ADHD and Sex: Post-Orgasm Irritability, Jerkdom

post-orgasm irritability

What does post-orgasm irritability have to do with ADHD—and could it be damaging your relationship?  Maybe not. Or maybe a great deal. As with all things concerning this highly variable condition, “your mileage may vary.”

But think about it. Lovemaking, shopping, and videogaming. What do these three activities have in common? Answer: They all carry the potential to send human dopamine levels on a wild roller coaster ride, creating negative side effects that can linger for weeks. Irritability. Poor focus. Restlessness. You name it.

Yes, you understood that correctly: Sex, specifically orgasms, can make some people with ADHD cranky.

[This article, first posted in Feb. 2015, is one of my most popular—and worth re-posting.]

Lynn, married to man with ADHD, explains her experience this way:

I have definitely observed this problem. I have pointed it out to my husband, who denies that it happens. But it’s like clockwork, the next day he’s a jerk.

And he wonders why I’m not so motivated anymore. Maybe because I feel like there’s punishment involved?

What This Means for the “Dopamine Vulnerable”?

Here’s the simple explanation: What goes up must come downand then drop lower than it was before.

That is, when we perform these highly pleasurable activities, the brain floods with dopamine. Then, when those activities stop, so does the dopamine flow.

Moreover, those dopamine spikes (during highly rewarding activities) can result in a tamping down of the dopamine system altogether. Think of it as the brain’s effort to stay balanced.

The bottom line: It takes even more intensely rewarding activities to enable the person to feel pleasure again.

Consider people with ADHD, who are already “dopamine vulnerable.” It is easy to see how flooding the brain with dopamine, and then restricting dopamine flow, can pave the way to a predictable next step: irritability and even intensified ADHD symptoms. This effect can last for days, if not weeks.

The science behind this is complex, and it is still unfolding. My goal in this brief post to simply to emphasize the importance of at least recognizing this neurobiological phenomenon. That way, you are less likely to be thrown off by it in yourself or an ADHD partner—or attribute it to other causes. Especially when it comes to sex. More about that shortly.

post-orgasm irritability

“Start Out Laughing, End Up Crying?”

I know this sounds weird. But this phenomenon of post-sex irritability brings me back to childhood. Let me explain.

My friend’s father regularly issued a warning when we started getting too “wound up” laughing:  “Start out laughing? End up crying!”

Quite simply, it explains the dopamine spike-drop phenomenon on a basic level. But only now do I fully appreciate the neurobiological implications.

As a child, I accepted, empirically, that he was right: When we neighborhood kids dissolved into contagious hilarity, it wasn’t long before one or two of us were crying.

To be clear: Out of 6 or 8 of us, only one or two children predictably started crying or getting angry first. Why didn’t we all? Different brains; different reactions? Perhaps.

Yet, there might have been a particular implication for the children with ADHD, virtually unheard of in my youth, especially in less-than-severe forms.

Videogaming: Start Out Engaged, End Up Addicted?

Consider another example: the “grown-up play” of videogaming.

Even after my husband was diagnosed with ADHD and began medical treatment for it, I used to observe this happy-then-cranky phenomenon where he played Starcraft When he’d end a gaming session, he’d behave like a complete jackass for hours—mean, demanding, short-tempered, and imperious.

In truth, he was grouchy a lot then, but post-videogaming brought grouchy to new heights, complete with a cold-eyed imperious stare aimed in my direction.  He would then treat me as if I’d just wronged him somehow.

Fortunately, he finally believed me when I emphatically pointed out this withdrawal phenomenon. I think the change scared him, too. Out went Starcraft. Taking that step didn’t resolve all ADHD-related challenges, but at least it stopped making them worse.

post-orgasm irritability

Post-Coital Tristesse—After-Sex Sadness

So, guess what? For some people, a similar phenomenon presents around sex—at least the kind that involves orgasm. There’s even a term for it: Post-coital tristesse (PCT), or after-sex sadness.

Keep in mind: “sadness” or “depression” manifests in some people as irritability, perhaps especially men. Hence, my using the term post-orgasm irritability.

This very phenomenon came up in conversation among some female friends of mine—all partners of adults with ADHD. As one said:

You’d think my husband would be nicer to me after sex.

Instead, he acts like a jerk, almost as if he’s punishing me for having sex with him!

Neither she nor her husband recognized that the behavior was not intentional but neurochemical.  His denial of this behavior only hurt her more—and motivated her plans to leave the marriage.

ADHD symptoms can conspire to create various types of challenges to intimacy and relationships. I detail a few in Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?.

For an expanded examination of the topic, ADHD and Sex: What You Need To Know (That Sex Therapists Cannot Tell You) Kindle Edition (free to Kindle Unlimited members, otherwise, 99 cents).

Along with all the other ADHD-related domestic challenges, this kind of post-sex Dr. Hyde-into-Mr. Jekyll turnabout can put the death knell to a couple’s sexual relationship. It also can add a whole other layer to existing resentments in other areas of life.

Early Writings on The Phenomenon

PCT is not a new phenomenon. It actually has been documented for centuries, with one reference from the famed Greek physician Galen, around the first century AD:

Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster.

We know now that the phenomenon also happens with women. And we also know that PCT is not universal. Just as only a minority of my neighborhood pals “ended up crying,” some people experience PCT more than others, and some hardly at all.

The 17th Century philosopher Spinoza, wrote an apt description:

For as far as sensual pleasure is concerned, the mind is so caught up in it, as if at peace in a [true] good, that it is quite prevented from thinking of anything else.

But after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows.

If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind.

Most likely, the causes of post-sex sadness/irritability are variable among individuals. Causes include:

1. The Psychological

For example, individuals experiencing PCT might feel remorse at having allowed lust to lead them into an unwise pairing. Or, by contrast, they might feel an overwhelming sense of loss when the enveloping sense of connection ends.

2. The Physical

It is with the physical that science is beginning to shed some light, with specific implications for people with ADHD.  Read on.

Orgasm as “Heroin Rush”

During orgasm, one research team reported it this way (Holstege et al. 2003): The dopamine flooding the brain’s reward pathways resembles a “heroin rush” to the brain: overwhelming feelings of well-being and pleasure. Just as with heroin and other substances, “withdrawal” can be a problem. It follows that sex addictions and other types of addictions go hand-in-hand, indicating poor regulation in this part of the brain.

After the dopamine-flood accompanying orgasm, dopamine levels drop below baseline—that is, lower than they were before orgasm. (The term for this is “rebound.”) Essentially, the same thing happens during withdrawal from substances. So, it’s highly possible that orgasmic sex can intensify ADHD symptoms for some people, especially if they are not taking medication.

Could it be that orgasms, simultaneous to ejaculation, are good for the species but bad for the brain?

Evolutionary biologists argue that we might be “hard-wired” to act in ways that propagate the species but that simultaneously jeopardize harmonious intimate relationships.

In other words, orgasmic sex is a “win” for reproduction but a “lose” for the kind of steady brain function that enhances and stabilizes a relationship.

So,  What To Do About Post-Orgasm Irritability?

To be clear: Orgasms do not cause ADHD. 🙂

Yet, some people with ADHD might be more vulnerable to this phenomenon. And there are good neurophysiological reasons why this is so.

That makes it important to understand: Post-sex problematic behaviors might have a biological basis.

Step One: Understand the Neurobiology

Again, PCT and other post-sex reactions are nothing new. They have been observed in humans for centuries.

A physician practicing in the 19th Century promoted a remedy, perhaps based on ancient texts, called Karezza. Adapted from the Italian for “caress.”  Alice Bunker Stockham, a gynecologist and obstetrician, had larger societal goals with the introduction of Karezza, which resembles Tantric sex without the cultural references.

Alice Bunker Stockham, an early proponent of the Karezza method

Simply put, Dr. Stockham’s method is a form of sexual intercourse without orgasm, focusing instead on the “plateau phrase” of intercourse. The practice includes bonding activities that reportedly enhance oxytocin. It’s often called the “bonding” hormone, thought to promote connection and feelings of love (though in recent years we’re learning there can be a dark side to oxytocin, too).

Bottom line; By avoiding orgasm, it is thought, dopamine levels remain more balanced.

Will this be a realistic practice to experiment with, especially if ADHD symptoms are causing chaos in the rest of life? Probably not. But it provides interesting food for thought and perhaps worth some experimentation, especially if ADHD symptoms are well-managed to the point of having the patience and focus required.

Step Two: Counter the Dopamine Flood—and Rebound

Two medications might help but in different ways:  SSRI antidepressants and stimulants.

1. SSRI Antidepressants:

Some psychiatrists have treated PCT in their patients with an SSRI (a type of antidepressant, such as Prozac, Zoloft, etc.). The medication might blunt their sexual arousal and delay orgasm (or minimize the intensity), but it also pre-empts the post-orgasmic depression.

2. Stimulant medications:

Many individuals with ADHD have reported to me more satisfaction around sex once they began taking stimulant medications. For some, they were able to prolong sexual intimacy instead of racing to the finish line. Others were better able to linger and cuddle afterward—instead of bolting off to the next activity—in doing so perhaps boosting oxytocin levels thought to aid bonding and relaxation.

Perhaps the stimulants also helped to keep dopamine on a more even keel. That is, instead of going from 0 to 60, they perhaps went from 30-60, a slower buildup and less precipitous drop-off.

The Karezza Method

From the Archives: The Karezza Method

Books from 100 years ago are hardly informed by neuroscience. Still, they sometimes make for compelling reading.

To learn more about the ideas behind Karezza, click here to download The Karezza Method. published in 1931 by J. William Lloyd, an “individual anarchist” born in 1857. Here is the last paragraph of his book:

To sum up: The orgasmal school is honest but mistaken. Its fault is that it is a doctrine of the strong, only for the strong.

Just as a wealthy man may spend money recklessly for a while and still not be poor, so a man rich in thyroxin and adrenalin may spend recklessly in orgasms for a while and not seem any the worse.

And the method, taught by the orgasmal school is such that it creates a demand, by congestion, for the orgasm, which must then occur or bad results follow. But for a weak man to follow their advice is very dangerous and courts a nervous breakdown, while my method builds him up.

That orgasms are weakening is easily proven. Just as the way to get real facts about alcohol is to consult life-insurance companies, so to get facts about the orgasm go to the stockbreeder. Business has no sentiment or prejudice. Every stockbreeder will tell you that to permit a bull or stallion to serve too many or too often is to devitalize him.

 I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share them in a comment—no annoying codes to enter.

Gina

67 thoughts on “ADHD and Sex: Post-Orgasm Irritability, Jerkdom”

    1. Apparently, you have no empathy for the men who have written comments here, about their struggles with irritability/depression post-sex.

      Why would you imagine it’s only straight men? Curious.

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this article. It FINALLY puts a name to what I’ve been experiencing for the past 15 years with my husband. I’ve tried over the years to understand just why his demeanor changed so suddenly the day after sex. He becomes extremely short tempered, glares at me, is extremely annoyed by just about everything, and in general treats me and the kids as though we’re all doing something wrong (additionally, he does this around all special occassions). It COMPLETELY started to feel like punishment for sleeping with him, and has put me off sleeping with him altogether many times, and has impacted our marriage pretty hard.

    He was diagnosed with severe ADHD 5 years ago. He tried medication, but none of it really helped so he stopped taking it. Personally, I believe it’s because he never followed up with behavioral therapy along with the medication, or even just accepting the wide spectrum of things in our lives influenced by his ADHD and taking responsibility enough to do something about it.

    I’ve been trying to tell him about this issue for about 10 years, but I’ve been dimissed each time. Finally I see this article, and I immediately send it to him with relief, because I think “finally he will see this is real and he’ll do something about it”.

    Long story short, hell no he still doesn’t believe me. He says I’m just extra sensitive the day after, because he just doesnt agree with me. Instead of talking about it, he starts talking AT me all the reasons why I’m wrong. Well, it’s severe enough the kids notice, and our love life and my regard for him is affected. What else does it take for him to take me seriously? Instead he sits back blaming me for not wanting to sleep with him. His dismissiveness towards every concern I have with him has pushed our marriage to the brink, and if I wasn’t so worn down by years of pain in our marriage, I might be strong enough to leave. As is, I’m just tired of trying. I hate that our family is falling apart, but I can’t fix it alone. I’m just so tired.

    Anyway, sorry for the vent! This article was extremely validating, and I thank you for it.

    1. Hi Renae,

      Vents always welcome! They are an important part of finding one’s way to truth.

      I’ll offer a bit of feedback:

      1. Your husband “tried medication but none of it really helped so he stopped taking it.”

      Unfortunately, the standard of medical care for ADHD is largely appallingly BAD.

      Very often, it takes self-education and self-advocacy to optimize the approach to medication.

      AND, a team effort can really help speed the process.

      Honestly, behavioral therapy typically does little until “severe ADHD” is medically treated.

      ADHD is a neurobiological issue that requires, in many cases, neurobiological treatments.

      2. He doesn’t believe you that this article applies to your situation.

      Maybe he believes you. Maybe, though, he feels guilty about it, so guilty (and powerless) that he becomes overcome with anger, anger that spills out onto you and the children.

      He’s tried medication. It doesn’t work. His back is up against the wall. That must mean he’s truly “messed up” — and that makes him angry and defiant.

      Or maybe he doesn’t believe you. Maybe ADHD symptoms themselves obscure his self-observation and clarity.

      Here is a basic truism: The same brain that is causing him problems in life is limiting his ability to see the nature of the problems, know what to do about them, and organize/follow-through on the effort.

      I encourage you to read my first book. It will explain all this and much more — and explain how to proceed.

      https://amzn.to/33ukN7h

      Good luck!
      Gina

  2. I’m a 28yr old woman that has never been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD but what you describe here depicts what happens to me perfectly. I recognize the connection between sex and following day irritability. I do my best to control it. I am glad to know I’m not alone, but I’m still not sure what to do about it.

  3. Hi ,

    Thanks a lot for this article. In this lockdown time, I can sense that, I am definitely suffering from it (I don’t have ADHD, not that I know of). At least earlier, one would have a challenging day at work the next day which would induce some form of fullfillment and calmness.

    But these days , after weekend sex, I am angry the next day and beyond. She is suffering from this and I absolutely feel sad about it. Adding to all this is my 3YO son who constantly on high energy and sucks up all our energy. I can’t be mad and angry to my wife always as that might affect him adversely as explained in “I’m OK , You’re OK” book.
    I feel angry and sad about it all the times. Thanks for this article. It atleast made me realize that I am not alone.

    1. Hi AD,

      You are definitely not alone. Knowledge is power — though I know, in itself it’s not a solution.

      I would imagine that depression/anxiety might have a similar effect.

      I hope things get better for you.

      Gina

  4. THANK YOU for this info.

    I’m not crazy, its a thing! ugh. another thing. its definitely true for my husband with ADHD and has all but eliminated our sex life.

    I don’t sleep with jerks. and on the rare occasion that I do (silly me), I protect my heart for a good couple weeks afterward. Sadly, being vulnerable seems like an invitation for him to be one.

    1. Hi Susan,

      I’m grateful for your comment — and that my work has helped to validate your perceptions.

      I hope the situation improves for you — and your husband.

      g

  5. Pingback: After-Sex Sadness: ADHD Sex Life – J {A} N

  6. Many “nofappers” report huge mental benefits from abstaining,this problem might be more frequent than we know.

  7. Very interesting.

    From the very start I’ve noticed a sudden total emptiness after orgasm, from very loving to nothing. It happened way back, before I even had sex with my first girlfriend — I suddenly lost the loving feeling immediately upon orgasm through solitary masturbation.

    I’ve also noticed that I get irritable after orgasm. I’m fine if I’m left alone, but if she does something that annoys me or puts me off (like wanting to window shopping, ugh, pestering me, or talking nonsense), I get irritated. I don’t think I’ve got ADHD (well, I hope not) but I am definitely rather highly-strung at times.

    Refraining from orgasm seems to help — I enjoy positive, loving feelings for a long time. On the other hand, I’ve also noticed times when prolonged arousal without orgasm can still leave me with irritable feelings. (As I write I’m trying to figure out which, but I’ve noticed both). Unfortunately I’ve found that many women want their partner to come and can’t understand why I would want to hold off, or at least prolong the pleasure. I thought women were the ones who wanted to go slowly!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Greg.

      I suspect the behavior is so unusual it might leave some women uneasy, as if there is some kind of powerplay or withholding.

      Perhaps it will go better if you provide an explanation and share some reading material. So they’ll know there is a great deal of thought behind it.

      good luck,
      g

  8. I just wanted to add another thank-you to your comments. I ended up on a hormonal roller coaster after a miscarriage, got the birth control implant in my arm, stabilized for about a year, and realized I’m really angry within an hour after sex. Now, my mental health is acting up again, and it’s worse. I know your article and research focus on ADD/ADHD, but while I was diagnosed and treated years ago for ADD, I don’t seem to have the symptoms anymore thanks to therapy and medications. I think that maybe, even though I’ve perhaps “grown out” of my ADD, I’m still more “vulnerable” than others (maybe it’s because I already have depression, I don’t know), and it means a lot to know I’m not crazy. I’ve always blamed it on past trauma, so to know that this is relatively common and there are things I can do about it is honestly relieving, because this anger has led to me only being intimate with my partner maybe twice a month at best.

    Long story short. I’m tearing up right now, knowing I’m not alone and that this is an actual thing and not just my busted brain being busted. Thank you for your time, effort, energy, and research into the subject.

    1. Dear Harris,

      Bless your heart. I just hate it when neurobiochemical issues are dismissed as resulting from trauma. It’s so easy to use that as the answer to everything. But it can be so destructive, because it leaves people hopeless, as if the situation is just something they must live with for the rest of their lives.

      Yes, if you have ADHD, even if you are taking medication, you could definitely be a candidate for this syndrome.

      You don’t mention what kind of medication. But if it’s stimulant medication, maybe you could time your intimacy for when the medication is still in effect.

      At least now you have a better chance of coping with “self-talk”….reminding yourself what is happening.

      You mention that you still have depression….I’ll just point out that ADHD can “look like” depression. And the stimulants can exacerbate depression. It’s important to treat the full range of symptoms. Most physicians simply do not understand this, so self-advocacy is a must.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write and letting me know that my work helped you. That’s what it’s all about for me.

      good luck!
      g

    2. I’m wondering if the anti irritability day after response could be mitigated with almost daily or more regular sex because if the frequency is enough it may curb or train the body to expect the dopamine differences? I don’t have sex with my husband very often and even though he has e.d. he wants more lovemaking. Anyways I have noticed that the morning/day after sex he will find something to complain about ie home projects and if I offer a dissenting opinion, he will get testy and cuss when normally he does not. Even of he starts out trying to be nice ex. making me a coffee, his fuse is shorter and seems to want me to agree with everything he says. It’s disconcerting that he exerts so much energy on me during sex but also one of the reasons I cant deal with frequent sex because i get too sore, and he gets easily irritable the next day that he can get over fast but i cant. I notice myself having to assert myself saying I don’t know that I can talk about “xyz” because I don’t feel like I can handle it if I’m going to get yelled at for it.

    3. HI Cindy,

      I guess you could try it — “mitigating with almost daily or more regular sex”.

      But you wrote that you “can’t deal with frequent sex because I get so sore” and more…

      It might be that focusing on a foundation of ADHD treatment might be a more reliable, comprehensive strategy.

      Good luck and take care of yourself,
      g

  9. I know someone with this condition. Here in Australia they call it something else but it’s the same thing. My friend’s now ex partner has cyclothymia which is a mood disorder. Either he also has ADHD which is undiagnosed or the condition in the article can potentially be linked to people with some kind of mental disorder as well.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      ADHD is often mistaken for a mood disorder, including cyclothymia and bipolar disorder. And ADHD is often accompanied by a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, or other conditions.

      Cyclothymia is, in simple terms, sub-clinical bipolar disorder. That is, cyclothymia can look like a milder version of bipolar disorder.

      Whatever causes the phenomenon, I point to two potentially helpful medication approaches:
      _____

      Step Two: Counter the Dopamine Flood—and Rebound

      Two medications might help but in different ways:  SSRI antidepressants and stimulants.

      1. SSRI Antidepressants:
      Some psychiatrists have treated PCT in their patients with an SSRI (a type of antidepressant, such as Prozac, Zoloft, etc.). The medication might blunt their sexual arousal and delay orgasm (or minimize the intensity), but it also pre-empts the post-orgasmic depression.

      2. Stimulant medications:
      Many individuals with ADHD have reported to me more satisfaction around sex once they began taking stimulant medications. For some, they were able to prolong sexual intimacy instead of racing to the finish line. Others were better able to linger and cuddle afterward—instead of bolting off to the next activity—in doing so perhaps boosting oxytocin levels thought to aid bonding and relaxation.

      Perhaps the stimulants also helped to keep dopamine on a more even keel. That is, instead of going from 0 to 60, they perhaps went from 30-60, a slower buildup and less precipitous drop-off.

      _____

      Cheers,
      Gina

  10. I seriously thought I was the only one whose husband was an asshole to her the day after sex. I truly have PTSD because of it and don’t initiate often at all because subconsciously I expect to be punished afterwards. I thought it was a function of his porn addiction for a long time. We literally had sex maybe four times last year.

  11. Very interesting and rings true with me too. I like your phrase ‘dopamine vulnerable’! I have ADD and have definitely felt the dopamine low after sex and even just after spending time with a guy I am dating and falling for. I notice at the end of the date during which I was on a high, I then crash and suddenly crave a cigarette, as if I need the rush of nicotine to push me back to the previous dopamine level. If I sleep with the guy this reaction becomes even stronger, I’m more likely to get melancholy and fixated than angry though.

    1. Hi Bryony,

      I’m glad this post (and my expression…”dopamine vulnerable”) resonated for you.

      Life makes so much more sense when we are aware of such things!

      g

  12. I thought I must be crazy to see this pattern. I had no idea it could actually be a thing. Of course, it caused a fight when I tried to discuss it years ago.

  13. Thank you for this article. I just Googled ” Why is my husband so angry after orgasm?” and this article came up.

    I could not figure it out… 12 years of this… He can “disappear” for days weeks even months in a a cloud of anger and depression…Just dark, after a few days of feeling super attracted to me and close and having great sex….

    IT has been a demoralizing mind f*** for me. I am a shell of a person. But I am seeing it and seeing that (finally) it is not my fault even though we were both willing to pin it on me for so many years.

    It isn’t me.

    We just had sex for the first time in 4 weeks (argh! I love sex!) and he woke up and poor guy felt awful and angry ALL day!

    I have no idea whether to bring this up to him or not… I don’t think he will handle it well… He doesn’t do therapy….particularly not today! Can this also happen in people who are bi-polar? His dad is and I suspect he is. (OR could this while PCT just look like bi-polar???!) Is it inherited/ genetic? Thank you again… another clue in all this relationship confusion.

    1. Hi Olivia,

      I’m glad this post helped you zero in on some explanations.

      ADHD has long been misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder (and many other things). It is also frequently co-existing to bipolar disoder. (Meaning, a person can have both ADHD and bipolar disorder.)

      I imagine this PCT can indeed happen with bipolar disorder. And perhaps even in people who have neither diagnosable ADHD or bipolar but maybe “sub-clinical” ADHD or bipolar.

      g

  14. Hi
    After looking up about this
    As a husband/father who feels like you wrote after orgasim for about a day or two ” and it realy hurts everyone around.
    Id like to hear if there is a solutuon ?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Seymour,

      If you re-read the article, you’ll see this (short story: If you have ADHD and/or depression/anxiety, it’s worth considering treatment for either or both):

      Some psychiatrists have treated PCT in their patients with an SSRI (a type of antidepressant, such as Prozac, Zoloft, etc.). The medication might blunt their sexual arousal and delay orgasm (or minimize the intensity), but it also pre-empts the post-orgasmic depression.

      Certain individuals I know who have ADHD report more satisfaction around sex once they began taking stimulant medications. For some, they were able to prolong sexual intimacy instead of racing to the finish line. Others were better able to linger and cuddle afterward—instead of bolting off to the next activity—perhaps boosting oxytocin levels thought to aid bonding and relaxation.

      Perhaps the stimulants also helped to keep dopamine on a more even keel. That is, instead of going from 0 to 60, they perhaps went from 30-60, a slower buildup and less precipitous drop-off.

    1. Hi Betty,

      I’m glad you found this post useful. In case you missed it, you can download an e-book about The Karezza method, linked in the last section of the post.

      g

  15. Thank you thank you thank you! While my husband doesn’t have adHD, He is bipolar and has mild schizophrenia. I have noticed over the course of our eight years, that we fight more after we have sex. It was no recent years that I realized the reason we fight, after sex, is because his agitation and and blaming etc. etc. is heightened. It has gotten to the point where we have sex about only once a month on average, because of this. And what you mentioned about video games so so true. My husband loves playing these two particular games for hours on end, open world exclamation type games. After a couple hours He becomes agitated with me and the kidsLooks for things to complain about or find fault with, where as earlier today there’s that same things that he’s complaining about now he had no issues with. Currently he’s not under medication because of missed diagnosis and a Doctor Who didn’t really care about him kind of ruined him to doctors. I know it’s been several years I’m hoping that once our insurance kicks in I can find a Doctor Who really cares about his patients and will take the time to get to know him and get to the root of the issues and hopefully if medication is needed Will find the right one. I have been looking all over the Internet and I found your blog, thank you so much for your informative and insightful information. I’m going to try to share it with him, hopefully he will be open minded.

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I wish you all the best in finding a competent doctor. It will probably be a good idea for you to “screen” the doctor first….to get a sense of their competency, compassion, professionalism. Some graduated in the top of their class, and some, the bottom. 🙂

      With bipolar disorder and mild schizophrenia, I’d think his and your life could be much improved with the right medication treatment.

      best,
      g

  16. A friend of mine has “cyclothymia” – a mood disorder which presents the same symptoms of irritability after sex – is it possible that these symptoms can present in cyclothymia as well as adhd – mind you he is the type who always has to be doing something so perhaps he is undiagnosed adhd. I don’t know. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi L. I don’t know if this phenomenon is also common with cyclothymia.

      I do know, however, that ADHD is often misdiagnosed as cyclothymia and everything else under the sun.

      Also: ADHD is commonly co-existing to bipolar disorder, etc.

      IN other words, it’s well worth your friend investigating the presence of ADHD.

      A quick search revealed this paper. I’m sure there are more.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22840630

      g

  17. We had a big problem with this for the first seven years of our marriage. I also had a problem with frequent masturbation. Between the masturbation keeping my desire levetfor my wife low, and my post orgasm bad attitude, my wife thought our sex life was hopeless.

    Just before our seventh anniversary, I experienced a kind of personal crisis where I started to feel very guilty about my masturbation. I had always blamed it on a number of things, but I realized it was all me and I really, really wanted to stop.

    I tried and tried bust just couldn’t make it more than about a week before I would cave in to the old temptation. I was searching the internet for things that could help me stop. I found a website that advocated using a chastity device to help men stop masturbating. I was intrigued by the idea of something that could physically stop me from doing it.

    I ended up purchasing one, and with my wife’s support it was very effective at stopping masturbation. My sex drive and desire for my wife began to climb as I wasn’t able to spend my libido at will. But when we had intercourse, I was still a jerk afterwards.

    One night I was pestering my wife for sex and she informed me that she was menstruating. Intercourse was off the table. So she suggested that I should just leave the chastity device on and we could do “everything else”.

    We had the best sex we had ever had up to that point in our marriage, even though my penis was not involved at all. My wife noticed I seemed very happy and energetic the next day. We started to connect the dots and experimenting with not letting me orgasm.

    Sure enough, without regular orgasms, my mood became very stable, my desire for my wife stayed very high, and my self esteem was soaring because I didn’t feel out of control with masturbation any more.

    We have come to the conclusion that for men, or at least men like myself who get moody after orgasm, that the wife should prohibit the man from orgasming most of the time and only give the man an orgasm as a special treat on rare occasions. 2016 was our first full year of controlling my orgasms, and I think I had a total of 4 or 5 (I didn’t keep track, but it wasn’t more than 5). And that was the best year of our marriage so far.

    Now that I have adjusted to life mostly free of orgasms, I couldn’t imagine going back. I don’t crave them at all anymore and actually don’t want them because of the way I am afterward.

    1. Hi CH,

      Wow, that is a fascinating story. And to think that you discovered this on your own.

      Congratulations for figuring this out!

      Cheers,
      g

  18. Thank you for this post…so helpful. I suffer with this and wondered whether it was “a thing”. My mood swings are so wild, it does put me off. Understanding this really is a relief in some ways.

    Again, thank you for pursuing this very important research.

    1. Hi Jillian,

      I’m so happy that this post has given you understanding.

      It’s one thing to suffer from something. It’s quite another to lack an explanation, and so the mind reels with all possible interpretations.

      best,
      g

  19. I tried to join your on-line support for partners of ADHD people and I couldn’t get past the authentication that wants to see if I am a machine. I must have tried 20 and I know SOME of them were correct. Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks. I just tried it again and even though I did everything the same, this time it worked. Technology… always a love/hate relationship. 🙂

  20. I cannot thank you enough for this article.

    My boyfriend struggles (and me along with him) greatly with this exact condition. I can’t get him to admit he has ADD, let alone that it affects his orgasm. He seems to think the post coital anger is related to psychological scar. I, of course, practically see the chemistry unfold in front of me every time.

    As a former therapist and as someone who has siblings with both ADHD and bipolar disorder, I know psychological reactions are much messier than chemical ones. Sure, they affect one another, but chemical reactions with certain disorders are quite…well…orderly. Rhythmic. Predictable. Although he avoids orgasm with me most of the time, his post orgasm anger looks exactly the same every time.

    His unwillingness to get his ADD assessed and treated damages our relationship. There is so much he just doesn’t see or remember that leaves me feeling neglected and over-burdened, unloved. He is a deeply kind, caring and giving person, and when we aren’t fighting, we have such so much fun when we are together. But too often unless something is smacking him right in the face, it is invisible to him.

    I understand intellectually that he has a beautiful heart and soul, but the end result is still very difficult to accept over and over again and my pain and resentment build.

    I sometimes think that people with ADD struggle so much with memory and attention that they can’t see patterns and that makes them more inclined to make false associations (like blaming a salient event, like something painful, for their reactions simply because that is what they remember), rather than seeing they have a condition that needs treatment. Or maybe they are just too proud or too close “to the see the forest for the trees”. He struggles to trust anyone I believe because everything outside of him seems so random — he knows his heart, his intent, much better than his impact on others.

    Life and relationships are hard enough. If only he would seek professional guidance for his own sake and for the great potential that lies in our relationship.

  21. Marnia Robinson

    “Peace Between the Sheets” is out of print now that its successor “Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow” has been published. Since I first began writing on this subject, dozens of studies on animals and humans have begun to reveal that there may indeed be a neurochemical basis for mood swings following orgasm. This page lists many of the relevant studies: http://www.reuniting.info/science/research

    I think of the “orgasm hangover” as a sort of “PMS” that affects different lovers to different degrees, and even differently on different occasions. There are various ways to manage it. Chastity isn’t the only one. Another is Diana Richardson’s version of “Slow Sex” (see trailer with couples discussing it here: http://www.slowsex-derfilm.de/en/trailer.html) or karezza, a similar approach developed in the States a century ago (the subject of “Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow”). The practice itself has turned up in different traditions for thousands of years. Definitely worth exploring as a means to much increased harmony and sexual satisfaction. (It’s very different though!)

  22. Wow, I thought I was the only one who got depressed, irritable and “jerky” after an orgasm. My wife calls it “bitchy”. We both hate how I am after an orgasm which prompted us to explore Chastity. That led to long term chastity and using a chastity cage to at least give me pause before I did something foolish, like masturbate. We work together to make sure I do not have an orgasm. We are both happier when I do not orgasm so we are down to about 2-3 orgasms a year now and my wife would like that to be zero but it may not be practical.

    To tell the truth, I was surprised at how chastity made me feel better and improved our intimacy. We still have sex regularly, maybe even more so now that all sex focuses on my wife so she can have a quick orgasm and get back to what she was doing. Most times though she enjoys edging me for an hour until I am begging for release. It took her over a year to stop feeling guilty about denying me but we feel it is better to give up those 10 seconds of an orgasm than weeks of feeling and acting bad.

  23. Pingback: TDAH y sexo: irritabilidad y conducta idiota tras el orgasmo | Dra. Elena Díaz de Guereñu

  24. So I read most of this article. Haha And yes I very much have ADHD. I have to say I do experience the irritable feelings after sex. I got to say I will need to pay better attention now. After we will finish if he doesn’t give me the loving attention I down right am craving I will fall and fast. Immedietly I see him as a complete jerk. Even though we just had sex he didn’t get close and kiss me he got up to do whatever and now I feel all left alone all “used up” and all “unloved”. This is deemed his fault in my mind. Why does he always have to seem so insensitive and unloving? And my “high” goes to what feels like depression. And I get pissy and am probably mean and treat him like he is a using, insensitive, unloving jerk with no feelings to speak of and why does he always have to change into such a person.II’ve been trying to work on not letting my ups and downs get so out of control. But I will get made at him for a week when I am excited about something and I can’t get the proper reaction from him. He tells me “you got to quit feeaking out so much.” I tell him i feeak out because of your behavior. Thank you for the article. I think sometimes my eyes need open to my behavior.

    1. Hi Melissia,

      Well, hey, if you are craving that attention, maybe he could try giving it to you. Does he really need to hop up and go do something?

      Just because you have ADHD doesn’t make you “wrong” in your reactions. And, if extra snuggle time enhances your sense of well-being and your bond as a couple, well, what the heck. 🙂

      But yes, if you “freak out” on a regular basis at other things, then maybe a little more reflection your part might help.

      Good luck sorting it out. I think we all need our eyes opened to our own behavior. Glad I could help!
      g

  25. Pingback: Can A Pulitzer Prize Offset Entry to The ADHD Roller Coaster Hall of Shame? You Decide. - ADHD Roller Coaster

  26. Hi Gina,

    I applaud your continued willingness to bring this potential connection between ADHD symptoms and climax to people’s attention.

    Since I suspect I’m the author you refer to, I’d like to correct a misunderstanding. Here’s what I was trying to share with you: Men sometimes report that giving up orgasm eases their ADHD symptoms. Some find karezza a particularly helpful change, as you point out. Some have even been able to give up their ADHD meds entirely by switching to karezza.

    Since our correspondence years ago, my husband an I have also seen men on porn recovery forums (who often give up orgasm for months as part of recovery) report big improvements in ADHD-like symptoms. See this page: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/can-porn-use-affect-memory-and-concentration

    Also of possible interest – a new longitudinal study showing deterioration of academic performance in young guys related to internet porn use: “Early adolescent boys’ exposure to internet pornography: Relationships to pubertal timing, sensation seeking, and academic performance” (2014) https://lirias.kuleuven.be/handle/123456789/458526

    I have never thought orgasm is the “cause” of ADHD, but I do think many guys would be surprised at how much their symptoms abate (and by how much better they feel over all) by learning to manage their sexual behavior with less emphasis on orgasm.

    Finally, in the years since our exchange, dozens of studies have come out confirming neurochemical events after climax, which make the hypothesis that climax contributes to changes in perception and behavior for some period of time quite reasonable. List of studies: http://www.reuniting.info/science/research

    All the best,
    Marnia

    1. Hi Marnia,

      Thanks for stopping in. I appreciated your work more than 10 years ago, and I still do.

      I recall our exchange about ADHD a little differently, though. 😉

      best,
      g

  27. I plan to study this topic thoroughly and will get back to you after a couple weekends with some data – summarized, not detailed.

    Seriously, Gina, you’ve come up with yet another topic that I know little about, simply due to lack of published studies. Kudos for pushing the envelope…

    OM

    1. Thanks, Oren. I’ve been studying this particular topic for about a decade, and I plan to go into more details in an ebook or seminar.

      I’ve intentionally simplified the “brain chemistry stuff” here in this short blog post. It’s complicated, highly variable, and in many ways still speculative.

      My goal was to simply be aware of the potential pattern and to know it might be “neurochemical” instead of “behavioral.”

      Will look forward to learning your thoughts. I welcome a guest post!

      Gina

    2. P.S. Oren, I’ve been observing closely very large numbers of ADHD-challenged couples since 1999. 😉

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