It is hard to believe that a mood disorder like bipolar can cause either hyper sexuality or even loss of interest in sex. But, it is true. Bipolar disorder is a condition where a person experiences high levels of happiness and then depression. The mood of a person may change from one extreme to the other very quickly. This state of euphoria and depression can last from a few days to a few months. One of the symptoms of this disorder is that it can either spice up or totally ruin your sex drive/ It all depends on which extreme mood your brain is currently operating on. If you are feeling super-excited and a little manic, then your desire for sexual activity will increase. Similarly, If you are feeling depressed then desire will decrease. The style of sex may also change along with mood.
Sex during manic episodes
Sex during a ‘manic mood’ period is very different from normal sex. Sexual impulses during this period are different as is sex drive, which increases. Sex during a manic episode could include greatly increased sexual activity without a feeling of sexual satisfaction, sex with multiple partners, sex with stranger, excessive masturbation, continuous sexual affairs with different partners, risky and inappropriate sexual behaviour, heightened sexual confidence, compulsive sex with sex workers, preoccupation with sexual thoughts or increased use of pornography.
Hypersexuality can create problems in relationships. Bipolar disorder may also lead to hypersexuality in children, which can be seen through inappropriate flirting and inappropriate touching towards adults.
Sex during depressive episodes
Apart from a low sex drive, hyposexuality can cause erectile dysfunction in men and high levels of sexual distress in women. According to a 2018 study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine, males with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction than those without the disorder. Sex during a depressed episode could include signs like lack of interest in sex, feeling physically undesirable, a disinterest in personal hygiene or grooming, feeling vulnerable or worthless sexually. This may keep them from engaging in sex and physical exhaustion may make sex difficult. Lack of interest in sex could make your partner feel confused, frustrated and rejected. Hyposexuality followed by hypersexuality can also confuse your partner and cause problems in your relationship.
How bipolar medicines can affect your sexual health
Medicines that are used to treat bipolar disorder like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can sometimes trigger a manic or depressive episode in an individual. Another common side-effect of these medicines is that they can bring down a person’s sex drive. Apart from mental changes, these medicines can also lead to physical malfunctions such as difficulty in becoming aroused. If you think that your sexual health is being impacted by your medicine, then talk to your doctor and ask him/her to change or lower your dose.