Hypersexuality – the unspoken symptom of Bipolar disorder

Hypersexuality… The unspoken symptom of Bi-Polar disorder. Now, I read it’s something like between 25-80% of people diagnosed with bipolar experience hypersexuality.  That’s not a trivial or insignificant amount. So why are we not talking about it? Why are we suffering from this devastating symptom of our disorder and not seeking help? Do we even realise that this is a symptom of Bi-Polar Disorder? My psychiatrist, counselors, and my doctors have never asked about my sex life, let alone mentioned hypersexuality.  I stumbled across it researching “Why am I like this?” and I believe from talking to others that it’s the same for them too. I’m very open about sex and have been most of my life. I’m sure, much to my mother’s dismay and disgust.  I wasn’t brought up to be open and honest about it let alone do it without being in love.  My mother was a virgin before she met my dad. They were married for 20 years when he died. She lost her virginity at 19 and up until she was 41, she had only had 1 sexual partner.  By the time I was 19 I’d lost count of how many I’d had.

Hypersexuality / Hypersexuality disorder is commonly referred to as ‘sexual addiction’. Female sufferers may be known as ‘nymphomaniacs’ or ‘nymphos’.  The term for men is ‘Satyriasis’, ‘Satyrs’ (horny goat men), or ‘Don Juanism’ – I’ve actually never heard the male terms for it before (thanks google). Anyway, Hypersexuality is characterised by an excessive preoccupation with sexual gratification and sexual fantasy. Now for some sufferers, it could be very frequent watching of pornography and/ or compulsive masturbation that has a negative effect on daily life. Think: being late for work because you’re too busy watching porn or your partner finding out and becoming upset by the amount of time you spend watching and/or masturbating to it. Some sufferers have been known to rack up serious £££ bills paying for porn, sex lines or even prostitutes. I know some people have even been known to relieve themselves in the staff toilets because they had to have some sort of release. The urge really is that strong.  For others, it could be the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex. Obviously, if you’re married or in a monogamous relationship, affairs are not cool. Especially for the partner of the sufferer. Hypersexuality not only affects the sufferer it affects the people around the sufferer too. How many relationships or marriages have ended because of hypersexuality? How many people have been lied to and/or used for their bodies? Sufferers rarely have any feelings towards their casual hook-ups either. So, the person they are doing it with is as basically an object to be used purely for their gratification. They really are a means to an end. I really want to drive home that this is not just being ‘super horny’. It’s sex on overdrive, it consumes you, it’s your number one priority above everything else. It’s abnormal, excessive, and obsessive.  For some people, this can even lead to the pursuit of ‘forbidden sex’. Think: Rape, Sex with minors, and even incest. Criminal record anybody?! People get hurt; lives get destroyed. This isn’t a joke.

A manic or hypomanic (Bi-Polar II) episode is characterised by reckless, impulsive behavior and poor judgment.  Add that to a vastly increased libido and preoccupation with sexual gratification. It’s going to get messy. Who cares about condoms and consequences? Hypersexual activities expose the sufferer to a higher risk of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies to sexually transmitted diseases some incurable or with long-term effects and/or leading to death.  The sufferer’s promiscuous behavior can cause shame and guilt leading to other addictions such as alcohol and drug dependency to rid themselves of the unpleasant feelings caused.

My experience

Everyone’s experience of Bi-Polar or any mental health condition is different. So, what I say on this blog unless stated otherwise are my own experience, my own thoughts, and my own feelings.  As a female, I can only really speak from a female perspective.  The effects of hypersexuality on my life have been at best pleasurable, exciting, and fun… At worst lead to sexual assault, rape, and extreme feelings of guilt, shame, and long periods of depression. I felt like my behavior leading up to the sexual assaults and rape made those situations my fault. Thus, never reporting it or really even talking about it in great detail to anyone. It’s only very recently that I realised this was even rape. I’m not stupid by any means, I knew what happened was wrong. But I’d always considered it my fault, I asked for it. However, in more recent years there has been a lot of attention shed on sex and rape. What is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. You don’t have to say no, or you can say no during ‘sex’. That wasn’t the case very long ago.

I’m flirty to the extreme, highly aroused, and never quite satisfied. Hypersexuality is like being starving constantly. Masturbation is a snack; sex is a feast.  I’ve got myself into downright dangerous situations and I don’t care (at the time) if these men are married or in relationships. I consider myself a straight female but I’ve had sex with women and sexual fantasies about women while hypersexual. I will often find myself objectifying men and women much like you will hear men objectifying women “Nice arse, nice tits… I’d do him/her”. I’ve treated men like a piece of meat, I’ve discarded them like they are rubbish when I’ve finished with them. I’ve jokingly and seriously had hurtful labels attached to me like “whore, slag, slut, and tramp” as a result of my hypersexual behavior and my willingness to talk about it. Society discourages women from taking ownership of their sexuality. It isn’t socially acceptable and thus she becomes fair game for abuse to be heaped upon her for it. Whereas hypersexual behavior is not only expected of men but applauded.

As I’ve gotten older, I have much more control of my impulsive hypersexual behavior. Yet the struggle is still very much real. Up until recently, I was in a long-term relationship and I never cheated. Though considered it many times. I have become upset about not getting sex when I wanted it. It’s caused arguments and threats of ending the relationship. Amongst other things this actually has contributed to the ending of the relationship now. I have compulsively watched porn, flirted excessively with men in an overtly sexual way… Having a partner with a vastly lower sexual sex drive than me has driven me crazy (more so than I already am – LOL).  Since becoming single I’ve felt those old urges creeping back in and it’s taking all my self-control not to indulge. There are men in my life currently that appear to have ‘sniffed’ this out and are circling like hyenas waiting for a vulnerable moment. I know exactly what they are doing.  Whether I give in is yet to be seen.

Robyn
A thirty something from down south (Cornwall, UK). People who like me tell me I'm funny, sarcastic and have no filter. People who don't would probably say I'm a bit of a bellend. I'll let you make your own mind up.

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