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Couples With One ADHD Partner

ADD, Sexual Dysfunction and Pornography

My husband and I have been struggling with his ADD symptoms (unreliability, anger issues, impulsiveness, broken promises) for over two years now.  The worst issue has always been our sex life.  He’s never had any real interest in one; I have.  I’ve encouraged him to share any fantasies and have never once turned him down.

Two days ago, porn popped up on our computer and he admitted to watching it (we’d been through this before a year or two back and he promised to quit to focus on our sex life).  He at first blamed me for making him mad and driving him to it.  Then he said it was because he wanted me but I was at work.  So many lies.

For the forum, what role does ADHD play in sexual dysfunction issues like this?  Is this “normal” for his condition.

We just had a fight in front of our small child, who cried.  My husband still refuses to get real help for his symptoms (sees an occasional general therapist). 

Something has to change.  These symptoms make—at least me as the non-ADD partner—feel like I’m in bizarroland where nothing is as it seems, nothing can be relied upon, and nothing is real.


My husband lost interest in sex right after we got married. I have never turned him down,  but have been turned down plenty myself. I also found out he was looking at porn… he usually looked at it as I was lying asleep next to him! I understand your frustration, and also wonder if it is ADHD related. I feel like the porn is an impuse thing. The lack of interest in sex could be because the hyper focus on us spouses wore off and it isn’t fun and exciting anymore. Not sure, but regardless it doesn’t help a self-esteem!

Posted by Roxyfox80 on May 05, 2017 at 4:13pm

Roxyfox80:  I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this too.  Have you been able to make any strides with him? I briefly bought cute nightwear which worked for a day or two, then back to nada. 

It’s not the porn so much that’s bothersome as much as it is the emotional shutting out and the constant lies.

I know people speak of ADHD as a mental condition.  My father also had one (spasmodic dysphonia), but his never caused him to exclude and become unreliable to my mother.  That’s what’s so tricky.  We’re supposed to be understanding of a condition in which we continually get treated like crap.  It’s really unbelievably hard, especially when young children are involved.

Hope your situation gets better <3

Posted by nexus7722 on May 05, 2017 at 4:20pm

Nexuss7722, no I haven’t made any strides. Honestly, I have given up. I would get denied while I was in lingerie! I feel like the dude in the relationship because I want it way more than him and definitely way more than I get it.
I agree with you 100% though, it is hard to get treated the way we do and just accept it. I’m not one to lie down and take it either, but I do have to pick my battles.
Is your husband in counseling?

Posted by Roxyfox80 on May 05, 2017 at 7:13pm

Over the course of 2 years of marriage, he’s been to a general counselor 3-4 times (coincidentally, my best friend has the same counselor, so I know she’s good). He’s only gone when I have yelled.  I hate yelling.

The ADHD diagnosis came about 6 months to a year into our marriage when I asked him to get his testosterone checked (for the apparent lack of sex drive).  That came back normal.  So, with him being from a conservative family (he even went to a religious school for college), I chalked it up to repression.  The therapist chalked it up to ADHD, based on his many other symptoms.

Unfortunately, we’re now on the brink of divorce.  I would never initiate that with a child unless there was abuse or cheating.  The porn feels like cheating.  If he wasn’t denying us sexually, I wouldn’t have that view.

I still believe, deep down, that he is a good man.  But on the spectrum of ADHD, he is off the charts.  For the sake of our son, I so hope he gets help soon.  Otherwise, for the good of our son, we’ll be looking at a co-parenting situation instead of a marriage.

Hope you hang in there.  If you’re like me, this all takes its toll.  If it helps any with the self esteem, I’m a former model.  This crud apparently has nothing to do with us mamas/wives and how we look 💖

Posted by nexus7722 on May 05, 2017 at 8:01pm

I hope you find comfort in knowing that I feel for you! And you are absolutely right, I believe porn IS a form of cheating. My husband is also a good person, and I contemplate divorce daily. Just remember that you need to do what is best for you! I wish you the best of luck with your struggles. My heart goes out to you!

Posted by Roxyfox80 on May 06, 2017 at 5:01am

I’m the one with ADHD in our marriage. The dark gift of ADHD is different for each of us, to paraphrase Lestat, but I can honestly say that I’ve never denied my wife - then again, over the course of 30+ years, I’ve never been given the opportunity either.

She’s a dumpy middle aged woman now - her words, not mine - but I’m as attracted to her today as when I saw her across the gym at college 35 years ago. So I feel the pain of your rejection. Being in love with someone who rejects any form of intimacy with you really sucks. Period.

But porn isn’t cheating any more than masturbation is. It may be selfish, and to you it may feel like cheating, but it really isn’t.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on May 06, 2017 at 2:54pm

***I highly encourage you to post this question to ADDitude’s new discussion forums, as well. I think your question would get a lot of attention in the Relationships forum: ADDconnect is transitioning over to this new forum now.***

You desperately want him to change. Without treating his ADHD and without him interested in changing, it won’t happen.

Here’s more on sex and ADHD:

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on May 09, 2017 at 1:45pm

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