Effects of ADHD on Sexuality

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Some people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may behave in hyper- or hyposexual ways, or they may not have happy sexual relationships.

ADHD can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and difficulty focusing.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is innate in human beings and is carried throughout their life. It is treatable even though there is no cure.

ADHD may have a major impact on adult life. For example, a person with ADHD diagnosis may find it difficult to maintain a stable relationship or employment and may have a low opinion of themselves.

What are the sexual symptoms of ADHD?

Determining the exact impact of ADHD on sexuality may be challenging. This is because each person may experience sexual symptoms differently.

Certain sexual symptoms might lead to sexual dysfunction. This could lead to a great deal of relational tension. Understanding how ADHD affects sexuality may help couples better handle the stress in their relationship.

Sexual symptoms are not included in the ADHD diagnostic guidelines found in the manual used by medical professionals to make diagnoses.

On the other hand, your sex drive may be negatively impacted by the prevalent ADHD symptoms listed below:


fluctuations in mood


When engaging in sexual activity, an ADHD individual may:

When engaging in sexual activity, an ADHD individual may: find it challenging to concentrate when having sex

appear uninterested in their partner, become easily distracted, and neglect to fulfill their wishes

misplace items like condoms or lubricants

It can be quite stressful for someone with ADHD to keep everything organized and in check. It’s probable that they aren’t as energetic or motivated to engage in sexual activities.

In 129 adults, women with ADHD reported significantly lower levels of overall satisfaction, arousal, orgasms, and sexual desire than did women without ADHD.

This could be the outcome of symptoms like distraction and an inability to focus on their body during sexual activity.

Compared to men without ADHD, men with ADHD reported equal levels of sexual desire but lower levels of erectile dysfunction, orgasms, and overall sexual satisfaction.

One possible sign of ADHD is hypersensitivity. This suggests that having sex with a partner who does not have ADHD may aggravate or distress the person with ADHD.

The tastes, scents, and touches that are often associated with sexual intercourse can be unpleasant or unappealing to an individual with ADHD.

Hyperactivity presents another obstacle to intimacy development for an individual with ADHD. It could be difficult for a partner with ADHD to relax enough to feel attracted to someone sexually.

ADHD has been linked to two documented sexual symptoms: hypersexuality and hyposexuality. An individual exhibiting sexual symptoms and diagnosed with ADHD may fall into one of these two categories.

Hypersexuality and ADHD

Hypersexuality is defined as having an overwhelming desire for sexual activity. This could result in behaviors that harm relationships, like having several partners or inappropriate use of pornography.

Recall that hypersexuality is not included in the DSM-5-TR’s diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Though more research is needed in this area, multiple studies have shown that many people who identify as hypersexual also have ADHD.

Sexual stimulation causes the release of endorphins and the activation of neurotransmitters in the brain. This produces a soothing feeling that reduces the restlessness that ADHD often causes.

Certain persons with ADHD may engage in risky sexual behaviors as a result of impulsive issues. People with ADHD may be more prone to make bad choices and take risks when it comes to their sexual health in addition to being more likely to consume substances.

A 2019 study found that although ADHD may affect hypersexuality regardless of a person’s sex, males are more likely than women to have problematic pornography consumption as a result of the disease.

Hyposexuality and ADHD

Hyposexuality is the opposite of hypersexuality: A person regularly loses interest in having sex and has abnormally low sex drive.

This could be the direct outcome of ADHD. Additionally, it could be a side effect of medication, particularly antidepressants, which doctors usually prescribe to individuals with ADHD.

Having sex can be just as difficult for someone with ADHD as any other activity. A person may find it difficult to concentrate, lose interest in what they’re doing, or become distracted during sexual activity.

What are the treatment options for managing sexual challenges?

Here are some methods for ADHD sufferers to manage and get past their sexual problems.

Power comes from knowledge.

Knowledge is power

Understanding more about ADHD and how its symptoms affect your partner’s or your own sexual life can help you find a meaningful relationship.

Communicate and compromise

Discuss the possible impact of ADHD on sexual expression and intimacy. If your partner suffers from ADHD, consider their needs in addition to your own. For example, you should turn off bright lights and refrain from using strong lotions or fragrances if your partner is sensitive to light or scent.

Seeking guidance from a licensed sex therapist is an additional choice. For many couples with ADHD, sex therapy and couples counseling are quite helpful.


Pay attention to the here and now. Take out all the distractions and try some soothing exercises together, like yoga or meditation.

Set up and maintain sex dates. Setting sex as a top priority might help ensure that it is not overlooked.

Mix it up

Once you have a firm grasp on your own or your partner’s ADHD, you may begin integrating new factors into your sexual life if you both so choose. For example, you may try experimenting with different stances, objects, locations, and techniques.


While having sexual symptoms does not meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, some people with the illness may find that symptoms like anxiety and mood swings make it difficult for them to be sexually active.

Prioritizing sex and using good communication are just two techniques people with ADHD might use to get past these challenges. Seeing a sex therapist or participating in couples counselling might also help you enjoy your sex more. 

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