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ADHD and Sex: How To Have a Sexually Fulfilling Life

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What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is often diagnosed in childhood and stays to adulthood. People with ADHD have symptoms such as

  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Problems focusing on a task.

In adulthood it impacts you in both your professional and personal life. You can lose track of time and end up missing deadlines and forgetting meetings.

What are the effects of ADHD on sexuality

Wandering mind

adhd text
Image: Tara Winstead

You will find that you have trouble paying attention when being intimate with your partner. Distractions can be external such as music or the TV. Internal where you start having intrusive thoughts, future plans or ideas on how to fix certain situations. This makes it harder to be in the moment and your partner might get negative feelings from it such as you not being interested in them which is not the case.

Climax

Many women with ADHD find it difficult to get orgasms during sex because the distraction they have changes the mood. For you to achieve climax it will be a bit a harder and take a little longer.

Hypersexuality

This means that your sex drive is unusually high. When you are sexually stimulated your brain releases endorphins and mobilizes the brain’s neurotransmitters. The calm that comes after is bliss for your restless mind. You may find yourself seeking more of it in reckless ways such as watching a lot of pornographic material which can lead to relationship trouble and addiction.

Hyposexuality

It is on the opposite side where you have a low sex drive and lose interest in sex. The reason for this can be the ADHD itself or the medications you use. If you are prescribed antidepressants to help manage your ADHD, one of the side effects is that your libido will be lowered.

Hypersensitivity

Those with ADHD have this attribute. You are highly sensitive to physical stimuli such as touch and emotional stimuli such as being easily overwhelmed by too much information. This reframes how you live as you have to change a lot of regular things in order to achieve needed goals. Certain sounds or the feel of the fabric of the cotton sheets could stop you from enjoying your intimate moments.

Risky behavior

The constant need for sex and impulsive behavior can also make you attempt risky acts. It could be having unprotected sex with someone or doing certain acts that are not safe or healthy for the thrill. This is because with ADHD you have lower levels of neurotransmitters making you more impulsive. This however, doesn’t mean that everyone ADHD will engage in risky actions.

Mood changes

Having ADHD you find that your moods tend to be unstable at times. You can go from excitement to anxiousness, from calm to restless in a moment. This can be a challenge when having sex because when you are trying to focus and be in the moment your mood shifts because of a word or thought. You can feel like cuddling in one moment and need space the next. This leaves you feeling so frustrated and unsatisfied.

How to handle the situation

topless woman closing her eyes
Image: Valeria Boltneva

Closing eyes

When having sex with your partner eye contact can increase the level of intimacy and connection. This does not happen across the board as having your eyes open leaves a lot of visual stimulation. Your attention is easily grabbed by different things which make it harder to focus on what you are feeling. By keeping your eyes closed you can minimize the chances of being distracted. The focal point will be the stimulation you feel from what is happening. It will make you feel more physically present with your partner. It can also enhance the experience by heightening your sensitivity. With your vision taken other senses take precedence.

Take the dominant role

Being in charge leaves you responsible for what is happening to your partner. You direct all your attention on them and the pleasure you receive. By focusing on fulfilling a need you get satisfaction.

One thing you can try is shibari which is an artistic form of Japanese rope bondage. The rigging process is a slow and therapeutic art form that also gives pleasure to your partner. To ensure they don’t get hurt, you have to be keen which can absorb all your attention thereby avoiding distractions. It also boosts your confidence in the process as many people with ADHD fear being in a position of control due to a fear of failure.

“Shibari originated from Hojo-jutsu, a method of restraining captives and a form of torture, before morphing again into the erotic bondage Kinbaku (Kinbaku-bi literally translates as “the beauty of tight binding”) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” stated in the guardian.

monochrome shot of a person tied with rope
Image Михаил Шнейдер

BDSM

“I found sex really hard to enjoy when i was in vanilla relationships, my mind would always wander and I ended up getting distracted and it ruined the mood. Since I’ve found kink as a sub I’ve found sex so much more enjoyable. Obviously I had the kink already, but I feel like it demands my attention and there’s no way for me to end up getting distracted and that’s just really nice. Not really a question, just wondering if other people have the same experience,” a redditor revealed.

Reduce the number of distractions

 When having sex many like to set the mood with some music but it might be too much. You can try something else that doesn’t take away from the act. If it is music, turn it off. Same with the television, it can grab your attention making it harder to reach climax. You will start to strain to hear what is being said as well as fight to enjoy what is happening. The end result is dissatisfaction and exhaustion from struggling to maintain your attention to one thing.

Find an understanding partner

 Sex is not a one person event; everyone takes part and finds pleasure in the act. The benefit of having an amazing partner is that they will take your needs into consideration and work towards giving you the same pleasure they receive. Find a partner who will engage your senses and knows how to keep you focused on them.

Take your medication

person taking pill
Image: Polina Tankilevitch

ADHD medication that can help boost your focus so if you keep taking the prescribed dosage you will be able to enjoy sex. They can also keep you aware enough not to indulge in impulsive and dangerous actions. If they lower your sex drive you should go to your doctor so they can prescribe new medication or alternative treatment methods.

Speak up during sex

If you experience any form of discomfort during sex, whether mental, emotional or physical talk to your partner. This will make them slow down and talk to you to bring you back to the right mindset or simply change what they were doing to cause discomfort. Being direct will help you avoid arguments and build a healthy relationship.

Set up a schedule

While it might not be sexy, it can help you if you have a problem with spontaneity. Sit down and create a schedule with your partner and have a bold color beside it so it will attract your attention making it harder to forget.

Bottom Line

ADHD can affect your life in so many ways including your sex life. What matters is recognizing them and working towards finding ways to work around the obstacles.

The value of a good partner for a person with ADHD is immeasurable as they will listen and adapt to your specific needs. You can both come up with ways to achieve a healthy sex life.

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