The Seven Deadly Sins & ADHD: Lust & Other Drugs

“Certainly nothing is unnatural that is not physically impossible."
-Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Irish-born English playwright.
The Seven Deadly Sins, selected & arranged by Steven Schwartz, pg. 177.
I mention in the post "Driven by Dopamine: The ADHD Brain" that ADHD’rs gravitate to high stimulus activities. Anything from writing to motorcycling to sky diving that releases dopamine, a chemical responsible for reward-driven learning. Kissing, sex, and other passionate activities also shine in this category. However, as anyone who dates or marries someone with ADHD will tell you, in addition to the pleasures that come with this excitable personality type, ADHD'rs are susceptible to certain habits, behaviors, and dependencies that hinder their physical and emotional intimacy.

To best understand the negative side of Lust & ADHD, let us break down this so-called "Sin" into its four types:
1. Addictive Lust
I couldn't title this post "Lust and Other Drugs" without a shameless reference to Jake Gyllenhaal, star of Love & Other Drugs (and a personal favorite of mine since his Donnie Darko days!). To get the gist of the film, check out the trailer below:

As the trailer suggests, this lustful affair is driven by two people's inability to form emotional connections. While many adults enjoy "no strings attached" relationships, "Addictive Lust" differs from such carefree rendezvous as, here, sex is used gratify a constant need for stimulation. As Dr. Hallowell explains in Delivered from Distraction, promiscuouity can be a symptom of "self-medication" (pg. 305): "He flirts constantly, oversteps physical boundaries, and may have multiple affairs. However, even if he never has affairs, he is always looking for erotic contact in a way that risks offending others and getting him into trouble" (pgs. 305-6). Although these symptoms don't apply to everyone ADHD, it's important to be aware of your partner's (or your own) potential strengths and weakness when it comes to expressions of sexuality.

2. Reckless Lust
Similar to Addictive Lust, Reckless Lust forsakes intimacy for high-risk affairs. Psychology Today's article "ADD and Sex" explains that, "Just as there is a tendency toward dangerous and dare-taking events for stimulation, there is the excitement of the thrill of highly charged sexual conquests and "chancy" situations."

3. Hurried Lust
As listed on the Symptoms of ADHD page, ADHD'rs often have trouble lingering, throughout daily conversations and interactions, but also during or following sex. If you're dating or married to someone with ADHD, this form of inattention is something that you'll work at in order to maintain and strengthen your relationship. Too often the partner without ADHD feels disregarded or overlooked because his/her partner's attentions are elsewhere. Even though his/her mind may be elsewhere, it's always important to remember that his/her heart is in the right place.

4. Inattentive Lust
Another hurdle you may encounter is inattention during sex or other moments of physical affection.  Here again, communication is key. Although ADHD'rs can't magically snap their inattention into focus, as a couple you can notice the decline in attention and develop your own strategies for increasing your emotional intimacy.
Despite the pitfalls above, the creative and curious nature of the average person with ADHD can also result in riveting monogamous relationships. In fact, Dr. Hallowell explains that, "At the top of the list for us adults who have ADD is to marry the right person and find the right job. Put ourselves in situations where our creativity can be valued and expressed" (pg. 65). If you date or marry an ADHD'r, I promise that you'll never describe your romance as "routine" and "boring."

Have you experienced similar pitfalls when it comes to sexuality and ADHD?
What about benefits?

Looking for similar articles on love, lust, & dating? Check out this year’s Valentine’s Day post!
"Dating Advice for Singles with ADHD"
Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow readers! In honor, I thought it time to share some thoughts on dating with ADHD. To borrow a line from Lady O, “the one thing I know for sure” is that those of us with ADHD should seek partners who are open-minded...

Or head on over to our Seven Deadly Sins & ADHD series:
Wrath & the Impulsive Temper
Envy vs. Self-Awareness
Gluttony & the ADHD Diet
Pride & the ADHD Personality
Lessons Learned from the Three-Toed Sloth 

For an instructional guide on the right and wrong way to kiss (circa 1942), check out the always comical “How to Kiss” from Life’s archive:

“How to Kiss” LIFE Magazine 1942
(Source: LIFE Archive)