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hypersexuality-the-part-of-bipolar-disorder-no-one-talks-about


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https://themighty.com/2016/08/hypersexuality-the-part-of-bipolar-disorder-no-one-talks-about/

 

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According to Sexual Health Matters, hypersexuality is found among an estimated 25 to 80 percent of all bipolar patients experiencing mania. That’s not trivial or an insignificant number. There are approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, who live with bipolar disorder.

With that statistic, we can presume millions of people likely live with it. This symptom can be one of the most destructive and devastating. Yet, many people don’t realize they have it or that it has a name. While the symptoms of bipolar disorder are highly characterized, there seems to be little discussion on this particular topic. Why is that?

 

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Ok, granted I don't talk or read about bipolar symptoms much except here and in my tdoc's and pdoc's offices but it has been mentioned enough in them that I am pretty aware of it. So go CrazyBoards!

I assume if it's not talked about as much in other places it's because people have a problem talking about sex in general.

Edited by wadjet
because stuff keeps spelling wrong
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Hi notloki,

I think wadget is right. People just aren't comfortable with talking about something like this (had it brought up in a group session *eep*).

But I will be honest with you, this is something I struggle the most with when it comes down to hypo/mania. I lust after people, smell their perfume, think of ways to ask them out other than  "take me now!" I am and always have been single, so far the mania has only be angry at people more than anything. Except this contradictory symptom where I desperately crave human contact. I'm just getting over this myself and the shame of the thoughts and loneliness is crushing.

Hope these thoughts help you. There should be a way a PDoc could question this without being blunt. A questionarre of some sort maybe?

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According to my health files I never had that symptom but I do remember committing a sin 5 times a day when I wasn't on observation.

Does that count as hypersexuality or did I actually had to persistently flirt with all the nurses because I thought they were all "hot" at the time

Edited by The Right Honourable Jimmy
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From what I read in Kay Jamison's writings, hypersexuality (aka in the old days nymphomania) is the obsession with sex and overwhelming sexual urges. Everyone expresses this differently. I don't want to make this post explicit, but you get the idea. The number of encounters, etc doesn't count. It's the drive, recklessness, or obsession. How that is expressed will be extreme to the person normally.

Well, that is my paraphrase....didn't feel like dragging out the tomb.

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My pdocs have not wanted to hear about it and I think that did me a disservice. They really didn't understand how bad things were, so I didn't get the help I should have. I had to tell my GYN more details to get medical care that was appropriate and at least she wasn't as uncomfortable. I think psych professionals need to get more comfortable discussing a few details at least, my pdoc clearly was uncomfortable but at least the therapist I had steered me to a GYN instead of just steering me to another topic. And for all the trouble it caused me, my pdoc never asks me if it's a current issue. He asks me about reckless, impulsive behavior, which seems to be his code for it, although that could fit other behavior, too. Considering how common it is, I think it doesn't get addressed much by pdocs, at least that's my impression. 

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Thank you for talking about the hypersexuality symptom of bipolar disorder, the symptom, which perhaps more than any other, has been treated as a moral failing by those nearest and dearest to me.  My whole life I've felt stimagtized:  "save sex for marriage," "don't mess with the groomsmen," "you should wait for the boy to ask you out," "you gave up your faith so you could live a life of sin!," "with more than one person?!," "where?!"  On one hand, I feel like a nymph, in the Jamison sense--always hungry, always hunting.  (Thank you, @Poem.  Love Jamison's writing!)  

I'm sorry that your PDocs haven't been more supportive, @sugarsugar.  I finally had a GP who only asked one question:  "are you using protection?"  That's a good start, but PDocs, TDocs, and GPs need to recognize the potential for additional harms with hypersexuality:  sexual assault, unwanted pregnancy, and the psychological harm that can accompany unwanted sex.  People with bipolar disorder are more likely to be in high-risk situations.  This is a healthcare issue.  And healthcare providers have an obligation to address this symptom which is prevalent among those with bipolar disorder.  Our safety matters.

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I've had 3 Pdocs and never talked about hypersexuality. With one of them, I got the impression that if I had initiated such a conversation then it would have been discussed. 

More so than being uncomfortable in talking about crazy sex, I kind of assumed they were not fully confident, as if they didn't have much training on the subject. Just my guess, probably it is just that it's hard to talk about.

I've debated seeing a specialized sex/addiction therapist. For me, hypersexuality is the most daunting symptom because it is so incredibly powerful. At some point in my life I realized that I had to be different, everyone couldn't possibly be as oversexual as I was for so much of the time. More people would be accurately diagnosed sooner if the topic was more widely on the table. 

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Wow, this never would have occurred to me as a symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Until completing intensive therapy and finally no longer being diagnosable with Borderline Personality Disorder, I assumed it was a symptom of that, and that PTSD (as a result of sexual trauma) is frequently correlated with hyper sexual behaviour. I also struggle with fidelity. But my last therapist and I discussed my sexual behaviour at length, however never made connections to BP. I know that during hypomanic episodes I become more ramped up and sensitive to everything, and sometimes just want to get any kind of sexually-based attention, or watched porn and masturbated frequently (yikes, never admitted to that before). During dysphoric depressive episodes ("mixed episodes") I sometimes sought comfort through sex. 

I also just kind of thought that it was because I was a bad person. It's a relief to know that I'm not alone in some of this behaviour.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am hypersexual regardless of whether or not I'm stable.  When I'm not stable, I think there's potential for harm to others and myself.  When I am stable, I need to manage it in a healthy way....  I'm trying nonmonogamy, but it's still hard vent the "crazy," as @jekyl in hyding called it.

Do you guys still experience hypersexuality when your other symptoms are relatively well managed?

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I also am hyper sexual. It doesn't really go away.  It's a matter of how obsessed I get and how intrusive the thoughts are. I have had to find instant relief in many a strange place.  I have been very open and honest with my Pdoc and Tdoc. Neither are shy about discussing it. They are aware of it and check in with me often to see where I am with it. Pdoc has adjusted meds based on this issue.  I have brought it up in a group I attend.  Not sure if they are all comfortable or not.  But I sorta figure based on the odds that someone else has experienced the same and maybe by bringing it up better support will result.

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Hypersexuality is the most perplexing issue to me - so powerful. I don't want to lose it completely but I have taken too many big risks in the past. It bounces around in my mind and shifts between denial, anosognosia, and shame. I have some great (intense) memories of past escapades but also some deeply disturbing ones that had put me in the greatest of harms' way. Within the wonderful spectrum of bipolar symptoms, hypersexuality might be the most "bipolar" symptom there is. 

If I obsess on it I'd swear it puts me into rapid cycling. 

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I didn't know the word anosognosia. Now I do. I've always said "lack of insight"

I'm surprised that pdocs don't want to talk about hyper-sexuality, because it is so common. I don't even get that symptom, and my dad, my Pittsburgh pdoc, and my San Jose pdoc all asked me about it. It really seems almost like malpractice that they wouldn't ask. I mean it's not as if they're asking for details of each sexual encounter (This many thrusts! This many moans!), they just want to know generally.

It is sososo common. None of you are inherently immoral, or dirty, or bad.

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Hi, this is my first post. Being female, and in my forties, I thought I had an incredibly high sex drive. After being diagnosed on Friday (after years of misdiagnoses) I now know I have bipolar 1 and hypersexuality is what caused me to go to the GP.

it is overwhelming to the point that when I'm manic it is the only thing I think about. I manipulate, I seek, I destroy. I will scour internet chat rooms looking for one night stands, go to bars, I plan and plot my next fix to the degree that I have three or four alternatives as a back up plan! I have no inhibitions, it's an ephemeral feeling of euphoria, I've lost two marriages, numerous long term partners and I feel completely crap after I've got my fix. It never goes away.

Nobody talks about this.  Try telling anyone and I get comments like "well you'll make some guy happy" or people ask for details. So I've stopped trying. My behaviour is completely destructive and I get no help whatsoever. I can't even remember what my point was.

Edited by Topaz
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Hi, Topaz. Welcome to CB. Please PM me or one of the other mods if you have any trouble figuring out the site.

There are a lot of people here who could tell the same story you just did. I had crazy hypersexuality when I was younger. Meds have helped a lot. Like, a lot. Are you and your doctor in the process of sorting out treatment for you?

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