Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sex with the Mentally Ill

Those of you who read this blog regularly are aware that I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). What that really means is that a bunch of "experts" got together and decided to create a name for a pattern of behaviors. They listed those behaviors and called them symptoms. Then they decided how many of those symptoms were required for a person to earn the stigma, ooops, I mean identification, ADD. Once they figured all this out, the experts had to decide what the hell they were gonna do with us. So, they also agreed about the recommended treatment for ADD and ADHD (the "H" is for Hyperactivity, but I like to think of it as enthusiasm, so I leave it out of my label. When they come up with ADED, I’ll sign up.)

These experts wrote a gigantoid reference book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). They review it every few years or so to fix their mistakes, keep up with current research and trends, and add new mental health diagnostic information. The whole point of the book is to improve communication between professionals. If your doctor in New York is talking to a therapist in Tokyo about ADD, they both understand what the other person is talking about.

This is all a long-winded introduction about sex and ADD. People with ADD have symptoms (or maybe we should call them traits) that can effect their sex lives. Some of these traits can enhance the sexual experience, while others can present challenges. The traits that are challenging may require a little flexibility by your partner (and I don’t mean the bendy kind of flexibility) however, the benefits may make it well worth the effort.
*Note: Not everyone with ADD has the same symptoms/traits, nor do they present themselves the same way in every circumstance.

Positive ADD Qualities for Sex

  1. Enthusiastic (Who doesn’t like an enthusiastic sex partner?)
  2. Good sense of humor (I’m laughing WITH you, not AT you)
  3. Creative (Let's start slow with some edible body paint and a feather)
  4. Hyper-focused (Imagine your partner being completely into your pleasure…)
  5. Intuitive (Sometimes I know what you want before you do)
  6. Boundless energy (Do you honestly think you can tire me out? For the Love of Pete, I’m the Love Goddess!)
  7. Warm and compassionate (When seeking a Lover, most prefer this over cold and merciless)
  8. Flexible (I really am rather bendy)
  9. Quick to grasp essentials (That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m fast … but, then again …)
  10. Good judge of character (This is helpful when avoiding assholes and serial killers)
  11. Charming personality (Have I told you today how sexy you are?)
  12. Hypersensitive (Think *Nipples*)
  13. Easily forgives mistakes in others (It’s okay, Honey. It happens to everyone.)
  14. Intense (This includes sexy noises, right?)
  15. Interested in many things (I’ll try almost anything once)
  16. Passionate (About everything)
  17. Willing to take risks (I wear my heart on my sleeve)
  18. A perfectionist (If at first you don’t succeed … practice, practice, practice!)

Not so Positive ADD Qualities for Sex

  1. Often late for appointments (Just start without me and I’ll be there as soon as I can)
  2. Easily distracted (Sadly, some people with ADD have this problem with sex too. Thankfully, I’m in the Hyper-focused group)
  3. Forgetful (What’s your name again?)
  4. Immature (How much do you like that cheerleader outfit?)
  5. Disorganized (Damnit! Where did I leave the lube? Condoms? Riding Crop?)
  6. Clumsy (To avoid a visit to the emergency room, let’s avoid the choreographed dance moves and gymnastics)
  7. Always losing things (Bah! Like boyfriends…)
  8. Low self esteem from years of thinking we’re stupid, lazy and crazy (Be nice! It’s not funny and it sucks. You know what would make me feel better? ... ... mmmmm, I thought you did)

Now you’re fully informed about the risks and benefits of having sex with the mentally ill (at least those with ADD or ADHD). After years of collecting anecdotal evidence by having sex with someone with ADD (myself), I highly recommend it.


At 4:35 AM, Blogger Ed said...

The not-so-positives don't seem so bad. And #8 sounds like an excuse for some good lovin'.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Mr 5.25 said...

Highly amusing post.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

Hmmm ... Points to ponder.

But while I'm pondering, care to join me for some enthusiastic, creative, intense, energetic, bendy, disorganized, passionate, immature sex?????? ;) :)

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

Thank you for diagnosing me.. ;-)

At 9:34 AM, Blogger JayneSays said...

Great post! I think you just described my husband (major ADD, was on Ritaliin as a kid). The enthusiasm, creativity, intuition, etc. more than make up for the clumsy disorganization!

PS I hate the DSM-IV. Every time I flip through it, I self-diagnose and am certain I have a majority of the symptoms of most personality disorders. Including hypochondria. . . ; )

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Hot Toddy said...

I agree completely. ADD both adds and detracts from my life, including sex, but today I might have Chinese food for lunch. But first I have to go to the bank.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot Toddy wins.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Ed – I just need to find someone as patient, forgiving and sexy as you!

Mr. 5.25 – Thanks, Sweetie.

Blaze – Wooooooo! Is it getting hot in here? Damn, I may have forgotten to mention the tendency for people with ADD to be highly impulsive. I’m likely to fire-up Map Quest and be on my merry way to Texas.

Laurie – There are some definite downsides to this whole ADD business, but if the shoe fits …

JayneSays – One of the criteria for people with ADD is that we have to have had symptoms our entire lives. The symptoms have to be chronic and impairing. They used to think that kids outgrew the disorder, but now they’re realizing a lot of us just learn to adapt and cope. Some of the others end up in jail or chronically unemployed or self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, etc. … it’s a hell of a struggle.

Hot Toddy – You get it! … Or … You got it!
We found a T-shirt that says something like, “People say I have ADD. I don’t know what they’re talking ab… Oh look! There’s a chicken”. When people around here notice I’m having trouble staying on task, like when they find me fussing with weeds in the flower garden 10 minutes before we’re supposed to leave to go to the theater, they ask me about the chickens. It’s kind of a light-hearted way of getting my ass back on track.

Popeye – Yeah, Hot Toddy is my ADD Wonder Twin!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...


Darlin, i'm in Florida!!!

But WTF ..... I'll meet you in Texas!


At 10:46 AM, Blogger twocents said...

I am the mother of 2 ADD kids in their teens. I'm taking notes for the future. Thanks

Blaze? T? Florida or Texas I don't care just...wait for meeeee......

At 11:03 AM, Blogger JayneSays said...

I hear you! It amazes me how well my husband copes with ADD. Though sometimes I worry about him (forgetfulness in his profession and self-medicating--WAY too much coffee. . .)

PS I was poking fun at myself re the DSM-IV, I really do that sometimes, then quickly snap out of it. I certainly didn't mean to imply that ADD wasn't serious and/or impairing (I'm a dork!) as I've seen its more negative effects first hand.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Aisha T. said...

This was great! Hehehehehe!!

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Clark K. said...

Okay you have 18 positives to only 8 negatives...I'm sold!

Plus I think the flexibility factor should count for like 5 positives instead of just one...

At 1:50 PM, Blogger ZooooM said...

Yup, yup and yup. Super T makes with the funny and informative again.

"I'm laghing with you..."

Good for non ADD diagnosed sex as well. Trust me.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Blaze - I know that. I do, I really do. What was I thinking? I'm so forgetful...

Twocents - It's so much easier to cope when there are informed and involved parents. Maybe you could pass on some of the positive traits without my sexual commentary ... until they are a bit older.

Change of plans: Change the destination entry in Map Quest. We're back to Florida!

Jayne - It's definitely effected my professional life. Staying organized and on-task is an exhausting nightmare. When I was a Social Worker, I was great at the "people stuff", but constantly struggled with the paperwork. I did better when I worked in an environment with a really helpful secretary (who even kept track of my oil changes, hair appointments, and dates).

And my response above about the DSM was just another opportunity to blather on. I totally get your point about thinking you have everything you read about in the book. When I took a DSM course, I self-diagnosed with everything from schizo-affective disorder to dementia.

Aisha - Thanks

Clark - You're so sweet and positive! Good point about the flexibility. Just remember, quick, comlicated gymnastics routines.

Zoooom - Hey married lady! Congratulations!!!

At 4:12 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Clark - I meant, NO quick complicated gymnastics routines!


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