ADHD and Sex: What We Are Learning

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – February 6, 2023

Little is known about the impact of ADHD on sex and intimacy. We do know that, when one person in a couple has ADHD, it affects all aspects of the relationship, how they relate to each other, one’s reaction to the other’s behavior, and much more. It can become a ping-pong reaction. It turns from being an individual issue into a couple’s issue because, when one person in the couple has ADHD, they are going to struggle more in daily life, and it can affect their sex life, as well. Having a good sexual relationship is important in helping those couples do better not only romantically, but also so that their married life gets better overall.

In those relationships, it’s important to figure out what’s going on. How does ADHD affect the relationship in general and their sex life in particular? Psychologist Dr. Ari Tuckman conducted a study of 3,000 couples. The results showed that the majority of his hypotheses going in were true, but there were a few total surprises where he was “dead wrong,” as he puts it.

In fact, the survey disproved long-held notions, such as looking at how large a repertoire of sexual activities someone would favor, or how much someone would enjoy novelty as opposed to the familiar. Since those with ADHD tend to get bored with the same old thing and tend to need more variety, one would automatically think that was true. However, this theory proved to be wrong.

Also, the idea that, if you tend to get distracted during sex, have delayed gratification, or have trouble reading your partner, then stimulant medications should help you do better. However, the survey showed this whole theory was wrong. Most people who had stimulant medications on board during sexual encounters said it doesn’t make any difference at all. Therefore, for the majority of those in the survey, those medications do not seem to have any effect during sexual activity.

It has been said that even bad sex is good sex; also, that men are like microwaves and women are like crockpots. Their experiences are completely different. In good sex there is a shifting balance between focusing on yourself, then on your partner, and paying attention to your own self-regulation. ADHD is not confined to one area of your life; it affects every part of it. When the intimacy or sexual activity starts to wane, it may be symptomatic of other things going on in the relationship that need to be addressed.

If you and your partner enjoy sexual intimacy and one or both of you have ADHD, listen to our candid conversation with Dr. Tuckman on Attention Talk Radio, “ADHD and Sex: What We Are Learning,” at

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