Friday, August 22, 2014
Sex: The Bipolar Way
A dysfunctional sexual relationship is something that one has to get used to when with someone who has bipolar disorder. The nature of the disorder can encompass a wide range of feelings from depressive disinterest to euphoric enthusiasm when it comes to sex. The extreme ups and downs from depressive to manic sex can be confusing for the partner involved with someone with bipolar disorder. The constant hot and cold response the partner receives can be frustrating. They feel rejection during a depression phase. Then their partner's incessant craving for sex during a manic stage can be more than they can handle. The erratic changes are difficult to predict. The mixed signals from one day to the next can be hard to decipher.
When someone is in a depressed mood, sex is the last thing on their mind. They can be detached and uninterested with intimacy. The person may not want to be touched in any way. The individual may feel unattractive if they haven't showered, brushed their teeth and hair, or have barely any energy to do anything else but hibernate for many days in a row. Wearing the same frumpy clothing for several consecutive days does not help one feel sexy at all. A loss of sex drive is a common occurrence when someone is in a depressive state. They may as well be wearing an invisible chastity belt. This disinterest can be discouraging to the partner of someone who has bipolar disorder. It can cause them to feel rejected. They may question their own attractiveness and desirability.
On the other hand, hypersexuality is also one of the symptoms of having bipolar disorder. During a manic phase, the feeling of sensuality is high. Sexual intimacy takes on a whole new meaning. Provocative outfits are donned. Anything racy, naughty, or even nothing at all will do. Sexual encounters during mania can put the most erotic movies to shame. Sounds may rival the wild, primitive noises from an episode of Animal Planet. When a predator stalks its prey, there is no escape. The person with the disorder can seem insatiable. Desire drives them to achieve their goal of sexual satisfaction at any cost. Seduction can make sex hard to resist for the recipient. Conversely, it can be difficult to keep up with the appetite of their sexually charged partner. As a defense mechanism, if they are used to having long periods where they receive nothing at all, the person without the disorder may feel that they need to take advantage of the sexual jackpot in order to make up for the times of drought.
The introduction of medication to the bipolar relationship can alter level of sexual desire. If both partners are used to manic sex, the loss of the over the top sex drive and activity can be disappointing to both of the people involved. Trying to adjust to intimacy that is normal can be a letdown; especially after experiencing extraordinary encounters for many years. It can be a major struggle to adjust from the higher level of intimacy of the past to decreased desire and performance of the present. Although sex may calm to a normal range, it is not uncommon for the bipolar partner to lose sexual desire altogether depending on the medication they are taking.
The intimate details are different for every couple. How is our sexual relationship? Let's just say that we have seven kids, I gave birth to them all, and we all know what has to happen in order for them to get here.