Sex Addiction and Bipolar Disorder- How the Two Connect

Sex addiction is rarely spoken about, especially as a disease that is common among both men and women. Just because it’s not a popular topic doesn’t mean that it isn’t important, though. Sex addiction can affect anyone at anytime and can be debilitating both physically and mentally. It can take a toll on a person’s entire world, including their relationships with family and friends. 


Sex addiction isn’t a one-size-fits-all disease. It can manifest in many different ways, with many different causes. It can also be related to other medical conditions. For example, it’s possible for an individual with bipolar disorder to exhibit signs of a sexual addiction.


Want to learn more? Keep reading below!

What is sex addiction?

What is sex addiction? It is an addiction that revolves around sexual desire or sexual fantasy. It can manifest in the form of cheating or affairs, pornography addiction, prostiution, casual and anonymous sex, and more. 


To be considered an addiction and not high sex drive, the addict needs to be displaying their behavior for more than six months. This behavior will be inappropriate and will have negative impacts on themselves and their family.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive illness that can affect anyone at any age. It causes shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and activity levels and can affect their ability to function on an every-day level.


There are several different types of bipolar disorders. These include:

Bipolar I

Bipolar I disorder is usually defined by manic episodes that can last a week or more. These episodes can range from mild to severe, sometimes requiring hospitalization. There are usually depressive states as well where the patient can go up to 2 weeks in a deep depression. 

It’s also possible that people with Bipolar I disorder can experience both manic and depressive states at the same time. 

Bipolar II

Bipolar II is characterized by the same episodes mentioned above but usually in more mild states. In other words, the depressive and/or manic states are not usually full episodes that require immediate medical attention. People with Bipolar II don’t usually experience both states at the same time.


Cyclothymia is very similar to Bipolar II except the manic or depressive symptoms last much longer, sometimes upwards of several years. They are not defined as “episodes” but rather long-term emotional states. 


In addition to having several types of bipolar disorders, there are also many symptoms. Below are the symptoms of both manic and depressive states:

Manic bipolar symptoms

Feeling very “high” or excited

Having lots of energy

Feeling jumpy or antsy

Having trouble sleeping

Being irritable

Having racing thoughts

Doing risky things like having random sex

Depressive bipolar symptoms

Feeling sad and hopeless

Having little to no energy

Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

Feeling no excitement or joy

Feeling forgetful

Thinking about death

Are sex addiction and bipolar disorder related?

So, are sex addiction and bipolar disorder related? The short answer, it depends. There have been plenty of studies that show a relationship between bipolar emotional states and sexuality. For example, manic episodes can lead to hypersexuality and depressive states can lead to a loss of sexual desire. 

Mania and hypersexuality

Mania states can make a person experience hypersexuality. This means that, in their emotional state, they are more likely to feel preoccupied with the idea of sex or sexual fantasy. Lead on by their bursts of energy and exicement, they can pursue causual sex or masturbation in an attempt to feed into their emotions. This is a classic sign of sexual addiction. However, it can be difficult to say if the patient is a true sexual addict or if they’re just struggling with the effects of their bipolar disorder.

Depression and loss of sexual desire

While mania can lead to hypersexuality, depression can cause the opposite – a loss of sexual desire. This means that the person will not feel any desire for sexual stimulation, whether through masturbation or intercourse. This can directly affect their relationships with others, which can then lead to their symptoms worsening. 


With proper treatment, most bipolar disorder patients will not see the symptoms of mania and depression affect their sexual desires. However, it’s still entirely possible. Does it make them sexual addicts? Not necessarily.


On the other hand, do these symptoms mean that sexual addicts also have bipolar disorder? The answer is no. In this case, symptoms are just overlapping together. The chances of a person having both bipolar disorder and sexual addiction are very slim. 

Seek counseling

Are you struggling with sexual addiction? If so, you are not alone. Upwards of 5% of the population is fighting with the same disease. At Coeur d’Alene Counseling, we treat addicts just like you. We help you come to terms with your addiction so that you can begin the process towards recovery.


You don’t need to fight your battles alone – let us help you at Coeur d’Alene Counseling today!