Ah, Valentine’s Day, when our thoughts turn to love-and lust. When it comes to sex, think of bipolar as a force-multiplier, as much a turn-on as a turn-off. Oh, the possibilities. Alas, the risks. Following are five things to keep in mind.
Hypersexuality does not equate to great sex
Hypersexuality in mania and hypomania is well-documented, but we have no evidence that enhanced sexuality translates to being better in bed. What is reasonable to assume is that our ups-and even our downs-intensify our experience, which may also ignite our partners.
Depression, not just mania, sets us up for risky sex
The conventional wisdom is that we lose interest in sex when we are depressed. Although this is generally true, we should never lose sight of the fact that many of us engage in sex as a release from our intense psychic pain. In this context, sex can be thought of as a form of self-medication such as alcohol or drug use, or as a risky behavior such as over-eating.
Great sex can lead to bad decisions
When the brain generates dopamine, it’s all too easy to confuse ecstasy with love or to forget about the person who really matters in your life. Sex and its after-glow have a way of turning even the chronically normal into honorary bipolars. This translates to two of you not thinking with your brains.
Find a medication strategy that works for you
In no way should we have to accept permanent eunuch-hood as the price of emotional stability. Nevertheless, so long as we can see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s wise to consider a number of short and medium-term trade-offs. Over time, we can work on getting our meds down to manageable levels.
Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your partner.
A lot of experiences in life are highly over-rated. Sex is not one of them. Engage mindfully and responsibly. In the words of the 13th-century Sufi wise man, Rumi: The way you make love is the way God will be with you.