Reader Comment: Mania and Sex

Here is a question from a brave reader who is dealing with some tough problems surrounding mania. Most of us have been through them- one of the main symptoms of mania is a lack of judement and control around sex. Beleive me, I had that problem for a long time. Here is the question and my answer:

I suddenly am unable to control the sexual drive towards another man who is happy to soothe me. I am a happily married woman. I seem to get caught up in the moment and I don’t know how to stop. I don’t seem to want to stop. He comforts me and brings sanity to an otherwise insane world. I know it would break my spouses heart and that he would leave me it he knew. I have to say I wouldn’t blame him. I know there is no future with this man, just comfort. Help.

Hi Sara,

Immediate help is needed and it has to start with you. If this is mania- even mild mania- it means that what you do now has the potential to wreck your future. If you have never done anything like this in your past and have not had problems with your husband in the past- go to the doctor now and tell what is happening with your bipolar disorder. It’s easier to do this first than try to handle this completely on your own with the other man. If you were on a drinking binge and in the gutter- you would have to get help for your drinking- if you have bipolar disorder and are having an affair – as many, many people do when they are manic- then you need meds and help ASAP.

Mania is so tricky. It tells you in the moment that all is fine- and then when it ends, you come out of it and say – oh my god. What was I thinking? That wasn’t me? My ex Ivan had an affair when he was manic. He was devastated when he got out of the hosptial and the mania was gone. Luckily, I knew enough about mania by then to know it wasn’t him.

But you have reasoning now- or you would not have written this site- this means that the mania is not bad enough for you to not see what you’re doing as was the case with Ivan.

Here is your choice- to let bipolar disorder and the choices you are making now ruin your life- or to find the strengh in you now to call your doctor and get meds that will help.

It’s up to you and I know YOU know what choice you must make immediatly. If I can control my sexual behavior around milder mania- you can do the same. It’s hard, but it’s 100% possible.

You were able to write your brave comment on this site and you are ABLE to take charge of your life and save your relationship with your husband.



6 comments to Reader Comment: Mania and Sex

  • Michelle Simonsen

    I have this same problem. It always seems to happen in the late spring into the summer. It ruined my marriage in 2001, and it happens all the time one way or another. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve actual intercourse, but I develop bad behaviors by acting sexually inappropriate. I am very impulsive and this is definitely one thing about my bipolar that has plagued me for years.

  • Melissa

    The sexual stuff is my most common symptom and taunts me on a daily basis. I have been married for 16 years but I fantasize about other men almost constantly some days with an intensity and frequency that I feel that all I can do is white knuckle it so that I don’t act on all these thoughts. There are some weeks that I am on daily calls with my therapist to keep my sanity and my vows. I did have one relationship that got out of control-it never got past hugs and emotional attachment but it was devestating to me when it ended and yet it wasn’t what I truly wanted. I still have a daily battle with my sexual symptoms but with medication and therapy I am able to say no to my impulses even when I want to say yes. My husband has no idea how many times my therapist has saved me from destroying our marriage and my reputation. I’ll be saying a prayer for Sara and anyone else who is tormented like this. It is so seductive to think you can have your cake and eat it too. To just do what your impulses tell you.

    Hi Melissa,

    wow, what a great post. You’re so honest and I can tell that does help you get through this. Do you have specific tips for others on what you do when the thoughts come up? Do you talk back to them- take a walk- read books? I know you have your therapist. My book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder is for partners and it does have a whole chapter about how this illness affects us sexually- This chapter comes from experience- when my partner was manic and had sex with another woman and when I was too darn depressed to have sex! It can work out though-

    Also, what meds do you take? How have they helped?

    Any tips for how to find the right terapist who could help with a tough situation like this?

    Thank you so much for your post- it’s a topic I talk about as much as possible because it’s a real part of bipolar. You are truly an inspiration.


  • Carmen

    I’ve had similar problems and I wasn’t able to simply white-knuckle it after a certain point and things got very out of hand for me. I didn’t find out until after some damage had been done to my relationship that it was hypomania (antidepressant-induced and my first episode) and my partner couldn’t deal with it.

    (Keep in mind this is based on what’s worked for me) No matter what you do, do not put yourself in tempting situations – regardless of what your brain tells you. It may even mean ending inappropriate relationships or having a frank talk with the obliging person to see if he is willing to stop gratifying your impulses and be your friend. If you aren’t sure where the boundaries are ask yourself how you would feel if your spouse was doing the same thing with someone else. It has to occur on a purely logical level because your brain and body will have very different things to say.

    I’ve been medicated with Lamictal for a year and I haven’t had NEARLY the sexual issues I had before (in general it knocks out about 85-95% of my symptoms). I get a little pent-up sexually and though nobody would know if I had a bunch of one-nighters to satisfy this “need,” I logic myself out of it.

    You might even be able to talk with you husband about your increased sex-drive (leave out the parts about others) and see if he would be willing to “help.”

    It’s scary how easy it is to completely screw up important relationships by yielding to manic impulses.

    Good luck and remember to take care of yourself.

  • sex to me is like money, there’s loads of it about and i never seem to get any… lol c’mon guys help a lass out lol 😉 god i sound desperate!!!!

    Hi Natalie,

    You are hilarious! I decided on celibacy over a year ago! I have been very happy with the choice- though it’s a bit drastic!


  • Linda Tagliarini manz

    I totally agree with Julie on the letter about mania and sex, that Sara wrote…
    if you can reason now…before it gets to “high” and insane, DO IT RIGHT NOW…before losing the trust and love of someone who loves you for who you are …illness and all, which, certainly isn’t easy on his part, for my finance is that person, in my life!

    I am in a wonderful loving relationship but being out of control in mania, is probably the closest we have ever come to breaking up. I would never cheat on him ) there is where my faith comes in to give me some sanity in a time of insane thinking…

    Buildng a loving,caring relationship takes years…having one affair can destroy that in a minute…not to mention the devestation that is brings to the other person family, friends and so on.

    Please, get help now, before it may be too late…I write this in love, Linda

  • KeKe

    Just found out husband is Bipolar after caught him in a three month affair. One the day I confronted him, he kept telling me it wasn’t him no way would he have ever done that. He still says he didn’t’ realize he was in an affair and that he felt like he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He has had such a hard time trying to explain everything to me. He says he didn’t think it was wrong but yet he knew to hid it. He also describes the whole event as if someone took inventory of himself and then turned him into the complete opposite of who he really is. This is so gut wrenching to know a disorder can take over a loved one and take control over them.

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