Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder

Sexual attention - AdobeStock_37580021Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder? I came up with that term in my head a few months ago. I then tossed it into my future post file. Today I did a bit of searching on that term. Not surprisingly, I found almost 90,000 results on Google. It’s an obvious term for something a lot of people are starting to see.

What is SADD? It’s being so distracted by the plethora of sexual images around us that it hurts our real life sexuality. Primarily this is about porn. It’s mostly about porn fueled masturbation. The results of SADD include:

    • Loss of interest in sex with wife.
    • Difficulty getting erect with wife.
    • Losing erection during intercourse.
    • Taking a long time to climax during sex with wife.
    • Unable to climax with wife, or only able in one way (oral, anal, mutual masturbation).
    • Only able to climax by thinking of porn images.
    • Prefer masturbation (with or without porn) to sex with wife.
    • No longer initiating sex with wife.
    • Looking at porn to get aroused to have sex with wife.

SADD…Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder

What I find interesting is that many openly “porn positive” physiologist, counselors, journalist, and other “experts” are starting to sound the alarm about SADD (by that name, or not).

The reality is they are seeing it in their practices (or friends). They see it in both men who have problems. They also see it in women frustrated by a husband who has become unwilling or unable to have sex as they once did.

Daily porn time is becoming more and more common among men (and women). And the amount of time spent is growing as both the quantity and variety of porn grow at an exponential rate. Anyone who regularly deals with sexual relationship in any way has seen the results. And even the most diehard porn supporters are admitting there is a point at which too much is a problem.

If you have any hint of Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder, please stop now before it destroys your ability to enjoy sex with your bride. If you don’t have any hint, but use porn, be aware of the reality of SADD. Make a smart decision now. Do this before you and your bride suffer.

If you are already having problems, the ONLY solution is to eliminate the porn completely and permanently. It will take days or weeks, or maybe longer. But eventually your desire and ability will return. You may experience total erectile difficulty or the inability to climax for a while. But wait it out. You may be tempted to masturbate to get relief you can’t get with your bride. Please don’t —it only delays your recovery.

REAL Sex is More Satisfying

What if you’re a wife and you think you husband is suffering from SADD? Should you try to act more like a porn star to help him move from porn to you? NO! Aside from the fact it will almost certainly ruin your sexual enjoyment, it won’t work. There is no way you can compete with what is out there. But you can do something far better. Real sex is not as flashy and outwardly exciting as porn. But it is deeper and far more satisfying.

Tell him you want to share a great sex life with him. Plus let him know porn is getting in the way of that. It’s not that you won’t make sex good for him if he uses porn, it’s that you can’t make sex good for him if he uses porn.

There are those who are calling foul on this whole idea. They say “there is no science to back it.” While there are some studies that support some of what I’ve said, it is certainly true there are no well-done studies that prove any of it.

While well-done studies are always preferable to anecdotal evidence, it’s foolish to ignore the growing body of anecdotal evidence on this —especially given how diverse the sources are. For most sounding the alarm there is no moral issue here. It’s all about their awareness of a growing problem.

Paul Byerly wrote this article. He first posted it on his web site, We highly recommend you visit his web site. We also recommend that you visit another web site. Paul and his wife Lori also are the founders of the web site, which We highly recommend you visit this web site to gain great wisdom on sexual issues.

Print Post

Filed under: Pornography and Cybersex Sexual Issues

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


15 responses to “Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder

  1. (AUSTRALIA)  Very interesting!! I find it so sad the number of men stuck in marriages with unloving wives -who after years of sexless marriages, with giving, generous, loving husbands, wives still refuse to address this problem. I’m amazed how common this problem is. Especially when there are loving, affectionate, sexual single women who would love to be with such men. I think the men’s self esteem descends so much!

    1. (USA) Wow, Suzi did you hit the nail on the head! Nice post! I think the problem with pornography may have more to do with uninterested wives than because pornography has much of a chance to compete with reality. Well I don’t think there’s much competition if there is at least some effort put into the “reality.”

      I personally find (as you do) that far too many Christian married men can sum up their marital sex-life with the words “humiliating” or “unavailable.”

      Why THAT is the case could be an excellent discussion. I personally wonder if the church teaching little girls that sex is BAD and SINFUL all while they’re single, which for some can continue into their mid-30’s, makes it really really hard to switch to a healthy sex life when married. Do the most fervent “sexual purity” followers when single ever end up having a great married sex life? Some Christian groups have pushed for EARLIER marriages, in the hopes of reducing premarital sex rates (supposedly almost 90% of Christians admit to their premarital counselor that they’ve already had sex). I wonder if getting married younger (or maybe having a secular sexual youth time) gives someone any better chance of having a more exciting and fulfilling married sex life? Things that I ponder…

  2. (INDIA) I am not married. But the fact is most marriages end in failure due to being a wrong match, both physically as well as psychologically. One needs to understand that adjusting is part of life, but DON’T compromise on the fact called “right match.” The rest is up to the individuals affinity towards the man or woman.  

  3. (UNITED STATES)  I think most men find themselves in sexless marriages because they wrongfully think that sex is all about them and that they are entitled to sex. Sex is NOT love, but is an important part of love. Love is caring, sharing, respect, admiration, and wanting the very best for YOUR partner, NOT yourself. Sex is the most intimate way of sharing love.

    Love is an emotion felt. When you don’t feel love for that person, you don’t want to share sex with that person. Instead sex makes you feel used because the selfish person used you as a “spittoon”, not as an intimate soul mate to share his life with. When men quit seeing sex as a “self sport” and see it as part of a loving commitment, then you will a true MAN, and not a selfish emotionally immature little boy in a grown up body.

    1. I saw the your name Ron so I presumed you are a male until I actually read your post. A male wouldn’t have written like that. Love is not an emotion. Love is a daily and moment to moment choice and decision. Sure love is attributed to admiration and the other things you’ve listed but it’s mostly sacrifice and compromise to some degree. It’s laying down oneself for another as well. If my actions were merely based on emotions and whether or not I “feel” like doing something then I’d probably not do much for anyone else at all!

      And yes, a married person sort of is “entitled” to sex. Who else can a person turn to for intimacy?! You refuse your husband when he NEEDS love yet demand he remain faithful. Are you all right with your husband sleeping with someone else because YOU won’t? You make sex sound like it’s a horrible thing. So what if it’s playful and active. It’s freaking sex! It’s supposed to be active and sport like; after all there is a goal in mind.

  4. (USA)  I believe that this is a very real problem. Sadly I believe that it is affecting my marriage. It does not have to be photos of another woman I have learned. My husband takes photos of me. He has always done this since we have been together 14 yrs. In the past 2-3 I see most are leg and foot and the shoes are higher. Each time I enter his office he flips the computer or iPad off, saying it’s nothing. I see the pictures. In his office are pxs of me 16×20 dressed up in heels. He can’t maintain an erection and will not discuss it.

  5. (USA) Take the word “wife” out of the list above and add the word “girlfriend” and you have a list of sexual dysfunctions that I suffered within 15 years of dating before marriage. The thing is I never laid eyes on porn until after I was married. I always thought I lost desire for women I was dating after the second or third sexual encounter because I was easily bored sexually. And when I would lose interest and start suffering from erectile and ejaculatory problems because of it I would simply end the relationship and move on to another where the cycle would begin again.

    None of this bothered me much when I was single but when I decided to get married and these problems began to occur with my future wife I decided to seek therapeutic help. And I spent 4 years going to 3 different therapists. Turns out I was suffering from a number of psychological disorders due to childhood (non sexual) trauma which caused me to have a subconscious fear of intimacy so bad that when any relationship began to show signs of going past the newness and excitement stage and began to solidify, I would suffer from unconscious anxiety so bad it would shut me down sexually.

    My point in telling you all this is that simply blaming porn for these symptoms listed above only tells part of the story and many men suffer from a long list of sexual dysfunctions for psychological reasons, not because of porn use. These men don’t get the help they need even if they do watch porn because if they seek treatment only the symptoms of the problems are ever addressed and not the root causes and as a result their problems in intimate relationships are never solved and in the end, ironically many turn to porn and masturbation as the only sexual outlet which allows them to function without erectile and ejaculatory difficulties because there is no intimacy anxiety involved.

    1. BINGO! We Christians get busy demonizing porn and readily reduce virtually all male sexual problems to some derivative of porn. Wives can easily fall into the trap of reinforcing and justifying the stigma they place on their husband as damaged goods.

      And yet we also have very little good data on how often real people were actually having sex a couple hundred years ago (before photo and other media), let alone in king David’s time. Perhaps our whole culture has fallen into the trap of expecting too much from ourselves romantically and sexually. After all, you can always hit replay (or flip back a few pages) and the characters in the romantic or pornographic film just start over again effortlessly! F-A-N-T-A-S-Y.

      I think we all fail mainly at separating fantasy from reality. We do it when we believe too much in a fantasy and try to make reality conform to it, but we also do it when we respond to the fantasies of others as if they were their real acts. When we do this we too often stifle real intimacy –not sexuality alone, but real understanding, or at least the ability to communicate care to someone who is different from you (and perhaps has different struggles).

  6. (USA) We have been married for 15 years and all 15 have been a constant struggle with emotional unavailability, sexual anorexia, and intimacy anorexia. Our sexual contact was very infrequent. We would usually go three to nine months without any contact. I used to initiate sexual contact, with no success. I would always ask what was wrong with me and he would respond with cruel words. The cruel words always led to an explosive argument. I always apologized and begged for his forgiveness, only to have the cycle to repeat itself over and over.

    Right before our 15th anniversary I found his user name and password to a live stream gay porn site. When I confronted him about the website, he responded by saying I have struggled with this confusion all my life. He also stated “I have always worried if I died and you found out about me, how you would be able to deal with it?” I asked him did ever think how it would affect me while you’re alive? He did not have a response and during the revealing phase, he never apologized. He felt that because I did not know about the addiction for 15 years, it never affected our marriage. Shortly after we got married I knew something was wrong, I just could not pinpoint the problem. I came close to finding out many times, only to end with me feeling guilty for not trusting him. I was always accused of being insecured and paranoid.

    Long story short he went to sexual addiction counseling for five months. He told me that he is healed and no longer needs to go counseling. I was never asked to be involved with the counseling. We attempted couples counseling and that ended with more anger and cruel words. I’ve wondered how a 31 year sexual addiction and wanting same sex relations can be “cured” in five months.

    The reason I give this information is because for 15 years he blamed me for his inability to obtain and keep an erection. If “you were a better wife” or “you do not provide the right environment” or “if you were not such a loser” were the statements he made. The comments actually involved some graphic words that cannot be used in this discussion. I’m not saying that I did not contribute to our marital problems, but once this came to life I was shocked that I was solely to blame for the non-existent sex life and all the conflicts. His addiction and behavior started at age 9. We did not meet until our mid-twenties; there is no way this problem was mine to own. He still manages to blame me in a passive manner, by saying “I wanted to stop when we got married, but you did not provide the right environment” or “you should have been a better wife.” I now know that I could be Kate Moss, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul rolled up in one and he would not have stopped masturbating, looking at porn, or desiring men.

    I guess the point I’m trying to express is that my marriage suffered from all the results of SADD and yet I was blamed and harshly criticized for my gut feelings. I did not create his problem and there was no way I could have provided the means for him to want to quit. He had a problem that developed before me, yet he projected his guilt by tearing down what self-esteem I did have. Any form of sex addiction is detrimental to a relationship even if the wife is not aware of the problem. The addiction causes SADD, intimacy issues, depression, low self-esteem and so on……….

    1. (USA) So what has happened? Minus the ‘gay porn’ preference, I find similar patterns happening in my new marriage of almost 3 years. We can’t help someone who is in denial, but by not getting pulled into arguments will stop empowering their anger. Prayer is the only way to reach them, along with healthy boundaries. It is very frustrating to not understand ‘why’, but also very freeing to lift these dark battles up to God. Only He knows the depth of pain in these husbands’ broken hearts, and only He can heal them! But, allowing Him to love through us wives will be very powerful, as well. And this begins the ‘die to self part’: only successful when orchestrated by Jesus, as our reasons are short-lived and usually emotionally driven. But by keeping your eyes on God as your prize and motivation, than you won’t see your husband as an idol, and this disappointed and frustrated over and over. God put us in their lives; not only for their benefit, but for OURS as well! To break our sin of control, idolizing, manipulating, etc. And mostly I believe to seek the true source of complete love which only comes from the Creator of it: God Himself. I’m sorry for your pain, but I do know, ‘the greater the battle, the greater the glory’. God assigned you to play a pivotal role in the sanctification and saving of your husband! You didn’t get 15 years of marriage with difficulties by doing it on your own.

      God bless you, and I’m praying for you at this moment for a renewed sense of wisdom, discernment, patience, hope, forgiveness and love. Look up Oswald Chambers daily devotional for Feb 9- today. They encouraged me, as they will for you as well! this life is short, please find joy today in the beauty and love God made in nature; ‘see’ His love story for you all around.

    2. First, this is a terrible situation and I’m sorry for what happened to you. But I think based on what you’ve said there’s been a much bigger barrier to your intimacy than SADD. Deception is the biggest betrayal and problem. Next is his selfish choice to blame you for the problem —with the insults you report.

      Then, it seems very evident that regardless of frequency of sexual contact, he is not investing in intimacy with you.
      And of course, the obvious issue of the same sex desires he has.

      To reverse course, you need honesty from him. You need him to own his issues and not blame you and apologize for the deception. And more than that, you need him to really invest in you –even if he’s still failing, and looking at gay porn. That way you at least move toward an intimate relationship. But if the anger is continuing and unapologetic, then the more basic issues than the porn have still not been addressed.

      Your husband is doing more than just blaming you. He’s not investing in your real relationship at all. He is generally using you as a prop to give himself a straight, good-guy, nothing’s-wrong-here image to the world. You are functioning as a tool to maintain his secrecy.

      And at the same time, he resents you because he needs you but he doesn’t want you. He resents you because it reminds him that he still can’t accept himself and his struggles and try to face them honestly. Those feelings and motivations of his can remain long after months of private counseling and even when a few people know of his struggles.

  7. (UK) Our marriage is a true sexless marriage. We haven’t had sex (and that means no intimate contact in any shape or form, cuddling, hugging, kissing, holding hands etc) for 9 years. We’ve been married for 34 years and sexual activity has never been regular, usually 7 or 8 times per year but I didn’t expect it to totally disappear. I was always the instigator and got turned down many times. I think I just gave up trying in the end.

    My wife has never said anything about the situation until the last month or so when she has made comments about not feeling like a complete woman anymore. I have left it to her to instigate sex but she never does anything about it. I won’t make the first move as I’m sure it will be rejected as on many occasions in the past. What she is unaware of is that even if she did make the first move, the long absence of any intimacy has rendered me completely unable to do anything about it.

    Although we still love each other I’m now conditioned to the idea that my days of enjoying sex with my wife are completely finished. She may not be happy about it but she’s got to live with it. She maybe should have thought about this years ago when about 70% of any approaches I made were rejected.

    1. That’s very sad and almost what I’m dealing with except I’m 10 years into my marriage. She only wants it when I don’t expect anything. The level of fustration I feel is unexplainable I’m ready to call this quits, but I can’t afford child support for two kids. Sex is sporatic, and I feel I need porn to satisfy myself. What am I to do?

      1. To both of you above, sorry to hear about your sexless marriages.

        First try to communicate with your wife more about her feelings and her secret opinions of you, and gently tell her that you often find yourself desiring sex with her but she’s unresponsive. Commit to yourself that you won’t take her responses personal.

        It takes a few tries at these conversations to get off the anger button and the defensive reactions and remember that another person’s feelings (often about you) are subjective and private. You may have to plead with your spouse to stay in the conversation or set a time to come back to it later. If she won’t share, she won’t share, but if she will, sometimes naming the elephant in the room is the most important step. You may both be waiting for magic to happen when you have to admit that you need to train yourselves (yes, it may feel mechanical at first) in how to turn each other on and how to meet each other’s emotional needs throughout the days/weeks/months.

        A good post on this very site about what affects our sex lives: When You Sense Your Spouse Is Not There For You. None of that can work without trust and honesty. It will probably involve hurt –because we humans are dumb enough to be hurt (and angered) by what others think and feel in the privacy of their own hearts and minds. BUT stay the course and you will gain understanding together.

        On porn, I would say be honest with your wife about whatever you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Don’t do this is in a mean way. Think honestly about what you’re doing and why and be able to communicate. This is right in the trust and honesty department. But be aware she may use this as an excuse to justify divorce in her mind. If so, she may have been looking for an excuse to justify the idea of a divorce to herself for a long time.

        Another point, is to try to get some honesty from her about what sex is like for her and what she thinks might make it better. (Again, don’t be offended by the offensive comments she makes. Tell her if they hurt you –yes, men can be hurt –but try to get at the issues). Maybe she’s been watching porn, sexting, or something behind your back. What are those issues about? It’s easy for women in those situations to hide behind the common misconception of low female sex drive.

        Even when the issues that emerge are overwhelming and seem like they can’t be addressed, your relationship can benefit immensely. Can you still look at each other and express care, forgiveness, acceptance, a stronger desire to see each other happy? At this point you have made some progress. Yet, you may still need professional council to put some things into practice. At the very least you need some practical thinking.

        Bottom line is it takes two people committed to loving the other one, and that requires honesty and trust in sharing feelings and fantasies –even if they are not fully understood or cannot be played out in real life.

  8. Most of the time the real issue is some undiagnosed medical problem:

    1. Go see a doctor ASAP (or make other party do it).
    2. Stop wasting your life on the blame game. Blaming or judgementallism is stupid and has 100% failure rate, often wasting years and years of YOUR LIFE.