Sex on the Brain: Sex and ADD – Part 4 of an Interview with Dr. Emily Morse

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In the last installment of a series on sex and relationships, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana are joined by Dr. Emily Morse to talk about what you can do if ADD is causing problems in the bedroom.


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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back everybody. I'm Doctor Daniel Amen. I am here with Tana and on the Brain Warriors Way podcast today we have Dr. Emily Moore so this is the fourth in our series-

Tana Amen: So much fun.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Sex with Emily. Emily is an author of "Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight". She hosts the wildly popular Sex with Emily podcast. You can learn more about her work at Today we're going to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart. We're going to talk about sex and ADD. I am also a child psychiatrist. ADD has been one of my specialties for the last 30 plus years and I know more about this disorder than I want to know, having several children who have it along with my wife ...

Tana Amen: You're here today with two women who have ADD.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It can be a huge blessing because you can pay attention to six things at once, and it can be a curse because you can struggle in school or in your relationships and ...

Tana Amen: It affects sex.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It can affect sex in an exciting way but also in a really negative way and so ...

Tana Amen: It can be treated and there's hope. You just have to understand it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and my first wife, Tana's my second wife, had ADD and I just didn't understand why when we had sex there had to be complete silence 'cause she heard absolutely everything in the house that went on. She slept with a fan, it's the middle of winter, it's cold out, and so "brrr" I knew if I died and went to hell, the first thing I would hear is the fan because they need white noise on at night otherwise they can't sleep.

Tana Amen: That's not me.

Dr. Daniel Amen: They can just hear everything and orgasms can be really hard because what orgasms require? Focus. You have to pay attention to the feeling long enough in order to make it happen and if you get distracted by every little thing than, so I learned about this first hand but then I really started paying attention to my patients and I'm like "Oh get your ADD treated life is going to be a lot more fun."

Dr. Emily Morse: Yeah, and sex will be more fun. Right.

Tana Amen: Talk to us Dr. Emily, about what you know about people who struggle with attention span and sex.

Dr. Emily Morse: Right. Exactly what you said is that it's, first of all, we start having sex and then we get ... Because so much about sex is being in the moment, being present, being connected to your partner. If your brain is going like "Oh my god is it going to happen? Am I going to have the orgasm? What's he doing? Did I just hear a noise? Did the kids get hot?" I mean there is no way that orgasm is going to happen because sex is about being present, being connected to your body. You know your partner and be staying with this one sensation and then all of the sudden you get you know and ... You know you're about to get there and then something happens so it can just wreak havoc on your sex life and your ability to orgasm.

The good news about it is that people with ADD crave novelty and newness and so something that you can do is work on changing up sex. If it's having sex in a different location. Because people with ADD things become very boring and monotonous and routine but with sex there's so much you can do, even if you're changing up the location, changing up positions, introducing toys, sensation play. Where did you start with some massage or some light tickling, or some bondage to articulate ... I always say use a blindfold and you take away sight and then everything else becomes more heightened. You just mix it up, and novelty. It can actually help people with ADD because it's something new so they're super focused for like, I don't know what's going to happen next here.

For example, if you used a blindfold and you are tickling them or giving massage or a spanking. You're going to stay focused cause you're adding a lot of new elements to it but for orgasm, I think that was my problem. When you asked why I got interested in this? It's because I never thought to even masturbate as a child, it never even occurred to me cause I think I was really anxious, I was distracted, I had ADD, it was the last thing on my mind to even touch my body but then during sex it was same thing, distractibility.

I just had to focus on this topic because I wanted to have better sex. This is really why it became my life work. I've kind of look at ADD as kind of a gift now and sex, since there are so many paths to orgasm and to pleasure that if you kind of embrace it and say, "Okay. I'm not going to be able to have scheduled sex, that's not going to work for me," typical sex, but I'm going to find out what turns me on and what that secret sauce is for me. Even if it's every time it's these three positions, I can't have any noise ... You become more aware of it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Being sensitive to touch is another big issue with people who have ADD. They can't be touched in a certain way. Now it's not true for everybody but high enough percentage and they also hate things like tags and as little kids, they take their clothes off. All the time.

Tana Amen: As little kids?

Dr. Emily Morse: Yeah. You mean the ... Yeah

Dr. Daniel Amen: Little kids, because their clothes have to be just right or it drives them insane. Like seams on socks and it's funny, Michael Jordan talks about it, he has ADD. And he came up with the Hanes tag-less underwear.

Tana Amen: Oh, that's awesome.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Remember? Because tags just like making you crazy.

Tana Amen: You still joke around cause you walk in the house you can always tell when I get home cause there's a trail of clothes going to my room. I'm like I cannot wait to get in the house and just rip my clothes off. That didn't come out right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: They did not need to hear that.

Tana Amen: That totally did not come out right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It's sensitivity ...

Dr. Emily Morse: No, I know what you mean when I was a kid, and my mom I would walk around if I felt any tags, any seam she would cut them off.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Emily Morse: Yeah, I totally get it.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Know what your partner and this is back to communication, know what they like and pay attention to it so that he or she can focus.

Dr. Emily Morse: Exactly.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Emily Morse: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Then get your ADD treated because, you know, there's all sorts of controversy about stimulants and all of that. I'm a huge fan for the right brain because what happens after I treat someone's ADD, she'll come back if it's a woman, the first time and she just has that little smile on her face. I'm like, "So what's the smile for?" I already know. She's like, "Unbelievable. I never could have orgasms and now I can because I can focus," and so getting the ADD treated, and it doesn't always have to be about medicine I wrote a book called Healing ADD where I talk about natural ways to treat it but I'm not opposed to medicine like I wouldn't be opposed to medicine for cancer.

Tana Amen: There are many ... Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Or hypertension or heart disease and you know the brain has issues like your pancreas ...

Tana Amen: Keep in mind our new program the Brain Warriors Way focuses on this. There are so many things that can affect ADD Diets. If you're eating the wrong diet it's going to increase your ADD. Focusing on more protein and fat as opposed to sugar or meditation. I know for me meditation is like my best friend. That's going to help you improve your focus. There's a lot of things you can do.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Of course. On the podcast we always talk about, "What are the natural ways to do it?" I have to tell you the little yellow pill for so many women ...

Tana Amen: They don't know what the little yellow pill is.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It's Ritalin.

Dr. Emily Morse: [crosstalk 00:08:11].

Dr. Daniel Amen: Just made a huge positive difference in their sex life. More about ADD but this is a critical topic because if you have ADD but you don't really know it and you've never been diagnosed. But if you have a short attention span, you're easily distracted, you're sensitive to noise, orgasms are really hard. It's at least one area to explore, would seeing if I have this make a difference in my life? Because it's obviously not just about sex

Tana Amen: Right.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It's about so much more, how ADD can negatively impact lives.

Tana Amen: We didn't bring up the flip side of this. People who are hyper sexual because of their impulsivity.

Dr. Emily Morse: Exactly. Impulsive sex, they always need to raise the bar to try something new cause otherwise they're getting bored, exactly there's that too. I mean there's so many different ... Right, people can be very impulsive but they're not actually having orgasm they just want the conquest or more partners or they're not really sticking to one, because nothing else can turn them on but dangerous sex.

Tana Amen: That damages relationships also.

Dr. Emily Morse: Absolutely. That's why we have to treat it but I do think that meditation and meds, there's a combination of it but once you learn to, with meditation and breath, train your mind. It's like anything else. You can actually teach yourself how to work on that. That's what a lot of people have to do, a lot of women it doesn't come naturally for them. A lot of women are like, "Oh when I was five years old and I was riding a horse or I was in the shower I had an orgasm," but for a lot of women it doesn't happen the way especially who have ADD. That's why masturbation for women it's so important because even with ADD it's fine, whatever you have to do to turn on the white noise, shut your door, turn off your phone. Practice your fantasy. If you can figure out your secret sauce, how you have to move, what makes you feel good. When you're with a partner you mimic that and you bring that to the situation. You're like these are the conditions that I need. That's okay.

Tana Amen: Right I was just going to say that. So even like what you were talking about earlier. THat's OK. Just like the not shaming men with ED it's okay to work around that and figure out how it works and how it functions but just like we talked about within a relationship we need to be very careful about understanding, cause I know we see a lot of it in our clinics, this sex addiction and a lot of it has to do with ADD. That devastates ...

Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, we actually did a study of 200 sex addicts and 70% had low activity in the front part of their brain which is what we see with head trauma but we also see it with ADD and it was just devastating their marriages. Which in turn devastated both partners. So getting ...

Dr. Emily Morse: High risk wayfarers, right? We're seeking to do drugs, sex, right?

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr. Daniel Amen: It's so easy to get addicted because it's everywhere.

Tana Amen: Well, it is pleasure. It actually affects the pleasure center in your brain which that dopamine rush, so it becomes addictive.

Dr. Emily Morse: Yeah absolutely. I'm thinking now, I mean I'm wondering if you've seen after all these years, you know now with the availability of porn and sexual imagery for kids like if it's even higher rate of people seeing that greater form of arousal and also just people having more ADD. Like do you feel like it just diagnosed or that people were just more distracted, I'm sure you get asked this question all the time. I've just been very curious about that. Because it just seems ...

Dr. Daniel Amen: No, there's more of it. Because people with ADD have their kids younger. On average, an ADD woman has her first baby at the age of 20 because of teenage pregnancies and impulsive sexual behavior. Where a woman that doesn't have ADD has her first baby at the average age of 26. If you just think about that over 100 years an ADD family will have five generations and more children per generation. Where a non-ADD family will have fewer generations and fewer children per generation. Over time you will see genetically, there's an increased incidence of ADD. Add to that, we're not exercising as much, we're not in the sun as much, we're eating more garbage.

One of the other things that's really important, I don't know if you know the App, Think Dirty? Love that App. But you can actually scan your products and see the toxic things that are in them that are endocrine disruptors. So why are we having more sexual problems than ever before? It's because whatever goes on your body, goes in your body. The aluminum in your deodorant is pervasive in your body which is now disrupting estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and it's causing more sexual problems than ever before because they're endocrine disruptors and your sex hormones come from endocrine glands.

Dr. Emily Morse: Yeah. There are so many more problems with sex I think than ever before. I really do on so many, so many levels. Because even with ADD, I don't know there's just so many things that have to be in place for people to, to have great sex, or we think. I do think that exercise and meditation ... People think "Oh god, I can't tackle another app." Like you guys know Headspace app? It's a great app.

Tana Amen: Yeah. It's great, yeah.

Dr. Emily Morse: I've been meditating for a long time. For some people they're like, "I don't know how to start it, seems really overwhelming." Even five minutes.

Tana Amen: Yup.

Dr. Emily Morse: Doing something where you're going to get that blood flow pumping it's just you talk about all these other things but like exercise, meditation, have been like such great healers I think and have helped somewhat.

Tana Amen: Absolutely.

Dr. Emily Morse: With orgasm, with sex, confidence, all of that stuff.

Tana Amen: Well, I feel like we just opened up ... I feel like we need way more than a week with Emily because, my daughter comes home, we're very very open in our family and she comes home and starting in junior high seventh grade she comes home and all of a sudden boys are starting to have porn on their phones and like how do kids handle this. How do you take that in at that age. Then this whole idea of hormones and how it affects sex. There's so many things we still need to talk about I feel like we need to go on and on.

Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, that's why we're here for people on the Brain Warriors Way podcast. That's why Emily is here for you in her podcast Sex with Emily, or her website, her best selling book "Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight". Emily has been such a joy to host you this week. We are grateful for your time and look forward to talking to you again soon.

Dr. Emily Morse: Thank you so much, you will.

Tana Amen: Absolutely.

Dr. Emily Morse: Thank you.

Dr. Daniel Amen: You're listening to the Brain Warriors Way podcast, we'll be back.