Doctor Paul’s BlogSpot

January 31, 2009

Letter To Dr. Paul: Bi-Polar Disorder & Sex

Filed under: Blogroll, Letters To Doc — drpaul @ 12:58 am

Dear Dr. Paul,

I was showing your website off to one of my friends (your web designer is awesome) and we came across your video on depression’s effects on sex drive. My curiosity was sparked so I watched the video. I immediately watched it again. I have suffered from depression most of my life. I have recently been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. For those that may not know, bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of normal mood mixed with episodes of depression and mania. In the video, you state that depression is a depressed mood. This prevents you from getting from point A to point B when having sex. Mania is on the other side of that spectrum. Everything is heightened and feels good, sex included.

I wanted to see if there was any more information on sex drive and the manic state of bipolar disorder. I began by searching through your archives. I was surprised not to get any hits. Expert Village offered a few videos and articles, but nothing with any substance. I tried a Google search and came up with over 3 million hits. None of them were based on research and most consisted of blog excerpts. My last hope was to search my universities database. Again, there was nothing that addressed my question. I have been married for over six years and know without a doubt that mania has an effect on sex drive and untreated bipolar disorder creates such sexual chaos that it interferes with the health of the relationship.

When my husband and I first got married sex was great. I was on a high from the excitement of the wedding and the events that surrounded it. This mania carried us through for a couple of months. Then my mood changed. I became irritable and had no interest in sex. I was demanding, pushy, and very hard to live with. We began to fight, sometimes ferociously. Then my mood would switch, I would regain an interest in sex, and things would settle down. This fickle interest in sex confused my husband. He began to take it personally, thinking that I did not really love him or find him attractive. I tried to reassure him that the problem was mine, but I could not offer him a reasonable explanation of why this was.

My husband’s reaction to all of this changed with time. At first he was concerned, and then confused. Finally he stopped caring all together. He found other ways to meet his needs. I laid in my depression, plotting ways to kill him. We drifted further apart. After several months of this we separated and began the divorce process. The stress of it all was too much and I had myself Baker Acted. That is when I was diagnosed as bipolar and put on the correct medicine. Before that time, I was being treated with antidepressants. The medicine actually made the bipolar intensify. Once the medicine, and me, was stabilized everything changed. My husband moved back in and we decided to rebuild our lives together.

Putting the marriage back in order has been a struggle. We know that will take time. We are realistic about that. Since my medicine has become effective, my sex drive has changed. I am finally able to relax and let go. Last night I got from point A to point B in the most exhilarating way. I have never experienced sex like this before. We also enjoy each other on a more regular basis. I no longer have to psych myself up to have sex. I am an active participant and I love it.

I am sure I am not the only person who had this experience or one similar. Why anybody hasn’t chosen to do real research on this topic? As I see it, it is a real and pressing problem.

A Devoted Fan,



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