ADHD and intimacy: navigating love and lust

ADHD and intimacy seldom find themselves in the spotlight, yet sexual dissatisfaction can creep into relationships where one or both partners grapple with ADHD. ADHD symptoms can be a contributing factor; distractions can hamper intimacy and sexual satisfaction. Boredom may also play a role. Fortunately, ADHD, intimacy, and sexuality can harmoniously coexist in a healthy relationship. In this article, we delve into ADHD and intimacy, exploring the challenges and solutions.

ADHD and Intimacy: Where We Encounter Obstacles

These topics are rarely discussed, despite sexual problems being prevalent among adults with AD(H)D. A common complaint, as noted by ADDitude, is a lack of sexual intimacy—a concern about sex that doesn't nurture genuine emotional intimacy. However, sexual ennui is also familiar to adults with ADHD. Dissatisfaction with your sex life may arise when your relationship feels out of balance. This can happen when the partner without ADHD feels compelled to take on a motherly or fatherly role (e.g., handling all household matters).

add en intimiteit seksleven adhd

What's necessary for intimacy and sexuality?

To savor intimacy and sexuality, certain ingredients are essential: relaxation, vulnerability, connection with your partner, and being fully present. In an “ADHD relationship,” it's crucial that both partners feel relaxed and playful, able to set aside the outside world to enjoy the moment fully. This can be challenging for someone with ADD or ADHD; we're easily distracted. Some adults with ADHD grapple with constant thoughts, while others wrestle with overwhelming emotions.

Thankfully, beyond ADHD medication, numerous methods can help overcome ADHD symptoms like distractibility, lack of concentration, daydreaming, and impulsivity. For example ADHD supplements or meditation and mindfulness practices.

Sexual Dysfunction in ADD and ADHD: The Role of Symptoms

The intersection of ADD or ADHD with intimacy and sexuality can be a tricky one. ADHD and ADD symptoms can potentially lead to sexual dysfunction. Consider symptoms like depression, emotional instability, fatigue, and anxiety. These symptoms can dampen sexual desire. On the other hand, distractibility (lack of focus and concentration, difficulty staying in the moment) can create sexual roadblocks. Conversely, hyperactivity can make it challenging to relax and get in the mood for sex.

Some individuals with ADHD or ADD are highly sensitive. Certain activities or touches may feel pleasant to someone without ADHD but overly sensitive to someone with ADHD. Sensitivity to smell can also come into play.

ADHD seks

Bedroom boredom in ADHD

Adults with ADHD often respond well to excitement. However, as passion fades, as it does in any relationship, individuals with ADHD might lose interest in intimacy and sex. They may opt for other activities that provide more excitement.

ADHD, ADD, and intimacy: equals in partnership?

A lack of intimacy in an “ADHD relationship” often stems from an imbalance. When the partner with AD(H)D doesn't have their symptoms under control, perhaps creating chaos in managing household affairs, the partner without ADHD may feel compelled to assume a motherly or fatherly role. This can adversely affect your sex life.

The partner without AD(H)D may resort to nagging, which can dampen both partners' interest in sex. Insecurity can intensify for the partner with ADHD, further reducing the desire for intimacy.

ADHD en sex

Hypersexuality in ADHD

There's another potential link between ADHD/ADD and intimacy: the emergence of hypersexuality in adults with ADHD.

Hypersexuality entails an extreme desire for sex. This phenomenon occasionally occurs in individuals with ADHD. Sexual stimulation releases endorphins and mobilizes brain neurotransmitters, inducing a sense of calm. Adults with ADHD often wrestle with restlessness, and endorphins can help ease this restlessness. However, when sex is used as a coping mechanism for symptoms, it can hinder intimacy and healthy sexuality within a relationship (source: Healthline).

Hyposexuality: ADHD and a Lack of Sexual Desire or Intimacy

Lack of interest in sex or intimacy is known as hyposexuality. This may stem from the previously mentioned symptoms (e.g., distractibility, depression, mood swings, fatigue) or could be a side effect of ADHD medication, particularly antidepressants (source: Healthline).

add en intimiteit seksualiteit

Tips for ADHD, ADD, and intimacy/sexuality

Are you looking to improve your sex life and intimacy in your ‘ADHD relationship'? These tips might help:

  • Take responsibility as a partner with ADHD and work on your symptoms. Focus on improving concentration, reducing overthinking, and living in the moment. Consider practices like Mindfulness, ADHD coaching, therapy, medication, or AD(H)D supplements.
  • If you're a partner without ADHD, take responsibility and communicate with your partner. Ask what your partner needs to relax better. Perhaps it's a massage or a different form of foreplay.
  • Discuss with your partner how ADHD affects intimacy and sexual expression. Be mindful of each other's needs and limitations. Sometimes, addressing this outside the bedroom works better as the bedroom can feel too vulnerable.
  • Keep sex exciting and varied. Experiment with new positions, locations, and techniques to keep the bedroom from becoming monotonous.
  • Don't hesitate to seek help from a relationship or sex therapist.
  • Consider attending a tantra workshop together.
  • Collaborate on being ‘in the moment.' For example, keep phones out of the bedroom and engage in calming exercises together. Give each other massages, do yoga, or meditate as a team.
  • Schedule ‘sex dates' and commit to them, even when you're not in the mood for sex. During these dates, focus 100% on each other. Cuddle, massage, make eye contact—simply enjoy each other's presence and the moment. Prioritizing intimacy ensures it doesn't fade away.
  • Regularly touch each other throughout the day to maintain a connection. Hold hands, wash each other's hair, massage sore feet, and hug frequently.
  • Leave romantic (sensual and/or sexual) notes for each other.
adhd seksualiteit intimiteit

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