Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause many symptoms that can have a negative impact on a person’s sex life.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can impact intimacy in marriage. Some challenges surrounding ADHD and sex may include a lack of impulse control or sensory issues.
Since folks with ADHD can experience inattention, a lack of focus during intimacy may cause a partner to feel as though they’re not desired.
Understanding ADHD and how it might affect sex in a marriage is a great start to overcoming any sexual difficulties or challenges in the bedroom.
If you or your partner is living with ADHD and want to overcome your sexual issues, know there are ways to improve your relationship and sexual intimacy.
- Hyperactivity: having excessive energy
- Inattention: difficulty paying attention
- Impulsivity: acting before thinking
These characteristics can affect attention and behavior and can also affect your sexual relationship. Some of the most common ways ADHD can affect sexual intimacy include:
- low libido
- lack of concentration during love making
- sensory issues, such as disliking being touched
- inability to reach orgasm due to lack of focus
- mood changes impacting sex drive
If you or your partner are living with ADHD and it’s affecting your sex life, you’re not alone.
ADHD and sex problems
Besides lack of sex, other issues may arise with couples where one or both partners have ADHD, such as hypersexuality. A 2019 study indicated that people with ADHD often reported experiencing hypersexuality and other sexual issues, such as excessive pornography consumption.
Additionally, a 2022 survey reported considerably higher hypersexual behavior in folks with ADHD than their partners without ADHD.
Some living with ADHD may also have a desire for risky sexual behaviors. A 2012 study examined the risky sexual behavior among college students. It concluded that undergraduate students with ADHD within the study were at high risk for sex without a condom or other barrier methods.
It’s important to note that not everyone with ADHD engages in these behaviors.
There are things you can do as a couple to ensure your marriage gets through sexual challenges. Here are a few techniques and strategies to help improve your sexual intimacy.
Have a conversation with your partner
If you feel uncomfortable talking with your partner face-to-face about your needs and desires, and what you are willing and not willing to do in the bedroom, try writing it down on paper. This will help to express your needs and create healthy boundaries in your marriage.
Remove any distractions from the bedroom
Folks living with ADHD may get easily distracted. If this sounds like you or your partner, try and reduce or remove any distractions that may increase mind wandering during sexual encounters.
If mood music or the hum of the fan is distracting enough to reduce arousal, then consider removing it from the bedroom.
When you know what triggers your distractions, and you can remove them beforehand, it’ll get easier to get in the mood and remain focused on your partner. This might even include removing your TV from the bedroom so that the bedroom is used for sleeping and sex only.
Boost intimacy through physical touch
Physical touch can be a powerful way to connect with your partner without having sex. Take a moment each day to touch your partner, whether it be by holding their hand or hugging them, just be sure to touch them in a way that is comfortable for both of you.
Consider carving out time each day to sit and cuddle with your partner. This can be before you get out of bed in the morning, before you go to sleep, or when you’re watching a movie together on the couch. You can even use this snuggle time to connect with your partner by sharing your feelings and emotions.
Keep things interesting in the bedroom
One of the main symptoms of ADHD is inattention, which means folks with ADHD can get bored quite easily. To keep things interesting in the bedroom, consider sharing your thoughts and desires for sexual intimacy with your partner.
Think about trying new positions or locations. You can even consider role playing with different outfits or experimenting with toys.
Take ADHD medication
Stimulants are the most common medication to treat ADHD and can help improve your attention and focus which, in turn, can help you stay in the moment and enjoy sex.
However, if you feel your ADHD medication is to blame for your sexual issues, talk with your doctor so they can help make changes and possibly prescribe you medication to better manage your symptoms.
Consider talking with a therapist
Sexual problems can be a sensitive topic to discuss, but it’s an important conversation to have. Consider seeking council from a couples therapist or a sex therapist.
A sex therapist can help you overcome any barriers in the bedroom that you may have and help improve your sexual intimacy. A couples therapist can be helpful if there are relationship concerns as well.
When looking for a therapist, be sure to seek council with someone who has experience working with clients who have ADHD.
ADHD can cause symptoms such as difficulty paying attention and acting without thinking. While these characteristics can affect your attention and behavior, they can also spill over into your sexual relationship with your partner.
Some common sex issues are:
- low sex drive
- disliking being touched
- distraction in the bedroom
Other issues that may arise are hypersexuality, where folks with ADHD may be into pornography or partake in risky behavior such as not wearing condoms.
If your thoughts wander during intimate moments with your partner, try to remember that this is common, especially for someone with ADHD. Be compassionate with yourself and try to bring your attention back to the present moment.
A few things you can do as a couple to improve your sex life is to consider:
- talking with your partner
- removing distractions in the bedroom
- connecting through touch
- harnessing your imagination
- taking medication if prescribed by your healthcare provider
- speaking with a couple’s therapist
Improving a lack of sexual intimacy in an ADHD relationship is possible. Know that support is available to you through therapy or other means.