The Truth About Hypersexuality in Bipolar Disorder

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a very sexual person. I was introduced to sexual acts as well as porn at an early age. My curiosity grew and I started viewing porn when I was alone and exploring my body. This began around 2nd grade and lasted into adulthood. Once I started having sex, it was like I couldn’t stop. Sex was a high and I needed my fix. Looking back I realize now that the reason I was overly sexual was a direct result of having bipolar disorder.

Hypersexuality is defined as an intense and overwhelming desire for sex. It’s an excess of sexual behavior. In people with bipolar disorder, it presents itself during mania. Hypersexuality can ruin many aspects of a person’s life including relationships, jobs, health, etc. It’s the part of bipolar disorder that I rarely see people discuss. No one wants to talk about being hypersexual and all the risks associated with it. It’s uncomfortable. That being said, people need to be aware of the taboo sides of bipolar disorder. When I was first diagnosed, one of the first questions my psychiatrist asked was about my sexual behaviors. How much sex did I have? Was I having impulsive and risky sex? Were my sexual urges persistent and was I thinking about sex constantly? Yes. I thought about sex, porn, and masturbation so much that it negatively impacted my life. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

People experiencing hypersexuality may:

  • Engage in risky behaviors
  • Have multiple sex partners
  • Think about sex constantly
  • Be more interested in pornography
  • Masturbate excessively
  • Have one-night stands

There’s nothing wrong with having sex or masturbating. It becomes a problem when it’s having a negative effect on your life or when it puts you and others at risk. When you live and breathe for sex, that’s when it’s a problem. Those with bipolar disorder who experience hypersexuality might feel helpless. It feels like we can’t stop, regardless of how hard we try to fight the intense desire. 

Treatment & Coping

  • Treatment involves medication and therapy. What we’re experiencing feels uncontrollable but with the right treatment, bipolar mood swings will be under control and the hypersexual feelings will subside.
  • Discover your triggers. Knowing your triggers can help with preventing your risky behavior. If there’s a certain person or place that triggers you, avoid them.
  • Educate yourself and those in your life. Do thorough research on hypersexuality as well as bipolar disorder and ways you can help yourself. Let those around you know how they can support you. 
  • Find healthy outlets. I’ve always used sex and masturbation to help me cope with negative emotions. Once I got older and became more mentally stable, I realized I needed to find healthy outlets. 

I’m doing much better now in regards to struggling with hypersexuality. I still struggle with frequent porn watching and masturbating. It’ll probably be something I always struggle with especially considering I’ve been doing it since I was in 2nd grade. When we experience a reward, our brain releases dopamine. This leads us to seek more of what that reward is. That’s how it is when you view porn, masturbate, and have an orgasm. It leaves you wanting more. 

As far as sex goes, I haven’t been engaging in any risky sex or using it as a way to cope. I’m working on building a healthy relationship with sex.

If you’re struggling with something similar, you’re not alone. What you’re experiencing doesn’t make you unworthy. There is so much shame around hypersexuality which is part of the reason why it’s rarely discussed. Please reach out for help if you need it.

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

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