Why you should care
Because you could ask Eugene, or your partner could tell him. The choice is yours.
The Knocking of Bipolar Boots
EUGENE, SIR: We met at a bar. She seemed cool. The questions that led up to us getting into bed seemed strange at first. Her perspective skewed to quirky, I think. Sex was great. A few weeks later disaster struck, and at dinner she was screaming at the waitstaff, accusing them of molesting children until they canceled our meal, put us out, and after a very tough night and some time apart, she apologizes and tells me that she is bipolar. I want to forgive her but this sounds like a lot of work. Please advise. — Torn
Dear Nutty Buddy:
In “my day” there was an offensive, limiting and totally unhelpful name for people who were “bipolar,” and that name was “nuts.” But it’s subsequently been determined that “nuts” is not particularly useful when dealing with a health issue that we’ve figured out how to manage, if not always control. With mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs and sometimes therapy, bipolar disease can just be like the flu or maybe an outbreak of herpes. If herpes weren’t contagious. Something that needs to be planned for and around.
And how often have you been pulled in to deal with your partner’s health issues, outside of maybe making them soup when they’re sick, or doing more of the housework? Not that much, right? The difference here, though, and this is at the heart of your question, really, is how much “dealing with” this will you have to do? And that depends on just about … everything. Then again, it may be just this: Does she take her meds?
Medications sometimes affect their personalities in a way that make the medications unattractive: making them feel loggy, sexually unresponsive and so on. I suspect she’d been off of them when you first consummated, hence the great sex and hence her desire to keep the great sex going.
But, if you’re a few weeks in, I’m going to counsel a little sangfroid and paraphrase Mae West in answering in a way that may not be too popular, but from my standpoint as a man with more than a passing involvement with all things lunatic: You can fall in love with a bipolar person just as easily as a non-bipolar person, but why bother?
I mean I’m sure chronic bed-wetters need love, too, but if you, the non-bed-wetter, have a choice, it seems best to set yourself on a path to ease and comfort versus, in this case, a mystery cycle of manic depressive unsteadiness. And there’s this: Sufferers of bipolarity run the risk of succumbing to suicide, anxieties, drug use and abuse, and other various and sundry forms of self-harm.
I have friends who are bipolar and seem to be doing just fine. I have friends who are bipolar and who are not. Probably the same could be said about folks who are not bipolar, but that doesn’t mean everything is relative. It’s a condition and it’s a serious condition. Now let your spirit be your guide.*
EUGENE, SIR: I have been married for many years and have had a wonderful sex life. My wife and I were relatively inexperienced when we met, and after all these years we are still. Are there any websites, books, videos, etc., that you would recommend that we could learn from without feeling like we are watching porn or that we have some sort of fetish? We can’t help but think that we are missing out by not having a better education on the subject. — K.S.
Dear IF-U-CN RD-THIS:
They got you, eh? “They” being the corporate overlords whose claims that you are not big enough, thin enough, fast enough, cool enough, slick or sexy enough drive us into the streets and into the malls to BUY that which will fill those holes that will make us so. Because you do start out by saying that you are married for YEARS and you have a “wonderful” sex life. Which is usually the point at which the letter writer realizes they have no letter to write.
So what it seems you really have is a suspicion that things are not going as well as they might as claimed by those who have consumed all of that stuff that makes you big, fast, cool, slick and sexy. Like questioning the existence of God, your mind can’t but help turn to thoughts of “what if we’re wrong?” and your wonderful sex life is, in actual fact, not wonderful at all.
Look, it’s probably not often that you’ve had to read a review to tell you how good the meal you’re eating is, correct? So I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that one of you is voicing a very real desire to do something different and cloaking it in “maybe we should learn something more about …” and hoping that a discussion can be enjoined without another discussion being broached. Which, if truth be told, is a pretty clever, cool and sensitive way of getting after it. “It” here being keeping your play fun.
So outside of the decidedly non-sexual library of instructional manuals like The Joy of Sex and so on, I’d recommend a decidedly modern solution: YouTube. Go to bed, snuggle in, type in “sex, instructional” and scan to your heart’s delight, until something strikes that slides you both a little closer to home. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but no more than the sneaking suspicion that after many years one or possibly both of you are dissatisfied with whatever constitutes “wonderful” in your bedroom.
EUGENE, SIR: Is there a sex position that is best? — An Inquiring Mind
Dear Twister: The best for what? Seriously. I think we can all agree that a sexual position that leads to immediate death is probably not that good if you’re not a praying mantis or a black widow spider. Your question is so open-ended that I might answer it a few different ways and maybe get you a little closer to an answer that might help, but “best”? I’m just going to assume that best here means “fun for all concerned” and be done with it.
According to The Lovers’ Guide , and sort of seconded by Cosmo magazine, the missionary position (couple face to face) is still the most popular. BuzzFeed, in a guide that almost sounds like it was written by people who have actually had sex, pegs something they call “The Chair,” which has one partner sitting and the other partner sitting and facing him or her. And so it goes: lots of agreement/disagreement on what constitutes best, but the enduring reality is clear, and that’s what’s best is easily what YOU have the most fun doing. In other words, crowdsourcing this one is a fool’s errand.