Everyone’s had an itch before, right? Sometimes it’s on the bottom of your foot, but you can’t take your shoes off. You end up wiggling your foot around, trying desperately to scratch the itch. It seems to take forever for it to go away.
Now imagine that the itch is your sex drive and your life is the shoe.
Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Hypersexuality is an often overlooked aspect of Bipolar and other disorders. So overlooked, in fact, that my editor is looking at the word like an error. Maybe it is. A cosmic error.
I bet there are a few people out there who would read “hypersexuality” and think it must be AWESOME to have a hypersexual girlfriend. Never getting turned down for sex? SO into it. Sorry, fictional bros, but it doesn’t quite work that way. Yes, when I’m hypersexual I want sex. A lot. A LOT a lot. But it’s far more than that. It’s feeling sexy. It’s seeing sex everywhere. That guy over there? His girlfriend? Yeah, they totally want me. I can tell.
Of course, there are obvious downsides, the risk of STIs being just one of those. There’s also the risk to your mental health when the hypersexuality wanes and you’re left to deal with what’s left in its wake. I still cringe when I think about the last episode of hypersexuality when I was single. It’s more than just cringe-worthy, though. It’s the realization that you could have put yourself in harms way. Not only your health, but (especially if you’re female, unfortunately) your life and safety. I could have been axe-murdered so many times. Yeah, boys and girls, it’s not all fun and games.
The truly unfortunate part is that many people don’t understand that this is a symptom of their illness. They might not realize that they are ill at all. When you realize that this hypersexuality is a part of the illness, you can take steps to prevent or mitigate it. Without that knowledge of yourself, you (or at least, this holds true for me) heap guilt upon guilt and don’t understand why you do the things you do.
Once you accept that the amped-up sex drive is a symptom, you can begin to forgive yourself for your past behaviors, be it inappropriate flirting or a string of one night stands. More importantly, you can begin to learn how to deal with hypersexuality without completely wrecking your life. It is possible.
There are tons of resources on the internet to help you deal with hypersexuality. One of the most important things you can do, though, is to treat the bipolar disorder, whether that be with mood stabilizers and medications or through therapy and coping techniques. Unstable moods mean unstable sex lives.
It also helps, if you’re in a relationship, to keep that in mind as a goal. Hypersexuality can ruin relationships and marriages, but knowing your triggers and being honest with your spouse about the way you’re feeling can go a long way toward keeping your relationship happy and healthy.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re not slutty or gross. You have a condition that causes your sex drive to kick into high gear when your mood spikes. Be safe, but don’t be hard on yourself about it.
3 thoughts on “Hypersexuality and You”
thank you for sharing about this part of the disorder. it is not often discussed and can lead to very destructive behavior when not acknowledged. appreciate that the more we talk about it, the less stigma exists.
I have a hard time with this one. I get that in some cases my hypersexuality was just that – hyper. I know I made some mistakes, but doesn’t everyone? I’d argue most of the issues with this aspect of bipolar are largely societal – sexuality itself is often demonized and controlled. I like that you remind us we’re not “slutty or gross.” I’m quite confident in my sexuality and I’m happy to have a partner that is too.
Yes, this! (And I love the hyperlinks you included!)
I want to add, too, that sometimes there’s the rejection and disappointment and hurt that comes from being hypersexual but being with someone who is not hypersexual and them feeling “worn out” and having to turn down your advances. Which, they totally have a right to do. (No one should EVER be coerced into sex.) But it does hurt when someone you love turns you down over something you can’t control. Especially when it’s something as intimate and vulnerable as sex.