Sexuality can be hard to measure against an ADHD backdrop. Like many other issues associated with ADHD, sexual symptoms may be different in each person. However, sexual dysfunction can wreak havoc on a relationship. It’s important that partners understand the relationship between ADHD and sexuality and how to cope.
People with ADHD usually fall into one of two categories when it comes to their sex drive: hyper-sexuality or hypo-sexuality.
Hyper-Sexuality and ADHD
Hyper-sexuality is characterized by an unusually high sex drive. People who are hypersexual want to engage in sexual behavior frequently, often to the point that daily activities are left uncompleted. It is not unusual for people with hyper-sexuality to spend a great deal of time watching pornography, masturbating, or fantasizing because of an increased need for sexual stimulation or to combat boredom.
Sexual stimulation releases endorphins and mobilizes the brain’s neurotransmitters, giving a person with ADHD a feeling of calm that reduces the restlessness often caused by ADHD. However, promiscuity and consumption of pornography are often sources of relationship strife.
Hypo-Sexuality and ADHD
Hypo-sexuality is the opposite—a person’s sex drive plummets and they often have no interest in sexual activity at all. This can be caused by the ADHD itself or as a side effect of medication, particularly antidepressants that are often prescribed for ADHD patients.
Sex is no different from other activities that present a challenge for someone with ADHD. ADHD can cause people to have trouble concentrating, lose interest in what they are doing, or become distracted.
Overcoming Sexual Challenges
Women with ADHD often have trouble reaching orgasm. Some report that they are able to have many orgasms very quickly, but then sometimes cannot have one, even with prolonged stimulation. People with ADHD are hypersensitive as well, and what may be a pleasurable aspect of intimacy for the non-ADHD partner can be irritating or even painful for the person with ADHD.
Smells, touches, and tastes that often accompany intercourse can be repulsive or annoying to someone with ADHD. Another challenge to achieve intimacy for someone with ADHD is hyperactivity. It may be very difficult for an ADHD partner to relax enough to get in the mood for sex.
Mix it Up
Don’t be afraid to try new things in the bedroom to decrease boredom. Discuss ways to spice things up before sex to ensure that both parties are comfortable. Seek a variety of positions, locations, and techniques whenever possible.
Communicate and Compromise
Discuss ADHD and how it may affect your intimacy and sexual expression. If you know that your partner with ADHD is sensitive to light or sweet smells, for example, turn off the lights and refrain from using lotions or perfumes. Do not be afraid to seek the help of a qualified sex therapist. Many couples coping with ADHD benefit greatly from couples counseling and sex therapy.
Make it a goal to work on being in the moment. Get rid of distractions and try doing calming exercises together, such as yoga or meditation, so you can learn to be in the now. Make dates for sex and commit to them. Making sex a priority will ensure that you don’t get sidetracked.