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Do People with Bipolar Disorder Have Good Sex Lives?

January 30, 2022 Natasha Tracy

Do people with bipolar disorder have good sex lives? Do people with bipolar disorder have sex lives at all? And what effect does mood have on one's sex life? These are just some of the questions that people ask about the sex lives of people with bipolar disorder. Let's explore some of the answers.

Do People with Bipolar Disorder Have Sex Lives?

For some reason, there are people who believe that those with a serious mental illness no longer have sex. I'm not sure if this is because they think we're undesirable or if they think we cease desiring others, but rest assured, neither of these things is true. People with bipolar disorder have the choice to have a sex life just like anyone else. 

This does not mean there aren't challenges specific to having bipolar disorder, however.

What Effect Does a Bipolar Mood Have on a Sex Life?

Bipolar mood episodes might be the biggest cause of transmogrification of the lives of those with bipolar disorder. So, of course, this means they affect a sex life along with the rest of your life as well.

For example, if you are depressed, you may find:

  • You don't want sex.
  • You don't feel attractive.
  • You don't want to be touched. 
  • You're too tired for sex.

Simply put, if you're in a serious depression, sex may simply be the last thing on your mind.

If you are manic or hypomanic, though, the obvious may be true. You may find:

  • All you want is sex.
  • You feel exceptionally attractive.
  • You long to be touched.
  • You have endless energy for sex.

You may find in a hypomanic or manic episode, sex is the only thing on your mind. (In other words, you may find yourself being hypersexual.)

Of course, people with bipolar disorder are often stable; in which case, they may experience sex like anyone else.

What Other Effects Does Bipolar Have on a Sex Life?

In addition to the above effects on a sex life, simply having the diagnosis of bipolar disorder may affect your sex life.

Specifically, many people may feel "broken" or "defective" thanks to the diagnosis of a serious mental illness. This is a product of self-stigma (internalized mental illness stigma, in this case). This may make them feel like they're unlovable altogether.

Please watch this video for more about being loved with bipolar disorder.

Do People with Bipolar Disorder Have Good Sex Lives?

Now, if you only look at people with bipolar disorder who are depressed, it would seem like we have very poor sex lives, indeed. If you only look at people with bipolar disorder who are manic or hypomanic, our sex lives might seem almost unbelievable. 

Luckily, we are more than either of those moods.

I do actually have a theory that people with bipolar disorder have great sex lives in general because we tend to be so passionate and experimental when hypomanic or manic, and some of that carries over into the rest of our lives. Of course, that's just a theory.

What might be more accurate is to say that people with bipolar disorder have the choice to have whatever kind of sex life they want. Some sex, no sex, lots of sex -- it's all up to us.

So, do people with bipolar disorder have good sex lives? We get to have the sex lives we seek out and desire just like anyone else. That constitutes "good" for me. 

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2022, January 30). Do People with Bipolar Disorder Have Good Sex Lives?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2022/1/do-people-with-bipolar-disorder-have-good-sex-lives



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Sara
February, 9 2023 at 3:47 am

Hey Natasha, I’m trying to find out more about what bipolar is like for a person who is neither manic nor depressed, in a period of stability. Mainly around stress, speech and libido/sex life.
I’ve read this blog but do you know anything about this, outside of an episode? (bipolar disorder 1)? Thank you for your insights!

February, 9 2023 at 11:58 am

Hi Sara,
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comment.
In short, when you're in a period of stability, known as euthymia, as you said, it's not diagnosable as either mania/hypomania or depression. That said, many people still have some bipolar symptoms during euthymia -- they just don't reach the level of being diagnosable as a bipolar mood. (And medication side effects are still present too.)
What I know is that the more symptoms you have during a euthymic period, the more likely it is you're going to go back into a bipolar episode. That is why we always need to aim for zero bipolar symptoms whenever possible. (This is about achieving zero symptoms. It's on my personal blog and not affiliated with HealthyPlace: https://natashatracy.com/bipolar-disorder/aim-bipolar-symptoms-treatment/ )
Aside from that, I'd have to do a deeper dive with regard to stress, speech, and libido. I'm sorry, I can't do that right now but look for an upcoming blog post on it. I'll make sure it makes the schedule in the next month.
Thanks.
-- Natasha Tracy

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