In addition to low sex drive, low testosterone can cause depression/mood changes, loss of energy, bone loss, prostate issues, etc. A dear friend of mine has experienced this and is not doing much better on monthly testosterone injections.
My heart goes out to both of you on the bipolar issue. I know the awful med game all too well and having to make the ridiculous choice between side effects or going it on your own. Antidepressants (especially SSRIs) were a living nightmare for me and made things so much worse. Mood stabilizers left me flat and fat and miserable. I beat my head against that wall on and off for years. Thankfully after a severe cycle exacerbated by another medication, I finally found Lamictal, which has been my saving grace for the past seven years. I personally have absolutely zero negative side effects and don't feel like I'm "on" anything at all (which I can't say for any other psych med I've tried unless you count a couple supplements). And since I am now insurance-less as well, I am able to get my meds for free through GlaxoSmithKlein's "Bridges to Access" program.
I respect your decision to forgo meds after trying it all out. I have made that choice as well at various points in my 'journey'. Just offering my experience. I had no idea this particular med even existed until I was handed a dose pack.
Without meds or with the wrong meds I have definitely had issues with the sexual cycling from hypersexuality to no drive at all. I've had relationships fall apart due to both (at least in part). I will say that my lowest sex drive phases have no necessarily directly correlated with my lowest mood phases. There is a relation, but it's not always quite that cut and dry, in my experience.
Such a sudden and marked decrease in libido is definitely a symptom of a larger issue one way or another. And it could be a combination of things. There could be a testosterone issue, exacerbating a mood issue, and together both dragging down sex drive... or other combinations of issues.
You said he isn't on BP meds, but is he on any other medications?
Making time to reconnect directly without distraction sounds like a great idea. I know that having zero sex drive, especially when that wasn't the case previously, can wear on a relationship and cause more distance and discomfort. Even if Lady doesn't want to be sexual again yet, maybe you can reconnect and start experiencing more intimacy in other areas again. Could help you feel more satisfied and could even help him feel more open to sexual stuff over time.
I know that the feeling of rejection can be awful and from the other side, always being the one saying no can be frustrating and depressing as well. It's not necessarily that you want to reject your partner, but that's how it comes across and it feels awful for everyone. Counselling could be a great idea, but even if you can't do that maybe you can make an effort to express your feelings on the matter to each other directly but without blaming and possibly find other ways to communicate and meet those needs, or at least understand each other's point of view better.
I hope you're able to make some progress toward everyone feeling better. There are so many variables at play here and I really sympathize with your struggle, having been on both sides of something similar.
*edit to add*:
You mentioned that Lady has reservations about therapy because of misdiagnosis and medication issues in the past. Maybe it would help to see a Licensed Professional Counselor together (or a psychologist or psychotherapist) to relieve some of that worry. None of those therapists are licensed to prescribe medication and unless someone is deemed an imminent danger to themselves or others (obviously not the case here), there can't be any forcing psychiatric intervention or anything. An LPC could help work on your communication, understanding each other, and rebuilding intimacy rather than being as focused on the BP. Someone who also uses biofeedback techniques and such could be helpful as well. Relaxation, light therapy, etc can be great non-pharmaceutical options to promote overall well-being and help you both deal with the stress of the situation.
Last edited by Carolina; 08-06-2012 at 08:41 PM.
Reason: typos and additional info