A person suffering from the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsive behaviour and problems paying attention. In adult life, the condition can have a great impact as a person suffering from ADHD might lack self-esteem and have difficulties maintaining a stable relationship or career. The disorder can furthermore effect sexuality later in life, as ADHD has also been linked to anxiety, depression and overall emotional instability – all conditions which have a negative impact on sex drive and can in worse cases even lead to sexual dysfunction. To help a couple deal with such sexual challenges, it is important for them to understand how ADHD can affect their love life.
ADHD patients sometimes suffer from hypersexuality, commonly known as high sex drive. As a result, they often seek overstimulation in the consumption of pornography putting a strain on the partnership. People with ADHD are also known to engage in risky sexual practices such as unprotected intercourse or having multiple sex partners as types of impulsive behaviourism while already being at increased risk for substance use, which might furthermore lead to poor decision-making and sexual risk-taking.
Another possible side effect people with ADHD might experience is the total opposite: hyposexuality meaning they suddenly lack interest in sexuality. While it is still not sure what causes the condition, a lot of times loss of interest is a reaction to medication as ADHD patients are often prescribed heavy antidepressants.
Having trouble concentrating, losing interest or getting distracted are very common symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Especially for partners of someone living with this disorder, such symptoms might be misinterpreted as rejection and therefore very painful. This is why it is important for the healthy partner to understand, that ADHD causes issues in many areas of life and that losing the interest of sex within the action is often no exception and has nothing to do with lack of affection or interest. A person that has ADHD experiences exaggerated feelings such as anger and frustration. These symptoms can be extremely challenging on a day-to-day basis and create conflict in a romantic relationship making it difficult for both partners to connect in general.
To get a struggling ADHD couple back on track with their sex life, it is important to work on being in the moment and not to get distracted. Some partners practice calming exercises together such as meditation or yoga before hitting the sheets. Spending a lot of time on foreplay and kissing may also take the pressure out of the situation before the actual intercourse. Another way to stay focussed in bed is to spice things up a little by trying new positions, techniques and even different locations than the bedroom to prevent the person suffering ADHD from getting bored and seeking distraction.
In any healthy relationship, it is highly important to discuss any issues no matter how intimate and embarrassing they might be in order to gain a deeper understanding not only about the problem but the struggles and feelings the partner is experiencing. As communication is the key to a happy relationship, it is inevitable to discuss how the disorder may affect intimacy and sexuality. When both partners are open and willing to compromise they will certainly find a way that is comfortable for both. There is also the possibility to seek a sex therapist or mental health professional if the issues are too big to overcome alone. A lot of couples dealing with ADHD reclaim their sex lives through counselling or sex therapy as a professional helps them to understand each other better, clarifies misunderstandings and entwines arguments. Being able to communicate about intimacy and related problems can help increase sexual satisfaction and help reframe sexual challenges.