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Bipolar And Sexual Dysfunction?


I found out by myself that my husband suffers from Bipolar Disorder after I got married. He is Type II . I have been educating myself about this……it is not easy at all!!! This marriage has been very stressful to me. He is taking various medications like Valproic acid and Prozac along with some others meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol….. We have been having lots of fights caused by his behavior and for 2 years I am confronted with another problem. Sex became very complicated for us. I caught my husband , in numerous times, watching porn online and masturbating at 3 AM. He is having a subscription and pays for it. It seems like this is what he wants to do each time when he feels sexual. I told him about my negative feelings and how this is affecting our marriage and asked him not to do it anymore but the fact is I don’t really trust him since I saw him watching porn the first time and he admitted he was still using it after we talked. He told me that I should not taking it personally, that he thinks I am pretty and sexy but when it comes for having sex together he can not perform. He is not aroused by me. I have noticed he can’t have an erection, or if he has it he can’t keep it unless our love making looks like a porn script. At one time he asked me to let him watch it because he said" I need to see the images."He doesn’t see that he has an addiction …….as I see it. He even told me that he has been having the same problem with his ex girlfriends. My question is :Is he having an addiction? Is this caused by his mental illness? Or, does his illness make him more prone to some addiction? What should we do in order to have a normal sex life? Regards.

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I rather doubt that your husbands interest in pornography is due to his bipolar disorder because most people interested in this do not have a mental illness. In other words, you do not need to have a mental illness to be addicted to internet pornography.

Of course, his behavior makes you very unhappy. It seems to me that a possible route of action is for the two of you to schedule an appointment with his psychiatrist or have his psychiatrist refer the two of you to a marriage therapist. Also, you could find a therapist on your own for the two of you.

Clearly, what he is doing makes no sense because he has you as his sexual and intimate partner. It is possible that his medications slow his sexual response and the extra stimulation from porn helps him to get an erection. Even then, it makes sense that he would want sex with you rather than masturbating.

Understand, I am not implying that he does not have a problem with sex, a psycological one. I am only pointing out that it is not necessarily related to having bipolar disorder.

The two of you really should see someone together in order to work on this problem and his psychiatrist would be a good starting place because he/she knows him already.

 Good Luck

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  • Anonymous-1

    Some medications prescibed for Bipolar Disorder can cause performance issues.

  • annon_lady

    it could well be bipolar causing him to have an increased sex drive during hypomanic times and be unable to control his sex drive at these times.

    during these times it looks like he has desensitised himself sexually by looking at such explicit and graphic images of pornograghy that he can no longer make love realistically. he has made things much worse for himself as it is harder to find satisfaction now other than this extreme way, and made things harder for you as your needs are different. he has also made it harder for himself in all future relationships.

    you need to find out whether he has this high labido all the time or whether it fluctuates. if it is all the time then it could be a seperate issue.

    if you both want to stay together there needs to be compromise. he needs to listen to the fact that you dont like him watching porn and you need give him some of the features he likes perhaps dressing up and variation. if you sit down together and discuss his fantasy needs and what you are willing to do and not do, and then discuss your needs like love making, massage etc you could bring them together, first starting off gently then building up to more passion.

    he needs to desensitise himself from porn, this may help to calm himself down a bit as sometimes constant masturbation just makes it worse, he needs to ween off the porn. he could also try expressing his emotions more via talking to you and trying to be more affectionate.

    or you may find that you need to be with different people unfortunately and need to go seperate ways to find satisfaction on all levels after trying to make it work, that he needs someone who is ok with porn-in a way it is better than him cheating.(i do not agree with porn though either)

    and you find someone more sensitive to your needs, romantic and caring etc.

    either way, you both need to start trying to talk and open up about how your feeling, set some time aside especially for it like a meeting so that u both take it seriously rather than bring it up randomly in an argument that keeps coming up. you need to respect either other when you talk about the issues and try not to accuse either other of things etc.

    genuinely goodluck.xx

  • Mal

    I have similar story to the gentleman wriiten about re sex drive and habitual use of online porn. I have bipolarII aged 41 and also identify with the pattern refered to. I love my wife but do not feel the sexual attraction/excitement to her that I did very early in our relationship. I'm not sure having a intimate sexual mate/partner (wife or husband) confines the sexual drives within that relationship, re Dr Schwartz response. I also find myself aroused by images online and of course out and about in everyday life. It has become a problem as I feel guilty and it often sends my mood state lower (following viewing porn) and of course the time lost. Its complicated further by the fact some transexual imagery has a strong draw for me, though I don't desire any form of homosexual relationship. I accept that masturbation is part of life and so does my wife, some do it less than others. Wether the imagery is manufacted in the mind or in print and online for me isn't the problem. My battle is with online pornography and masturbation (fequency & content) it is unhealthy, disruptive and damaging to my relationship and my LIFE. I 'd love to hear from any other suffers or any research directly into sexuality and bipolar.


  • Anonymous-2

    I have Bipolar II and I can relate to the husband. It sounds to me as though he is not interested in sex with his partner because of her expectations of him. If he wants to watch porn I don't see this as a problem, it is a lot better than sleeping with another woman. Perhaps he will become more interested in sex if his partner stops interacting so negatively with him and instead tries to show a bit of understanding. It can be embarrassing having sex with bipolar as you are either manic and overly sexual, or depressed and worried that your lack of enthusiasm may offend your sexual partner. For me, i sometimes find this leads to a situation where I can perform when with a prostitute but my performance is poor with what I would consider a normal one I don't pay. I find that when you pay their are no expectations of how you should act, whether you should make love or just have sex, and whether it is good or bad sex, which relieves the concerns that affect performance. This is during depressed periods for me although during manic periods I cannot say I would find it easy to accept being told I couldn't look at porn. Try tell him to be a bit more secretive about it if you don't like catching him doing it. At least its only porn he's paying for. Also the behaviour will pass, you can't force it to but you can facilitate it by improving the way you interact with each other. At the end of the day this is what bipolar is like, if you don't like it you shouldn't feel bad about leaving the relationship.

  • Anonymous-3

    I would suggest the gentleman who is watching porn and who have BP and Cholesterol problems will consult a Clinical Neurophysiologist to do a sleep diagnostic test (polysomnogram). The reason for his erectile dysfunction could be due to obstructive sleeping apnoea (OSA) which causes the abovementioned problems, including fatique, diabetes etc... in the REM stage of sleep growth hormones in the brain release that has to do with the libido. It can also help with his bipolar problem - serotonin(feel good hormone) dificiency. Should sleep apnoea be diagnosed treatment with a cpap machine (continues positive airway pressure) is available to stop the apnoea and to ensure that this gentleman get proper REM sleep.



  • Anonymous-4

    I think that pornography watching might be a cause of bipolar disorder and not the opposite


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