say about the bipolar population, from my tiny perspective, is it seems that:

  • People with bipolar are more sexually adventurous than the average
  • People with bipolar are more likely to have had sex with both genders
  • People with bipolar may or may not identify as bisexual, regardless

Keep in mind, none of this is to suggest that people with bipolar are any less capable of monogamy than others. Some people have issues with it while others don’t.

(Mind you, I have no stats to back any of that up. To the best of my knowledge no such research has been carried out.)

Hypersexuality and Bipolar

Part of this may be the hypersexuality that many people with bipolar disorder experience. Hypersexuality tends to occur during mania or hypomania and it creates the need for sex such that it seems you could claw through a wall if it meant getting to the sex on the other side. Picture being turned ravenously on by a dish towel. Or a floor lamp. Or a piece of tuna fish. And then needing to sate that need with the nearest warm body. Hypersexuality sort of like that.

(Of course, the opposite phenomenon also occurs. When in a depressed phase a person with bipolar may want nothing to do with sex at all.)

Bipolar Medication and Sex

Some people find that taking medication for bipolar dulls their desire for sex. This is a common problem, actually. But, believe me, many people with bipolar disorder still have healthy, fulfilling sex lives while taking their medication. And if your sex life is an issue for you, I recommend discussing it with your doctor as there are things that can be done to address that need. After all, sex is a part of life and it’s a part you don’t want, or need, to hang up just because you have a mental illness.

Having a “Normal” Sex Life with Bipolar

Look, I can’t tell you what is normal for you. It might be having sex every day, every week or every month. It might involve whips and chains or it might involve beaches and sunsets. That’s something only you can decide. What I can tell you is that it’s entirely possible for most people with bipolar to achieve the sex life that they want. There are therapeutic techniques that can deal with hypersexuality or low sex drive, and, of course, there are always medical options as well.

And remember, no matter what is happening with your sex life, it’s important to be open about it with your partner. If something is amiss your partner likely feels it too and it’s by dealing with it out in the open, and by getting help, that you can make it better.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

52 thoughts on “What’s a Normal Sex Life with Bipolar?”

  1. Have you ever thought that that after all the “scratching. gnawing, screaming and gnawing” is done the partner who you no doubt DEMAND this from because “It’s just you” might, in some moments. need compassionate understanding, emotionally touching sex. Maybe after a layoff. Maybe after a major taumatic event (ia was around for Sept. 11th) Maybe after comming out of an illness.
    Major chances are you are not emotionally capable of any other kind of sex if you are all about the afforementioned “rough Sex”. it is not an equal and healthy scenario. especially for the one often “required” to be dominant. there is no chance to show equality and vulnerability.

    If I had a dollar for every BDSm woman on these post that says “me and my dom are healthy. He treats me well.” Yeah, but could they TREAT HIM WELL? I don’t mean sexually – I mean emotionally.

    The very dynamic of the sex you say “Is just me” isn’t productive, healthy or normal. It stems ALWAYS from daddy/parenting issues in my experience.

  2. I experience a constant need for sexual *pleasure*, but I have generally satisfied this with porn and masturbation rather than a high number of sexual partners (read: masturbating up to 10+ times a day). Part of it may be that women unfortunately learn that sexual encounters do not guarantee them an orgasm, where as masturbation does. I imagine it would be harder for men to control the impulse to sleep with many partners because they know the experience will be satisfying for them.

  3. I am now 50 years old. I was diagnosed with BPII in 2004 just 13 years ago. In 2001 I had an affair on a very happy marriage of 13 years but it was caused by – Antidepressent Induced Mania – for YES there is a diagnosis for it. I took a antidepressant WITH OUT a mood stabilizer (It’s critical anyone with BP is on a mood stabilizer) and it caused my sex drive to go into over drive and I had a 6 week affair. MY marriage survived because we worked HARD on US to make it survive. We did it on our own with no outside help. Today I have been married for 28 years and we have a VERY HEALTHY sex drive….more than “normal people” for our age of 50 and he’s 54. Usually 7-10 times a week and on the weekends it’s a free for all. We DO LOVE each other and enjoy expressing it. Affairs due to HYPOmania DONT have to end marriages or relationships with partners. You CAN work very hard IF you want to save the relationship. My husband would tell you today that my affair saved our marriage. I DO NOT regret the marriage and I am still friends with him on Facebook today! It was a mistake…we all make mistakes…BUT you too can work hard to over come as we did….and you can win in the end. August 7, 2017 will be 29 years of marriage for us and I love him more today than the day I married him <3

  4. I’m bipolar one fast cycle and my number of ‘conquests’ is very high. As far as I know the AMA doesn’t agree that sex addiction is real but I feel there is no way I could have this number of ‘conquests’ and not be an addict. And FYI I’m in recovery for opiod addiction so I know the concept of punching through a wall if it meant a fix. That is exactly what my sex life is like also.

  5. Mania makes many or most hypersexual, but I’ve had that happen even in supposed normal times. Before going through menopause, I had a relatively high sex drive. However, I’ve known someone without bipolar who said she and her husband had sex everyday or a couple of times a day when first married. Whoa. That was weird to me. Gross, and too much information.

  6. I’ve started dating a man who has NF 2… I have NF . We met on support group online. We talked for hours the first two times. A lot of sexual things were said, I talked back. I’ve never really liked sex. It’s like come on already will you spit as I call it.

    He’s bipolar, found out and read up on it, he’s a sex addict. He lives 8 houses by bus, train, trolley…..we spent few nights together . No sex or anything else. He’s always talking dirty or stange things to do, and places to have it. All the time….

    I’ve come out of my shell and actually desiring it !!! Which I never ever had, old days drugs and booze did it. Been clean for many years. I’m worried that his sexual thoughts all the time will make things ugly. Reading some of response have helped.

    Mood swings kind of sucks, it’s more him being sex addict worries me more. I’ve worked with DD people all my life. Not calling him or any of that. I mean by up’s and down’s being so distract.

  7. Hello, i am 38 and have a lady i truly love, whos been bp2 since her senior year of high school.shes now 38. She has two young boys under 13. She has a bachelor degree in mental health. In the begining all was fine. She self medicates herself with alcohol, and mauriuana. When drinking and in hypomania she tends to over drink and no cannot be an answer. She dont have her children alot at all, even over a year. Where ever i go she wants to go. I have no free/or personal time. She did at first inform me of her episodes,feelings, and suicidal thoughts. Now 8months later she dont inform anymore. She makes bab decision such as going over a male friend house at 2am to purchase mauriuana and staying for 40 or more minutes. Shes have had sex with women before me. I am worried about her stepping out on me, as well as hypersexuality. We live together and we agreed she pays the gas and electric bill and i will pay the rest. At this point the gas is off and three months behind. Electric has not been payed since May. My love use to be open and honest and its at a decline. Im feeling its time to move on. What do you think as i truly do love her, but shes not taking on her responsibilities as she should and blames me for everything. She did stop drinking as this would make one week sober. Shes been fine lately but still smoke weed. My son is five and very attached to her, but how can i settle with her if she dont keep her on children, but do go and buy them what they want, but havent payed bills.

  8. I have BP. I have major issues when it comes to sex. I experience hypersexuality regardless of being in hypomania or mania. I am on my medicine and never miss it. I do everything I’m supposed to and I still have these sexual urges that cannot be contained. I just don’t know what to do. Does anyone have any advice on how to stop the need to want sex all of the time? Any help would be great. Thank you in advance.

    1. I’m not bp but my wife is and she used to be very sexual all the time and to be honest its what I love about her. To me I say be yourself if you constantly desire sex then enjoy it but with someone you love no need to step out plenty of men without bp feel a constant need for sex. I know for us I wanted to let my wife be totally free and in control we have brought others into our sex life and it was great the biggest thing is be honest and be yourself sex is a great thing if done within each other boundries and a constant need shouldn’t bother most men. The ironic thing now is she just more recently fliped off so to speak and almost never wants sex or even to discuss it at all and that to me was a real issue but after a lot of arguing and emotional conversations we are just starting to come back to a somewhat normal sex life. So if you have a high drive then find a man who has the same and live your life to the fullest I don’t hold back and I don’t think anyone ever should.

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