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  1. #1

    Default Bipolar Hypersexuality

    First post, I'm hoping to hear from people like me and maybe an outside perspective too.

    I'm a hypersexual bipolar who has been married for over 15 years. My life really doesn't make any sense without her. The diagnosis is recent, so it wasn't something that was on the table for my wife to accept or reject beforehand. I'm drawn to the lifestyle because it encourages sexual rules and boundaries and an ongoing level of openness with my wife that wouldn't be there otherwise when I seek out sex with others. She is not interested in the lifestyle though she has come with me to a couple of club parties.

    We are having the best and most frequent sex of our marriage right now, but we both know it's because we finally understand that I have a hypersexual condition. Now she feels pressure to be the equal of my desires even though that's not possible. It really makes no sense that I'm interested in sex with anyone else, but hypersexuality doesn't have an "off" switch and is always pushing for more. More sex. More partners. More anything. My interest in the lifestyle puts pressure on top of that.

    I'm concerned that we're not coming into the lifestyle via a shared interest in sexual exploration. We're coming into this as the most likely option to keep our marriage working despite my desire for sex that, at times, is just barely under control. She's under the gun to accept this, as I don't have any other ideas for healthy alternatives. She has come a long way in a short time and rarely is anything but supportive, but it's still a very emotional process for her. We're both trying to make a decent hand out of the cards we've been dealt.

    I think I'm not alone, though possibly others won't want to reveal their own diagnosis. Bipolars don't often talk about hypersexuality even among themselves.

    Has someone like me kept their marriage together via the lifestyle? Please, I'll hear any advice.

    In my situation do I still fall under the definition of a swinger or am I something else? We're in this together, but as the good option among terrible ones. If she gives me consent to be here because the alternative is bad, does it still count? I'm curious enough to ask the forum, but that could be something the two of us need to work out for ourselves.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I'm sorry Jane, I'm too new to reply to your PM but I don't have a problem posting the answers here:

    Thanks for your questions Jane! I appreciate the sensitivity but it's no problem. Since I found out what I've actually been my whole life it's been a huge relief and I have questions so it's only fair I answer what I can from my own experience.

    Some sex addicts are hypersexual bipolars, but others are addicted for other reasons. All hypersexual bipolars are sex addicts. There will never be a time in our life when the compulsion isn't there, and when the opportunity arrives to act on it, there will be no inner voice saying "no." That does nothing to erase the regret after you've cheated.

    My insurance covers therapy, so I've been in that since I was diagnosed. I also have bipolar group support through NAMI. My wife goes to a different NAMI group for family members. My wife's insurance covers no mental health care, though we've decided to just go out of pocket because this really is too much to process alone. Couples counseling is out of reach for us without insurance. We do spend a lot of time each evening communicating and looking for balance in this. I tracked down some training on active listening to teach me to stop trying to explain myself and shut up and listen to her feelings.

    I did find a married woman who swings single and is also a sex addict though I don't believe for the same reason. It's possible we're outliers and we should stick among other addicts rather than try to mingle with others, but it seems plenty are already in the lifestyle and in general nobody identifies themselves one way or the other. It's also possible that it doesn't make a difference and I'm overthinking it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Questions similar to this show up here frequently for different reasons. The answer is the same. This lifestyle will not solve marital problems. It will make them worsee. Only a strong, balanced, secure marraige will thrive in the lifestyle. If she is being brought I to it without her own enthusiasm for it, it will end your marraige.

  4. #4
    Active Member lcmim's Avatar
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    lcmim

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Quote Originally Posted by CandDinCo View Post
    Questions similar to this show up here frequently for different reasons. The answer is the same. This lifestyle will not solve marital problems. It will make them worsee. Only a strong, balanced, secure marraige will thrive in the lifestyle. If she is being brought I to it without her own enthusiasm for it, it will end your marraige.
    I have no particular experience in YOUR situation at all. I will watch this thread with interest.

    I do have this to offer. ALL marriages have issues that require to couple to create coping mechanisms if they are to survive. There are thousands off them one is a neat freak the other not, one is an exercise addict the other not, one is a workaholic the other not, one is into a healthy lifestyle (foods etc) the other McDonalds, one snores the other a light sleeper one has lupus or a stroke or just gets okd. etc, etc ad infinitum.

    Your situation is more unique than most and will require some adaptive creativity. Whether swinging feeds the beast or is a way of dealing with it in a controlled fashion is a decision that you, your spouse and perhaps your mental health advisor need to sort out as a team.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Hi C&D! From the research I've done and conversations I've had, I haven't found one example of a marriage that survived bipolar hypersexuality. But also, cultural conventions make it difficult to have any open discussion of the condition, so I'm hopeful there are hidden success stories out there somewhere.

    Our bond has been incredible from the start. I feel confident that if we were not in a strong, balanced, secure marriage already, we wouldn't be talking to each other and therapists, we'd be talking to lawyers. There's also the chance that we end up there no matter how strong we are, but I'm working to avoid that.

    We did start the lifestyle together. She had her own curiosity about it, but then decided that she wasn't really looking for anything else. I would never force her to stay in for my sake. I'm still in, with her permission, and if I keep to our rules she shouldn't have to rescind her permission.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Thank you lcmim. I'm really hoping I'm not so unique. I'm hoping I'm just naive and conflicted enough to blab my details in public where others wouldn't.

    I like that you've framed this as one of any number of marital challenges that couples might encounter. In that way, we're already dealing with it the best we can - communication and therapy. In fact, I do snore and she is a light sleeper. That would kind of make the lifestyle something like my CPAP machine that keeps her from smothering me in the night.

    I do want to add that I try to be clear with the couples and singles that I meet why I'm in and she is not. I want honesty so I give it. So far I haven't had a bad experience with that.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Quote Originally Posted by BP72 View Post
    She is not interested in the lifestyle though she has come with me to a couple of club parties.



    I'm concerned that we're not coming into the lifestyle via a shared interest in sexual exploration. We're coming into this as the most likely option to keep our marriage working despite my desire for sex that, at times, is just barely under control.

    She's under the gun to accept this, as I don't have any other ideas for healthy alternatives.
    So what does she get out of all of this? Only thing I can see is that she gets to give you her blessing to feed your addiction.

    From the way you write I believe that you are a very intelligent person who is well informed of the symptoms of your condition and how your condition needs needs to be managed.

    Dont say, it's just a part of my condition, she needs to accept it. Should we just allow epileptics to have seizures? It's just part of their condition. Should we allow hemophiliacs to bleed to death? It's just part of their condition. No. We treat the condition.

    Hypersexuality is a symptom of the manic state of bipolor. You already know this. However, you are inside out on managing it. Think of it like an addiction. If it were heroin instead of sex. Everyone knows you don't give a heroin addict money, and you don't buy them the drug. Basically, you are asking your wife to buy your drug for you.

    Take the responsibility for managing your condition and stop making consessions to it. You already know the real answer is in your therapist's office. Adjusting your depakote level or whatever he thinks is best.

    Sorry if my posts seem a bit harsh. I kind of got pushed into clinical mode on this one. For disclosure, I spent many years working in the psych field in a setting where people were unable to manage themselves. So my coworkers and I had to manage it for them. Part of the job was teaching them to recognize their symptoms (you are at this point) and seek treatment as necessary instead of indulging the illness.

    In that context, I have to ask (rhetorically. do not answer in forum), if hypersexuality is not under control, other areas is bipolar getting out of control for you? Bipolor causes people to do things that could cost them a lot of money,their family, or even their freedom.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    C&D, there is no treatment for my condition. I will always be this way, unless we learn something amazing and wonderful about the brain before I die.

    I'm not going to judge your perspective. I don't know your history.

    But you are neither answering my questions nor moving this topic in a helpful direction.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Quote Originally Posted by BP72 View Post
    C&D, there is no treatment for my condition. I will always be this way, unless we learn something amazing and wonderful about the brain before I die.

    I'm not going to judge your perspective. I don't know your history.

    But you are neither answering my questions nor moving this topic in a helpful direction.
    You are half right. There is no CURE. But there is management. There are medications to minimize symptoms and clinical monitoring by a professional.

    As far as answering questions, I have already done that. You stated your wife has no interest in swinging. Therefore, you want to indulge yourself dispite her wishes and you are looking for someone to tell you its ok. You are going to destroy your marraige if you try it anyway.

    Again, sorry for the bluntness


  10. #10

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    C&D, arguing from a position of ignorance is not bluntness, it's simply disrespect. You've disregarded every bit of information that does not fit into your preconceived narrative, and answered for yourself a question that I never asked because you didn't actually RTFOP.

    What was more important to you is to broadcast your own personal opinion on my life and my choices. Neither of these things are in question by anyone other than myself and my wife.

    Though it was never requested, your particular opinion is noted. Please do not feel obligated to restate it.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    You are obviously going to do whatever you want no matter what anyone here says. You did not come here for advice. You came for backup on a decision you have already made. I wish your wife well. Nothing left to say.

    YOYO

  12. #12

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I wanted to avoid this but felt the need to say this, as little help as it will be.
    I haven't been diagnosed as bi-polar but I know enough about the disorder to know I am probably there. Hyper sexuality has been the bane of our relationship for all 40 years.
    This can be managed. I went to therapy, got on the pills and moved 'forward'. My wife, who is full of life, loving new experiences, and wanting to laugh as much as possible, was living with a shell of who I was. Sure, I was no longer a sex addict, no longer freaking the fuck out at every little issue. I also was no longer quick witted, no longer an amazing, inventive lover, just a zombie.
    Through a breech in the mental health system, I was forced off the pills. The problems returned. We are managing them as best we (she) can. The only way a marriage can survive this issue is with a spouse who is capable of dealing with the consequences of remaining married. She did give me very good advise "don't put yourself in a position where the opportunity can arise". I was constantly doing that, feeding the addiction. I stopped, the problem is there, the drive is strong but since I'm nowhere I can do anything about it, I don't. I can't.
    We have agreed on me having a fwb which I do, who I see now and then, who my wife is aware of but doesn't want to know when or what I do. Having somewhere to go to bleed off the desire has been a big help. It's just the guilt is really horrible. I feel for ya. Really though man, avoid the LS as much as possible.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Bless you, J&K. You have no idea how much it means to me to hear from you.

    I've been on medication that took away the libido along with everything else. That's not a solution.

    Before the diagnosis it was a constant battle between the part of me that worked to avoid compromising situations and the part of me that tried to engineer them. Until two years ago, I could rely somewhat on my social anxiety to put up a barrier. But then I had a breakdown that led to the diagnosis, and for whatever reason the social anxiety isn't there anymore.

    After my diagnosis I needed to re-evaluate every female social contact in my life and either break contact or re-frame the context so that, like you said, I couldn't put myself in a position where the opportunity could arise. For some, that meant revealing the problem and admitting I don't have control. It's isolating, but necessary to avoid doing something behind my wife's back. I'm hoping that will curtail cheating.

    Part of the problem is that for a society that treats sex like a shameful secret, you can't go for a minute without being exposed to a blatant trigger. Unless you avoid all media and advertisement. That's not a solution either.

    If having a fwb isn't considered swinging, then I'm ok with not being a swinger. I don't really care what it's called, just as long as it's not cheating and it's something my wife can accept.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I think C and D pretty well sums up the problem here. The OP wants his "heroin". He will get it one way or another.

    I am not a diagnosed addict of any sort, although I am self diagnosed in a few areas. As for being "hypersexual" I am pretty sure there's another term for it.

    Male

    And sometimes female.

    We just deal with it, as we do other "addictions".

    I am not in the LS and honestly, probably never will be as I doubt my wife would ever sign on. I'd like to be, but it won't kill me if it doesn't happen.

    Seems to me you should take this point of view. Make the best of your marriage. If it includes some form of swinging, great. If it doesn't, deal with it. The bottom line is, the LS can be a lot of fun..... if you both want it. If not, it will tear your marriage to pieces.

    Just out of curiosity, does masturbation give you your "fix"?

    Rosie palm and her five daughters has served as a pretty reliable FWB for me. Perhaps it should for you.

    Just don't anyone tell my wife about her!!!!!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Pete, you and C have the perspective I would expect coming from the outside looking in. You are grasping at metaphors to comprehend what you can't.

    A heroin addict is always a heroic addict whether they are shooting up or not. An alcoholic is still an alcoholic if they don't drink. A smoker is still a smoker without cigarettes.

    Even if each of these addicts were "dealing" with their addiction, through the sheer force of their will, what would you call shooting up with your wife every night? Drinking with your wife each night? Lighting up with your wife each night.

    Yes, I could not have sex like other addicts temporarily resist their addictions. No, it would not help my marriage.

    For the record, masturbation to me is like handing a smoker a syringe full of nicotine. That solves the problem, doesn't it?

    I know you meant that to be humorous, but do you seriously think I have not exhausted every pornographic avenue of self-pleasure in my efforts to keep this under control?

    It is also unfortunately common for people to regard those already dealing with an illness as "weaker" and "lesser" than them. Oh, if only you were a stronger person. A healthy person could find a way to deal with it. And the best: You should adjust your medication.

    These are incredibly naive things to say. If you feel compelled to post them, don't for your own sake. You reveal yourself as foolish, and not knowledgeable about the topic you are about to comment upon.

    I will state it again for what it's worth, because clearly some commenters will fail to read it and post anyway. My marriage, today, is absolutely great. My wife approves of me seeing other people for sex and we have rules and limits in place that keep my activity within her comfort zone. We are in no danger of a divorce as long as I can keep my compulsions under control. Today, I'm not afraid that I can't.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I wonder if the op views maintaining a FWB relationship with his wife's permission as a "methadone" type of treatment as nicotene gum is to quitting smoking? I then wonder what are the rules and triggers. Could you then stick to the plan?

  17. #17
    Active Member lcmim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane1902 View Post
    I wonder if the op views maintaining a FWB relationship with his wife's permission as a "methadone" type of treatment as nicotene gum is to quitting smoking? I then wonder what are the rules and triggers. Could you then stick to the plan?
    First I do wonder also if this is feeding the beast or reigning it it like I said before. That does and will continue to need scrutiny by all involved.

    If this is a way of maintaining marital fidelity then it could be the correct move.
    One thing we seem to be ignoring with the methadone or patch concept is that we will have a hard time finding anyone who says heroine or smoking is good or good for you.

    Just because many of us grew up in a "Sex is evil. Sex is dirty." world does not make is so.
    Consensual (even compulsive)sex is not in my eyes evil or dirty. The only question is how does the OP keep it in the realm of consensual and not threatening to his marriage.


  18. #18

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I haven't seen anyone anywhere come up with an analogy that actually compares to sex addiction. Trying to explain it to my wife, I used smoking because she is a smoker. It explains the compulsion, and how substitutes such as the patch fall short. But, smokers don't feel compelled to experience every brand and form of flammable recreation. Smokers can also "quit" without taking important, intimate time away from their spouse.

    I grew up Catholic, so "sex is dirty/evil" was simply understood as the truth of things, but I also had solidly monogamous parents. There are a lot of times I wish I were like my Dad and only had eyes for the one I married. But that is not the truth of me. Knowing what I know now, I can go back and see the times I manipulated myself in one direction or another. At 16, I dated a deeply religious girl knowing that it would keep me from losing my virginity "too early." At 18, I suppose I thought I was old enough because I dated the complete opposite. In my 20's, I developed anxieties and panic disorder to avoid parties and crowds where I would have met other horny people. Somehow, probably due to the Internet and proliferation of free porn, I maintained serial monogamy.

    My interest in swinging began because there is a clear line between Cheating and Swinging. Whatever it is I'm doing, I don't want it to be Cheating. From what I've gathered from all the forums is that if you have prior consent and follow the rules that you both have agreed upon, you are not Cheating. My wife and I both feel that this is a reasonable premise to start from.

    It also helped that she had an interest in finding out more about herself, so going to clubs and seeing other swingers was something she wanted to do even if she didn't participate in any activity. What we found out is that she prefers exhibitionism. She feels proud in her body and likes showing it off. I think she felt good learning that. However, she never met anyone she would be interested in sexually and isn't interested in making and maintaining new social contacts because she already has her own huge social network mainly related to her work.

    My social network has room for improvement and as I mentioned in a previous post, I cut contact with some to avoid conflicts with the rules - which includes no sex with mutual friends or any coworkers. Now that I think about it, in my condition it's probably best to keep my social contact list small.

    I do think that, with her consent and our agreement, I can maintain one or more sexual relationships without threatening her, avoid cheating, and also finally stop spending ridiculous, unproductive amounts of time with porn. The question for us had been how to address my illness without threatening the marriage and, for now, we have an answer.

    My questions for the forum are still the same:

    If you're dealing with sex addiction or hypersexuality, how are you maintaining your marriage as well?

    And, is it still considered swinging? There are plenty of addicts in the lifestyle, as well as people who participate alone with the consent of their SO. Are they swingers too, or just here and making all the real swingers uncomfortable?

  19. #19
    Life is for living Judy39's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    I'd say swinging is what you make of it. There are all kinds of people in swinging clubs, at swinging parties and on swinging websites. A long-term-relationship couple swinging together is probably some sort of perfect scenario. But then there are swinging couples 'on occasion' who swing with a friend or fuck buddy, rather than their long-term partner, there are singles, there are cheaters. Attitudes to different types of swingers also differ, but I would argue that you if you are respectful and a good fuck, that's all that matters to a lot of people (not to all).

    It's similar to how married people are different too - some are faithful to each other, some not, and some don't even have sex at all. Yet they all refer to themselves as married.

    I am skeptical with regards to diagnoses like yours, but even more skeptical about the currently available treatments. There is so much we don't yet know about how to treat (or even manage) mental health disorders it's frightening. However what I'd like to ask is this... When you say that you have bipolar hypersexuality, do you admit to having much higher desire for sex during your manic state (in comparison to other times), or are we talking about a much higher desire for sex in comparison to some generic 'norm' i.e. other people's desires? If it is your own extremes and some of the time your urges are out of control then I'd say that C&Ds advice is spot on, you have to try to curb that - it's in your own interest to do so.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Judy, you're the first I've seen to include cheating as part of the lifestyle. That is alarming, not what I understood swinging to be, but explains why J&K warned against the lifestyle. Cheating is not an option.

    I'm not sure how to answer your question. I have no idea what qualifies as a "normal" desire or a "higher" desire. Neither is anything I've experienced.

    Listen, everyone, I enjoy answering questions. If you've never had someone like me to talk to and learn from, here's your chance. The odds are good that you know one or more people like me and they will never in a million years let on to you that this is going on inside them. But in case you do find out, I would be happy to to spare you the rookie mistakes that are going to alienate you from them forever.

    It's also clear that many of you feel the need to offer advice as if you're more qualified than the professionals treating me. As if you know more about my marriage than my wife and I. That's, I dunno... nice? Rude? Take your pick, but it is completely unnecessary.

    My questions are there in the post above. I appreciate any answers. I guess I need to add: Is cheating still swinging?

  21. #21
    Life is for living Judy39's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Cheating is part of swinging in the same way as cheating is part of marriage. It shouldn't be, but in reality, for some people, it is.

  22. #22
    Life is for living Judy39's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    This is the thing. If your *own* sex drive goes from one extreme to the other, you'd know. That's what a typical bipolar is.

    If it's considered high in comparison to other people's 'norm' then that's different.

  23. #23
    Swingers Board Addict padoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    Excuuuuuse us! Most people who come onto this board do so seeking advice or examples from the personal experiences of more seasoned swingers. Unlike the OP, most do not come here looking for validation for behaviors in which they have already decided to engage. Perhaps you should simply listen to your "professionals". Your last post was I dunno, smug, self serving??

  24. #24
    Active Member lcmim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    [QUOTE=

    My questions are there in the post above. I appreciate any answers. I guess I need to add: Is cheating still swinging?[/QUOTE]

    I would say no, but some swingers do cheat.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Bipolar Hypersexuality

    It seems like there's confusion between a sex drive and a compulsion. From what I've gathered, regular people have a sex drive that may or may not go up and down due to various internal and external situational factors. In any case, sex may or may not be on this person's mind and any particular moment of the day.

    My experience (and this doesn't speak for all hypersexual bipolsrs), is that sex drives every motivation. There is little I do beyond the basic activities of staying alive that do not ultimately have sex as a goal. In all the situations where making advances on someone would be inappropriate, I have to go to combat against myself. I am at battle with myself every minute of the day, and my hypersexuality isn't the only fight going on. I'm usually dealing with bipolar arguments in my mind at the same time. It's rare that I don't have two simultaneous, opposing views of any thought or situation to resolve.

    I had no reason to think everyone else wasn't doing the same thing until recently. Now I imagine that regular brains get more down-time, and that what I've got probably isn't the same thing as a sex drive. Saying I have a sex drive that's "constant" doesn't adequately describe it.

    It does not change during any of the swings back and forth from high moods and low moods. My motivation levels, energy and self esteem change, which make it less likely for me to act or put myself in a situation where sex might be possible. Regardless of my mood, until now, I had no defense against discovering a willing sex partner.

    I'm taking control of that now. I'm determining when and who, and I'm doing it within boundaries set together with my wife. It's not a cure-all, but lifts the siege and takes some of the fear out of my day.

    I think I'm back to understanding cheating's relationship with swinging. Swingers do cheat. Cheating is the wrong way to swing.

    Padoc, dude, really? You wasted your valuable time posting that? I've stated clearly and repeatedly what I'm here to learn. You and C believe your opinions are precious and beyond reproach, but I never asked for them. The hostility and willful ignorance you have put on display for everyone to see is why others in my condition - or with any condition - will not come forward to share their experiences. That's a shame.


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