Lisa Schwartz is here with me to talk about the intersection of ADD/ADHD with relationships and sex. We go over how ADD/ADHD can show up in various ways, strategies to build an intimate relationship, and how ADD is not just a disorder.  

Definition- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 

Lisa’s personal experience with ADD has helped her work with patients in her practice. She says that people with ADD can hyper-focus on things that grab their interest. While doing that, they may not be able to focus on things that are not of interest to them.  

Recognizing the behaviors of ADD/ADHD 

From her experience with patients in her practice, Lisa lists several behaviors such as disorganization, not being present, short-term memory issues, lack of energy, and more, that people with ADD exhibit. One can be recognized as having ADD when one or more of these behaviors begins to show themselves.  

How does ADD/ADHD show up in sex and relationships? 

Lisa uses David Reed’s Erotic Stimulus Pathway model and Dennis Dailey’s model of sexual beings to explain how ADD shows up in sex and relationships. Reed’s model around sexual functioning talks about seduction, sensation, surrender and reflection. Lisa describes how ADD/ADHD interrupts relationships with one’s partner, sexual and otherwise. Dailey’s model of sexual beings categorizes human beings into sensuality, intimacy, identity, reproduction, and sexualization. These categories show up to affect individuals with ADD and their partners in sex and relationships.  

Tips for people with ADD/ADHD in terms of sex and relationships  

Lisa advises people with ADD/ADHD to take their medication to keep their focus, plan their sexual activities on a leisure day to conserve their energy, build an environment comfortable for both partners and practice mindfulness to stay present.  

It’s also important for partners to identify ADD/ADHD and view it as separate from them in a way that doesn’t impact their efforts to work on it collaboratively.  

Final thoughts  

Lisa leaves us with the message that ADD/ADHD is not necessarily a disorder, but to be viewed as something positive that enhances creativity and passion.  


Sexuality educator and psychotherapist with more than 20 years of experience, Lisa B. Schwartz has a doctorate in Human Sexuality Education and a master’s degree in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr Schwartz has a private psychotherapy practice and has specialized in the area of sexuality issues since 1994. Welcoming to a diverse clientele, and varying relational partnering (couples, thrupples and others), she works with clients on a wide range of sexuality issues: for example, issues about the impact of ADD/ADHD, change in sexual desire, infidelity and enhancing sexual experiences. 

Licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to practice Marriage and Family Therapy, Lisa B. Schwartz also is licensed to provide telehealth in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. She earned her certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy in an in-depth, three-year program offered by the Family Institute of Philadelphia. In addition, she is a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. 

Dr Schwartz received specialty training in relationship and sex therapy on diagnosing and treating erectile dysfunction. She remains current about sexuality issues by participating in continuing education programs. 

Lisa B. Schwartz is a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Association for Women in Psychology and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. 

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James Hamilton Healy

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Jessa Zimmerman

Jessa Zimmerman is a couples’ counselor and nationally certified sex therapist. On Better Sex, she and her expert guests share their insights, strategies, and ways of thinking about sex that will help you improve your intimate relationship.