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7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets

'why yes I love him, but keep it secret!' Gisela Giardino via Compfight

I’ve read a lot of books written about ADHD by people who don’t have ADHD. Like other groups, it’s amazing what we talk about when it’s just us.

Some might see me as a traitor, giving away these dirty little secrets, but somebody’s got to do it. Besides, so far they’re just my hypotheses. I’d love to see some research to back up my observations.

The one thing that’s not a secret is that the more we understand ADHD, the better we’ll be able to help ourselves and help and support others.

See if any of these strike a chord for you.

1 ) We’re poor

Obviously, this is not across the board; but based on personal connections with hundreds of adults with ADHD, online adult ADHD discussion groups, and the well-documented research showing that having ADHD puts us at higher risk for financial troubles I’m suggesting that more of us are living below the poverty line than is realized.

It’s understandable that late-diagnosed adults with ADHD would be reticent to share their state of financial poverty. Having already suffered shame and blame for their ADHD behaviors, why open yourself up to further judgment in a culture that all-too-often equates financial status with a person’s worth?

It’s a dirty little secret, but I hypothesize that a higher-than-average percentage of us are poor or low-income, or would be if we weren’t living with our non-ADHD wage-earning spouse.

2 ) We’re kinky

Or not. I’m guessing that several states of sexual extremes are overly represented amongst us.

It’s common knowledge that a lot of us with ADHD are adrenaline junkies. This is based on our neurobiology – we need the jolt of adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, whatever to stir us out of our stupor and focus.

When you translate that to the bedroom, it’s logical that our dirty little secret is that many with ADHD enjoy sexual practices outside the norm, enjoying role-playing, fetishes, and whatever else to rev libidos up enough to enjoy sex.

Then there’s the other extreme: ADHDers who are asexual, having zero interest in anything carnal.

Two more ADHD-based extremes (I’d hypothesize) include those who are hypersensitive, including HSPs (highly sensitive people). Some are easily orgasmic: touch is so intense it doesn’t take much for them to go from zero to ninety. Or the opposite: the slightest touch is painful and sex is avoided or modified to accommodate being unpleasantly over-sensitive.

Again, I’m drawing from my secret (and not-so-secret) sources to make my hypotheses. I’d love to see some research to verify and quantify my observations.


3 ) We’re faking it

The casual, non-ADHD observer doesn’t have any idea how hard we’re trying to do what others do. The amount of energy expended and number of challenges to overcome in simply getting to work in the morning is anything but simple. If we look calm, competent, or non-ADHD, we’re probably faking it. Beneath the surface, we’re paddling as hard as we can.

Throw learning disabilities or a second mental health issue into the mix (and the majority of us come with the combo-pack), it’s an uphill climb from sunup to sundown.

I’ll  share the final 4 of the dirty little secrets in my next post. Right now, I need a rest.

Stay tuned for 7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets – Part II tomorrow.


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7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2014). 7 Dirty Little ADHD Secrets. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 May 2014
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