Sexuality and Mental Illness

I was introduced to sex at the ripe old age of seven. Some neighborhood kids starting playing sexual games and used me as a pawn. They were twelve and thirteen and introduced me to sex and masturbation. My mother was clueless as always in her absentee parenting. Learning how to masturbate at such an early age was crucial in how I viewed my sexuality as I turned into a teenager. I thought sex was "nasty" and felt guilty for having sexual drives. It took years for me to realize that I was sexually molested by those kids. The guilt and hurt I felt I kept to myself. Masturbation was a way for me to release the stress and self-loathing I felt as I grew into adulthood. I became addicted to masturbation in my teen years. I would feel sexual drives just before my menstrual cycle and during menstruation. I didn't understand why I would feel these sexual urges and why they happened every month. I just kept it a secret. I told noone.

When I became a Christian at nineteen years old I learned that masturbation was a sin. I had to confess it and try not to give in to temptation. I felt such shame and self-loathing for having such sexual urges. I felt like a pervert. I even prayed that I wouldn't get married until I overcame such nastiness. Years later, I felt that I had conquered my sexual drives and addiction to masturbation. I felt that I could marry with a clear conscience.

Then during the first six months of my marriage I felt frustrated because I couldn't have an orgasm with my husband. I knew I could orgasm by myself but I felt uncomfortable around my husband. Eventually I did orgasm and had regular sex with my husband. Then in 2003 my husband lost his job and health insurance coverage. I couldn't get medication. I was depressed that whole year. I stopped wanting sex. Then in 2004 I had a manic episode. During those two weeks I became hypersexual and had intense sexual urges and fantasies. I didn't cheat on my husband but I felf like I did because of the intense sexual fantasies. Then after I left the hospital I was intensly depressed. I was so depressed I didn't want sex with my husband. My husband said we went a year without sex. I just don't remember.

Now we have sex every few months. I want to have sex but my husband but he is not interested. I thing he has been hurt by my rejection too many times. I don't feel as depressed as I was but now I feel emotionally flatlined. I don't feel intense emotion. I feel some anxiety because of the global financial situation but I don't feel deep emotions. Even when my sister died I didn't cry or feel deep sadness or a sense of loss. My husband says I frown alot. He likes it when I smile. He thinks my laugh is sexy. I don't know what to do. Maybe I should change my medication or get checked out for hormonal imbalance.

When a person with bipolar disorder experiences depression the libido disapears. In contrast, when a person with bipolar disorder experiences mania or hypermania they experience intense sexual urges. Depending on the manic episode a person could act on their urges and do some real harm to permanent relationships. I never cheated on my husband but I'm sure that has happened to people with bipolar disorder. I'm sure there are marital situations that were harmed by a person's lack of libido also. I know my marriage has suffered from my lack of sexual desire. I want to change that by being considerate of my husband and have regular sex with him even if I don't feel like it. I can always talk myself into the right mood. It just takes a little foreplay and music and I'm there.

I still feel so guilty when I engage in sex. It's like I feel as if God is watching me and for me to enjoy sex is bad. It means I'm a nasty girl. Remember that song? It was by Vanity. "Do you think I'm a nasty girl?" Anyway, I don't know exactly how to get over the guilt I feel when I have sexual urges. I just want to react normally and without guilt to sexual pleasure whether it's initiated by my husband or myself.

As far as hypersexuality goes while in the midst of a manic or hypermanic epsisode goes I really need to see that it is a symptom of an illness and not indicative of my character or my commitment to my husband. I also need to see my lack of libido when I am depressed as a symptom of my illness and not a commentary on my feelings for my husband. I still love my husband either way and I am committed to the relationship.

There's just alot of guilt that I need to get rid of. Guilt for having a libido, guilt for not having one. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt either way. I feel like a bad wife for putting my husband through the wringer of my illness. It's really hard for him to deal with and I know he feels frustrated and angry because of it. I want things to be different between us. I don't want my illness to destroy my marriage.