Managing Sexual Urges While Living With Bipolar and Mood Instability
Bipolar and mood disorders can turn an already chaotic world into a landscape of turbulent urges. These dramatic changes in motivations and emotions affect numerous parts of your life, and an inconsistent libido and a need for physical connection are often overlooked as a side effect of medications, as well as fluctuating hormones and emotional states.
For weeks, you may find yourself getting nauseous at the thought of human contact when suddenly, you feel the urge to dive deep into the world of dating apps, up for any type of sexual attention. This drastic waxing and waning of lustful fantasy can make singledom, dating and long-term relationships alike a challenge. However, by redefining your baseline sexual drive through self-play and mindfulness, you may be able to ride these waves more skillfully.
The fact is, all of us have ever-changing levels of sexual urges. If you suffer from bipolar or mood instability, these black-and-white variations of desires can range anywhere from empowering to debilitating.
Achieving healthy sexual stability and taking fewer risks may seem impossible or boring, but stability looks different for everyone. You may need to stay in more casual friends-with-benefits relationships or supplement your long-term relationships with a variety of sexual practices. This variety, paired with open communication with all partners involved, can be instrumental in maintaining satisfaction while feeling cared for, and not hurting others along the way.
The key is to notice patterns by becoming more honest and mindful about the mind-body connection.
Mindful masturbation and sexual boundaries
To become more mindful and present about complex sexual drives, you may need to take the time to identify environmental or interpersonal situations that have resulted in sexual outcomes, whether for better or worse.
Maybe a disagreement with a coworker led you to go out to a bar and find the first person willing to engage with you. Maybe the heat at home causes you to be more irritable, and then want rougher sex. Are you reaching out when you're hungry, tired, dehydrated or lonely?
Once you become more aware of the patterns, you can plan for your needs in the bedroom. You can ask your partner or hookup buddy to accommodate your current mood, or even make a game plan for masturbation that may include the use of different sex toys.
While you can't always rely on others to agree to meet your ever-changing needs, having a variety of sex toys and porn/sensory stimulants can be just as gratifying. Invest in kink sites or more romantic porn to fit your urges, so when the time comes to pleasure yourself, you don't have to rely on the capabilities of others. Being transparent with your roommates without going into the details of your masturbation routine may help ease tensions within your household.
Communication with your partner or thriving while single
If you're in a relationship, start by asking your partner how your fluctuating libido affects them. Are there things they could be—enthusiastically and consensually—doing to make sex easier to manage?
For some people who want sex but go through phases of not prioritizing intimacy, having a partner who gently initiates foreplay may be helpful. If you have times when you're feeling averse to sex, let your partner know it has nothing to do with them, and you respect their need to get pleasure themselves during these times. As long as you're not presumptuous or offensive in your delivery of these new suggestions, you may be able to set clearer limitations and boundaries, while ultimately strengthening your relationship.
If you're single, using the right hookup and dating apps at the right time, while mixing in creative masturbation, could make you feel sexually fulfilled. But, please, remember when engaging in a one-time sexual encounter to use protection and pause to gather your thoughts before proceeding.