Yeah, that’s right……let’s talk about sex.
Not that I’m sharing any personal details, of course. I’ve always been very private about that, and besides, my KIDS read this thing sometimes. These are people who, despite being full-grown and capable of reproduction themselves, do not believe their father and I should even have a sex life, let alone enjoy it. As far as they’re concerned, we only “did it” (whisper, giggle, blush) in order to create them, and that was it—anything beyond that and their default position is “eeewwwwww!”
But sexuality is a normal, healthy part of life, and adult children’s disgust notwithstanding, it should remain so throughout the lifespan. There’s nothing wrong with being a lusty lady or gentleman. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the sensual delights of a long afternoon in bed with the one you love (or the one you’re with at the moment). There’s also nothing wrong with appreciating the human body in all of its amazing angles and curves. (Why else do you think I watched every single minute of every single episode of Spartacus throughout its three seasons on the air? It sure wasn’t for the dialogue.)
Unfortunately for the person who lives with bipolar, it’s when the natural desire for intimate relations coincides with our “high” cycles that things really get dicey. Although not every BP experiences it, the hypersexuality that often occurs during bouts of hypomania or mania is common enough that it probably contributes to the 90% divorce rate of all marriages in which one or both partners have the illness.
Not all of us have affairs or act indiscriminately in our private lives. But it’s impossible to discount the feelings that overtake us at times, and it’s incredibly difficult to get our minds out of the gutter when we’re walking down the hall at work feeling like a steaming hot bundle of sexual energy. RAWR.
And I’m not kidding when I say it gets crazy—even your basic, mild-mannered housewife type can turn into a tigress when she’s manic. An ordinarily wonderful husband and father who loves his family may spend money they don’t have on motel rooms and prostitutes. Unattached people or those with no access to a sexual partner might pleasure themselves compulsively anytime and anywhere the mood strikes them. Anything to scratch that deep-seated itch for sex, sex, and more sex—the hotter and faster, the better.
Why do so many of us become hypersexual when we’re manic? There are probably as many reasons as there are theories, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that ALL of our senses become much more acute during mania. We thrill to musical notes we’ve never heard before in a song we’ve listened to hundreds of times before. We have a heightened appreciation of the olfactory and visual delights of a flower garden, the exquisite taste of a well-seasoned filet mignon, the whisper of a soft bedsheet across a naked thigh. So the question should probably be: why wouldn’t we get horny?
Still, it’s not very convenient to try to carry on with our everyday lives when the sweet madness threatens to overwhelm us. Hypersexuality can make us look bad and drive us to indiscretions we wouldn’t even THINK of when we’re in our right minds, like the local guy who got his penis stuck in a Jacuzzi water jet a couple of months ago. The story was even on the TV news, and of course the fact that he “suffered from bipolar disorder” and was “apparently exhibiting some symptoms of mania at the time” was broadcast to the entire southern half of the state. Nice.
These are but a few of the perils that can befall us when the brain chemistry gets to percolating. I’m sure glad the only “issue” I have is dreaming about what I’d like to do to Shemar Moore…..and I don’t have to be manic to enjoy that little fantasy!
Sorry, kids. 😉