Part one of a two part review of ADHD After Dark by Ali Tuckman.
Tuckman, A. (2019). ADHD After Dark: Better Sex Life, Better Relationship: Taylor & Francis.
The field definitely needs more research and information on how ADHD impacts sexuality, especially in marriage. Thus, when I saw a new book coming out on the subject that was reportedly grounded in research I picked it up right away. ADHD After Dark is based on the author’s work in the field of ADHD and a survey of over 3,000 people in a relationship where one partner has ADHD and the other doesn’t.
There are some interesting points in the book, but it overall fell far short of my hopes. While it is based in the author’s ADHD Relationship Sex Survey, very little about the actual research is reported. Almost no hard data is provided. The author doesn’t even include basic demographics of the sample so we don’t know how generalizable his “findings” even are. The author states points made in the book meet significance, but statistically what that means isn’t provided.
So, definitely not a research report.
And, the entire book only has nine references – four of those to support the authors assertion that porn is not addictive. Not scholarly, but the target audience is the end user.
The bulk of the book is general sexual enrichment. A nice forward thinking, strength based approach, but this book promised to be about the unique aspects of ADHD in sexual relationships and there is only a slight peppering of such. For general couple sexual enrichment, there are better books.
Yet, there are valuable points specific to the book’s stated subject. I’ve highlighted some of them in part 2 of this report.
Finally, it should be noted that this book does not hold to the belief that sex should be reserved for within the marital vow, and only for your spouse. Boundaries in sex, if mentioned, are quite relative.
Beyond the introduction and Appendix (including the ADHD Relationship Sex Survey), the book is divided into three sections.
Section I The Lay of the Land: Research Results explores what they author believed the research was saying. It’s the section we are interested in here. I will cover the major points in part 2 of this report.
Section II Principles of Great Sex Lives includes visionary helps for improving sex, but nothing you wouldn’t find in any good sex enrichment book or manual. It’s common sense principles any skilled sex therapist would encourage (i.e., be healthy, enjoy foreplay, etc.). The non-conservative perspective of the book is clear in this section. But, this also provides for an interesting couple of chapters on porn and masturbation. The author provides a more positive view of masturbation and includes questions couples can use to explore desires and the role masturbation plays. Similarly, the chapter on porn points to positives of porn many may find in opposition to their values or clinical experience (i.e., disagreeing that porn can be addictive). Again, there are questions couples can use to explore the role and meaning of porn in their lives and relationship. The questions provided to help couples talk through porn and masturbation are good – for couples who could.
“…when you add my survey respondents’ frequency of partnered sexual activity and their masturbation frequency, the men’s total is almost exactly the same as their desired frequency—like, amazingly almost exactly the same. They are clearly using masturbation in a compensatory way to make up for the partnered sex they aren’t getting. By contrast, women desire less frequent sex but are also masturbating much less, so they are falling about 25–30% below their desired total frequency, so they are not using masturbation as much as a compensation.”
Section III Overcome Specific Issues is a brief manual for addressing common sexual problems and dysfunctions. Nothing here a skilled sex therapist doesn’t know and there are way better manuals out there. However, it could serve as a starter manual for a non-conservative client. The impact of ADHD and the research really isn’t mentioned much in this section beyond pointing out ADHD spouses are more open to consensual nonmonogamy.
Overall, I was quite disappointed. I’m hoping the author will write some professional journal articles from the data collected as good information (research based) on this subject is badly needed.
Until then, Section I has some interesting statements in it, but without the data to back it I am left wondering how significant and generalizable the assertions are. This leaves me knowing no more than when I started reading the book.
While I like the goal, Section II (Vision) and III (Problem-solving) are far better served by the multitude of other books out there with the same goal. Even providing grace for the “readable and entertaining style” of writing (I found often non-professional) and allowing for a non-boundaried perspective of sexuality (not holding to sex in monogamy) I struggle to think of an audience I would recommend the book to.
ADHD After Dark: Better Sex Life, Better Relationship
From the Cover:
This pioneering book explores the impact of ADHD on a couple’s sex life and relationship. It explains how a better sex life will benefit your relationship (and vice versa) and why that’s especially important for couples with one partner with ADHD. Grounded in innovative research, ADHD After Dark draws on data from a survey of over 3000 adults in a couple where one partner has ADHD. Written from the author’s unique perspective as both an expert in ADHD and a certified sex therapist, the book describes the many effects of ADHD on couples’ sex lives and happiness, covering areas such as negotiating sexual differences, performance problems, low desire, porn, making time for sex, infidelity, and more. The book outlines key principles for a great sex life for couples with ADHD and offers strategies and treatment interventions where specific issues arise.