ADD and sex, or lack of.

I think that I basicly 'get' most of the issues that come with ADD but not the lack of sex drive - interest.

Could some one please explain? 

I always thought that was a natural instinct in all men.  Not so, in my husband.

Shocked, wounded , confused, mislead, ripped off and very angry... from the wedding night forward.

I came into the marriage without a clue, this man had ADD or what that meant.  Wow, welcome to reality?

Male Low-Libido - isn't that an oxymoron?

I replied to this yesterday but I lost the post when I hit 'save' as my Internet had decided to disconnect itself.  Argh!  But I want to reply so I'm starting again.

I guess you waited until you were married to have sex?  Did you ever wonder why it was so easy for him to wait?  My partner and I had an online meeting and overseas courtship before we met in person, so of course we didn't have sex then... But he never wanted to have cybersex, use webcams nor asked me to send dirty pictures.  I thought, "Wow!  He's so respectful and happy just to talk and chat with me.  My personality is enough!"  We did talk about sex in an abstract way, but never in a way that was intended to turn each other on.  Then when we met IRL I wanted to wait to have sex for the first time instead of rushing into it.  It was enough to handle, emotionally, to have finally met.  Then we started having sex... but it wasn't like rabbits.  Hmm... why is he able to resist now that he has full access to me?  I thought the floodgates would open and it would be constant honeymoon sex.  So my disappointment and confusion started almost right away.  I couldn't understand... he'd had me, now it was all over?  The years of getting to know each other online thrown away... he'd completed his conquest?  I didn't understand and he couldn't make me understand because he didn't understand either.  Compared to how we felt about each other the sex seemed secondary.  Maybe I'd always put too much importance on it anyway... so despite the tension around sex we continued in the relationship.

I posted in the ADD and Sex thread, but that thread was really unhelpful to me.  This is my post: http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/sex-and-add#comment-6649 I wrote that when my partner first suspected he had ADD but had not yet started medication and we hadn't started seeing a sex counselor and talking about solutions - not problems.  As you can read, the replies to my post were really unhelpful.  A lot of the responders latched on to the porn/sex addiction theme.  My partner is not a sex addict nor a porn addict.

I told my ADD partner about this website yesterday and I'd really love it if he joins to offer some insight because most of the posters on here are the non-ADD female partners and it possibly does more harm than good to turn to others' speculations than to have an open dialogue with the person you have an issue with - your husband. 

However, I can't expect my soon-to-be-husband to join so I'll try to explain to you how he has explained it to me.  His ADD mind is constantly working to find everything that could ever possibly go wrong in any given situation.  It's a barrage of negative, what-if, worrying, anxious thoughts.  So, if I cuddle with him he's worrying that I'll want sex, and if I want sex he won't be able to get an erection and I'll get upset or if we do start to have sex he'll lose the erection and I'll get upset or he won't be able to satisfy me and I'll criticize him and we'll have a big fight.  Basically, he thinks about everything that will go wrong.  So, when I go to cuddle my partner he turns into a shut-off, closed-down, brick wall of a person.  If he's laying on the couch watching TV and I go over to him his reaction will make me feel like the noisy little kid who's trying to get attention during the top news story!  I feel like an unwelcome interruption or interference.

He tells me that he thinks about sex a lot.  He will think about coming onto me but he has trouble getting around to it.  If there is so much anxiety surrounding the issue, of course it would be difficult to overcome that and just about anything will serve as a welcome distraction, whether it's alcohol, television, or any other number of hobbies that can seem more appealing than the terrible drama a sexual encounter may cause.

My partner started on medications about 6 months ago - I was so excited that something would miraculously change, but nothing did.  I mean he's doing extremely well at work and he's incredibly productive now - his problem-finding mind has turned into a problem-solving mind and I'm really pleased with some of the ideas he comes up with now compared to the negative attitude of before.  I think, though, that having had untreated ADD most of his life has fixed certain thought-patterns and ideas in his mind.  If you think something often enough you start to believe it and live it.  He thinks sex is going to be a drama and so it is.  Since there's anxiety around it, sex for him isn't fun or carefree, which I notice, so if I offer suggestions and that just reinforces his belief that he can't satisfy me, right?  So even on the medication there is a lot of work to do to change those beliefs and that's what can be done with talk-therapy.  The medication helps to pull the mind out of the swamp to allow new, positive thoughts to be thunk and new beliefs to be established.

I decided to take the pressure off of sex and stop blaming him for his low sex-drive.  I know he doesn't do it intentionally to be vindictive or hurtful (even though it was really hurtful.)  If he just doesn't think about sex sometimes then that's fine.  Sometimes I just don't think about doing the dishes.  For a while I decided to stop caring and let him initiate sex whenever he felt like it, but that's not working for me because it's not just sex, I now realize, it's general intimacy.  Doing things together, talking about things that matter - long term goals that we can work toward together, cuddling, kissing, etc.  Now that we're seeing a counselor together I've decided to move the focus onto non-sexual intimacy.  It remains to be seen if she knows anything about ADD but she is a sex therapist so I think she's a good place to start.  I think he's a lot more receptive to that and it will make me feel closer to him, and when he does decide to flip-on the horny switch, I'll more readily slip into sexy-mode. 

By the way, he was the one who contacted the sex therapist.  I let him go at his own pace, but I also let him know that the problem wasn't magically going away just because I stopped talking about it so often.  He knows that relationships haven't gone easily for him through his life and this is the one he wants to work, so he's putting in the work!  It was a big struggle when he didn't know what the problem was... he read endless self-help books, each addressing an isolated symptom of the ADD, or sub-symptom of the ADD, as he didn't realize that's what it was, but never the whole shebang at once.  So, there's a lot of hope now.

How do you talk about it with your husband?  Do you think he should just 'know' why you're upset?  Do you tell him how it makes you feel or do you sling accusations?  I know it can be difficult to just have a conversation and solve an issue with an ADDer.  I guess I don't have any advice, just wanted to let you know that this is also a problem for me but that I've moved past the intense emotions and into a very optimistic stage and I have no reason to believe that if you're both willing to make the relationship work that you can't also move past the hurt to the healing.

Wow...just wow. I think you

Wow...just wow. I think you just described my situation in a nutshell. The part about 'performance anxiety' and all of the 'what-ifs' going through his head is exactly what my husband has TRIED to explain to me, but I am still struggling to understand. He drank (starting out casually and ending up with a very serious problem) from 6/2004 until 2/2010. Since he stopped drinking, he seems to have lost a lot of his interest in sex. He will talk about it, flirt, and be suggestive...but typically this ends up leading to nothing. We have a lot of intimacy, cuddling, holding hands, etc...but sex is about once a month now that he's operating with a clear head (not drinking). It is improving, but when he first stopped drinking there were times when he couldn't even get an erection..once leaving him in tears. I decided to back off, stop expecting things to be the same as they had been (when the booze lowered his inhibitions, I suppose) and just let him work it out on his own, in his own time. Fast foward to now and he tells our counselor that he doesn't think i want sex anymore and wishes I would initiate. I somewhat feel like I cannot win for losing. I did initiate it after that, and he literally looked like he was really not enjoying himself. To further add insult to my injury, he brought it up the next day saying he really enjoyed it..and how he wasn't 'into it at first' but that it didn't take him long to get interested...so I think he KNEW that I could tell by his whole demeanor that he wasn't 'into it' and he told me that just to avoid hurt feelings or me feeling rejected. Oh..he also went through a period of time where he would avoid kissing during sex. That was far from OK with me, and I told him so. That is a little better...but not sure if that's because he's just forcing himself to do it or what. He says it is due to some teeth issues...wisdom teeth coming in...but he's getting that taken care of in Nov so we'll see.

I am trying not to take it personally, he knows that I am really bothered by it and that it is a problem for us...so I am trying to remain patient. I pointed out to him the other day that we only have sex once a month. He said "please don't read anything into it, I don't want you to worry about this" but that was probably more him trying to reassure me that it isn't because of someone else (him cheating) than in reference to anything he's doing to work on it. He brought it up in counseling and she feels like it is just a lack of communication...but I don't, not at all.

He is not addicted to sex..nor is he addicted to porn. He spends very little time on his computer or doing anything at home except watching TV with me, cuddling. He LOVES to cuddle...says it is something that can instantly put him in a relaxed mood, to cuddle with me.

It is a very confusing...and hurtful subject...and I do feel like there is more to the story than he's telling. Whether he can't express it or he won't express it...remains to be seen.

Also...he carries a lot of

Also...he carries a lot of guilt for having an affair this time last year...and for his behavior that lead to our separation (the affair included) and during my father's passing when he wasn't there for me like he should have been. He also loved my father very much and feels tremendous guilt that he was out screwing around and drinking himself half to death while my Daddy lay dying in the hospital. We didn't expect him to die, he just got an infection and died within 36 hours after being in the hosptial for a month...I suppose he thought he'd have time to make it up to him. I think his guilt is a huge part of it too. He even said as recently as today that he feels very ashamed of what he did, regrets every bit of it, and wishes more than anything he could go back and do it all over again.

I know exactly how you feel!

At the beginning of our relationship everything was fairytale perfect, and don't get me wrong it still is. The only issue is the intimacy, after working 12 hour days he is so tired ALL THE TIME and I cant blame him but I get frustrated because all he wants to do is cuddle, cuddle, cuddle, and sometimes I need more. The only thing we ever argue about is how I would like more and he just says "I'm sorry, I'm trying." But it doesn't always seem that way. I try not to push it too far because then he feels im not happy in this relationship because all he ever does is "screw up" (which is not what i see.) He is so sensitive which i love but i get sad when he states i hate him, when all I'm trying to do is find a solution to the problem. When this problem first began I felt like he was no longer attracted to me. Every time i tried to initiate he would push me away verbally or physically. I would try and try and try and it would always be no. Then when he would see i was getting upset and somewhat depressed he would give in. Then this would happen all over again and if i tried talking to him he would say well just last week i gave it to you (like what i was asking him to do was a chore) :( I'm glad I'm not the only person going through this.. I know what your going through, just know your not alone :D

-Deandra

I'm a bit jealous that you

I'm a bit jealous that you guys even had the fairytale beginning!  There was lack of interest in our relationship from the beginning.  I mean we had sex once a week in the beginning and then it quickly dwindled to monthly, but once a week isn't what I consider new-relationship enthusiasm.

SherriW13 - from reading your posts lately I feel like we're very similar in our approach to our partners even though you've had more time to get to know your partner than I have.  We've only been together for about 3 years (getting married in less than a month.)

It's a bit difficult to feel like there's anyone you can talk to who will understand.  It's tough to get past the feeling of betrayal to tell anyone about it, there's so much shame on both sides - like it's a serious dysfunction if a guy isn't interested in sex, and he's not cheating or masturbating furiously every moment he can steal!  I've tried to talk to people I trust... and I've tried reading stuff online and I didn't feel like there was anyone who could really understand until we made the connection of ADD+Low Libido.

We've been reading a book called When Your Sex Drives Don't Match by Sandra Pertot.  There is a lot of good information on her website www.sandrapertot.com - even full pages and exercises from her books.  She doesn't mention anything about ADD exactly, but there is a lot of information there that resonated with me and our situation.  It helped me to realize that my expectations about how sex should be is very socially conditioned by movies and television.  We can't compare ourselves to images in the media because that's not reality but so much of it creeps into our subconscious to make us feel inadequate, doesn't it?  Think about the issue of anorexic models and eating disorders in western culture. 

It also explains that there isn't only one type of libido.  There's not just a scale from high to low, but a whole range of differences, just as there are in personalities and belief systems.  I knew that different things turned him on than me... but I didn't understand that my way isn't the only normal way!  There's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. 

We've still got a lot to learn and I've learned SO MUCH already.  I love my relationship with my partner because I honestly feel he makes me a more open, accepting and richer person.  By our differences he's taught me a lot about tolerance.  I'm glad I'm sticking with him because I think it can become truly amazing.  I can't wait to see what the future holds.  And trust me, I used to feel true despair - now I feel bursting with hope and excitement on the verge of something incredible.  Somebody slap me!

One of the most precious things he taught me even before we met in person, by being stubbornly himself, was "To love is to Accept - not Expect."  My words, his sentiment.

I'm also jealous that you

I'm also jealous that you guys get cuddles.  I don't in case that leads to ~dun, dun, dun~ sex!

Didn't have the 'fairytale'

Didn't have the 'fairytale' beginning here. I remember getting a see through, strechy lace nighty for a wedding gift and putting it on, walking in front of him (on the computer) and him saying "goodnight" and going back to what it was he was doing. I had never experienced anything like that early on in a relationship (always had the 'honeymoon/fairytale' period) and I was not sure what to think. Even our actual honeymoon...I felt like I was lucky to get sex on our honeymoon! It did a real number on my self-confidence. I remember after our daughter was born (we'd been married about 13 months) we waited 6 weeks..had sex...and then it was another 6 weeks after that before he wanted sex again. You can imagine how horrible that felt. The first 5 years, at least, I struggled to understand why he wasn't chasing me like men were supposed to do. I finally just gave up. Literally. Whatever. We met, got married, had a child, and built a house all within 2 years. By the end of 5 years we'd finally gotten to know each other, had gotten comfortable in our marriage, and were great friends. I just figured sex would never be a part of things. After I gave up, about a year later, he started chasing. I responded and we were FINALLY on the same page. Sex 2-3 times a week. It was great. That lasted for a few years...until we got custody of my step-daughter and the marriage started to crumble under the pressure. He turned to drinking and hanging out with friends and I sat at home and became bitter and resentful. When he came home after out separation last Dec, that was the most passionate and 'fairytale' it had EVER been...but he was drinking heavily. Not sure why, when he stopped drinking in Feb, that his sex drive just disappeared almost completely..but it did. Now we are back to where we were early on...me wanting him...him saying he wants me...but what he says and what happens are 2 totally different things sometimes.

I like cuddling, but find myself feeling a bit disappointed (which I'm working on) when he hints around and eludes to having sex all day and then we cuddle...and I just end up falling asleep waiting on him to make a move. When I made a move one night, as I posted above, I felt like he wasn't into it at all. I would rather not do it at all than feel that way. I always fall asleep before he does. One morning recently he woke up naked...and was giving me a hard time, so to speak, because he slept naked and I didn't take that 'cue'. I find it hard to believe that he really slept naked for that reason because .. um..hello..I WAS ASLEEP. Things like that are so confusing...I just don't know what he wants from me.

It really is good to know I am not alone. This isn't a huge issue for us right now, inspite of what it might seem. I love him, we're making so much progress otherwise that I can cut him some slack on this one...for now. I want to understand and be able to not take it personally. That is most important. After that, then we need to come to a compromise that makes us both happy.

Argh!  So frustrating!  The

Argh!  So frustrating!  The rejection can be so devastating when it's always been so easy to seduce previous lovers.

Well at least your story gives some hope that there may be a delayed honeymoon at some point.  I hope we can get on the same page, or at least in the same book, with counseling.

It is...the rejection

It is...the rejection sucks.

I brought it up to him last night..about him teling me I need to initiate more, but when I did the other day he looked like he wasn't enjoying himself. I told him the look on his face made me feel that way. He starts making all of these faces (joking..'was it this face?') and then got serious and told me that I was wrong, that I over analyzed things way too much, and insisted that he did enjoy it. Who knows?

I would just like to get some concrete answers and information. As it stands, there are far too many 'cracks' to fill in and when I fill them in with my obsessive mind, it is never in a positive way.

What-If Thinking

Sherri, The way I understand the rapid-negative-what-if thinking is to compare it to how I feel going into a new social situation. 

Let's say you've just started a new job in a new town.  You don't know anyone very well but they've all been working together for years and know each other's personalities and have inside jokes and nicknames that you don't feel a part of.  At the end of your first day of work they ask you to meet them later at a bar they go to regularly but you've never been inside of before.  They have a regular table, probably sit in the same seats, know where the toilets are, know the servers' names, know the etiquette about buying rounds...

You go home and you're getting ready to go out and meet them.  What are you thinking about?  If you're like me you're pretty nervous and you want to make a good impression.  What should I wear, should I put on more make up?  What if I get lost on the way there?  What if I show up late and they think I didn't care enough to show up on time?  What if I get there early?  Where should I wait?  Should I order a drink first?  What if I don't recognize them when I walk in?  What if I look THROUGH them?  Where will the front door of the bar be?  Where will the table be in relation to the door?  I would try to anticipate what the place will look like.  What if it's awkward when I approach the table?  Who do I greet first?  Where should I sit?  What if they haven't saved a seat for me?  What if I look silly?  What if I'm not dressed right?  What if I make a bad impression?  What if I forget their names?  I'll obsessively play their faces and names through my mind. 

That's what I imagine the what-if thinking is like... only it's relentless unless you can replace it with something that can grab your attention, or drown it out with alcohol and/or television.  But I don't have ADD... oh God... Maybe I do!  :P

Man Chat

I know I'm turning into a post-a-holic...

God, if only our partners could get together and talk/chat.  On a forum like this it would be pretty anonymous and judgement-free, right?  They could feel less alone.  But, I don't know if it would be as therapeutic for them as talking/writing is for us, as women.  Maybe they'd rather build a boat together.  Or half a boat - HAH!