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Readers Respond: How Has Bipolar Disorder Affected Your Sexuality?

Responses: 91


Updated September 21, 2009

The impact of bipolar disorder on sex can be frustrating or even devastating to self-esteem and relationships. The mood swings and the complications of treatment far too often push these normal tensions to extreme behavior and dysfunction. Mania often leads to hypersexuality and for some, sex addictions. Depression and medication side effects can kill libido, bringing sex to a grinding halt. How has bipolar disorder affected your sexuality? Share Your Experiences

not for long

How long can I remain faithful to an obese non-responsive spouse? Try 32 years. It isn't easy when you take for better or worse seriously folks.
—Guest reliable

It got me diagnosed

I got diagnosed as bipolar as a result of ruining my life due to sexuality. I had a loving relationship with a wonderful woman who met all my sexual needs. It was the best relationship of my life, yet I still got tangled up with someone else. It was mostly meeting in social settings. We had a few physical encounters that I did not even enjoy, but I wouldn't stop meeting with the other woman. I just waited for it to go away (poor judgement). Instead of going away, the other woman confronted me in front of the girlfriend and all Hell broke loose. She left and now I'm in the worst depression of my life. Went to psychiatrist and got diagnosed. A lot of things became understandable after that, but I'm afraid it's too late.

Spiraling down

I have battled bipolar since I was 18. In 2000 it got so bad that I finally had to leave work. While My wife and I had never had the great sex that we had when we were dating after we were married, everything kind of went downhill when I went on disability. In 2009 while heavily into prescribed Benzodiazepines, I committed suicide, but was rescued at the last moment. I wrote a very angry suicide note to my wife and accused her of cheating on me (she wasn't as far as I can tell.) in order to get out of the mental hospital where I landed, I had to consent to shock treatments (ECT) and I have been much more stable since starting. My sex life however, has been over with my wife. We have had sex only 3 or 4 times since the suicide and stopped altogether in 2011. Now, she is thinking of leaving me and I am very sad about it. I have a very high sex drive and masturbation is all I have left. I feel better since the treatments began, but I'm so sad. I want to touch and be touched.
—Guest Sad Mac

Beyond disinterested

Reading some of these has almost made me cry; I'm bipolar & on lithium about 6 months now, my partner and I have been together almost 8 years, have two children together, but for the last couple of years I have absolutely no interest in sex with him. I used to always be the one bugging him for sex at night, now he's constantly after me and it drives me insane. I absolutely don't want it, am not interested in him sexually, and it makes me feel absolutely awful when I have to tell him no almost every day. I feel so terrible about it that my self-esteem has completely disappeared and I really feel like there's something wrong with me. I was always a very sexual person before, so this is totally foreign to me. I still have fantasies and am attracted to other people, to the point where I think I could be interested in someone else, but I feel like I have to be faithful to my partner... It's really tearing me up inside. I cry about it so much and lose a lot of sleep over it. Help.
—Guest sparklebee

wife of a bipolar man 2 years married

I also have been with a man for 11 years who has bipolar and also have not had sex in about 3 years, ( it was 3 years before that too.) He is affectionate, loving, just not interested in getting physical pleasure for himself. If I happen to be in the mood he helps me out, but wants nothing in return. Some women might think that's the perfect way to go, but I miss him.
—Guest melissa


I am struggling so hard to be faithful to my husband. I love him but right at this time I don't feel in love with him. I feel I want to have sex with well just about every guy I know. I hate feeling like this but, I cant go back on my meds till i get medical insurance which my work doesn't offer and between me and my husband we make to much to get assistance so I just recently started taking the meds I have left from when I went off them. So I hope it helps me till I get some medical.
—Guest struggling


I am 65 years old, bi polar and a widower, My wife had a chronic progressive condition of Multiple Sclerosis and we were married for 36 years. Sex because of circumstances was not a significant part of our life at all. I am a diabetic . This illness and possibly some bi polar medication affect sexual performance let alone the age. The interesting part is that whether I am in a manic state or depressed state , my sexual drive is very high. The price which I pay is thinking about sex for hours. I did some research and none of the answers of satisfactory. It is my feeling that my current Pshycomarcologists would not be to offer a solution. Where Can I read about the issue ? This is my expectation of sharing

No sexual urge towards my bipolar wife

I am in my fifties and absolutely healthy. But do not feel sexually aroused in front of my bipolar wife. There is no libido while i am fondling my wife and she feels that i am suffering from impotence. I always see her as a patient and my behavior for past 25 years is a loving husband , but without any sex. She complains, but i just cant o it. Any suggestion from any one ? Is it normal? [Guide's Note: You need to speak to a doctor about this right away, Sila.]
—Guest Sila

50 shades of f*ck off

I have bipolar II, social anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. I am a very unstable woman. I've made some progress over the years but still have difficulties connecting with other people, making friends and getting into "healthy-stable" relationships (I seem to have an affinity for a$$holes). I was promiscuous for years, very sexually impulsive and it took me a while to realize that I actually did had a "problem." I've calmed down a bit now, mostly because sex has become difficult for me, I often times feel very guilty and assume men only like me for my sexuality/appearance but don't actually like me as a person and just want to use me.. sex/love makes me feel so mixed up and my mood swings intensify. I get pre-occupied with the sex and can't stop fantasizing. Things just never seem to work for me and only ever leads to me acquiring more baggage and bitterness. : / I give up for now, I'm focusing on myself.. nevermind dating or sex, I don't need it.
—Guest outofcontrol

20 something virgin

In my 20's, female and the abundance of hormones make me horny as they do for most people my age. The pills make it so it's harder to achieve orgasm (which makes me work harder and end up hurting down below). There is also no desire to find a partner as the moods and pills make me intolerable.VERY sexually frustrating!
—Guest 20 something

Married to bipolar 41 years, bad sex.

Sex with Bipolar is horrible to say the least. Their Bipolar features destroy relationships. I never had a honeymoon. I did not get regular sex like some men claim to live in fantasy with their bipolar lover. I must beg like crazy all my marriage. Only time she seemed happy is when she had a swinger lover. She found a better way for revenge. Later when My prostate was removed I found her another Swinger lover and now she is a much better person to live with. Sex is her weapon of choice , always has been. Cross her a tiny bit no sex for a very long time. She is beautiful and Multi-orgasmic when she feels like it. At 60 now she is still hot. But never for me . Everything must be sweet and perfect in order for her to respond in a good manor. She goes wild with a different man but not me. I think these men are idiots but she loves that mentality. She needs me for money and her medical coverage. But not sex . She seeks constant revenge.

Wife of a bipolar Man 2 years married

I've been happily married for 2 years to my wonderful husband who is bipolar. We have 2 children together and love each other dearly but he doesn't even want me to touch him more and more. We entered thus relationship knowing I was more experienced and active than him sexually but have been fulfilled with him totally but now he has given up and I'm so sexually and emotionally fed up I don't know what to do. I've spent so much energy and effort trying to keep our relationship going that I'm exhausted. My self esteem has taken a huge hit when time after time I've offered myself in all different ways sexually and emotionally. I'm not giving up but am ready to pull my hair out!!!
—Guest Janet


I am a 60-year old male and, I discovered my BD approximately one year ago. Examining my experience against the of its consequences, I now understand the reason(s) for my current predicament(s): I was a difficult person with which to live. My entire life is handicapped by this condition; so much so, that my ambitions were, generally, frustrated. My first wife - God bless her - succumbed; but that is another story. I do not want to be self-pitying; however, my discovery of this website, I perceive to be opportune and, perhaps to be beneficial. Thanks for this opportunity. Roland.
—Guest Roland

no balance

Ok, how about this? I'm either so horny I can actually SMELL men if I was blindfolded. I could probably tell you how many men were in the room. Then there are times when I have NO drive at all. I'm married to a wonderful man, and I'm TERRIFIED I'm going to hurt him someday. I haven't yet, probably because I'm not all that social and tend to stay away from people. I'm sure I'm a pain to him because either I'm all over him all day and night, or I don't want to be touched....I don't know what to do...and it's too embarrassing and fills me with anxiety to even think about talking to a doctor about this....anybody have any ideas?? Oh, and I've never been able to orgasm with my husband, only with masterbation.
—Guest messed up

it gets complicated

I'm a woman who is in a relationship with an amazing woman, and we both hav bipolar. We are both generally very sexual people. I am committed and loyal to her. After reading some posts I can relate to things a bit better. Wen it comes to sex my gf can b hypersexual, which has never caused problems. Since being in a bit of a depression, we hav not had sex and we love spending time together but we aren't even physically affectionate. I would initiate bt I stop myself cos I dnt get much back. I struggle with this cos my gf is the only person I can b like that with. And being loving like holding her or just her hand is important to me. And yes it makes me question myself. Am I still attractive to her, does she want me... It's heartwrenching. And harder still because I seem to need a lot of reassurance. I love her with everything in me and seem to give her all the reassurance I wish I had.

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How Has Bipolar Disorder Affected Your Sexuality?

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