The Mighty Logo

Does Bipolar Really Affect Your Sex Life? Here's What People Told Us.

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Talking about your sex life can be taboo. Talking about bipolar disorder can be taboo. So when it comes to talking about how bipolar disorder affects your sex life? That can be a tough conversation to start.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

That’s why we wanted to break the silence and invite people with bipolar disorder to talk about sex.  It’s important to note that bipolar disorder is only one part of someone, and sex is such a personal and individual thing. But from the hypersexuality that can come with mania, to how your behavior might change when you’re depressed, bipolar can impact people’s relationship with sex, and we wanted to start a conversation about it. If you can see yourself in these answers, please know you’re not alone. For our community’s tips for living with hypersexuality, head here.

Here’s what people with bipolar shared with us:

  1. “I go from wanting sex all the time to not wanting sex at all… suddenly. And I’m too afraid to tell [my partner] I’m depressed and that’s why I don’t want sex. It’s confusing.” — Jamilyn C.
  2. “Before I was put on medication I wanted to have sex constantly, which was very rough on my relationships. Now that I am on medication I feel dull on all aspects of life and have a hard time having sex. It’s part of feeling ‘normal’ as my doctors put it.” — Deanna H.
  3. “It’s like a roller coaster. I have uncontrollable urges for sex, with just about anyone, then I’ll have no drive at all where I don’t even want to think about sex. This sometimes happens all on the same day. Most of the time, though, I experience hypersexuality and I hate it. It’s extremely embarrassing to have this feeling of, ‘I have to have sex now, or I’m going to implode!’ Medication doesn’t really help one way or the other.” — Zach H.
  4. “Usually, 95 percent of the time I don’t even want to be touched. Then on random occasions I become highly flirtatious and hypersexual. However, that arousal can disappear at any moment.” — Julia S.
  5. “I’ll go through stages of no sexual desire at all and then just have a rush and need it all the time, and it feels like things aren’t ever enough. It’s a bit of a roller coaster and I’m just lucky I have such incredibly supportive and understanding partners.” — Jade S.
  6. “Hypersensitivity or cold as a stone. No in-between.” — Brianna P.
  7. “I either want to ravage my partner all day every day or I’m just not interested at all. It’s rare that there’s an in-between. I’m just ‘normal’ for lack of a better term, it might be once to two times or so a week. When I’m manic, it’s every day several times a day. When I’m depressed, maybe once a week.” — Taralynn R.
  8. “Most of the time, I’m just not in the mood, and it’s really hard to even get into it. Everyone talks about how being bipolar can make you go onto this ‘sex binge,’ but they never explain how it could be the polar opposite and you abstain for months, sometimes even years, on end…” — Chantel S.
  9. “I sicken myself. After I come down from a manic episode, I regret my awful promiscuous behavior so greatly. My boyfriend of six years is extremely patient and understanding, but the things I say, do and want, make me abhor my manic self when it’s over.” — Sarah B.
  10. “I either have the strong desire to have it all the time or I’m not ever in the mood. My partner can usually get me there but he gets frustrated when it’s not easy for me because we had a fantastic sex life and now it’s kinda blah… but it’s me.” — Rachel L.
  11.  “I have dysphoria instead of euphoria, so, I don’t like to be touched (everything is oversensitive and agitating) or in depression, I don’t want to be touched. Woot.” — Don S.
  12. “When I was unmedicated, my sex drive was insanely high and I wanted sex all the time. Being on medication, my sex drive is low and it’s hard for me. I don’t really know what a normal sex drive looks like so…” — Chantal L.
  13. “It’s either the very last thing on my mind or the only thing on my mind.” — Mary C.
  14. “I either can’t stand to be touched or can’t control myself. Hyper sexuality is no joke. I worry about doing something stupid that will ruin my relationship. It’s like I don’t just want sex but I want it from all the wrong places. I’ve talked to my partner about it and he said we will deal with that when it happens but I worry about it all the time.” — Roberta P.
  15. “When you get into a hyper manic/hypersexual state, you feel like you’re on Cloud nine being intimate with someone… even if it’s with someone you know deep down isn’t good for your well-being; and then when the mutual gratification is over, and while you’re in their arms still, reality hits and you crash. You contemplate the impulsive choice you just made, again. You get mad at yourself for not knowing how you even got yourself in that situation in the first place, again. You get ashamed of yourself thinking of how out of character it was, because let’s face it, hypomanic you isn’t who you really are, but since you don’t know how to manage it, they came out again. And then you feel alone, like the only person on the planet—all while still being in their arms for the rest of the night. Reality hits you in someone else’s bed. In someone else’s arms.” — Ainsley D.
  16. “I’m stable.. but numb from the waist down… It sucks when you have a sexy boyfriend.” — Kimberly K.
  17.  “Sex can be really frustrating. It’s hard to match my partner’s sex drive when I’m feeling so out of it. It’s been weeks for myself right now and I can’t even get turned on.” — Lauren C.
  18. “I have a good sex life right now with my boyfriend. I’ve been stable for a bit and ours is the first non-abusive relationship that I may have ever been in. That said, I sometimes feel self-conscious. If I’m not in the mood one night, I internalize the issue and question if I am depressed. If I am really into it for a few days or more than once a day, am I hypersexual and about to be manic, as opposed to the ebb and flow of hormones (or that he’s really cute).” — Beth P.

However bipolar disorder affects your sex life, there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Check out some more stories about bipolar and sex below:

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Getty image via trumzz

Originally published: November 20, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home