Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, is a psychological disorder most often found in children, but it can persist through adulthood. Adults with ADD can have problems at work and in personal relationships, and have symptoms such as impulsivity, restlessness, distractibility and hyperemotionality. These symptoms can carry over to the bedroom. Although many people with ADD have high sex drives due to treating sex as a source of stimulation, other ADD patients have low sex drives. There are numerous reasons for low sex drive in ADD patients, and this disorder affects the sex partner as well as the sufferer.
Poor Attention Span and High Distractibility
Patients with ADD have short attention spans and are easily distracted. This crosses into problems in the bedroom because the ADD sufferer must focus on his own pleasure in order to orgasm, as well as the partner's pleasure. Outside stimuli such as phones ringing, the clock, noises outside and music quickly can get the ADD sufferer off track. Distraction can also come from within the mind; the ADD sufferer's brain can easily go from sex to his to-do list, or what's on TV that night. The quality of sex is either poor or sex is not completed, leading to low sex drive for the sufferer and partner.
ADD sufferers often initiate activities and then don't follow through to completion. Initiating sex without considering the consequences or budgeting the time needed may lead to unsatisfying sex, lowering the desire for future sexual encounters.
Lack of Motivation
Many patients with ADD have a hard time initiating any activities. Sex also may be initiated infrequently or not at all, leading to less sex, which lowers the sex drive. The lack of motivation to fully engage and pay attention to a partner may lead the ADD sufferer to replace sex with masturbation, or simply no sexual activity at all.
Hypersensitivity to Stimulation
Some patients with ADD dislike tactile stimulation such as tickling, touching or even hugging, because it triggers an almost painful overload of sensory stimulation. Many ADD suffers are bothered by the tags in their clothing, so it's understandable how these symptoms can harm sexual relationships. Kissing and extended touching may be too much to handle for the ADD sufferer, leading to avoidance of sex completely. In addition, hypersensitivity to stimulation may lead the partner to feel rejected. Feelings of rejection by the partner may lead to less initiation of sex by the partner, further compounding the problem of low sex drive by the ADD sufferer.
Necessity for Novelty
ADD sufferers have a need for stimulation and prefer new activities over familiar ones. This is a two-pronged problem for sexual relationships, because the ADD patient may constantly feel the need for new partners as well as the need for sex in new places or new positions. This pressure to perform and constantly be novel may wear out the partner or make her feel insecure, leading to less initiation of sex by the partner and a decrease in the sex drive of the ADD patient.
- "Principles of Neuropsychopharmacology"; Robert Feldman, Jerrold Meyer, and Linda Quenzer; 1997
- “Is It You, Me, Or Adult A.D.D.?: Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love has Attention Deficit Disorder," Gina Pera; 2008