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05/03/2011 12:35 PM

Some Information About Hypersexuality


Bipolar Hypersexuality

The purpose of this is to increase one's understanding of Bipolar Hypersexuality. You will find several definitions, cited studies, and real life thoughts.


1. “Hypersexuality means being excessively interested or involved in sexual activity. Hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar mania, and may take the form of:

• Increased sexual activity with one's partner

• Involvement with internet pornography

• Excessive use of telephone sexual services regardless of cost

• Extramarital affairs

• Seeking out prostitutes and other risky behaviors” 1

2. “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.

People with bipolar disorder experiencing hypersexuality may:

• Have multiple sex partners

• Think about sex constantly

• Have one-night stands

• Be more interested in pornography

• Notice a difference in their sexual behaviors

• Engage in other reckless behaviors like driving too fast or gambling” 2

3. “Hypersexuality is defined as “exhibiting unusual or excessive concern with or indulgence in sexual activity.”

Hypersexuality is generally associated with hypomania and mania and used to be known as nymphomania. (Although the terms nymphomania (for women) and satyriasis (for men) are still used by the World Health Organization.) It should be noted that the severity of hypersexuality runs the gamut just like all hypomanic / manic symptoms do.

Hypersexuality is actually the excessive desire for sex or indulgent activities. Hypersexuality is about the needing, the craving of a release. Hypersexuality is feeling sex move across your skin, slip down the shaft of each hair, and settling deep within your core making all other wants irrelevant. Hypersexuality is a driving force. Like eating. When you're starving to death.” 3

Some Studies:

“Hypersexuality may be the last frontier in bipolar disorder. Even now, despite everything that has been learned about the illness, it's hard to put a finger on how big a problem it really is. The research is limited. Only seven studies have ever been published on the subject and their findings diverge: According to these studies, hypersexuality occurs in 25 to 80 percent of all patients with mania. After reviewing the literature, Manic-Depressive Illness (the 2007 text by Frederick k. Goodwin, MD, and Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD) settled on an average of 57 percent.

And that hardly tells the story. For, despite its primal role in human behavior, sexuality remains one of the hardest, most sensitive subjects to dredge up in any but the most cursory details. Which explains why, while hypersexuality is listed as one of the primary symptoms of bipolar in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), may psychiatrists refer to it almost as an afterthought – if at all – when forming a diagnosis:

Racing thoughts? Check.

Insomnia? Check.

Wild mood swings? Check.

Unrestrained spending sprees? Check.

Hypersexuality? Um…

Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder – troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threating health problems.

At least one study found that hypersexuality appears to play a larger role in women's lives than in men's. The 1980 study, led by Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, a clinical psychologist generally regarded as one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder – and one of its most well-known sufferers – reported that women with bipolar tend to be far more sexually provocative and seductive than their male counterparts. Further, Jamison found that twice as many women as men reported sexual intensity as “very much increased” during hypomania. The women in her study also rated sexual intensity as the most important and enjoyable part of mania.

Despite such findings, personal sexuality is a subject often avoided on the psychiatrist's couch. Indeed, patients complain that their doctors rarely want to hear about it. Whatever insights they've arrived at have come by way of friends and fellow patients, they say.” 4

Hypersexuality and Relationships

“Hypersexuality can be a fun time depending on what

you and your partner like and how available your partner is. You may be able to channel the overflowing sexuality into a glorious weekend or even week.

Or you might not.

Unfortunately, often hypersexuality results in the

seeking of sex from any available source and sometimes this is outside the relationship. Yes, hypersexuality during mania can destroy relationships.” 5

Managing Hypersexuality

“Hypersexuality with bipolar disorder isn't a separate condition or problem that needs its own treatment – it's a symptom of bipolar disorder. Once the bipolar disorder is successfully treated and mood swings and symptoms are under control, those hypersexual feelings will dissipate.

‘You treat the disease, not the symptom,' says Viguera. Once the disease is under control, people with bipolar disorder often react differently to sex and their past behaviors.

‘You often see a lot of regret for the past behaviors because they put themselves in very bad situations,' says Viguera. ‘When they're well, they reflect back on that and there can be a lot of regret and remorse. It's just another clue that shows you that that was not their normal state.'

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with:

• Mood-stabilizing medications

• Antidepressants

• Cognitive-behavioral therapy

• Other forms of therapy and counseling that may include family members

• Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT); also called “shock therapy” because small electrical waves are used.

The right combinations of these various therapies can reduce or eliminate bipolar mood changes between mania and depression, and symptoms of hypersexuality will no longer be a problem.

But those symptoms of hypersexuality may be a big red flag for some people with bipolar disorder that they are slipping into a manic episode. When they start to notice themselves thinking more about sex or engaging in promiscuous behavior, it's time to notify the doctor that symptoms are starting.” 6

“It simply comes down to knowing yourself and your life. This symptom is just like any other, if it is harming your life, then you should develop strategies to handle that. For example:

1. Recognize hypersexuality onset

2. Tell your partner

3. Talk to your doctor for a possible med change

4. See a therapist

5. Create a network to help you handle the symptom without harming yourself or others.

While you'll likely have to just wait for the feeling to pass, the feeling along won't destroy your life, but your actions can.” 7

Hope this information and the links are helpful and can lead you to the answers you are searching for. This is information is just a tool, a resource, if you will.

Cited Sources


2 disorder-and-sex.aspx

3 hypersexuality-explained/


5 hypersexuality-explained/

6 disorder-and-sex.aspx

7 hypersexuality-explained/


10/17/2011 02:17 PM
Posts: 386

My question relating to the following statement in the above forum:

"Hypersexuality with bipolar disorder isn't a separate condition or problem that needs its own treatment – it's a symptom of bipolar disorder. Once the bipolar disorder is successfully treated and mood swings and symptoms are under control, those hypersexual feelings will dissipate"

Iv been at a psyciatric hospital for 3 months iv been on my meds for the last 8 months and been treated for bipolarII and borderline personality but all of a sudden im having these thoughts of sex all the time want to go out and just do it with anyone am on porn sites etc..Whats going on..?

10/17/2011 03:14 PM
Posts: 13724
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

It sounds to me like you are hypersexual. This symptom comes and goes for me and at times can hit really hard, it never lasts too too long unless i'm hypomanic and that symptom happens to appear during this longer phase of mania. If this has just occurred today, it just may pass, if it persists you may need to contact your pdoc, you may need your meds re-adjusted, idk. I know my meds keep hs in control right now. i wish you all the best.

10/18/2011 08:58 AM
Posts: 7
New Member

I think about sex a lot....I mean a lot...but is that really a mental condition? In my day....we called it being horny....

10/18/2011 10:43 AM
Posts: 386

Thank you DIT, this has been going on for the last week or so, not sure if its hypomania though because iv been very depressed a day or two ago (although being in contact with a porn site made me all better?!):0

10/18/2011 05:37 PM

@ angelbaby28, we can have depressive symptoms and be manic/hypomanic or vice versa.

Yes, I have found that I'm on a good balance of meds but can still have hypersexual symptoms. As my pdoc calls them: "bumps in the road." For me, I learned a while ago that I can have the best meds and be in the best therapy but will still have symptoms. Being 'functionally stable' doesn't mean the absence of symptoms; it means being able to function with/through the symptoms.

These are just some things that I have learned on my journey.

10/19/2011 02:25 AM
Posts: 386

Thanks Wasted, that helps, i always thought being on meds will fix everything, guess i was wrong..Maybe i should go back into therapy?

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