Does ADHD effect your sex life?  Have you ever even thought about it?  I didn’t, until recently reading that it can have both positive and negative influences on your overall sexual experience.

So the question it than raised for me is “Is ADHD a blessing or a curse for your sex life?”  It is such a complicated issue, perhaps it is both a blessing AND a curse?  I’m interested in hearing all of your thoughts after you read a bit more, and see how it applies to your own life.

12 Comments to
Sex and ADHD; A Blessing or a Curse?

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  1. I have a difficult time believing ADHD makes someone have an affair. “Honey, I can’t help that I sleep around on you. I have ADHD.” I just don’t buy that.

    • Claire,
      James and Zoe are on target – I wasn’t suggesting that ADHD makes someone or excuses an affair. What it does is creates behavior that can lead to an affair if it is left undiagnosed and untreated. We can’t change our past behavior, but we can learn from it and make better decisions in the future because of it.

      My guess is that if infidelity is a problem, it has always been a problem for the person and unless they find out what is causing it and actively treat it, they will not stop doing it. It could be a moral issue and they don’t really care. It could also be partially a brain issue, and that they have not learned how to manage their impulsive behaviors appropriately to avoid putting themselves in bad situations.

      To me it is similar to eating hamburgers and fries even when a person knows they have very high cholesterol and heart disease in the family. They can change their eating habits or not. The biggest problem comes when they don’t even know they have high cholesterol and heart disease in the family so they can not actively work to control it (and have support and encouragement from their significant other).

      Hope this helps clarify a bit. Thanks so much for bringing it up – a really important point!

  2. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Kathryn is offering an excuse for those who cheat.

    Whether someone cheats or not is a very touchy point, and I think most would agree that it is not a socially accepted behavior.

    However, if you are discussing the effects that ADHD has on your sexual life and proclivities, I believe the statement that it may “Increase the chance of an affair” is a fair statement that is not outside the bounds of reason.

  3. Hey Claire,
    Fortunately, you don’t HAVE to “buy that,” because it’s NOT what Kathryn said.

    What Kathryn wrote was:

    ADHD can “Increase the chance of an affair,” which is a far cry from “making” someone have an affair.

    Although she doesn’t go into an explanation, one reason for this is that those of us with ADHD, ESPECIALLY if it’s been undiagnosed, are often prone to impulsivity. In other words, we act before we think. It’s not because we’re irresponsible; this is not a MORAL weakness, it’s the way our brains are wired. If this were a moral issue, why would it change once the adult with ADHD has been diagnosed, has received treatment (often including medication), etc.?

    I know this from a professional as well as personal level, because I am an author and researcher on ADHD, and also a diagnosed ADHD adult.

    As a young, undiagnosed adult ADHDer, I was prone to promiscuity for some years. It is understood by researchers of adult ADHD that thrill-seeking behaviour of any kind (for example, driving fast, engaging in extreme sports, and yes, having lots of affairs) can stimulate an ADHDer’s brain in a way that acts as self-medicating. An undiagnosed ADHDer seeks out these experiences to ameliorate the imbalance of neurostransmitters, etc. in their brain, which has a different biochemistry than yours (assuming you do NOT have ADHD).

    It’s not a simple issue, but one worth reading about before you make snap judgments. Kathryn is entirely right in stating what she does, but a blog post unfortunately can’t always give the full explanation regarding a particular issue.

    If you are interested in this topic, I would highly recommend you read any of a number of excellent books on the topic of adult ADHD (if you haven’t already done so, and I suspect that you haven’t, because if you had, you’d know all this already and hopefully not feel compelled to make such a comment), perhaps starting with Driven to Distraction by Drs. Ed Hallowell and John Ratey.

    Hope this clears things up a bit for you.

    Zoë Kessler, B.A., B.Ed.
    Psych Central blogger, ADHD from A to Zoë

  4. Sir,
    I think it’s about time that these adhd myths were debunked. It seems that the psychiatric profession has forgotton all about childrens’ usual boisterous behaviour and thus packaged it together as individual symtoms of a mental illness – shame on them!

    Why don’t they ever identify poor diet, inadequate supply of nutritious foods, have the child undergo a full and searching physical check up. Sometimes even poor upbringing brings about all these so-called sysmptoms that so-called experts keep ‘banging on about’ for their career enhancing kudos. Not forgetting the “celebrity practitioner” who jumps upon the adhd band-wagon in the wake of psychiatry’s heavy promotion of what is just another set of human behaviors voted into existance as a mental illness.
    If you think I’m kidding, take a look at the latest DSM (Diagnostic Statistic Manual). It’s Becoming much more voluminous with every issue. They just vote these “mental illnesses” at the DSM Committee at the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual General Meeting.

    Complimentary & Alternative Medicines Industry have solutions that work. That’s why many adults opt-out of conventional medicine, even at their own expense, because they know what works and what doesn’t.
    However, placing kids on alternative medicines is not a cure for adhd, it’s simply handling the physical conditions that are being diagnosed as adhd.

    Paul Fletcher
    CCHR London
    http://www.cchr-london.org

  5. I think the post was talking about impulsivity, but that’s not my issue. If I forget to take my stimulant medicine, I get bored and am so unfocused, I can’t orgasm.

    • Bev,
      Thanks so much for bringing this up! What a fantastic point. I’ve never even thought about how my meds relate to this as I am so concerned with having the meds help me focus at work I don’t care if they wear off at other points during the day.

      Really great point and I like the tip so thanks for bring it up!

  6. I was diagnosed with ADULT A.D.H.D. I honest first didnt believe it Im like yeah write but 95% of the symptoms is what I expierence. Learn this Living with adult adhd sucks. I have had deppression and anxiety problems my whole entire life from as early as I can remember. The whole trailing off thing during sex is so very true. I just thought I didnt like sex. But I do. Haveing sex when your in a relationship will help with deppression. I like to be touched but only by my partener. I also love hugs and kisses by loved ones. ADHD medicine is a gift from God. It really is. It helps with so much more like my angry outbursts my compulsive nature. It helps me with patients. So i dont act like a two year old standing in a long line. I hate trailing off during conversations then acting like I know what people just said. Most of the time I am figureing out directions myself. As for cheating and haveing an affair never. Not if I am in love. Thats all I have looked for my whole life that wonderful rewarding blessing called true love. I only need one person. To share myself with. Even though iHave adhd. And if you actualy know what the symptoms are and take a look at me in my life you can easily see that. Adhd will not be tolerated as an excuse. You should partener with an adult not a horny teenager. Well unless you are a teenager. I have a low sex drive. But if I am in love sexualy pleaseing my partener is important. Because I love them. But intemecy is not just about sex its so much more. I would be happy just waking up next to a man who truely loves me. Although this has effected my life I am intellegent. As for interruppting people yes i am aware I do that. I try very hard not to do that. I cant tell you the stress sitting in my seat during a meeting causes me. The stress that you dont complete things and most things in repetition are so hard. My attention span to fish and swim or play games withy my adhd children is about 8 to ten minutes. That is so hard to deal with. I hate that part of my brain. But I am a strong person and I work through that. So dont sit here and tell me you cant atleast try. Dont sit here and tell people adhd is an excuse to have an affair.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree it is not an excuse to have an affair at all – it is something we need to be aware of and work to keep top of mind. Just because you have alcoholism in your family does not mean you will be an alcoholic – but it does increase your chance. So the idea is to be aware and take care.

  7. I tend to think that in many of us ADD/ADHD folks that there’s a link between the attraction to novelty and considering affairs. If you have one partner for a long enough time then “familiarity breeds contempt” as the old saying goes. My wife is always teasing me about “shiny objects” destroying my focus… I simply need to know what a)it looks like. b)it feels like. c)it tastes like. d) what it’s function might be. It’s not a huge jump for me to accept that some ADD/ADHD afflicted people have the same curiousity about a new partner. Couple that with impulse control issues and you have a very dangerous mix that has a very high probablity of leading to infidelity.

  8. I have always questioned and maybe even known (without allowing myself to accept)that I have a good possiblity of having ADD. I’ve never had an issue with the hyper end of the deal but have had a horrible time with the focusing, concentrating part of it. It has effected me in scholl, work and now believed sex life. I find myself drifting off in my thoughts during sex which makes it almost imposible to get in/stay in the mood and or have an origasm! I was really starting to believe that I no longer enjoyed sex or had a sex drive any more. Even worst, I was starting to think I was no longer satisfied or pleased by my partner of 4yrs. I love him more than anything and couldn’t picture living the rest of my life woth anyone else, but at the same time, i know how important it is to have a healthy sex life and how a healthy sex life is need to have a healthy and long relationship. I have become torn within this issue and started questioning my relationship. I know I love this man and want to spend the rest of my life with him, but I also feel as though I am “bored”. I have a doctors appointment FINALLY made and I am hoping that if diagnosed with ADHD, that I will finally get the help that I need in keeping my mind focused on one thing at a time and not be such a scatter brain! Hopefully I will see less of a struggle with my job, school and most of all my sex life!

    • I’m so glad you made a doctor’s appointment, and hope it went well. I, too, questioned the ADHD because I didn’t think I was hyperactive. However, I came to understand hyperactive gets played out different ways in different people. For me, it is impulsivity. I don’t necessarily physically bounce all around, but I do mentally (sometimes it may manifest physically).

      So maybe that helps? I do hope you got some good doctors, and find success with treatment. Thanks for writing!

 

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