A word of warning…as you can see by the title, todays post is about hypersexuality and I will be speaking with honesty and candidness, as I do with all subjects. If this is going to be more info than you care to know about me, it’d probably be best to put your fingers in your ears and loudly go “la la la la la la la.”
What Is Hypersexuality?
One of my favorite places to get medical information is the Mayo Clinic website. Not only are they one of the top facilities in the world, the subjects on their website are written so that even I can understand. Here’s their definition of hypersexuality.
Compulsive sexual behavior is sometimes called hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, nymphomania or sexual addiction. It’s an obsession with sexual thoughts, urges or behaviors that may cause you distress or that negatively affects your health, job, relationships or other parts of your life.
Hypersexuality and Bipolar Disorder
The causes of hypersexuality aren’t clear, but it has been linked to epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, dementia and, of course, bipolar disorder.
This comes from another of my go-to websites, every day health,
There isn’t a clear-cut definition or criteria for being hypersexual, but for a person with bipolar disorder, it means being more focused on sex and risky sexual behaviors than they normally are. What’s significant is that there is a change or difference from normal behaviors.
The Black Box
For those who have bipolar, hypersexuality typically occurs when someone is manic or hypomanic (a milder form of mania.) In 2014 there was a TV series called Black Box that aired on ABC for one season. The protagonist on the show, was a famed neurologist named Catherine Black who secretly had bipolar disorder. The show was terrible for many reasons in its unrealistic portrayal, but one aspect of the show that sent shockwaves across the blogosphere is that Dr. Black was hypersexual. A lot of people were furious. I read numerous comments, such as “they made us all look like sluts,” and “I don’t jump from bed to bed.” What these individuals seemed to have forgotten was that not everyone with bipolar disorder has the same symptom.
You continue to engage in sexual behaviors that have serious consequences, such as the potential for getting or giving someone else a sexually transmitted infection
When I came out of the closet nearly 20 years ago, I hadn’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, yet my therapist gave me an important warning. He said that many men who have been in the closet for most of their lives, find they’re like a kid in a candy shop and become very promiscuous and, unfortunately, contract HIV. Well, he was right. While I am very fortunate that I have not contracted the AIDS virus or any other STD, I went pretty crazy. I lived 80 miles from San Francisco and put a lot of miles on my car driving into the city to go to bathhouses. I also spent a lot of time in the Castro District hooking up with guys I met online.
The Revolving Door
Frequent one-night stands
During the time after I came out of the closet, I also entertained gentleman who came calling to my house. Despite living in a small town, there was never a shortage of men to stop by. It was not uncommon to have three men come over in one night – one after another. My roommate use to joke that I was his idol. What he didn’t know was that I would enjoy the sex, but the minute my guest walked out I felt empty. Hollow inside. After one left I needed another fix immediately. The only reason I’d stop at three was due to lack of time.
Your Name Doesn’t Matter
Frequent sex with total strangers
When I moved from a small city in northern California to Los Angeles is when things really got interesting. A city of this size obviously provides an even larger number of opportunities. One aspect is being able to have sex with someone and know it’s not likely you’ll ever see them again. Even if I did bump into them somewhere like a supermarket, there was no expectation of anything more than a discreet nod and maybe a smile, if even that.
Staying emotionally detached from sexual partners
Many times I would be relieved that I did not even know my partner’s names. Even if I knew it at the time, it’d be forgotten by the next morning. There was one guy I enjoyed seeing about once a week. It took about three months for him to realize I had no clue what his name was. He was so hurt, that I never saw him again. I didn’t care. I felt no emotions whatsoever.
Anywhere and Everywhere
The inability to stop despite the consequences
The most exciting sex was when I wasn’t looking for it. I’ve suddenly met, and have had sex with, individuals in many different locations. These include art museums, trains, restaurants, city buses and more. The possibility of getting caught only made the sex more enticing.
Just Can’t Stop
Inability to reduce or refrain from sexual activity
I’ve been sober for over 12 years. During early sobriety, I had an AA sponsor who knew my sexual compulsions had gotten out of control. He suggested I refrain from sex for at least a week to start. Within 2 hours after meeting with him, I was having fun in a stranger’s bed.
I spoke with my therapist about this and he encouraged me to attend Sex Addicts Anonymous. When I balked at the idea, he pointed out that an inability to go more than 2 hours after my sponsors suggestions was a pretty good indicator that I had a serious problem. I knew he was right, but I never did attend a Sex Addicts meeting.
I Still Love Sex
I met Maurice around 10 years ago and immediately was in love. It was not long after our meeting that my bipolar manifested to the point that I could barely function. Unbelievably he stayed with me and held my hand despite being together for such a short time.
Being balanced most of the time these days is a blessing. In addition to the release of many of the other symptoms of bipolar, the release from hypersexuality is most rewarding. I’ve been in a loving, committed and monogamous relationship since the day we met and I’m looking forward to a lifetime with him and only him. I look back on those days and laugh and, yeah, sometimes it’s a little titillating, but I wouldn’t go back to it for anything