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Sex and ADD

I've done alot of reading on this site today and have learned alot. My husband has finally went to the doctor and is getting treated for his ADD. He is taking Aderall xr and Wellbutrin. Today is his frist day on it. I've been trying to do as much research as possible being a non ADD spouse and how to deal with your ADD spouse. I can deal with the disorganization and the lack of chores done aroudn the house being that my job being at my home makes it easy to keep up with him. I guess the main problems with his ADD that bothered me were his impulsive decisions (including his desire to look at porn all the time)  and his anger that was always out of porportion to the situation. But  up until the research I've done today did I realize that ADD alone can cause a decrease in sex drive especially in men. Did I get some wrong information? Or is it true? If so how can we fix it? Or do I need to just face the fact that our relationship seems to be in a far bigger hole that I imagined. I use to blame the lack of sex on stress, being tired, the new baby, his medicines. I can't hardly take it anymore.  Use to be what helped me get through his "ADD  times" to stick with him would be the good loving husband that I seen on other days. Now I feel like we are just roomates. Co parents to our daughter. What a great dad he is. I just wish he could be a better husband. If the meds work the way they are suppose to will all this help those things. Or do we need ALOT more help than I figured. Please give me some feedback. I know I have read alot on some similar situations but all of which seemed without hope and there was no way to make things better.

Comments

Sex and ADD

Research suggests that low sex drive can be one element of ADD (one study found that 49% of adults with ADD report lacking interest in sex sometimes or more often, vs. 25% of the population at large).  Anti-depressants can also decrease interest in sex for some people (Wellbutrin is an antidepressant).

ADD symptoms such as distraction can contribute to a decrease in sex life (doing other things, so never get around to sex) and you mention several of those types of things (kids, etc) in your note.  Also, if you are now on the status of "friends" that doesn't help, either.

Distraction issues can be helped with medication (and scheduling time to have sex, as unromantic as that sounds) and fixing some of your growing marital issues may also go a long way towards getting you back together.  Therefore, I think it is likely, given what you write, that you will both need counselling.  Talk with your doc (or his) about the best combination for this (solo or marital counselling).  A good therapist who is familiar with ADD can help you resolve some of the grief you are feeling and improve communication between the two of you about your issues.

Surprised that low sex drive is an element of ADD

Wow ... after all these years I never knew that ADD could cause a low sex drive ... my husband lost interest when he was about 50 years old ... he would never go to the doctor for help ... he is now 68 ... the psychologist we saw over 15 years ago told me not to divorce him but to learn to live like a single person ... without sinning of course ... and so I have lived all these years alone ... having more of a mother son relationship than husband and wife ... we basically just live under the same roof ... he sleeps on one side of the house and I sleep on the other ... we don't eat our meals together ... he takes his and sits in front of the TV ... too late to save our marriage ... just learning to endure a very lonely existence ... 

Senior Adult

Hang in there....for now anyway!!

I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you other than assure you this problem is not uncommon and you are not alone. I was quite surprised as well when I found out lack of interest in sex was a symptom of ADD. (I personally have never met a man who wasn't interested in sex!) When I met my boyfriend he was right at the end of cancer treatment which of  course causes ED.  I was patient and understanding up to a point! Now he is over a year recovered and has gone to the Dr. to get shots that give him an erection, however he is totally uninterested in sex. I too feel like we are just roomates although he has been making an effort to be somewhat more affectionate.  He at least hugs and kisses me now. Thankfully he doesn't look at porn, however he spends hours on his computer playing poker and video games. Meanwhile I do all the housework and his numerous hobbies and collections gather dust piled almost to the cieling in the spare room. I actually resorted to an affair last year which of course ended badly, this I would not recommend. From what I have read the meds hopefully will work on this issue. My BF is just now making appointments for treatment for his ADD, so we shall see. He finally took the steps to get treatment when he realized I was thinking of leaving him because really I too feel like I just can't take it anymore. It does feel hopeless, however I know this man loves me and I love him. It sounds like you are making the effort to focus on your husbands positive qualities. This is what I do too and it really helps. I don't think any situation is hopeless when the person with the problem is willing to do something about it. What I have decided to do is give it a year and see what happens. I have been and continue to kindly inform my boyfriend of my needs and expectations in the relationship.  It sounds like your husband has stepped up to it so give it some time and see what happens. Meanwhile you can take care of yourself and make sure you have everything in order so if you decide to leave the marriage you have a plan to do so. By the way my man was Mr. Wonderful when we met 2 years ago, did everything he could to get me but as soon as he had me, well you know the rest. He just informed me about 6 months ago about the ADD, he has known all along he had it and when I started to educate myself, all the things that drive me crazy about him can be attributed to the ADD. It's taken me this long to nag him into treatment!!

he wants sex all the time

Well my husband is the opposite. He wants kissing and sex all the time. He could do it three times a day everyday. And he gets angry when I don´t want it.Also when he wants sex he comes to me and suddenly touches the parts of my body he likes. It is so annoying. I do have a lot of sexual desire, but the way he acts puts me off. He thinks I have a biological problem, he doesn´t realize what is happening. O do not have any problem, I love sex and I get aroused very easily. If he would stop trying to force me to have sex and we were closer as a couple, then we would have much more sex. Only if he would remember I am a person, not his sex toy. But he really doesn´t get it....

Sex Toy

It sounds to me as if he equates sex with love and you, being a typical woman, need more than that.  It was ever thus...

Take the initiative here and create situations which put the two of you in situations that will help you feel closer (perhaps a romantic dinner and dancing night?)  Also, you should be open about your need to feel treasured, not just pawed.  Show, and tell, him what that means to you - since you are not on the same wavelength, it's unreasonable to expect that he already knows it.

It is your right to have sex only when you want it..."teach" him that he will get more of what he wants if he treats you in a way that makes you feel sexy, rather than demeaned, and then show him what that means.  Else you are on the road to a big time collision - one in which you lose your respect for him (he doesn't view you as a person, why should you respect him) and he loses interest in you (too "cold").

Best of luck with it.

ADHDers are often Porn/Sex Addicts!

Hi, I'm surprised that I am not seeing any mention of this so far that I have read on this site. ADHDers commonly have addictions as a part of that whole instant gratification thing. Sex/porn addiction is just one more way of getting that. If he is indeed addicted to sex/porn, then that is yet one more thing he needs to address with therapy, 12-step, whatever - just the same as if he were addicted to drugs or alcohol. I'm a member of an online support group for ADHD spouses, and let me tell you, sex/porn addiction is common enough an issue that entire sections of the site deal with this specific issue. I have to say I haven't seen nearly enough on this issue in what little research exists out there on the Adult ADHD social/relationship experience. I guess because both Adult ADHD and Sex Addiction are genuine issues that have only started to get their proper share of attention within the past 10 years. For my part, hubby totally treated me like a blow-up doll - there completely for his own instant sexual gratification. And since the ADHD and lack of empathy and the whole misfire in his brain on the idea that intimacy is different from sex, it made our sex life completely unenjoyable. I too was told that I was the problem and that I must be "frigid". No, I have a perfectly healthy sex drive, I'm just not one of the nameless girls from the porn sites you obsess about and I don't want to be treated the same way that an alcoholic treats a bottle of booze or a drug addict treats a dime bag - as a means to an addictive end. He's used porn to the point of leaving the "end results" of his porn interest all over our family computer, clogging the computer with porn to the point it couldn't function - repeatedly, losing his wedding ring in a peek booth ONE MONTH after the wedding, using porn on a goverment computer while in the military, so overused the porn that he could no longer ejaculate without it, he zones out completely during sex so focused on his own climax that his partner ceases to exist. These are all common features of addiction -- and that is an issue for him to deal with through 12-step work or therapy. My setting up "romantic interludes" like unaware therapists so often suggest has absolutely nothing to do with it. Should the wife of an alcoholic throw him a party in a bar complete with booze in order to get him to stop drinking? Having the spouse of a sex/porn addict attempt "romantic" interludes with an active sex/porn addict is equally rediculous. There is too much dumping onto the spouse with this sort of an issue. It's not something the spouse can correct by being more available, more "willing to try new things" or whatever other "lighten up" type message is out there. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone out there struggling with this issue to read "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes. He is the definitive source for information about sex/porn addiction. I think people in the ADHD community could really benefit from more understanding about this painful, intimacy-demolishing, issue. Stepping down off my soap box...

Porn addict husband...help!

Someone please help me.  I just don't know what to do about my husband's addiction to porn.  With each new post I get more and more depressed and scared.  I am really at a loss for how to handle this one.   He looks at porn EVERY single day...even when he only has a few minutes on the computer, he's looking.  AND That is just what I know about!  I check his computer daily...obviously I have issues with trusting him, and this is partly why.

Thanks for any advice offered. 

porn addict husband

i belive i have ADD (man) and am married. It use to scare me how much intreest in sex I seemd to have. Recently I realised i have ADD and can put the problem into context. His behaviour is mostly harmless as long as he understands the casue and you can support him through it without taking it as a major insult to you. Certian forms of ADD requires high stimulation to focus the mind. Anything highly stimulating can grab our attention. It is just poor attention control due to our rational mind being insufficently aroused to stop seeking irrational activity. It is a from of medication to maintian focus on something and avoid jumping everywher. Solution is he needs to learn about ADD, your loving support of his behaviour as a physicall illness of the brain and not a weakness of personality and anti- depressents to stimulate the logical mind. If not happy with anti depressent then take L-TRYPTOPHAN it is a amino acid. Mood stabalisers also help. Your love and understanding is the best cure. No magic answers but matter of finding harmless ways of obsessing on something. How about a computer game? Found "Spore" a pretty harmless distraction except my wife gets uptight even with that. If you disapporve, he will just go undeground and then you can't help him. Both of you need to learn typical ADD behaviours and see them as issues of the disorder and not just your reationship problems.

But my husband goes beyond

But my husband goes beyond just viewing porn.  He uses sex chats to have cyber sex....so how much do you put up with because he has adhd.  As far as I'm concerned thats infidility...I'm always surprised how men don't think porn is such a big deal and its harmless.  Talk to any woman who's man does alot of porn and her sex life sucks!  I've asked him to stop and have explained my views and he dismisses me and tells me I'm too much of prude.  My sex life stinks...I feel used..like I'm just there for him. He's so focused on himself and his fantasies that I actually wonder if he forgets I'm there until after he's done.  We've only had sex maybe 3 or 4 times in the last year.  I don't trust him because he lies about the sex chat and cyber sex and wouldn't be surprised if he has gone farther than that.  He already has emtionally started inappropriate friendships with other women to complain about me.  He was diagnosed 2 months ago and his doctor has put him on Paxil and Wellbrutin because of his other past addictions.  The meds have caused him to do more porn and cyber sex because he can't get an erection or orgasm.  He is in not therapy right now, because he thinks I'm the problem, although when my son (16) and I caught him at our place of business doing porn, he did finally make an appointment.  I finally asked him to go stay with his brother in another state for two weeks so I figure out what to do.  When I last talked to him he was back to blaming me. As far as I'm concerned this and his adhd has destroyed my family and he's completely blind that he's causing the destruction.  

sexual relations

I feel so sorry for beautiful sexy people like you, having so much grief with that which should be a joy. Ay be your husband needs more in depth psychiatric help by whoever diagnosed his adhd. May be he has more than just adhd, their could be other mood or social communication issues. Best wishes DQA

I believe your right

Boy was I angry then.  I believe your right.  My husband and I have separated and I have filed for divorce.  Although for me and my children, we are doing better.  He has got worse, much worse.  He asked to come back a month ago, but still thought he did not have a problem.  I told him that I would postpone the divorce to give him some time to work on his issues and then we could decide.  Soon after that conversation, my son (16) confided in me that my husband was doing the cybersex, sex chat, and porn while my son was working at the store with him.  My son told me he couldn't stand it anymore and wanted out.  My son was having to do most of the work, while my husband hid in the office most of the day.  When I confronted my husband and said that my son wouldn't work for him anymore and that visitation with the kids would be limited, he admitted he needed help.  I invited him to a Celebration Recovery meeting that I have been attending.  He did go once and said he was ready to deal with his problems, however after not hearing anything from him for several days I knew what was going on.  So I went to our store, sure enough he was back doing the sex chat and was also on Craig's List looking to hook up.  He gave his usual denial and that I was overreacting.  He told me he was looking for a TV.  Funny and sad.  I said we (the kids and I) can't live with the emotional roller coaster anymore or the pain it causes.  Now he has been calling my son trying to persuade him that I was overacting.  You'll love this; he told my son that just because there is a six pack in the room with an alcoholic, does not mean he will drink the beer.  My son's reply was, but Dad if there are three empty plastic rings one can assume that the alcoholic drank the beers.  I laughed than I cried.  He has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder, depression, and compulsive disorder.  The Psychiatrist put him on Paxil and Wellbrutin.  He did not want to put him on any of the other drugs because of his history of addiction to drugs and alcohol.  He has quit taking both.  This guy never even asked to talk with any family, friends, or anyone...and told my husband he wasn't 100 % sure if he had ADHD or just Anxiety disorder because they can mimic each other.   I have received counseling on my codependency, have a good support system, and go to a support group.  I have started school so I can become a teacher and be able to support my family...he hasn't been very dependable.   My kids and I have grown closer together and are becoming happier.  We love him...we just can't deal with his problems anymore.  I will admit I'm confused and deeply saddened by all this.  I married for better or worse, but this?  I don't know if we could ever recover and I don't know if I want, too.

Nearly but not hopeless

I wish I could give you all the answers, but I am not able to. Your husband's is such a sad story of someone wasting his life  and the love he receives, and most probably don't want to see it like that. He may even be convinced that he is right or has the right to do what he is doing. In some way he needs "a change of heart."

ADD could also stand for "Adventure Deficit Disorder" Some people are just not satisfied with the "usual" and they will keep on following the "outrageous" even if in the process they destroy themselves and their relationships, they will just keep on doing so. It is as if there is a bottomless pit in their emotional life, not always, but many times stemming from an early attachment problem as  co-morbid to his ADHD/ADD.

The "adrenalin rush" your husband gets from pornography and the other "adventures" fills the "pit" for a moment, but never satisfies and some actions may then become habitual and a bondage.

The way back is not easy, but it is possible. Tell me what you think and we can discuss it next time

Kind regards

 

to davidqallen in response to your post dated 8/20/2010

your post spoke directly to me.  You are describing my husband.  In a nutshell, he was recently diagnosed with ADD, he just started seeing a psychiatrist and is still figuring out the correct medicine dosing.  In the midst of all this, I found out a year ago he had been having an affair with a " former" friend of mine.  I have asked him to stop seeing her while we have been in counseling to work on our marriage, he has not.  He has claimed he is "addicted" to her.  He has also admitted she is toxic, has a horrible temper and says cruel things.  As a result of his inability to stop seeing her so we can work on us,  we are in the process of divorce.  Since he started with the psychiatrist, his behaviors have gotten worse.  It is as if, you do something you should not do, you feel good for a short time, then you feel bad, then you try to "fill the void" and then repeat the behavior only "on steroids", as if to try and get a bigger kick.  He now says he wants to be with someone who will support his "bad behaviors" and he knows I will not.

I have been patient during this time, I myself have been working with a psychologist to address my unhealthy behaviors. I have been willing to invest the time and hard work to make our marriage work, only to be told "it hasn't worked up until now".  I think for him, it is much easier to walk away.  I feel as if I am watching him self destruct. He is getting close to hitting bottom. We have 2 small boys and it is so sad to me to see him risk losing everything, for what?  You mention there is a way back, is there really?  I would like to hear more from you regarding that.

conflicted

If untreated the behaviors escalate over time & implode.

My 10 yr marriage ended April 20th, 2010 and I asked my husband to leave after I discovered he had been having an affair with a married work assoc.

It begins with online flirting, then in person flirting, then the online porn, then meeting single women out and lying about it to full fledged affairs.  I understand all of it on an intellectual level.  His untreated mental illness ADHD, OCD and Depression let him down this road, but he had many many opportunities for state of the art care at the Hallowell Center paid by Insurance.  When the porn and infidelity behaviors began to rear their ugly head I dragged him into marriage counseling at the Hallowell center.  It did not work, he was completely out of control by that point.  The excessive spending, the lying, the denial, refusing to take responsibility for his behavior.  My last straw was the affair.  The first 5 years he was the love of my life.  The last 3 years have been complete hell.  I miss him, I love him, I wish him well.  He has some very large mountains to climb.  How much of myself am I suppose to sacrifice for his untreated disorders?  He was in Denial.  He did not want help.  He had state of the art care available to him.  Some of these husband don't want help.  Their needs are being met.  They deny their behavior or rationalize it.  I have read the blogs by the "good enough couples".  That was never going to be me. My husband was too far gone.  So it starts small and then grows into a very big out of control monster.  What I notice on this site is the lack of data regarding what percentage of these relationships survive? What are your chances?  If your husband is in denial and refuses help you are wasting your time.  Since he has left his spending is out of control, he is out in bars flirting and drinking every night, all the while going to the Hallowell Center for treatment.  I highly doubt he is being honest with his therapist.  Or only telling him part of the story.  This is not a man that has any interest in having a normal healthy marriage.  Caught red handed in a therapy secession he kept insisting "I wasn't doing anything!!!" Like a Toddler.  It was unbelievable.  You are presenting proof of their cheating, lying, inappropriate behaviors and he just sat there and lied his ass off to the tune of $180.00/hour.  That's right. $180.00 per hour.  I am in my forties.  I did not have any kids with him thank God.  Maybe these other women are just stronger than me.  I just couldn't do it any longer.  I was ready to jump off the Tobin bridge.  Their untreated disorder takes a terrible toll on you.  I don't think he will ever get well.  I don't want to waste another second of my life living with a terribly mentally ill partner.  Once he was out of the house he did not throw himself on the mercy of the court.  He just kept rationalizing his behavior.  Saying this was his 1st affair.  Please don't insult my intelligence. This was the first time he got caught red handed with the smoking gun.  It has been going on for the past 3 years.  The marriage is over and he still can't come clean.  Just incredible.  After the house of cards falls there is no peace.  Your haunted by the man he was in the beginning, the person you fell in love with.  That person was never ever coming back to me. I waited and I hoped.  It just was not going to happen.  I had to save myself or what was left of myself.  I feel like I am climbing out of a black hole.  When do you say enough is enough. 

Please online friends support me during this very painful time.  I am grieving the man I use to know.  The person I fell in love with so many years ago.  Never to be seen again.  I am trying to be strong, I cry a lot.  I don't take defeat easily.  The disorder won.  It kicked my ass and won.  Now I am just picking up the pieces of myself scattered all over the floor. Thanks for listening. : (

so sorry

Kelly,

I am so sorry for your pain. I went through almost the same exact thing except mine lasted for 34 years because I didn't want to know, I had 4 kids to raise.  One of the best things I learned was to not look back, function today and look forward.  Since you are certain you are done with the relationship (like I was) then start dreaming about your future.  It can be anything you want, the sky is the limit and you are younger than me.  I am 57 but I am having the time of my life.  I have great plans for me. 

Secondly, you did the best you could with everything you knew at the time.  If you had known more, you would have made different choices.  Look internally at your value system.  Google a list of values and as you read, highlight the ones that jump out at you.  these values are the core of your being and are unique to you.  I highly recommend the exercises on www.recoverynation.com.  they are free and they saved my life.  i worked non stop for 4 months reclaiming who I was and saying I will never let my inner self down, ever again.  It made all the difference.  it was the single most important thing I did after discovering that I was the partner of a sex addict.

You have been injured and need time to heal, but you will because you will discover ways to reclaim the real Kelly who existed before this relationship.  Take time everyday to look at your values and ask yourself what one action you can take today to protect that value. 

You are in a valley now, but if you work to reclaim who you are, you will be standing on the mountain and understand life in a way that many never do.  you can do it.  I wish I could be there to hug you.    

Brenda

Dear Brendab

Hi Brendab,

Thank you so very very much for your kind words of encouragement.  I am 47 and spent the last 10 years with my husband.  The first 5 like I said were great.  The last 3 a night mare.  I just don't want to feel love for him any more and I can't wait for that to go away.  I also hate missing him and also can't wait for that feeling to go away.  It has been 5 mths and I still cry, especially if I am tired.  All I got the last 3 years were the little attention crumbs he sent my way to keep me on the hook.   The behaviors take a toll on your self esteem.  Thank you for giving me hope that soon I will feel better.  I am so happy you love your life now.  I hope I will too sometime soon.  Hugs to you too!

Kelly

Tula

hockeymom11's picture

I'm so sorry to read about your life.  Many aspects are the same as mine.  I'm moving forward trying to rebuild my life as well.  My husband hasn't cheated on me (that I know of), but I kind of suspect it.  I too feel like I'm climbing out of a black hole.  I've started counseling and I'm feeling a little better (I no longer cry every day on the way to work!!).  I hope it gets easier as we get stronger.  I want to find peace, I cannot go back. 

I do not want to live another moment in my life like this.  It SUCKS!!  stay strong.  this website is so helpful and supportive.  you have a lot of friends here.

RE: TULA

NOVA1986's picture

Hi,

 

I just want to wish you the best. I hope at this time you don't miss him a lot. Give yourself time, you will feel better sooner or later. I do believe in God and I apologize if you don't and I am offending you in my trying to make you feel better. But God loves you more that you can imagine, without you knowing he will lift you and take care of you. You do your work recognizing how special you are, how unique, and how grateful you are to be part of this world and for being alive to experience EVERYTHING you are experiencing. Things are going to get better for you but you have to work in yourself, just focus in yourself, find a therapy, counseling, pray, go out with friends, do exercise, love yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just be patience with your own pain, it is maybe necessary to enjoy the happiness fully.

 

Good luck, you will be in my prayer.

Porn Addiction Advice

Thank you for your advice and resource on this difficult topic.  People with ADD often suffer from addictions, porn being just one of them.  12 step and other programs can help, and spouses who run into this need to recognize it as an addiction that needs treatment, not letting any embarrassment or horror they may feel get in their way of requesting their spouse (usually husband) seek help.

it used to be worse

I am the one who wrote the message "he wants sex all the time", and you have just described what I always felt. When my husband had just statarted therapy, she (the therapist) asked me to go there once and I left so depressed because I could see that she too thought this was my fault. I thought that she wanted to talk to me to better understand the situation, but she actually wanted to nag me. When I said that he would become too nervous and anxious after a period without sex, she said she could undestand him. But, what really made me angry was when she seemed to think I had a self-esteem problem and was ashamed of my body, then again when she tried to teach me about how sex is important in a marriage. My husband is a little better after therapy, though. He doesn´t see porn as much as he used too and masturbates less. He used to spend every night looking at porn on the net and didn´t bother to delete things. He even looked at girls during the day, even if I was in the house. Whenever he was in the computer, I stayed on bed and never walked around the house, to avoid being embarrassed and embarassing him. Despite his stupid attempts to hide it from me I knew what he was doing. I felt on a prison inside my own house. I work hard to pay the bills and couldn´t enjoy being home on my non-working hours, while he was always sleeping or seeing girls on the net. I was nervous when we visited my folks because I thought he could see porn there and leave the images there too, and he actually did it a few times. I never borrowed our laptops to anyone (I still don´t), because people will see what are the most popular websites in my family. He used to stare at all young and beautiful girls in the streets, and that troubled me because our girl will grow up and have a beautiful body one day (I used to get paranoid about the consequences of that). It also made me wander if he really felt atracted to me, I am nothing like the girls he looks at, they are much younger as well, that together with the fact that he sometimes behaves like a teenager made me wander if I am not too mature for him. Well... I lived years like that, but If this ever happens again, I will certainly get a divorce. Despite the progress, we still have a long way to go to make our sex life better, I still feel I am there to please him, it doesn´t feel like it´s a two-way thing. He can´t feel what I like or deslike, and if I tell him he gets upset. Me too I don´t trust my husband, I am sure that if he had the opportunity to do it with somebody else, he would. But I also fear that I am the one who might do it with somebody else someday, because sometimes I really wish I had a normal grown up man to go to bed with, someone who could simply relax with me.

Some Therapists Just Don't Get Sex/Porn Addiction...

I empathize with your bad experience with his therapist. Those who can't see/refuse to see that this is an addiction just as much as alcholism or drug abuse do FAR MORE damage to their clients and their spouses than they could ever possibly help. Way back early on about 15 years ago, hubby even went so far as to start without me when I was asleep. I'd be lying in bed and wake up with him on top of me chugging along...Given that I was raped by a boyfriend as a teenager, you can imagine the feeling of violation it would bring to wake up to find my then-fiance on top of me doing his thing without having even first asked me if I was in the mood! When we discussed this with the therapist we were seeing at the time, her response was that I shouldn't sleep so soundly - totally dumping the fault on top of me. We've since figured out that ADHD hubby is so sleep deprived (he has to get up for work at 4AM, but he never seems able to go to bed before midnight-1AM. This is why he's overslept, been late to work, and lost jobs.) that sometimes he just truly does not know what he's doing or saying during the night even though he appears to be "awake". At one point, he even stayed overnight at a sleep study center, but they said they found nothing. Since he started therapy with an educated therapist and also joined a 12-step group, things are better, but far from perfect. I too joined a 12-step group for partners of sex addicts and that empowered me to create much-needed boundaries in our lives. I have a password on my computer that only I know - if hubby wants to use the computer, he has to ask me first. I do not allow him to use my computer when I am not around. He ranted and raved about that at first, but I have kids here that use my computer and I have to worry about protecting them from the things hubby would leave on the front screen! I also have to do my job and schoolwork from this computer and he's caused it crash numerous times. So whether or not he likes the boundary, tough - I have it. I have also set up a boundary where I will not have sex with him during the night, meaning if he is half-asleep. He cannot be attentive to anyone but himself at these times, so I refuse to do it. I also have the right to call a halt to the encounter if I can tell he's off in his own world. With therapy and 12-step, he is much better a partner than he had ever been before. The irony for him is that he found that I was much more willing to be sexual with him once he learned about his addiction. Before, he was so focused on his own constant sexual needs that it pushed me away. Now he is a better partner and he is much more likely to get frequent, enjoyable sex. One other therapist said something to the effect that I had to "loosen up." I've heard from other women who were told that they should seek medical treatment for their frigidity or that they needed to be more willing to experiment or even the ever-popular "men will be men - you just have to be tolerant and understand this." Funny thing is, it isn't just men who are sex addicts - there are plenty of women out there too. Hubby says about 10-15% of the people at his meetings are women. So how does that cop-out explain them?!? I've said it before - not all therapists are equal. There is nothing saying you have to stay with a bad therapist or one who just does not get your particular issues. If it isn't working, find someone else who can help. My two cents only...

Porn addiction getting worse

I'm so glad I stumbled on this post, I felt alone in this problem. My husband does have some elements of ADD, but it involves getting very involved in art projects. My husband is becoming more distant, not interested in sex (with me) and I recently found a huge stash of downloaded CDs, so now I know what he does at work. No wonder he doesn't care when I go out of town on business trips. When using the "family" computer downstairs, I also had a popup advertising sluts in our local area (with our city name) who are looking for sex. I also wondered why instead of coming up and hugging or kissing he would automatically reach for the privates, or attempt to insert fingers in the privates (while I'm cooking dinner, washing dishes, etc). He has also made demeaning jokes about me to others, which was very embarrassing not only to me but the other people. Our sex life (when we had it) has become more of a mutual masturbation session, he cannot have an orgasm with intercourse anymore. For the past year or so I've been jealous of other couples that I see that appear to be in love - at this point I feel like I'm a roommate and monetary support. My question is, how do you broach the subject of the porn? He flies off the handle easily nowadays. I'm at the stage where I'm about ready to pack it up and move on, life is too short to live like this.

your situation seems so sad

your situation seems so sad in the way it hurts both of you but what is more tragic is how easily it could improve with a bit of honesty and love on both your parts. You got to understand ADD is not an easy thing to live withjust becasue there are no physical symtoms you can see. He is not isulting you so much as being desperate to cope. How would you be if he was in hospital with a serious injury? At it's worst ADD is similar everyday! I don't agrre with his method of coping but he can only do this better with your love and him understanding the issues of ADD. The problem is simply him seeking high level of arousal to maintian focus otherwise he would fall apart. The answer is to find a better way to get arousal in a way which is less destructive and addictive. If you truly want to love and have a meaningful relationship with what you have then don't take his beahviour as an attack on you but rather simple desperation. Running to a new releationship means another bunch of new issues and problems. It seems you have insecurity issues of your own and are unable to emapthse with a man. These will carry over to your next relationship. After all, as a women you seek a loving and meaningful relationship. What better way to do this then to love your man enough to help him become a better human being rather then just saying how stupid and disgusting he is to you.

sex and add

This is a difficult topic to get a grip on after reading the many stories. What I gather is some people feel like one is being too judgemental and not understaning if one is bothered by a porn habit. They other reaction is just plain hurt and uneasiness which is easy to understand. What people don't seem to get is that obviously the porn has become a habit...it's not just a case of boys will be boys....it's like drugs...first it's the small stuff and then comes the harder stuff. As a mother and a woman I am worried about stds...and those sorts of things. Obviously...if there is lack of impulsive control....it makes wives/gf's uneasy.  There is a trust factor also... women want to feel security and if there is a lack of trust or security in a relationship...many aspects of a relationship suffer. It's blurry this topic...it's like: Don't let the add be an excuse yet at the same time we are suppose to be loving and understanding. I haven't been able to reach this middle ground.

Getting Help with Sex, Love, Porn Addictions

Coach Cheryl's picture

Over the past twenty years, the majority of Western treatment philosophy regarding pornography addiction, sexual addiction and love addiction involved mandatory participation in a twelve step process. This diseased-based, addict-managed recovery model has dominated addiction recovery and has proven--at least for some--to be the primary source for controlling their addiction. There can be no arguing the positive impact that it has had on many--given what their lives were before traveling those steps and what they would be without them. But is this enough to accept the twelve steps as the 'final answer' to addiction recovery? No, it isn't. And it shouldn't be. Even those who have successfully used the twelve step process should look beyond the acceptance that 'this is good enough'. Everything evolves. As new insights become known and new experiences are applied to existing problems, new solutions invariably result. Solutions that provide more efficiency and a broader application and sexual addiction recovery, porn addiction recovery and love addiction recovery is no different.

The overwhelming increase in addictions involving sexual compulsion and pornography throughout our society suggests that there is something missing in the way that addiction is being addressed by our society. It suggests that approaches which focus on measuring one's health by the length of their abstinence to a particular behavior and/or emphasize learning to manage a lifelong disability versus overcoming that disability are simply not effective with the majority of the population. Without question, many have benefited from this disease-based approach. It has been around for over fifty years and has millions of participants. But the great majority continue to struggle with the foundation that drives their addictive patterns. There must be a more efficient way...and there is.

It is called Health Based Recovery (HBR).

Health Based Recovery is an evolutionary treatment model that looks beyond addiction management and towards the rebuilding of a healthy life. It allows a far greater audience to apply their own values to recovery, including those who value the twelve steps. Additionally, it expands recovery from the common perception of a single transition (active addiction to lifelong recovery) to a much more robust and effective two transition process (active addiction to recovery; recovery to health). There is a third transition, from health to actualization, but that is unnecessary for permanently ending addiction and so, only the first two transitions are shared here.

A Health Based Recovery involves:

1. Developing a Functional Awareness of Addiction--including the role of addiction as a life management tool, the finite role of emotions, the experience of Delusional Actualization, understanding compulsive rituals, measuring compulsions and more. No more will addiction be thought of as some mysterious or inevitable entity that resides helplessly within a person. Addiction is a very useful pattern that has developed for very practical purposes. Understanding this will go a long ways towards altering your perception of both addiction and your role in eliminating it from your life.

2. Developing practical, ongoing personal awareness--in relation to one's values, boundaries, skills and identity.

3. Developing the ability to isolate the addiction--from one's core identity. This is done through a sometimes radical shift in self-perception.

4. Developing the life skills needed to manage a healthy life. Abstinence is important, but it should not define a person's health. Only through the development of skills such as value development, protective boundaries, effective urge control, emotional management, prioritization, decision-making, absolute honesty and more can a healthy life be attained. And in a Health Based Recovery, that is the goal. To live a healthy life, not to manage an addiction.

5. Developing the tools to permanently end the pattern of addiction. Yes, permanently. This is a fact that has been proven over and over again. Addiction can be ended permanently. The HBR model will guide you in developing the perceptions, experiences and tools needed not just to end your current sex, love or porn addiction, but to end the pattern of using addiction to help you manage your life. 

While HBR is not specifically for just those with ADD/ADHD, all the tools used are inline with how one manages their life in a healthy way as a person with ADD/ADHD and Addiction.  We see so many with ADD/ADHD who end their addiction by learning new management skills that a by product is a much healthier and manageable life.

Coach Cheryl

www.recoverynation.com

 

Twelve Steps as a way of treating ADHD?

Dear Coach Cheryl,

When I read this I was just blown away. To hear someone actually having the courage to address the idea that AA (and all the other spinoff programs) and its Twelve Steps is not the ONLY way to dealing with addiction was extremely refreshing. And while my response does not specifically address sex/porn addictions, I wanted to share what I thought about Coach Cheryl’s comments on the Twelve Steps.

Before I go further in addressing this issue, I am a FORMER alcoholic, sober for 32 years now. I put down the drink at the age of 31. I had a four-year-old son at that time. I did that in AA and followed every suggestion that was given, including studying/trying to apply the twelve steps in my daily living. I lived the AA way of life, which included believing the philosophy that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” This also meant attending meetings, meeting, meetings for years because I was assured that, should I stop going to meetings, I would eventually slip back into active alcoholism (at worst) or the stinking, miserable thinking/life of the “dry drunk” (at best). In the meantime, I lost years of my son’s life. He spent most of his evenings in the care of babysitters (I had no family in the area).

The day came when I had the courage to break away from the bondage of AA. For the next twenty plus years I raised my son, was involved in his life, my church, my community, returned to school to get my degree, returned to and moved up in my profession. I made many new friends, shared many of life's joys, I also went through many losses, heartaches, disappointments. I NEVER wanted to pick up a drink in that time, I NEVER thought about returning to drinking. What could explain that? Now, many in AA, when confronted with this fact, will quickly say I must not have been a real alcoholic. I believe it’s because I stopped thinking of myself as this addictive, dependent, permanently “sick” person who would never be recovered, that’s why, and I learned to live in the “real” world, with “real” people. Sure, I have my bad, cranky days, where my thinking is off. Who doesn’t?

I fell in love with a man I met at work. It turned out he has been sober in AA for more than twenty years. He also has AD/HD with a number of comorbidities. To be with him, I returned to AA for about two years. It was an eyeopener!

I had done a tremendous amount of research on AD/HD because of this man. From the perspective of many years away, I saw how prevalent AD/HD is amongst members of AA. Good people, working the 12 steps, but making little progress with their NUMBER ONE problem—AD/HD. And I’ll tell you why they haven’t, because they simply don’t have the knowledge or the time. Successful participation in AA demands all of your time and commitment. It operates like a pseudo religion and is packed with rank amateurs practicing junk psychology on each other. Most don’t know anything about AD/HD and its capacity for self-medication through the use of alcohol.

I have seen very serious consequences for this, aside from the fact that one’s life slips into a kind of limbo where your whole life’s focus revolves around treating your “disease”, talking endlessly about your “disease”, only associating with those who share your “disease”, seeing yourself as permanently “diseased”, etc. Sadly, for so many with AD/HD it’s the wrong “disease” they are concentrating on.

AA’s approach to addiction is archaic—knowledge of what constitutes addiction and what contributes to it has leapt in the last 10-15 years. New treatments for alcoholics are proving highly successful. 95% of those who come to AA leave within the first year, never to return. AA states that these people are “constitutionally incapable of being totally honest” about their drinking. I suggest it is, rather, the inconsistent and torturous message AA and the Twelve Steps proselytizes. AA’s greatest success has been its own self-promotion.

Before sending your ADDer off to AA or another Twelve Step program to address his/her sex/porn/drinking problem, please work as hard as you can to get them to PROFESSIONAL, therapeutic, knowledgeable help for their CENTRAL problem as well. Oh yes, they may get sober in AA (or another program), where they will be the belle of the ball. But don’t count on any of the AD/HD behaviours or symptoms being improved at home. You’ll just see your ADDer a lot less. If you must seek treatment for their alcohol/sex/porn problems, please consider taking another look at other means of help such as Smart Recovery, Recovery Nation, Women in Recovery, etc. Also, many alcoholics will spontaneously recover on their own (this is heresy to AAers).

I have left AA for the second and final time. I will never go back. I feel as if a ton of weight has fallen from my shoulders. I grieve because I have left my AD/HD friend there, with all of his chaos. I pray that he will come out of that place, address his REAL problem, and be his own man someday.

I will go on.
 

I can relate...sort of.

My fiancé has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was a child. He has had impulsive behavior but never with sex or porn. Occasionally we watch it together but in my relationship I feel like there is rare intimacy. I sort of feel like the man always nagging for sex if he had it his way I swear it would only occur once a month. Impulsive behavior is all apart of ADHD but I think different people have different impulses. I'm sorry I didn't help much, I'm just here to support and recieve support. Maybe a specialist could help your husband find a more reasonable impulsive activity that he enjoys or you can both enjoy together. Just a thought. I hope things work out for you and wish you the best.

Over-sexual ADD spouse-I am having same issues-you are NOT alone

Hi there-I was so glad to read your post. In the sexual forum, people are mostly writing about low sex-drive. My husband is just like yours, and I am so glad to hear that your reaction is JUST like mine! It is validating to know that I am normal for not liking the grabbing, clawing, demanding, and extremely immature behavior. I used to enjoy sex also, but this approach literally makes my skin crawl...it's offensive, unromantic, and totally lacking in respect. 

The advice you were given is good advice...for a normally functioning couple. But when you're dealing with a deeply ADD personality, talking, teaching, and planning romantic evenings that will put you in the mood are not going to change anything. In fact, with an ADD spouse, these are all scenarios that can cause even more conflict. Communication is such a major source of conflict and disappointment in an ADD marriage...suggesting that you can work on the problem by talking and teaching is a little off-base.  And normal, organized, adult behaviors like planning and executing a nice, paid-for, relaxing night of dinner and dancing is also FAR BEYOND the scope of at least my ADD-ers ability. Even if he DID pull it off somehow, at some point in the evening he would end up angry at something imagined, or else withdraw emotionally (probably from the effort expended just making dinner plans!)

I've embarked on this all-out quest for change and improvement for years...each time with hope.  But the romantic evenings involve me having to suggest, discuss, plan, and pay for all the plans...and then having to nag and remind so that he would come home/be ready on time...and then despite all my efforts having him come home too late, be utterly clueless about why that was a problem, and suggest that I "chill out" and that we go down to the local dive for a cheap, crappy bite to eat since it's all that's still open. Oh, by the way, he would still expect sex at the end and it would still be initiated by him roughly grabbing one of my extremities and be over 20 seconds later.

MY advice to you is that you allow him to change/get help if and when he wants to, and that you feel good and strong and validated about setting up boundaries regarding your own body. Sex is not an obligation when both parties cannot behave in a respectful, adult manner or when you are not in a functioning, mature adult relationship. And I am saying this as much to myself as to you: expecting that you can make him behave "normally" and trying to change his behavior will always, ALWAYS frustrate you. Make yourself happy, go out with your friends, and find safe ways to have your needs met.  Save yourself, and do not invest years of painful, disappointing effort in "fixing" him- he MIGHT improve slightly, but he will suck you dry to get there. Stay with him if you'd like...I did. But attend to your own needs (because he mostly wont) and repeat this to yourself daily: I CANNOT change him, I am resposible for MYSELF. 

Sex Toy

Wow - your post was like reading my own writing.  My husband is very much the same - he equates porn-style sex with love.  He does the same thing where he paws at me and wakes me up at 3am with a boner in the back expecting me to respond positively. I have a healthy sex drive and enjoy sex for the most part.   I try to be GGG in our relationship (Good, Giving and Game) and am open to new things, frequent sex, etc.  Most of our disagreements are sex based.  First it wasn't often enough (we do it daily), then not long enough (20 mins avg), then I didn't look at him enough, then I came too fast, it is just never ending.  I finally realized that because he starting watching porn at a very young age, he thinks that is the way to express himself sexually.  I think he actually believes that what he is seeing is real.  I'm not sure he understands the girls are paid to act like they enjoy it.  (I'm not saying none of the women enjoy it - I'm just saying..) He doesn't really understand what tender, intimate love making can be.  We have had numerous conversations about it, where I articulate what my needs are from an intimacy stand point (tender touching, lovemaking, talking sweet instead of always dirty, taking our time but not taking so long that it's silly, etc.).  He inevitably goes back to his porn ways because he (I think) thinks non-porn sex would be boring.  I am proposing more of a balance.  If I am GGG for him (porn watching, filming, anal, etc) then he should but GGG for me (tender, sweet, gentle).  I bet most folks have the opposite problem where they need to spice up the vanilla sex, but I am looking to vanilla up my spicy sex....  If he does not understand the importance of this balance and back it up with an open, honest effort, then I want us to see out the advice of a sex positive therapist.  Any input is appreciated!

Therapist

A sex therapist is probably a good idea if for no other reason than to have your needs be better heard.  See the resources section for a site that provides some options (under sex and sexuality).

thank you!

Thank you very much for sharing your comments.  I am new to this site and have been seeking any/all resources since my husband's ADHD diagnosis. Seeing these words have helped me feel like I'm not going crazy and that it is okay to expect a healthy, mature sexual relationship with my partner.  Of course, I know this rationally, but repeated experiences similar to those you describe (groping, grabbing, inappropriate public behavior, etc) have begun to plant seeds of doubt, along with the remarks that I am "frigid" and "no fun".  I know that I need to work on better managing the stresses that having an ADHD partner can add to daily life (so as not to be too tired for sex...or anything else for that matter!), but it is so, so wonderful to know that there are others out there with similar experiences.  My heartfelt thanks!

Sex Toy

Ditto for me! I don't hate porn and I really like sex. For a while my partner was replacing sex with me with porn. He turned me down frequently but I would find that he looked at porn (this really hurt my feelings and confused me). Sex for us now is much more frequent but not very intimate. I don't mind this occasionally (it doesn't always have to be an intense connecting experience by any means) but I feel like he doesn't know how to have sex that doesn't feel like a porno. I feel like I'm kissing a stranger when we do kiss because he never kisses me long enough. We've been together 3.5 years! He also pressures me to take photos for him or video chat with him doing things that make me feel basically used. It's always about gratifying him, hardly ever the other way around.

I wish

I would love to have a great sex life with my husband, but after doing everything around the house, sex to me is just another chore. If my husband helped me out with the chores, curbed his angry outbursts, & made an effort to spend time with me, I'd feel more attracted to him. Right now, I don't like doing anything sexual with him because I feel like I am the only one doing the giving and he is doing all the taking!

Your husbands behaviour is

Your husbands behaviour is very much ADD. He isn't doing these things to be selfish, to spite your or treat you with disrespect. he is desperatley trying to cope with ADD albeit in an incorrect way. If you are fortunate enough NOT to have ADD consider yourself lucky for being given such a wonderous gift. Your relationship is not about give and take but mutual support to overcome mutual problems. Would you ask him to walk on his own if he had broken legs? Would you feel you are doing all the giving if you had to help him get about? Well ADD can be like broken legs or worse at times,. Of course I empathise with your situation and the hard work you put in. But as someone who unknowingly suffered from ADD up until now and struggled to work out why they were such a horrible, useless person I can well understand your husbands struggle. It is a very serious but invisible problem which can only be overcome with a lot of love and understanding. It is not a weakness of will or defect of personality. Do you only give a precious gift because you get one occasionally or because you are truly able and want to? He is not treating you a like a succor by taking all the time, he is just coping and behaving the way a person behaves with ADD or broken legs! Both of you need to learn about ADD and its role in your relationship. There are no cures for it, but some ways to mangage better. I do remember the love of my family went a long way towards my recovery and coping.

Security through Sex

My husband is the same way, he wants sex all the time and it's so mechanical.  I've given up on fighting with him.  He says that he enjoys it and it gives him his rush of dopamene, but I just don't enjoy it anymore, although I pretend I do because if I looked upset the fight would continue again.  He should start exerciseing for that rush!  I feel the same way you do!

I suggest you embrace the

I suggest you embrace the fact he does have a sex drive and watch the porn with him.

Sex drive is one thing

Having a healthy sex drive is one thing.  Imposing your desires on an unwilling partner is something entirely different.  There is a balance to be reached during sex, and that balance can't happen if one person is "turned off" by an activity or behavior.  Don't get me wrong, I like porn, but I don't expect everyone else to enjoy it as I do. 

embrace and UNDERSTAND

Heather,

your reply was a bit short and I wanted to add that good open communication regarding sexual desires and frequency is as important as an open dialouge on any other marriage issue (budgets, vacations, child rearing,etc.). Much of what I am reading from this moderator gives ENTIRELY too much credit to ADD or ADHD. IT is not that bad of a disorder (if it really even exists chemically and is not just a by product of poor child rearing (expectation setting) by the boomers). My wife has heard the same from my couselor that she must have a self esteem issue and I believe she does. SHe admits it as well. Bottom line is your man (if he is healthy) is going to want it more then you are.. be more accomodating, watch porn with him, lighten up and try to be the "lady in the street but the freak in the bed" for a time (a few weeks) if his porn use and attitude changes then you have isolated the problem. If not... you have a man in need of counseling as I was.

Many of us have been raised to find blame elsewhere.. as we CAN'T be at fault! All I suggest is that you keep an open dialoge and open mind to determine if it is ALL your man's fault or  more of a mutual problem

Sex, ADD, addiction and the responsibility of the ADD community

I am so relieved to find a discussion on the seemingly "taboo" subject of addiction to pornography and ADD.  My husband is addicted to pornography.  It's hard to write that.  It's hard to see it on the screen, but it's true.  My husband has also been diagnosed with ADD by a psychiatrist.  

However, he refuses to get treatment for his ADD because (and I cringe...):

1. It's all in MY head.

2. "What? Like a pill will solve all our problems!"

3. He can "manage it." ( Although I'm still not sure what "it" he is referring to since he is not managing anything well!)

I was diagnosed with ADD after my first year (yeah!) of sobriety at age 37.  Looking back it makes sense. Although I was sober - no hangovers, no headaches, no more obsessing over an addiction- I constantly felt overwhelmed.   I could never "get my act together."  I was so disappointed in myself.  I felt completely inadequate. How could all the other moms make breakfast, pack lunches, dress their kids in clean clothes, drive clean cars, live in uncluttered homes, etc. ? Trust me. I was not striving for perfection.  I was fine with hot lunch and toothpaste stains on shirts but I couldn't juggle the little I had to juggle.  

After years of self-medicating, I had made the bold move to remove my coping mechanism - the alcohol.  I didn't know how I was going to get through life feeling like such a loser.  Is this what I sobered up for? Was I destined to be miserable? Despite working a dedicated AA program, I longed to escape my feelings of inadequacy through drinking.  Clearly I was depressed! However, I am forever grateful that a doctor recognized my real issue was ADD. The depression would dissipate once I treated the ADD.

Two years later I finally convinced (ahem, ultimatum) my husband to attend an intensive marital retreat.  I was at my wit's end.  Why did we continue to live crisis to crisis? Why did the utilities always get shut off? Trust me - there were bigger issues, but - you get the idea.  At the retreat, I  pleaded and begged for my husband to accept his diagnosis and take medication for his ADD.  When backed into a corner by the counselor, my husband finally disclosed his addiction to pornography.  Despite many unfulfilled promises to seek help, two more years have gone by.

He uses pornography the way I used alcohol.  His lack of empathy, which likely stems from untreated ADD, really creates a barrier to the possibility of intimacy.  He doesn't have "time" for me.  Caring actions like complimenting a new hairstyle or arranging for us to get away for a weekend don't even enter his chaotic mind.  I mean, he hasn't even had time to do our estate plan.  Despite having three children and two subsequent surgeries, I still have no living will - note the fact we've been married 13 years and he is an attorney!!!!!  (Sure, I could make an appointment with one of his competitors...) Pornography has invaded our marriage bed because my husband's untreated ADD precludes him from being in a relationship that requires compassion, attention and respect.

For years my husband made excuses for his lack of sexual interest in me.  Now that I have 5 years of sobriety and 4 years of successful treatment for my ADD (Adderall XR), I am healthy enough to realize that even if I bought MORE Victoria's Secret lingerie, initiated interest, lost 10 pounds and booked a week's stay in Mexico - it wouldn't matter.  This is my husband's problem which requires action on his part.   I don't need to "try harder."  I am convinced that his untreated ADD is always going to serve as a barrier to having the intimacy I crave as a healthy woman. Even if he "kicked" the pornography addiction, he would likely find another unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with his untreated ADD. I'm able to admit that I understand and I feel compassion, but I also feel a great deal of anger and resentment as a result of his "denial."

I get frustrated when I see so much "positive spin" on the disorder of ADD.  There is no medical evidence that ADD brings with it special gifts.  In fact, according to Russell Barkley's extensive analysis of leading ADHD studies which are discussed in his book, ADHD in Adults, the opposite is actually documented.  I don't have an extra dose of creativity because I have ADD and I take offense when professionals mislead the public by listing the "gifts of ADD."

I urge Melissa and Dr. Ned Hallowell to bring to light more stories on the devastating results of untreated ADD.   If more people discussed the crazy and often sick things people do to cope with their untreated ADD, perhaps some train wrecks could be avoided. People with untreated ADHD and their families are often living in "crisis mode."  I know we sure are.  If the ADD community wants ADD in adults to be taken seriously by educators, insurance companies, physicians, the judicial system, employers, and especially those suffering from ADD yet continue to be in denial, the entire ADD community and its professionals need to start speaking a little more openly and honestly about the havoc this disorder can wreak on individuals, spouses and families if left untreated.

ADD and relationships - a first person's account

I just discovered this great forum.

Here's my take on ADD and complains about sex.

I was diagnosed with ADD in my late 20s.  I'm healthy in every otherway.  Dont abuse drugs, alchohol or any other stimulant.

My stimulant of choice is sex (and porn - I will come to that shortly).  Not so much quantity but variety.  For all those women complaining about their ADD husbands' lack of interest in sex - they are just bored.  Not bored as a normal person would be (say 7 years after marriage) but bored with the very act of having sex with the same person - doing the same thing.  They still love you and find you attractive but ADD has taken its toll.  Btw, this same process causes them to have multiple careers and interests (most of them unfinished).

What makes us ADD men interesting for a lot of women (initially) is that we are like little adolescent boys.  We love exploring your bodies with the same sense of delight most young men do when they first hit puberty.

But once we have explored everything, we have to move on.  That is also where our addiction to porn comes in.  Its not that we prefer perfect little women with big boobs and tiny waists.  No - its the variety.  The variety is what feeds our 'high'.  Its the only way we can focus and inturn feel pleasure. 

Your husbands may be having problems keeping their erections.  They come and go with their focus.  This happens to me.   Check their 'morning erections' - if they are healthy in every other way - these should be normal.  They are normal and very frequent for me. - ED could be due to the constantly wavering focus.  Your husbands/BFs may be too embarrassed to confess this. 

One of you commented that your partner and you are 'masturbating partners'.  Well masturbation helps us stay focused on our fantasies.  I have had girlfriends complain about this. 

Also, some of you have pointed out that your partners 'space out' while having sex. 

There are two reasons for this: 

a) they have lost focus

b) they are focusing on one of their 'fantasies'.  These fantasies may include you or some porn/movie star or a situation that helps them focus.

I have a theory regarding this (based purely on my personal experience) - so take it for what it is - fantasizing allows us to think about some of the 'variety' that may not be possible in a relationship (sex with a co-worker for instance) - this releases all those chemicals in our brains that help complete the circuit that leads to orgasm.

Porn does the same thing - it is a booster shot to our brains - not porn itself - but the fantasies it spins in our brains.

One last thing.  I have never cheated on a girlfriend my entire life.  But the longest I have been in a relationship is 2 years.  So just because your ADD partner is disinterested in sex, dont jump to the conclusion he/she is cheating.

Your responses are welcome.

 

First hand account

Thank you so much for your openess.  I am really curious about what makes a man or woman be addicted to porn.  I kind of understand what you wrote but I need further understanding.  Could you explain it in more detail, what it is that it does for you? What do you mean it is like a booster shot to your brain?  Why porn?  Why not something else? 

My husband is severely ADHD and a porn addict.  He never seems bored with sex, wants it a lot, although we hardly ever do anymore because I don't feel attracted to him based on his addiction and the way he treats me on a daily basis.  I would appreciate your help in my understanding why the porn addiction and what it does. He isn't as self aware as you nor is he able to verbalize things he is feeling. 

Thanks

Steph

Steph, To answer your

Steph,

To answer your question - Why Porn?

(I'm going to focus on porn as I have been through failures in my professional life that at times have turned me into an annoying boor - which is not a recipe for romance/sex.  Your husband's non-sex related behavioral issues needs the help of an experienced psychiatrist.  I can only speak from my personal experience.)

So what is it about porn.  Well most men (married, single, in-a-committed relationship) watch porn.  Men in general are visually-stimulated creatures. 

But what it does for me is that it allows me to switch situations, partners, etc. and bring that variety into play.  Also, if I chart my sexual history, I have been upping the ante - taking greater risks - sex in public spaces, dating multiple partners, sex with multiple partners, etc. – doing things that are considered taboo by society.

Normal decency, fear of disease and basic moral values put a cap on this risk-taking behavior - and rightly so.  For example, I would never consider engaging a prostitute – though I have seriously considered that option.

Your husband may not want to see you having sex with multiple men - but watching another women - a nameless, 'faceless', porn star - doing it, is far more palatable, exciting even.

This is where, I believe porn comes into play.  Its a safe outlet for some of these fantasies.  Besides, as the old joke goes 'I cant do that with her - she kisses my children with that mouth'. 

However, porn addiction has its price - Physical and Psychological.

Physically, it takes its toll.  If your husband watches porn and masturbates (say) twice a day, it will make it difficult for him to go the distance with you.  Unless if he's in his 20s - he could do it.

On the mental side, from the research I have done through books and on the web (again, please verify this on your own), the 'high' we achieve from sex/masturbation also takes a toll on our brain.

Just as an ADD brain gets a high from attacking a new challenge (Job, project, love interest, etc.) it gets a high from the fantasies that drive masturbation/sex.  Once this high dissipates, we have to look for a new source for this 'high'.  Porn (sadly) becomes a safe place to find this new source.  Its an endless well of novel experiences.

Lastly, the physical act of sex is not neccessarily the catalyst that achieves orgasm for me - its the fantasy/situation that occupies the driver's seat and brings things to fruition.


Let me give you a few suggestions that have worked for me in past relationships. 

I often bring some of my fantasies to the bed room and tease my girlfriend/partner with these.

Most men dont realize that women secretly harbor similar fantasies.  We just think women would be grossed out and never let us near them.

I would recommend, dreaming up a fantasy and telling your husband that you had this dream - start with something mild (I'm assuming you havent done this before) - so he does not freak out.

Then a couple of days later tell him it got you really worked up (use some graphic language - again not knowing your background I cant tell you how far to go with this).

Tell him you cant get it out of your head and that you want to act it out.

Also, tell him its ok if he thinks about other women when he's having sex with you.  Infact ask him to share some of his fantasies.

Trust me - even if he names your sister or best friend - it is harmless.  The fact that he's willing to share that with you tells you he wont try it in real life.

See if this works.

I'll come up with a few more suggestions that have worked for me in the past.

p.s. Most men (Attention deficit or not) have fantasized about their wife's/girlfriend's sister(s).

Also, your feedback is invaluable.  This is therapeutic for me as well - just knowing others share my affliction.

 

Thank you Anonymous

Thanks for your response.  I appreciate and value this conversation.  You say that most men watch porn.  OK, but for HOURS a day?  Not just one hour mind you....sometimes 4+ hours!  Is that normal?  I doubt it.  He has never asked me to do anything weird.  On the contrary our sex life was very vanilla.  I say was because we haven't been together in about 2 months. 

I am not the type to go to him with fantasies.  PLUS the fact that he is the one with a serious addiction that is ruining our relationship, or more true to reality, has already ruined it, I think HE should be the one to make changes in this relationship. 

Tell me, have you lost relationships because of your porn use?  This among other serious issues has devastated what I thought we had.  I thought I married a kind, gentle, nurturing man who always put me first.  Wrong.  How wrong I was.     Instead I got a porn addicted (seems to have gotten worse over the last few years of our marriage) abusive tyrant.  Fraud.  That's what it is.

Sorry, I am upset and need to vent today.  I am just searching for answers that try to make sense of a senseless situation.

Steph

Steph,   I’m by no

Steph,

 

I’m by no means suggesting that this is your fault. 

 

This is your husband’s responsibility, his problem – in every way.  But I guess you being part of this marriage makes it your problem too.

 

Watching porn in and of itself is not a bad thing – but you are right – 4+ hours is abnormal. 

 

Have I watched porn for 4+ hours? – Yes.  Has it affected my work life? – Yes.  Has it affected past relationships? – Yes.

 

So how did I ‘cure’ my Porn addiction? – I reformatted the hard drive on my PC and gave it to charity.  Now I use my work-issued laptop to access the web, and I cant access porn (or anything objectionable) for fear of losing my job.  A bit drastic, but that is the only way I could walk away from it.

 

I still watch porn – on DVDs.  By their very nature they impose a time limit.

 

4+ hours of watching porn suggests another problem.  Your husband may not be getting that ‘high’ from porn – he’s getting bored with porn too.  So he has to keep looking, keep searching, which in turn takes more time. 

 

Also, he seems to be turning away from facing life.

 

Your husband seems to be having some problems with life in general.  Please get him to see a qualified psychiatrist specializing in Adult ADD.

 

A few books that have helped me understand and handle ADD (in addition to Dr. Hallowell's books):

 

  1. ADD and Romance
  2. ADD friendly ways to Organize your life
  3. Refuse to Choose – Barbara Sher

 

Please have him seek professional help.  I dont think either you or I can address these issues.

p.s. When my professional life became more organized and I found success and meaning there, my porn addiction faded.  I still want to watch it - but its more like once/twice a week for a couple of hours at most. 

anony

Wow, your comments have helped me more than you know.  Keep talking, keep explaining this to me.  I truly appreciate it.  I just don't think I want to stay around and get him more help.  Its exhausting me.  Nothing helps him, no meds, no nothing.  He just doesn't see how he negatively impacts our relationship....and every single other relationship he has ever had in his life.  Every woman he ever dated left him...he talks all the time about his great fear of me leaving him and yet he does nothing to prevent this from happening.  I am not a high maintenance person.  I ask for very little. I get nothing but abuse and maltreatment.  I just don't have anything left in me to give. 

 * by the way I applaud your growth and self awareness as well.  You should be proud of yourself.

Intervention

Steph,

whether you wish to remain in this marriage is your decision and I (nor anyone else) can or should offer any input.  Having never married I have no clue as to how marriage truly works.  I must say this though, I dread precisely what your husband is putting you through.  I know from my dating experience, that once the initial excitment dissipates, I will lose interest and make my wife's life miserable.

At times it seems cowardly not to pursue a meaningful relationship that is 'normal', healthy and (for lack of a better word) conventional.  But as they say 'discretion is the better part of valor'.  I wouldnt want to destroy 2-3 years of a girls life knowing fully well that I'm not prepared to accept the responsibility that comes with marriage.

Does your husband have family members he is close to - parents, siblings, cousins - can they intervene?

Even though you say you want to quit, you obviously love your husband.  You wouldnt be here, on this forum if you didnt.

Best of luck.  Let me know if I can help in anyway.

RE:intervention

My husband's family is way worse than him and they wouldn't help in any way.

I do love my husband, but I need to love myself right now.  I am planning on leaving him.  I just can't take living in fear of his next rage, in fear of what it is exactly he does get from all those hours of porn viewing, not to mention what else he is doing that I DON"T know about, and the pain, resentment and hurt feelings that I get from being married to him.  I can't remember the last time I felt that little flutter in my heart for him.  Its just shattered into a million tiny pieces now from all the hurts he's inflicted on me.  This isn't a marriage where I feel cherished.  I feel like he hates me.  He acts like he hates me, he talks like he hates me.

I appreciate your offer of support more than you know.  Again, your self awareness is incredible.

 

dear steph

Steph, I have read your posts for quite awhile now and not telling you what to do but honey noone and I mean noone deserves to live with the abuse you have been putting up with. Its been a long time he  is not going to change and he is bringing you down with him. I know what I'am talking about after what I went through in my marriage. I just was talking to a neighbor and found out all the abuse that she went through with her husband being an addict and she had to kick him out for her children's safety and hers. You are so sweet you deserve a better life filled with good things not hatefulness. I love my husband too but I know that its not healthy for me to be with him. so I love my life now and see much clearer because when I was with my hubby I was lost feeling like a no good anything.. I know its scary to leave but ask yourself " is this how you want to live like the rest of your life??think about defining your value system like Brenda talked about.that helped me.

My warmest regards to you ((hugs)) 

Can you help me understand?

Anonymous,

I have read your responses to Steph on this post. I have re-read and re-read them trying to understand. You sound as if you have the same problem my hubby does. When you write about your addiction you say many of the same things he does. You explain it like he would. Yet, somehow I still don't fully understand the addiction. I want to as this is super important to me. I don't feel like a lot of the other women on these boards. I love my hubby and I try and embrace his ADHD and try and see his weaknesses as strengths. I believe we have an excellent sex life....I know I am very happy with it. However, this one aspect sometimes makes me insecure. I understand why it does, most women feel they could never compare to women in the porn flicks....but the other side of me knows it is not about the women...it's about the high stimulation it provides him. Just curious if you could write to me and maybe explain more about it and help me understand it more.

 

Thanks!

It's about escape

I know I am a woman, but I have ADD and was only diagnosed a few years ago at age 30. I have found that for me, besides a spiritual aspect that many of you will scoff at, the porn or fantasy or erotic romance or online relationships or adrenaline inducing whatever, besides igniting the sexual itch, was a way of escape. When I felt overwhelmed by daily life, work or just to much required of me, these things provided a way for my mind to be focused on something exciting rather than in chaos and feelings of inadequacy for not being who and what I thought I should be......

This just scratches the surface, barely. There are so many things and emotions and psychological aspects to this it would take a very long time to cover adequately. I have many years of counseling and spiritual healing before my diagnosis and now that I have a name for and an understanding of why I struggle with the things I do, I can be more forgiving of myself and my shortcomings as well as work to find solutions to improve. The excessive behaviors of some of these men seem to say they are in sinking ships and dont know how to save themselves. It looks like they are going back to the porn to escape the emotional pain and their own shortcomings. They are aware that they are failing and in many cases just cant stop the behavior. I remember feeling like that as a teen and young adult and how devastating it was to my self esteem. Knowing what I was doing was not appropriate but not being able to stop the habit, the draw to the destructive behavior.

There is much more but I hope this helps.

What you said is perfect! 

summerwine's picture

What you said is perfect!  When my marriage was failing and I had baby fat to loose and felt gross from being a new mom and never getting to go out and be pretty or get dressed up. Yeah I used to sneak downstairs and watch porn on the internet and flirt with people in chat rooms. Sex with my husband at that point had become all about him getting off and nothing for me and I felt ugly and fat and not sexy. I had soooo much stress too. I found masturbating and watching porn and flirting with people I'll never meet to be like a drug that made my stress go away and made me feel special and sexy again. I had needs and they weren't being met so I went looking and maybe I looked in the wrong place But it was better than sleeping with a guy for real. It was my escape from my crappy life.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Fantasies

What you said about the fantasies fits with what my ADD partner has told me.  He likes me to "talk dirty" to him, which I'm not really comfortable with.  I get stage fright or something.  But he likes to hear about what I've done or would like to do or think about.  He closes his eyes and drifts away from me.  I hate the detachment.  If I don't talk, he drifts away anyway.

I've learned that traditional come-ons don't work for him - he finds it difficult to act on his thoughts, I guess, even though I've assured him I will not mind one bit!  He has told me that in the past most of the sex he's had was while drunk.  And I think that yeah, we've had a lot of drunk sex as well.  I get randy and less sensitive to his unresponsiveness when I drink and he's less worried (about whatever it is he worries about) when he drinks.  I certainly don't think that's healthy, but it is what it is.

You just reminded me that he likes it if I send him an email.  That works much better for me because I'm a better writer than speaker (I can take my time with the wording and what I'm going to say.)  He doesn't care if it's real or not.  He just wants something different.  That turns him on and then I'm in business.  It's late at night, he's in bed and I just sent him one.  It's not spontaneous, but hopefully he'll get it tomorrow then I'll get it tomorrow.  If you know what I mean.

Very insightful

Although hearing the truth sometimes is an easy thing...thanks for giving such a honest picture...sometimes talking with a spouse or bf is hard not even so much for you but for them...they fear that you will be judgemental or that you will think they are perverts. This gives me alot insight. Thanks.

thanks

thanks for posting this.  my boyfriend is ADHD (just diagnosed last year in his mid thirties and successfully medicated) and is totally emersed in porn and fantasy.  he rarely wants to have sex or sexual play with me anymore and when he does he just talks through his fantasy of me with another woman.  When we do manage to get something started it quickly gets to the point that he won't even let me touch him, he just holds me down and masturbates over me while vocalizing his fantasy. 

I don't know how to be interresting to him... I feel like he's seen and done everything he has wanted to do with me, now he's done.  No repeat performances required.  He loves me and is good to me in every other way, but it just destroys me that I cannot get his attention sexually.  I can't stand the constant rejection, and it hurts me that he'd rather get off to porn than be with me.

Please help... what do I do?  I am at a total loss....

"I don't know how to be interresting to him"

No touching? Overt talk of other women? Holds you down and masturbates over you? Sounds like emotional abuse in every way. There are ADDers and non-ADDers out there who can treat you lovingly - with tenderness and respect. Cut this guy loose.

emotional abuse

Most of the partners are here because they are seeking a way to cope with the effects of adhd in one way or another.  call it abuse, call it what you will, but we are all here to try and find some sense of community, help and support.

My partner and I were friends for nearly 10 years before we became a couple.  He decided he wanted more for his life and wanted to stop "chasing highs".  I had always told him that I thought he was ADHD.  After some soul searching he asked me last year to go to the doctor wth him to see if I was right about him being ADHD.  Since then, we have worked together through the roller coaster this disorder brings - with love and mutual respect.  We are in councelling to help build some skills to work through it. 

Sex remains the only stumbling block.  We communicate well most of the time, and we (despite the adhd) balance the household fairly well.  He treats me lovingly, but has no concept of how to "make love" to me, and the whole idea just frightens the crap out of him.  I do enjoy being dominated by him, but would like to be able to touch him and to be the one to get him off. 

The main issue is porn. Since posting my last entry, I showed him what Annonymus wrote, and it was like a light went off inside of him.  We talked about it the next day after he had some time to digest it, and he said he didn't realize just how much he was retreating into pornography and how neglected I was feeling.  He talked about giving it up completely, but I told him that was a bad idea... that he needs to have that stimulus and if he gave it up he would go back to it quickly anyway, so he decided that he should cut back on it.  He set his alarm for an hour later in the mornings so he can sleep (much needed) rather than getting up early every morning just to watch porn.  We talked about some ways we can try to use fantasy in our own sex life... he also found that frightening.  He has a very hard time bringing sex into the real world... his concept of sex is so much fantasy and in his own head that he isn't sure how to share that with me... so when we do get intimate we usually end up as described were he masturbates over me while vocalizing his fantasies in order to get off...

So, what I am asking Annonymus, or anyone else out there who has been there on one side of this situation or another, is how do I connect the dots sexually with him?  How do I become the object of sexual desire to his ADHD mind?  How do we incorporate fantasy and reality?

I agree

I agree with the poster here, I'm an ADD man and I guess I was lucky being diagnosed when I was pretty young... I can often see my actions through the filter of how people are going to respond to them... often though I'm just helpless to stop myself from acting though.  Regarding sex though I agree that we are a little like adolescent boys, but not just in that we have a thrill of doing something naughty and that we loose interest when it stops being naughty.

I've never been able to have a one night stand, sex is very closely linked to me to intimacy with a partner - which makes not making love when I feel like sharing that intimacy hurt a bit.  I know for a fact that I have often become moody and depressed when my partner doesn't seem to want to make love because in some way I am associating that with her not wanting to share that intimacy with me.  I'm the first to say that's kind of silly and I'm jumping to a conclusion but in my experience ADD people are very good at jumping to conclusions and not always the right ones.  I found a quote on this site today I want to read and explain to my girlfriend, "Add people 'Live in the World' so differently that they incorrectly assume they understand the motives that are influencing frustrating behavior."  That's a two way street, we don't always understand our own motives but it is particularly difficult for us to understand frustrating behavior from other people.  So we tend to make up these motives so we can move past the problem and on to the next distraction.

Sex for me is all about my partner however - my partner and foreplay.  Foreplay is engaging and interesting, varied and fun.  It's better than intercourse for me and I'm much more interested in a woman's body than in just doing the deed.

I do look at porn and I look at a large variety of things but I'll be honest, at any point in time the girl I am dating is the most beautiful girl in the world to me.  I can look at girls with incredible figures who are younger - and I know and understand how that can hurt a woman's confidence, but the honest to God truth is that the things that make us unique are a much bigger turn on to me.  In fact for me and masturbating while looking at porn I only climax when, looking at porn I think of something completely different sexually with my partner, well within the realm of possible. 

My point is that at least in my experience, sex and love introduce a completely new array of potential pitfalls for the ADD person.  We want to feel like our feelings, which to an outsider seem erratic (hot then cold, off then on) are being reciprocated and when we get it in our heads that they are not we withdraw to situations we can control, ie: with no other people, or we chase and push the issue trying to force our understanding and skewed world view onto our partners. 

My one and largest piece of advice to anyone out there with someone ADD is to be careful when explaining a problem to them.  :)  I like problems, they require solutions and that's something I can focus on.  And for all the distractions in the world I can chase a problem like Don Quixote chases windmills, often long after its stopped being a problem for my partner.

My response to the question, why porn?  Because it's variety and in the large scale of options to occupy insatiable curiosity, it seems like the lesser of all evils. 

I agree-labeling ADD as a "gift" is MISLEADING!

I am glad to see it is someone who suffers from ADD who is willing to admit this: "ADD does NOT bring with it special gifts" (see post above)

Even when treated, ADD adults have severe limitations on how well they function and cope in nearly every realm of the adult world...and the ones I know (my husband and approx. half of his family) do not bring with that major handicap any or the reported "special" gifts like creativity, joy, zest for life, or enjoyable spontenaity to make up for the bad stuff.  They are mostly depressed, unsuccessful, unproductive, and sucking the life out of their non-ADD spouses.  In fact, my ADD spouse (who is not medicated) is so emotionally flat and lifeless, people sometimes ask if he's a former drug addict.

ADD and "gifts"

arwen's picture

I don't think *anybody* was trying to suggest that ADD is a gift, outright -- I think the point was that there are *often* compensating abilities, which could be seen as gifts.  And while this may not be true in *your* experience, it certainly is in mine.  (I do not have ADD -- my husband and son do.)

For some years in high school and college, my son was a competitive athlete, and there is no question that he was more joyful and innovative in his sport when he was NOT on medication for his ADD than when he was.  Unfortunately, at the same time, not being on ADD medication made it a terrible struggle for him with his academics, which was depressing and frustrating for him.    It became obvious to me that in the context of my son's sport, his ADD actually was helpful to him, but in the context of his academic pursuits it was a problem.  It was clear these were two conflicting pursuits, so he took time off from college to pursue his sport, off meds, which worked very well.  When he had to give up his sport for physical health reasons and returned to college, he went back on the meds and that worked fine too.

My husband's ADD makes him better able to "think out of the box" at work, an ability which is very much prized, even depended upon, to help find innovative solutions to problems.  He was not diagnosed until his early 40's, so he had learned throughout most of his life how to use this ability.  Now that he is on meds, he is a little less innovative, but because of the experience of a lifetime, he can still bring this ability to bear on a problem when needed.  This ability has helped him keep his job at a time when his company has been laying people off left and right.

The thing that's hard to see or understand in this debate is that it's a question of context, or culture.  The world we live in today is in general less friendly to the particular idiosyncracies of ADD than the world 100 years ago, and as a result the ADDer is more of a misfit in general.  This can seriously inhibit any zest for life, or creativity.  But if the ADDer can find a context in which his or her peculiar characteristics are actually helpful, and the problems are minimized, it can be viewed as bringing some gifts along with the problems.  I'm not saying that this can happen for everybody with ADD, or that every person's particular manifestation of ADD brings along gifts.  But just because *you* haven't experienced them, doesn't mean they don't exist for others!!!

 

"The world we live in today

"The world we live in today is in general less friendly to the particular idiosyncracies of ADD than the world 100 years ago, and as a result the ADDer is more of a misfit in general.  This can seriously inhibit any zest for life, or creativity.  But if the ADDer can find a context in which his or her peculiar characteristics are actually helpful, and the problems are minimized, it can be viewed as bringing some gifts along with the problems."

Arwen,

I've thought about this a lot.  Some people with ADD do find their niche in the 21st century but more often they do not.  i think many times they develop low self esteem and it sequelches their creativity.  They seem to assume failure so why try. 

I am dating an ADD man who has a great deal of understanding about his strengths and weaknesses but has not been diagnosed. He has developed many coping stragies on his own.  he has many very good qualities, but his biggest downfall is consistent work.  My decision whether to marry him or not will hinge on helping him find his niche in the work world.  I am not out to "fix" him but to help him if he wants it.  He made a lot of money in the 70s and 80s when he had a wife and children--they seemed to have been his motivation to provide.  But now he barely survives financially. 

Like you I don't need a man to manage my life or to provide for me, but I would love to have a best friend to share my life.  I am a grandma now so I am not wanting children.  I am not certain at this point if I am mature enough to live with a man who hasn't developed a good work ethic regardless of why.  I think it would be a huge struggle for me to come home from work everyday to a house disaster and a husband who has been internet surfing or on the phone all day.  I personally could not do that.  So I need to know that he will develop and use new strategies to become a partner in the daily financial obligations we will have. 

Having said that I have been reading books on executive functioning.  For nonADD people executive functioning is the efficient use of the left side of the brain to plan, prioritize and accomplish goals.  ADD people do not have or have not developed this side of their brain.  Perhaps nonADD have a natural ability the ADD do not have.  Having said this though, the ADD person must develop some of these skills to have a life that works for them.  one author said that routines and ingrained habits are an answer to bypassing the need for executive functioning.

I thought this was a profound way to think about it.  So if my boyfriend can set up a work routine that he follows automatically like I do when I go to my job everyday, he will just have to develop these automatic habits and not have to struggle to use his ineffective executive functioning.  He is very right brained. 

If my left brain was weak in executive functioning, it would be awful to get up every morning to get to work.  Without a routine established I would have to get up every morning, make out a priortized list, and follow it precisely.  That would be incredibly frustrating especially if I was a lousy prioritizer. I imagine I would soon develop a poor sense of my ability to accomplish the simplest things.  I also believe that might lead me to just give up--I am a failure, stupid and probably lazy compared to others who seem to do these things so easily.  I am very interested now in the concept of routine being one of the answers to give the ADD person more control over their own life.

I am also reading books on empathy-to try to get inside this ADD man and to see life through his eyes.  He senses I am doing this and he loves me for it.  He knows I am truly trying to understand even though we are agreeing to disagree.  Empathy is very powerful as long as it is used for positive loving reasons.  There aren't too many things that are more powerful than knowing a person is truly humbling themselves to understand your perspective.  It also requires strong boundaries and a sure sense of who I am so that I don't enable.

Well, my latest thoughts have encouraged me and I appreciate your posts Arwen.  They are so balanced.

Brenda

you are wise

arwen's picture

Brenda, you have "got" it -- you understand quite clearly the nature of what you are dealing with.  I'm very impressed by the fact that you have come to understand your situation so well in a relatively short time.  Good for you!!!

Thank you for your kind words about my posts.  I also enjoy reading yours, for the same reasons.  My husband and I haven't solved *all* our  problems that related to his ADD and SAD dysfunctions, although we have come a long way, so I still need the insights of others like you.  But I am very happy if my experience can be of any benefit to others.  Living with ADD can be hard for everyone involved!

Some years ago, I had a medical problem that required me to take medications that as a side effect caused me to experience significant memory difficulties and loss of executive function for several weeks.  You are right, it was awful.  I couldn't do my job effectively any more.  I felt like a failure.  It was very discouraging.  Fortunately, I knew my situation was temporary, but it gave me a very personal understanding of what my spouse may be dealing with at times.  I had had an inkling before, but the experience really raised my awareness in a very short time.

I'm not sure I agree, though, that a person with ADD must develop some of the left brain skills in order to have a life that works for them.  I've seen some cases where the person with ADD finds a partner who is capable of doing that for them, and *perfectly happy* to do so.  It isn't what *I* would choose in a relationship, but the co-dependency works for them, and the ADDer never needs to develop these skills.

I agree with you that it's tougher to "find your niche" in the 21st century than in the past -- especially if you do not have any degree of financial security when you are growing up and you are forced to take whatever kind of work will pay the bills.  My husband and son were lucky, they had opportunities that were not available to everybody, and I recognize that others may have a much tougher row to hoe as a result.   Ironically, I've actually had a harder problem finding my niche than my husband has -- I'm a generalist, not a specialist, and pretty much no matter what work I've done, I've found myself a square peg in a round hole!  Again, in our 21st century, work is becoming more and more specialized -- there used to be many good-paying jobs I had the capabilities for and could do reasonably well, but now lacking specialized capabilities, or a super-degree of an ability, my options are far more limited and I find it much more difficult to be effective at these jobs  -- so I'm keenly aware of this aspect of the ADDer's situation.

Fortunately for my spouse, his "niche" was in the computer software arena, which enabled him to easily develop or use many automated tools to help with his lack of executive function.  This has minimized the amount of routine and habit that he has had to work to establish.  Obviously this approach would not work for someone who was uncomfortable with computers and similar electronic devices, and other means or different approaches would have to be found, but it was a real help to us.

Writing this has made me realize that I probably should post about these automated tools in the forum, maybe in the section about organization -- thanks for helping bring my attention to this!

Routine

I have to say you have both hit it on the head. I was a very successful un-medicated student and am successful in my career as an RN because of routine and ingrained habit. These were the coping mechanisms I used to get through school and college with honors. It was also determination and creative thinking that allowed me to recognize issues I was having and find a solution to include them in current routine or make new routine. Medication would have made it easier for me but I didn't know I had ADD till after I graduated with my BSN. I do have to say that I did, unknowingly, self medicate with caffeine, chocolate and B vitamins during those years. I am trying to teach my two children with ADD how to set up routine and habit along with other coping mechanisms rather than medicate them with stimulants. We are using L-tyrosine successfully though, when they remember to take it.....hence the routine and habit lessons. Lists have been my friends for many years...I even have lists of lists!

Pheh!

Must husband's ADD is a complete dibilitating nightmare and threatens to ruin his life and take me and the rest of the family down with him.

Sexless

This is in response to ninir's original post.  Have things changed for you and your hubby after 6 months on meds?  Did the meds change, did he quit them?  Let me know (give to me the hope you were seeking before!)

Hi.  I'm in your boat.

My partner doesn't look at porn obsessively, as far as I know.  When he did used to look it wasn't much, or really hardcore at all, and he never tried to hide it from me since he knows I'm pretty ok with it.  So, ok, I'm not in that boat.

The boat I'm in is the "where the hell is my sex life?" boat.  That's what it was christened (the boat.)  Even when we first met, after a long online/onphone courtship, there was little sex.  I took it really really hard and cried a whole lot and felt really terrible about myself.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  I mean come on!  First days of a new relationship!  I expected to be sore and limping, right?  He made me feel oversexed and like I was trying to rape him for wanting to kiss and cuddle with him.

He told me it was his problem and he'd deal with it.  He needed to sort out his head.  And I guess he has been doing that (for 3 years) because this is where it's lead me with his latest revelation of having caught the A.D.D.

I guess I gave up.  I've left the ball, slowly deflating, in his court.  It never used to be so hard to initiate sex.  All I ever had to do was look at a guy the right way and he was on top of me.  But this one, he takes some work.  I tried the whole "making time for it" thing, as Mellissa said, but that increased his anxiety.  He doesn't like to look forward to it, or I guess as he sees it, have it looming dreadfully infront of him for days.  I got this sex book and all the ideas in it were about building the anticipation, which I loved.  I loved getting little notes and texts and flirts - it did a lot for me.  It just made his blood run cold.

The thing is he tells me that he thinks about sex all the time - he just never acts on the thoughts.  He's constantly surprised when I get my period (oddly enough we usually have our monthly sex just before I start) like he can't believe it's been another 28-32 days or whatever.  I just use it as my sex marker.  And lately it's been once a cycle.  When we first started talking about how the lack of sex was an issue for me, and we were having sex once a week, I said I wanted to aim for 4 times a week.  What a joke!  That seems so impossible now.  I know sex drops off in a relationship but this is ridiculous.  At this rate we'll be completely sexless next year.

Unless he gets help and figures it out.

Something that I wouldn't have predicted is that my self-confidence, after being completely shattered, has been rebuilt stronger than it ever was before... without him demonstrating to me physically how attractive he finds me.  I know he loves me, I'm in no doubt of that, and it has nothing to do with my looks, because I've always been hot but I've recently lost 20lbs and he still won't have sex with me!  I've contemplated leaving, because it may be easier to find someone else as I'm still youngish, and as I mentioned, hot, but I honestly don't fancy anyone else and we get along so well... it's just this whole little dissatisfying lack of engaging intimacy "thing."

I'm really ready to have a baby and I know if I just put one in front of him he'd love it to death (he says he can't think about the future) but I can't see how I can possibly fall pregnant [with his child] without his help.  And I have a terrible fear that we'd become even more sexless yet after children.

I'm really against medication generally, but I'm not sure what the options are.  I just read something about a guy taking Zoloft and Ritalin whose sex life with his wife improved because he was able to focus.  I know it's selfish but if I can have more (and quality) sex with a more interactive partner then I encourage him to take any amount of pills neccessary for that!

Oh yeah and he has struggled with other addictive behaviours.  He smokes, drinks more than I think is good, eats a ton of chocoate and candy, and gambles a fair bit.  Nothing life ruining yet but I can see how he could let it go too far if he let go of the self-control/rules/limits he created for himself.

Sexless

Hi CheeseyPetal,

Been there, done that.  My husband has had a sex addiction for most of his life.  We actually separated because of how bad things had gotten between us.  I was exactly where you are (kind of back there again).  Look into the Fred Stoeker website.  You may not think that he has an addiction, but it certainly sounds like it to me.  He is probably not interested because he is relieving himself, if you know what I mean.  It is easier and takes less time and concentration for a person with ADD.  My husband hasn't been formally diagnosed with ADD - but it is very obvious.  I thought the sex addiction was the problem, but it truly was only a symptom..  Good luck!

Yeah I know he prefers

Yeah I know he prefers masturbation and that's usually how intercourse ends-up anyway, but I think you've misread my post or something.  I know my partner and he even goes full weeks without wanking because he wants to be ready to have sex (short though it may be) and not fear losing his erection (due to distraction or whatever.)  Anyway I'll have a look at that site but I don't think sex addiction it the case with my Mr. ADD.

Sexless and married 37 years

I discovered my husband is addicted to porn/masturbation 2 years ago and have struggled with not having a sex life for twelve+ ? years.  I blamed my being overweight and he always just said to me 'It isn't you', so I thought it was from erectile dysfunction. I worried about his health and we went to counseling a few times where he always blamed me for 'nagging' which prevented him from desiring me. He's ruined anniversaries, forgotten my birthdays (even though we married on the same date), no Valentine's  surprises, just watches TV constantly.

I eventually got him to read a list of symptoms for ADD last year which he surprisingly looked into. He saw a therapist for his sex addiction but there was no talk about how this relates to ADD.  He went to SA meetings for a few months, but doesn't believe in the 12 Step program and felt the men attending were much worse than him. He has stopped the porn on his computer (I check), but admits he still masturbates and still doesn't want sex even after I lost 70 pounds.  He had his therapist test him for ADD and was told he was 'borderline' and didn't require medication.

So I am still alone, doing everything, sleeping and eating alone, taking care of the house and am crushed that I'll be 60 years old next year, without feeling loved or cherished.  I am not able to work so I remain in this sad existence.  He has not read any books or websites about ADD and refuses to do a thing now to save this marriage.

PS:  Can't find a therapist in TN because they are mostly "Christian counselors" who have no clue about sex addiction...

recovery nation

KatH,

I was married for 34 years to someone with a sex addiction and the pain you are experiencing is paralyzing.  Please go to www.recoverynation.com.  Half the website is to help the sex addict develop a value system, and the other half is for the partner to reclaim the values that have slowly eroded from years of pain.  

There is a strong, vibrant woman just under the surface of all that discouragement.  The lessons will help you understand the dynamics of what you have lived, and they will help you create a plan for inner change.  It is really hard work to change and reclaim who you were before, but I can tell you that it is not only possible but I am proud of who I am now.  I live a values based life, and am much better making decisions on values rather than fear these days.

We are all a work in progress, but sometimes life throws us something we can be buried in for a long time.  I am 57 years old and I am proof that there is a life for you if you will reach out to the support available for free on this website.  You will find the people who post on the forum much like those here, they understand and feel your pain.

Brenda

Add and sex addiction

Thank you, dear friend, for your inspiring words.  I will visit this website and pray for strength to either release myself from this hell on earth or believe he will work towards change.  Please send me  your email address so I can talk to you more.  Many regards.

KatH

KatH,

As far as I know I can't post my personal email on this forum.  You will have a great support system if you go to the website.  As you read their stories, you will see yourself and know you aren't alone. 

Brenda

Perpetual confusion of non-ADD spouse/newly sexless

Dear KatH. I wish we lived in the same town and could go have a cup of coffee. I really feel your pain, and hearing you share is helping me know I'm not losing my mind. I've been married 36 years to my ADD husband. I lived for about 20 of those years not knowing anything about ADD, but just being constantly confused, perplexed, angry, sad,---you know the whole story. Although many of the behaviors have been hard to handle, the one that has really thrown me for a loop recently is the sex issue. When we were dating, he was attentive, romantic, sweet and loving. When we were young marrieds, we had a great sex life. When the kids came along, I began noticing what I thought was "his version" of being romantic was actually often rude and disrespectful behavior. For example, one night when I was making spaghetti and the kids were nearby watching t.v., he came home from work and just grabbed my personal body parts and began fondling me in a disrespectful way. I was totally thrown off by it. I've come to believe that what i was interpreting as romance in the earlier years of marriage, was mostly just sex--and me looking the other way from my needs and always giving in to his. The other strange thing he would do (and sometimes still does) is to walk by me and just "brush" up against me just enough for me to question whether he did what I thought he just did or not. It's almost like him keeping me confused on purpose. I know a lot of the ADDers say they don't purposely do things to undermine their spouses, but I'm not sure I always agree with that. Sometimes I think my husband likes to keep me off guard. So I'm not always the one who seems to be in control. Anyway, after many many years of him needing, often demanding sex, suddenly last year he just stopped. Just stopped! He's 61 now, and has been dealing with erectile disfunction problems for the past three or four years, but I've never pressured him. I would be happy to just be close, but when the sex went, so did any closeness, cuddling, and even touching. I know you know what this did to my self esteem. I got pretty down on myself thinking because I'm now 57 I'm just not attractive anymore. I'd go to bed crying. I finally realized this wasn't my problem after all--it was HIS. The weird thing was when I tried to talk to him about it, tell him maybe he should get a physical exam (for medical problems of sexual disfunction, etc.), he just said it wasn't about me, and he didn't want to talk about it. He doesn't want help, but what totally BLOWS MY MIND (excuse me, but I really mean this), is that he does not seem to have any cares about what it might be like for me to just suddenly realize I will never have sex again. I'm not the type of person to have an affair, so where does that leave me? How can he do this, and how can anyone not even try to share with their wife of 36 years what's going on? (He hates counselors--won't go). I have no indication of him viewing porn (he says he thinks it's horrible and "nasty" when people do), but how do i know he's not. He swears he's not having an affair, but what is a wife to think? I've been through so many years of ADD -- all the aspects of it. I really did not see this one coming. It helps so much to read that I'm not alone. Does anyone else ever question if you're dealing with an ADD problem that you would want to be supportive about, or if your husband might be hiding secrets from you? It's so hard to tell. If I ever found out it was porn or an affair on his part, that would be it.

lack of sex in add

Quick question...if ADD decreases sex drive, why does my spouse look at porn all the time?

Myth... In my humble opinion

ADD pre or post medication has not changed my drive at all. I would call it a total non-effect. I also could care less about porn.

porn

I believe it is a distraction and puts him in a place he has control of things, in his mind. All the attention is on the porn and not YOU.

Porn

BuTTUgLee's picture

I think is it part of the adrenaline factor.  They know they are doing something they shouldn't be doing and could possibly get caught.  This gives them a nice surge of adrenaline.  It is even better if you catch them or find it later on there computer.  Sad...  Been there and it's not fun.  Just one more thing that beats you down.

progress

I wish I also could have coffee with you to talk because we seem to be going through the same heartache. But good news - we are going to a therapist who is taking us through the book 'Getting the Love you Want' and sidestepping the ADD; instead of losing all the years being married and not really KNOWING each other and our childhood and desires, we are exploring secrets we've never told each other. Also, we have taken 2 trips away to get in touch with each other again and I feel we are closer, touching, even relating and enjoying again. He doesn't know how or why everything stopped between us, but is very much working on commitment and not losing me, as he would have. I still don't trust him completely but hope to focus on being everything he wants in a woman as I hope he will do same for me. The book is something I wish we had read 20 yrs ago when it first came out. Thank you for your help and let's continue to talk...

Sexual Desire

is a complicated thing.  The research that says that some with ADHD report lower sex drive does not say WHY this is the case - in other words while the researchers were looking at a group of people with ADHD they do not know if the ADHD is the cause.  That said, here's what I see:

  • parent/child dynamics, common in ADHD-impacted relationships can kill your sex life
  • distraction can kill your sex life (too distracted to have sex, or distraction during sex makes it harder on the couple)
  • porn can negatively impact your sex life (a form of self-medication)
  • anger eminating from a non-ADHD spouse can kill your sex life (who wants to have sex with someone who is always mad at you?)
  • verbal abuse can kill your sex life
  • fear of rejection ("you're not good enough") can kill the desire to have sex

And more.

I also see couples in which it is the non-ADHD spouse who says "no sex."  Sometimes the ADHD partner is banished to the sofa as a form of punishment or because the relationship has become so stressed that one or both partners aren't comfortable in the same bedroom.  I've also had couples tell me that their sex life is a mess because they are now "parallel playing" and not very interested in interacting.

Is this ADHD?  Well, probably.  But it's not just the ADHD.  Usually it's both the ADHD and the partner's response to the ADHD that's creating the full blown issue.

How to fix?  It's part of the larger picture of making your interactions stronger and feeling more connected in a general way.  Usually the sex life comes back rather late in the process since it often depends upon trusting each other...which happens after both of you have fully come to terms with the ADHD and started to overcome it.

I have a boy friend with ADD.

I have a boy friend with ADD. I have just as our sex life die. Since we starting having sex he was in control of it. I never mind until one day it all stop sex, sex play all of it just stopped out of the blue. Of cause I got worried and asked what happened and he said nothing to me. Not to long after we started to have sex again but is was like he wasn't enjoying and was just doing it for me. Then he started having a hard time getting hard but only with me if we looked at porn he got hard. Again sex stopped again I asked him what happened but this time I noticed that he was looking at porn a lot and even started to save it on the computer he and I shared. This time I forced him to tell what was going on. He told me that he wanted a threesome. After that he never stopped talking before long it was the one thing we talked about how he wanted and felt he needed one to be happy. It move on from that to he will get one from me by his birthday with one of my best friends. This of cause got me anger and I stopped talking to him. Then he asked me what did he was wrong. During all this time still no sex but he still wanted blow jobs, hand jobs and boob jobs from me but I don't get anything in return but pain. Every time we were with my friend(s) he kept hinting out it almost out right asking them. Again no sex but this time he didn't even ask for what he wanted. So I looked in to it and fond he was looking at porn a lot most if not all his time on the computer was spent on porn and games. He always look at porn of threesome and many girls with one or no guy. I talked to him about he said it was just he was of not asking me for these things but he still did all the time every time we were alone. I spent more time with our dog then him even when he was home he was on the computer I had barely any time on it at all. Now I have my own computer so we no longer share one. Now every time I see him on the computer he is looking at porn and masturbate 5 or more times a day all of which are When I'm asleep. He hides everything he does from me. Just the other day I got him to talk to me about it and he says he wants about 7 to 8 women sometimes more and he feels bad about doing this to me because he loves me but he just can't get it out of his mind. There are many times when I feel I should leave him so he can go wild then came back to me when he has claimed down but I just can't do it I love him too much it hurts so much I just don't know what to do any more.

To I have boyfriend with ADD

I am sorry this is happening to you and you can read in this forum what I've been through, not with a boyfriend, but a husband of 37 years and porn addiction and his ADD.  When I discovered he was looking at porn secretly (ask him if he would do this IN FRONT of his wife/girlfriend) and masturbating and figured out this is why he had neglected me for more than 12  years, I threatened divorce.  There is no way I wanted to live with a man who 1) was lying to me; 2) rejecting me and my affection; 3)being selfish and not thinking of me, his life partner; 4) knowing it was abnormal but wasn't trying to change; 5) living a life apart from me and separating us both physically and emotionally.  After he realized that I was confident enough and would be better off without him, he saw a psychiatrist and started SA (sex addition) meetings.  He went to 3-4 meetings a week and met others who have the same addiction, was able to tell his story and was counseled by the therapist.  I/We are seeing a therapist now to better our relationship, our sex life (he is also a sex therapist and hypnotist) and to talk about how his need for porn started in the first place.  I also see the therapist on my own to help me love myself and appreciate myself more should I decide to leave him in the future. 

Your relationship is suffering and so are you.  I hope you can find the strength to make a decision that will help you.  Life is so very short and when I look back at the years I wasted, crying every day and thinking it was MY FAULT that he wouldn't touch me, I know now I should have questioned and caught him in the act - and moved on THEN. 

I send my best to you always.

2 times no sex

You're right Melissa. Its very complex. With both of us being ADHD and him out of town working (not near women) and having 2 special needs kids, sex becomes difficult to organize. We went over a year once....or twice. But when we figured out we had to plan for sex, have dates so to speak, it became very interesting. Its still not as often as one would hope but the planning ads an element of intrigue that heightens the experience. Its like having a honeymoon every time. wink wink nudge nudge. non ADHD people have to remember that we are not all afflicted by the same issues and that not all ADHD men are thrill seeking through sex. So likewise, not all of those guys are bored with their wives. Some are just not organized enough. Introduce elements of planning but be ready to forgive if it doesn't pan out. Then you can plan for make up sex.

After reading this page I

After reading this page I told him that if he wanted anything else from me that he would have to going a week without looking at porn. The whole week he is telling that he hasn't looked at porn. I still having some trust for him believed him but today I looked at his computer history and like he did before he deleted his history so I wouldn't see it but I looked into he short saved history and found he had just last night looked at porn and both he computer and he game system. When just a few mins before he told me again  he hasn't look at any all week. When he comes home I plan to talk to him about this and I'm not sure how I'm going to go about this. I'm so mad at him for lying like he did and for forcing me into this. So is there anyway I should try when I talk to him?

Sex and ADHD

I see that most of the comments seem to be focused on the husband as the ADD/ADHD spouse.  What about ADHD/ADD wives?  I have been married for almost 3 years and have been with my husband for 6.5 years.  I am the ADHD spouse in our relationship and I currently take Adderall XR.  I'm chatty, easily distracted and am a multi-tasking fiend.  My husband is WONDERFUL about letting me talk on and on, or letting me jump around from one project to another.  The only area where we have an issue is when it comes to sex.  He has always had a far greater sex drive than my own, but sex has never been the top item on my priority list.  My husband has gotten a lot better about not getting so frustrated or angry when he is sexually frustrated (let me point out that sexually frustrated means having not had any sexual encounter with me or release with my assistance for at least a week), but I always feel so guilty that I am just not into sex as much as he is and I feel bad that he remains unsatisfied.  I never really thought about how ADHD could be a contributing factor to the problem until I started looking at this site. He always tells me that when I'm into it, I am into it, but it is getting me there that is the problem.  Until we talked about it I never realized my being easily distracted was actually hurting him emotionally.  He will spend an hour or so just hanging out, trying to get me in the mood, and without thinking I will, for example, just get up and start doing laundry - totally oblivious that I just left my sexually frustrated husband sitting in the bedroom.  Other times I know he is in the mood, but I am so not in the mood, but I don't want to tell him that because he is so sexually frustrated that telling him I am not in the mood will make him more angry than he already is.  Rather than say anything, I just change my focus to the dog, the TV, or something else.

Luckily I have a wonderful husband who is very understanding, so I am not concerned about losing him as a result, but if anyone is having the same experiences, do you have any suggestions?   I think my big problem is there are just so many other unfinished things (dishes, laundry, paying bills, cooking dinner, dirty counters, work) that end up at the forefront of my thoughts and I just can't focus on anything else (like sex) until I clear those other things from my thoughts.

 

Does this make any sense?  Can anyone offer some suggestions?

 

Thanks.

ADD wife and sex

It's a very large bone of contention with us.  Whenever he wants to talk about it, I shut down.  For some reason I feel very threatened by these conversations, and I don't want to be.  He's also a very meticulous person, and would rather have showered before hand, and I would just like some more spontaneity!  Is there some middle ground where we can meet?

What if you surprise him by

What if you surprise him by joining him in the shower?  My husband and I had a discussion about ADHD/Sex, etc. Friday night.  I really wasn't in the mood, but I decided to make a compromise but surprising him during his morning shower on Saturday by joining him.  We didn't have sex, but it helped relieve some of his frustration.  As contradictory as it sounds, sometimes you have to plan your spontaneity.  Or, maybe you could find a way to add his need for meticulous hygiene into your spontaneous romps.  :)   By instigating some initial compromise it may make the discussions a little less daunting and gives you a place to start (the conversation).  It will allow you to add a little spontaneity and then solicit his feedback on the encounter.

I hope this helps.

My personal feeling is that

My personal feeling is that if you're married to someone who is addicted to porn, there are 3 people in the relationship..you, him/her, and the porn. I recently did a research paper on Adults with ADD and it is very common for ADDers to have an addictive personality..whether it's porn, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.

It is heartbreaking to see so much suffering and so many people's lives left in the destructive wake of ADD. Worse yet, to see those with ADD who are doing a lot of the hurting be in such denial about how destructive their behaviors are..or that they're even doing anything wrong.

Our sex life has been the same roller coaster ride as our marriage and struggles with (what we know now to be) ADD. During times of high stress, thus increased ADD behaviors and increased fighting I withdrew and put up walls. The "attention" he claimed he needed desperately, I withheld because he was being very hurtful and the marriage/relationship was so horrible. There was just no connection. We hit rock bottom, separated for a while, and finally 'got it' and reconciled. Since then, we're much more on the same page as far as our sex drives go. He was just recently diagnosed, so I wouldn't say that his ADD causes him to have an unusually high sex drive, but there have been periods in our marriage (knowing what I know now) that I can look back and see where I feel it caused him to have a very low sex drive. The specific aspect of ADD that fueled that, in my opinion, was his lack of self-esteem. He'd spent a few years in a horrible marriage before we met and her belittlement and degrading treatment of him (of course not understanding his ADD, and not really caring either) had worn him down. It took quite a few years of us being together before he felt secure enough to relax and enjoy himself.

"Curing" the porn addiction

I feel in my 3 year relationship with my (live-in) boyfriend we've come a long way with the porn.  I have nothing against porn, in and of itself, but the way he was using it was a bit too much.  Before we moved in together, he might spend a whole day on the couch, watching movie after movie (porn) and giving himself a hand over and over again.  After we moved in together, he would often do it if I went out at night (after my son was asleep).  

My feelings slowly moved from "huh, you were watching porn while I was out" to "do you just wait for me to leave the house so you can do that???"  After a while I started to feel rejected and hurt and feeling like he liked the porn women better than me, etc.  Another thing that bothered my was that the child might wake up and with him being hyperfocused on the porn he might not notice him approaching.  After a few discussions (read: me crying, him apologizing for hurting my feelings) he promised to lay off the porn for awhile.  He had a couple of slip-ups, but to my knowledge he hasn't watched porn for over a year, unless we're watching together (which we sometimes do). 

Maybe he didn't really have an addiction (although it felt at least close to that) and maybe I just got lucky, but I believe his love for me and not wanting me to feel hurt, rejected, unimportant and all that were what "cured" him of the porn addiction.  Of course I had to be vocal about it and it had to be clear that this was about my feelings and me having a hard time enjoying sex if I always felt he was comparing me to the porn women.  

Also, after he almost ceased masturbating (which he mostly did while watching porn), he is much quicker to reach orgasm during sex.  I have read that men who masturbate a lot can have a harder time reaching orgasm during sex, since the friction is different.  He's gone from about 30 minutes to less than 5 (he can keep going longer, but if we're in a hurry he can be done in 5 minutes).  That has helped our sex life a lot, since back problems for me often prevent me from having intercourse for a long time.  Knowing that we can sometimes just make it a quickie makes me willing more often, which again makes him happier (he is definitely one of the ADD guys that wants a lot of sex, not the other way around).

P.S. I've been reading on this forum for over 2 years but this is my first post.  I feel like I want to dump out my life story (or at least my relationship story) all at once, but am going to try to contain myself.

masturbate a lot can have a harder time

Pink's picture

I husband with ADD and he does watch porn on the computer and maybe that why I avoid or don't enjoy having sex with him and more over... it takes him a long time to come. I get bored. I am thinking of what you said I am not sure if the med he takes or because he masturbate a lot.  Like you said "I have read that men who masturbate a lot can have a harder time reaching orgasm during sex." If I tell him that I am sure he will be get more angry. He keep telling me that I don't help him and he can't do it in 5 min. He used in back then. But now everything is my fault.

Would he be willing to at least try?

Maybe you can ask him nicely to try not masturbating for 2 weeks and see if there is any change ?  Of course, if your issues are more than just the sex part, 2 weeks might not be enough.

I've found that (assuming I have his attention) he responds better to my feelings than logical reasons or me pointing stuff out - that seems to bring out his stubbornness more (or oppositional defiant disorder or whatever the pc term is).  When I can get him to understand that I feel bad and maybe if we tried X I would feel better he is more open to it. 

Also, after I developed a painful disorder (that one book suggested might be from the stress of living with someone with ADD...), he has been much more helpful around the house, because he gets that if my back is shot from doing housework, we certainly won't be having sex. I do have to remind him though and he leaves a lot of stuff half done, but it's better than nothing.

RE: masturbate a lot can have a harder time

NOVA1986's picture

Hi Pink,

 

It's never ONE THING the cause of a problem. It could be a combination of the meds, masturbation, self esteem issues, etc, etc.

Read a lot in this website, take notes and maybe you can find ideas the how you can find the real causes of yours and your boyfriend issues, and maybe to find the solutions,

 

Good Luck.

 

Nova1986

your post

It was so helpful for me to read your post i really thought i was the only one who felt like this, feeling not good enough, almost like being cheated on.  my (live-in) boyfriend of 7 years Which is also ADHD stop for about a year and a half but back at it again.. so hard, like you I am new to the site and I just want to spill all my feelings too.. it is so hard. thank you though for your words they were helpful

I feel like life is just

I feel like life is just never going to get any better for me. My life is like a bad dream that never seems to stop. At this  time my bf and my life has been very hard with little income and having to worry about how we will eat is hard by it self but here we are having to fight with his ADHD. Sex never really happens anymore we just don't ever have sex and I'm starting to get to the point where if i have to any longer without I will just go and sleep with one of the man that want to but I don't want that at all. I want to have sex with my bf again and no one else. While he wants (us) to have sex with a room full of girls. I have gone 2 whole yrs with very little sex at all. In the pass 2yrs we had sex only 10 times and every time he didn't last long at all. It felt like we never had sex at all.I just don't know how much longer I can last.

Is this ADD or something else?

My husband and I have sex, on average, once every month or even every two months. We both claim to enjoy sex and want more, yet nothing changes. I was always very sexual and still believe that I am. We have known each other for 4 1/2 years and have been married for 3. It is his second marriage and my first. We are in our 40's.

During his first marriage, he used porn to satisfy his "unmet needs" from his wife, who, he claims, was not so sexual. Now, he has a sexual wife and claims to use porn because it is quick and easy. (I guess this is the no fuss, no muss, approach to intimacy!) He knows that I am deeply hurt by this----not because I am so anti-porn per se, but rather because he is using it INSTEAD of actually having sex with me. If it enhanced our sex life, I would be 100% for it. Instead, his porn use seems to be distracting him from his very real, alive, and lonely wife.

I do not want to ever cheat on my husband, yet I'm not sure I can keep on living in a basically platonic marriage. Is porn usage common among those with ADD? Or does ADD simply lend itself to a whole host of addictive behaviors?

Any thoughts? Ideas?

Thanks.

Yes

Yes, and I think if you read through all the above post you will see that it is a common problem.  You say you don't want to cheat on your husband, but have you asked yourself (and him) if he isn't really cheating on you, when he prefers porn to sex with you?  

I was ok with the porn at first (and it never did replace our sex life) but it started hurting my feelings after a while and I asked him to stop.  After a few arguments, a bunch of hurt feelings and such, he seemed to realize that I wasn't just being *difficult* and it really did hurt my feelings. So he stopped watching porn because it was important to me.  We don't have more sex though (were having just plenty before) so that wasn't the point.

I don't know what to say to your situation except it's clearly not ok for him to be doing that knowing how you feel and you guys could probably benefit from some professional help (and I don't mean professional *actresses*).  The only other solution that comes to my mind would be for him maybe to agree to stop for a couple of weeks or a month and try to work out your sex life some, but knowing that he can turn back to it (so it isn't: you have to stop forever or I will leave you/cheat on you).  I do wonder how he would feel if you bought some great sex toys and started "preferring" them to him.  Would he start coming after you if you weren't as interested in him?  Sherri might have some thoughts on that.

Good luck.

Actually, I am so confused

Actually, I am so confused and up to my ears in it with my own sex life that I wouldn't know where to begin giving someone else advice. Ugh.

We've never had the porn problem..our 'movie watching' has been very few and far between in 13 years of marriage. We just can't ever seem to get on the same page. I try and figure him out and I get nowhere. I've contemplated this issue for 2 weeks, since our last counseling session and him dropping the bombshell that he didn't think I wanted sex anymore/he wished I would initate it more..all the while I'm thinking I've made this selfless sacrifice by 'backing off' when he was having some performance anxiety issues a few months back and after discussing it I felt it was what he needed.

I think I will approach the subject again in counseling tomorrow...stressing to her how difficult it can be to communicate with him when he is sending mixed signals.

I will definitely leave this one to the pros. I guess for the first time in many years he is functioning with a clear head (no drinking) and at the same time is dealing with the diagnosis and treatment. In the past when I backed off it was because I just gave up. My lack of interest (or so it would have seemed) made him want it more. Now, it seems he wants it more...but he wants me to initiate it (Um..hello, could you TELL me this??). The one time I did initiate it since then, I felt like he was about as interested in having sex as he would be in having his toenails pulled out. I think he knew he was obvious with his lack of interest because of something he said the next day..pretty much trying to convince me he was really into it. 90% of the time, I don't take it personally, but that other 10% of the time sucks. Praying we'll get it worked out soon..before it becomes a huge issue for us.

I am a man and have ADD

I have had ADD for as long as I can remember. I have been married for 4 years and love my wife and kids dearly. The problem is, my wife thinks my ADD is all in my head. She refuses to acknowledge it. I'm afraid she thinks I am weak. When I tell her I have it and have to take my meds for it, she says I am making excuses. I love her so much. I have an intense fear of getting divorced like my parents, which I've sworn to myself I will never do. But she doesn't hear me when I tell her these things. We get along just fine for the most part. We have minor arguments that dissolve quickly. I also have a problem keeping an erection when we are in the "heat of the moment". I'll have no problem at first, but when things get going, and they always go the same way, I lose it. And it keeps frustrating her. And I don't like letting her down. But that's exactly what ends up happening. I'm scared of going soft, start dwelling on it, then it happens and it pisses her off. Anyone have any ideas?

Hey Capn, I didn't realize

Hey Capn,

I didn't realize how much of my husband's "quirks" are ADD-related until I got on this website.  I mean, even reading other people's complaints about their partners, you can easily say that it's 1) either the non-ADD partner's high standards or 2) the ADD partner's selfishness or lack of consideration for others.  But the more reading I do, apart from this website (i.e. Dr. Ned Hallowell's books) the more I realize how much of what bothers me is actually ADD-related.  I was a skeptic at first - I really was.  I thought ADD was a convenient label tired parents gave their kids so they wouldn't have to run after them so much.  But too much of it just fits to be something other than ADD. 

There's a very short chapter (38) in Delivered From Distraction that bangs the nail on the head for our biggest problem.  I thought it was just lack of sex, but it's also lack of intimacy - that's how I perceive it.  All the things that I believe foster intimacy in a relationship seem to be things that my husband hates to do.  They all involve LINGERING.  Strolling holding hands and talking, visiting museums and sharing what we think, going out to dinner - and having coffee and dessert and talking, playing boardgames, picnics in the park.  I feel like he can't just stop and enjoy where he is and who he is with - it's always "chopchop time to move along now."  If we go for a hike (the main reason for doing so is to see what you can see along the way, right?) he'll power walk ahead of me and say things like "I'd love to do this track on a dirtbike."  Completely missing the point.  I get frustrated and he can only say "It's just the way I am."

Lovemaking involves a fair bit of lingering.  Or I'd like it to anyway!  So there can be boredom with that - especially if you know it's going to be routine, and you expect part of the routine to be that you lose your erection.  It might seem like it's not worth the fight (her frustration, disappointment, etc.) and you just don't want to do it after awhile.  We still haven't solved our lack of sex issue, but we're working on it.  We're actually getting free therapy because we stumped the local sex-expert!

My point is that your wife might like to stop pushing against the brick wall?  I know that nagging and crying don't affect change in someone else, it just makes things worse (guilt, resentment, I probably don't have to tell you) but trying to be understanding and inventing creative compromises so both partners get what they want makes it feel like everyone's playing for the same team again.  If your wife reads some posts/stories/testimonies/case studies that resonate with how she perceives the relationship she might understand just how much of you that she sees - not who you are, but how you behave - is the same as others with ADD.

I really want my husband to get on this website so he can talk with other guys who have the same issues.  It can be really helpful, because so much of the information I found, before I knew about the ADD, was incredibly unhelpful.  Talking to people who had no idea about the diagnoses was extremely unhelpful.  At least you have a starting point.  Put her onto this website - send a link to her email or something.  Hopefully she's open enough to it that she can start to read and stop denying it. 

I should also say (so the other women here don't hurt me for being too male-partner-ADD-ist) that I hope you're working on yourself as well and not just going, "Whoops, sorry babe, that's the ol' ADD kickin' in.  I'll just take a pill and you can suck it up."  'Cause that's not cool.  :)

Oh I fully acknowledge my ADD

Oh I fully acknowledge my ADD and try to curb it or control any impulses as best I can. I try not to make excuses. And I definitely don't do anything stupid and attribute it to the disorder. If I do something without realizing it, then I blame it on ADD. But these incidences are rare for me. My wife will ask me to do the dishes, and I'll do them. Perhaps not right away, but they get done. I admit, I do forget sometimes, but not too often. I never ask my wife to "Suck it up." Because that's just not fair to her.

RE:I am a man and have ADD

NOVA1986's picture

Hi CapnZack83,

I will recommend you to get a complete physical. Talk with your doctor, My husband starting having this problem caused by his diabetes. He was able to overcome the erection problem. 

"I also have a problem keeping an erection when we are in the "heat of the moment"...

That maybe could be more psychological than physical. But if you use porno and practice masturbation it also can affect real intimacy with you spouse.

 

Good Luck.

Sex Issues

My husband who is 27 has ADD & has been addicted to porn & self pleasure for at least 5 years that I have known him.  We have an issue in the bedroom that he can't keep his erection while we are having sex.  He beats his self up & cusses his self out when he losses his erection & can't finish.  I have been supportative & have tried to work with him through this but nothing I say or do is correct.  He is to ashamed to go to a doctor about it. So  you think if we play music or something in the back ground it would help?  Please help.

Sexual Addiction specialist can help.

NOVA1986's picture

I'm still married for 18 years almost 19 with an ADDer. Last year finally he was able to start a therapy with and specialist for sexual addictions. There is no easy to find the right one. For my husband was very complicated because the doctors in the past agree completely with masturbation, fantasies, etc, but that wasn't the real values of my husband. So the search has to be made with patience, because there is no easy to find the right for you. My husband was abused when he was around 8 y.o. and also during his HS years for a ugly/fat (according to him) assistant director of the Marching Band. These issues are very serious and delicate and they have to be treated. For my husband the new psychologist and the new intent to get close to our Heavenly Father is helping him with the porn addiction in the last 6 weeks. This is not the first attempt to learn how to control this impulse. But it is probably one of his last chances he is in excellent professional help and other strategies y started to use. besides that he is going to start a AAA kind of support group organized by the church and he asked if WE can attend another support group created for couples. At the beginning I said NO, because he wasn't direct in the invitation, so it made me think that he really didn't want it to go. We argue about this, but now I am available to do it, because I see some of his  interest to learn how manage his issues.

In spite of his negative reactions after reading some comments. I think this Website is giving him opportunities to rethink his problems and their consequences. 

Good luck for everyone

I am no expert on this

I am no expert on this subject, so please take this for what it is worth..but it is my understanding that someone who masturbates like this can create this problem for themselves...among others. I have seen it before...twice...and both times it was due to chronic masturbation and, over time, less and less instances of 'naturally' achieving an erection. (i.e. they become conditioned to certain needs in order to achieve an erection, reach climax, etc) It can happen to women as well. Also, I think it creates a psychological barrier when you get used to doing things one way and then all of the sudden you involve another human being. The pressure can create 'performance anxiety' and that's a vicious cycle itself. I've read it described as 'the more I worry about it, the worse it gets, then I feel horrible, and expect it each time..so it just always happens because I'm always expecting it'.

I agree, he probably needs to see a therapist who specializes in sexual addictions.

needs help

Professional help from a doctor, therapist or sex therapist makes sense.  Doesn't make sense to continue to beat himself up, add to his anxiety, etc.  Also, if there is a physical component, perhaps Viagra would help?  The doctor will most certainly have seen this type of thing before, and will most likely be supportive.

too much masturbation can cause impotance

I think people are not really aware that there is such a thing as to much masturbation. Manly what happens is the body just stops responding to anything and a man can't get an perform. The other thing that happens before that though is that he can only get arroused by the particular thing he has trained his mind and body to accept. So if he is used to porn and his hand then the sensation of a womans actual body is not going to keep him aroused. My husband often looses his his stamina fairly early because he has either masturbated fairly recently and just can't or because he says he can't "feel" anything. He's trained himself and I wasn't included in the training. It happened well before I got on the scene.

Get over it

ADD is an excuse. I was diagnosed with the disorder and I refuse to take meds for it, yet I am a straight A student in college. Also, in my married life I give my partner my complete undivided attention, because that is OUR  time! I believe that a person can make up their mind on what they decide to give their attention to, and my partner is important enough to me to put everything else on hold when it is our intimate time. It really is a decision and it is all a state of mind. I wish people would be accountable for their own thoughts and actions and stop making excuses.

Everybody is different I guess

SP21 I'm glad you've found techniques that work for you to control your ADD.  Unfortunately, one of my guy's challenges resulting from ADD is a limited ability to see how his behaviors are affecting others, i.e.,  inaccurate perceptions.  Many times he has thought he was giving me his full and undivided attention, but wasn't.  Not even partial and divided attention.  Our relationship was particularly challenging for him last year, while he was earning a 4.0 in grad school and working full time. It would be for anyone in those circumstances, but he really thought he had it all covered.  He doesn't use ADD as an excuse; with ADD he doesn't realize he has anything to be "excused" for.   

gardener447

A Closed Mind

It must be nice to have all the answers. People with a real problem (that is NOT misdiagnosed like it sounds like you were silverpeach21), need real help, not lectures from people who don't understand them. That attitude helps nobody but your ego. 

you were misdiagnosed

I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 26, and my graduate school GPA shot up from 3.3 to 3.7 within 2 semesters.  You cannot possibly tell me that my study habits miraculously improved instantly at age 26.  If you can have sex without ritalin, and you aren't constantly thinking about travel plans, things you need to write, boats, cars, guns, airplanes, fixing toilets, how much leaky faucets bother you, why it hasn't rained in 3 months, what's wrong with our political system, etc. you don't have ADHD.  To assume that because ritalin wasn't a drastic improvement in your life that everyone is just making an excuse indicates that you are not attempting to step outside the anecdotal evidence of your own experience.  If you look at statistical data for the cost of ADHD, it is clear that it exists.  Moreover, numerous brain scan techniques have demonstrated that ADHD has a physiological explanation, not merely a behavioral one. 

I am 5 months away from finishing a PhD in engineering, and my starting job will be paying over 6 figures.  I am happily married to a woman with a PhD in science.  If I had not been diagnosed with ADHD, it is unlikely that I'd be married or finishing a PhD.  I did not have the organizational capabilities to do this work without help.  My starting income will increase by about $20,000 per year, which far exceeds the cost of ritalin, and the increase in taxes I'll be paying will pay for a lot of government services, hopefully including disseminating information about very real psychiatric disorders so that jerks like you will be more open minded. 

Not so fast....

My ex has a Phd, a triple major, a six-figure income, and has been married 4 times, twice to women who were highly educated. He readily admits he has ADHD. But our personal relationship could have been taken right from Melissa's book.

However, he has said he got through college mostly through sheer anger, to show those people in his childhood who said he would never amount to anything because he made poor grades and barely graduated. He hyperfocused on studies while he lost a couple of wives. He regrets that he feels he's never lived up to his potential has he has gotten older. He's not close to anyone, including his children. He had sex without ritalin -- in fact, he wanted it much more than average -- but was pretty focused on what he wanted, not me. Liked porn. He was pretty forgetful, but had come up with work-arounds for things that were important.

However, it is possible to be misdiagnosed. No question about it.

Silverpeach

NOVA1986's picture

For what you wrote, it doesn't seem you really have ADD. Is it a possibility you were misdiagnose? On the other hand there are different types of ADD. In in the ADD spectrum everything can be possible.

I have ADHD and no sex drive problems

I have ADHD, I am married, and I have a fairly high sex drive.  According to the book Delivered from Distraction, there are several sexual behaviors that ADHD can affect.  For me, I have trouble actually having sex when not medicated because I get distracted and can't get into the moment.  However, I also want sex from my wife almost constantly, and it annoys her a lot, which in turn makes me feel bad.  On ritalin, I'm less impulsive about wanting sex, and I am able to be more smooth.  Also, sex is more enjoyable because I am able to have sex without thinking about other things. 

I look at pornography fairly often because it is highly enjoyable.  It does not affect my sex life; I have tried not looking at it for extended periods to verify this.  I don't find that pornography causes desensitization over time.  I still enjoy the same porn, and I am disgusted by pornography that is degrading to women.  When I go a while without looking at pornography, I usually end up treating my wife like a sex toy, which makes me feel horrible about myself.  I want to view her as a person. 

I'm nearing 30 years old, and my wife is a few years older.  She has more education than I do, but it will be the same when I finish school.  We'll be a dual income family, and I married my wife because I respect her intelligence.  She happens to be good looking too, but that's bonus. 

ADD B-friend

I am wondering how long the hyper focus  last after getting married. I would hate to get married and all the sudden he stops paying attention to me. I am want to be able to enjoy sex, so far I see that they tend to forget about the things that are import  in a relationship including to do things in bed to spice things up.. I  went to visit my bf that I dint see for more than five moths and I felt him so distance, I can tell he wasn't 100% with me. The other day we were talking the things he would do in sex term, so I brought it up why he dint want to do things that I like the last time we re together and I am talking about when having sex. Hes replay was maybe I dint feel like or I forgot.. I was shock. we see each other  once in while and are going to behave like this. wow.  And really at this point of relationship I don't want to be forgotten . I am wondering what would happened the day we live together! Am i going to became his roommate? no way I was sad because I love him. But things like make me even more confuse.

 

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