Sex & Bipolar Disorder

Sexual health researcher Dr. ⁠Heather Armstrong⁠ and mental health educator ⁠Vict⁠⁠oria Maxwell⁠ break down how bipolar disorder, mania, depression, and medication impacts sex, how to deal with hypersexuality and low libido, and strategies to improve your sexual well-being.

Hosted by Dr. Emma Morton.

Dr Heather Armstrong - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Dr. Heather Armstrong is an Assistant Professor in Sexual Health at the University of Southampton in Southampton, United Kingdom. She is also a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society. Her research primarily focuses on improving sexual health and well-being among sexual and gender minority people. She has presented her work at national and international conferences around the world and has published 60 journal articles and numerous book chapters. She is an Associate Editor at Sexual Health and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sex Research, Archives of Sexual Behavior, BMJ STI, and the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

Victoria Maxwell TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, psychosis, and anxiety, Victoria Maxwell has become one of North America’s top speakers and educators on the lived experience of mental illness and recovery, dismantling stigma and returning to work after a psychiatric disorder. As a performer, her funny, powerful messages about mental wellness create lasting change in individuals and organizations. By sharing her story of mental illness and recovery she makes the uncomfortable comfortable, the confusing understandable. The Mental Health Commission of Canada named her keynote That’s Just Crazy Talk as one of the top anti-stigma interventions in the country.

Chapters & Timestamps

03:46 About Dr. Heather Armstrong
04:38 About Victoria Maxwell
06:32 How of Bipolar Disorder Affects Sex
09:23 Hypersexuality & Triggers
14:35 Low Sexual Interest
17:10 Talking About Sex Is Challenging
20:42 How Medication Affects Sex & Dysfunction
26:33 Warning Signs & Preventing Hypersexuality
34:15 Pornography/Masturbation Triggers Mania?
36:24 How to Explain Hypersexuality to Your Partner
48:21 Solving Low Desire & Building Intimacy
55:10 Shame & Recovery from Hypersexuality
59:54 Is Increased Sex Drive Always Bad?


The Aftermath of Hypersexuality: Recovering from Shame & Forging a New Identity


  • Why Sexual Health Is Important – Bipolar Wellness Centre:
  • My Sexual Health Matters – PDF Guide for people with mental health issues:
Questions and comments?

  • Can pornography or masturbation trigger mania? If you have a history of hypersexuality, should you avoid these triggers as much as possible? We’re told that increased sexual behaviors are symptoms of mania, but in my experience they can trigger episodes as well, much like how exercise or gambling can trigger mania for some people.

  • Is it “normal” to feel uninterested in sex even during a high mood episode or even mania?

  • Is regular sex important to regulate bipolar disorder? I’ve been told that sex can level mood in the sense that sex can lift your mood when low, and when I’m high it can bring me back to a stable level.

  • Hypersexuality is no joke. I’m always worried that I may do something stupid that will destroy my relationship. What is your advice for communicating with a partner about your history of bipolar disorder and hypersexuality?

  • I might like this blog, my brother said, and he was entirely right. Seeing this post made my day. You are not aware of the amount of time I invested in finding this information.

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