Navigating ADHD: Sex and Shame

ADHD isn’t just a diagnosis; it profoundly impacts daily life, influencing attention, impulse control, and executive function. For those with ADHD, its effects extend into every aspect of life, shaping how you eat, sleep, and have sex. Sex and shame often go hand in hand but for this with ADHD the shame can be excruciating Below are a few ways in which ADHD and sex intersect:


The impulsivity inherent in ADHD can significantly impact decision-making about sex. Individuals with ADHD may act on impulses without considering potential consequences, leading to risky sexual behaviours such as unprotected sex or engaging in sexual activity under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Dopamine Diving

Faced with a lack of dopamine, many people with ADHD engage in behaviours that stimulate it. Dopamine-seeking behaviours, such as masturbating or watching pornography, may be particularly appealing to individuals with ADHD. Due to cultural sensitivities and lack of sex eduction many people have a moral conflict around these things so what can feel essential at the time leads to a shameful come down.

Risky Business

Studies have shown that those with ADHD have more sexual partners, higher rates of masturbation, and an increased likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases. People with ADHD often seek novel and stimulating experiences. They may be more drawn to activities that provide a high level of excitement or newness, even if they involve an element of risk- such as affairs or BDSM practices they’re not really comfortable with.

Late-diagnosed ADHD individuals may find themselves reevaluating their entire sexual history. This revelation can be overwhelming, bringing both relief and potential compounding of shame for different individuals. The recognition of the impact of impulsivity on decision-making and addressing sex and shame are crucial steps towards building healthier and more fulfilling sex life.

Sex Therapy can help you navigate ADHD, sex and shame