10 Ways BDSM Helps My ADHD

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October is ADHD Awareness Month! I figured out in the last year that I have ADHD and it explains so much about my life. I’m lucky to have a medical team that listened to my concerns and helped me find a medication that’s improved my life. But the symptoms and need to cope has always been there, even if the language hasn’t. So I wanted to share some ways that BDSM has helped my ADHD, even if I didn’t realize it.

1. A Dynamic Means Clear Expectations

Having a relationship where we have sat down and designed every element of it from the ground up means that I know what the fuck is going on. I know what our relationship expectations are, I know we’re on the same page about numerous things, I know what Daddy needs from me and for me. There is no mystery guessing “does he still want to be with me?” because I know. It relieves a large amount of anxiety for me and helps my ADHD brain not feel out of the loop or blindsided by unclear communication.

2. Power Exchange Circumvents Executive Dysfunction

Executive dysfunction is the inability to perform tasks like planning, prioritizing, organizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and controlling emotional reactions. ADHD Alien wrote a beautiful comic translating this concept into “buttons” – a person needs a button to start a task just as a stove needs a button to turn on. Executive dysfunction means you can’t access or don’t have those buttons.

Being in a dynamic has given me the ability to work through a lot of my executive dysfunction. Knowing that Daddy expects me to complete a task by a specific time gives my brain that extra little boost to at least start on a task. It’s not perfect of course – there are still plenty of days he comes home to a still full sink or me laying on the couch – but

3. Play Is A Refuge

One element of my ADHD brain is needing constant stimulation. I listen to music while reading, watch tv while writing, podcast while dishes because if I don’t have constant noise, I can’t focus. And there is still a constant narration going on in my head at the same time.

Play cuts through this. The narrator is quieter, my thoughts drift away. My world becomes Daddy and I, pain and pleasure. It is a relief from my own self for a few hours. I don’t feel antsy if we sit together quietly afterward. I don’t feel the need to pick up my phone and scroll through social media.

4. I’ve Learned To Be Self-Aware

The nature of BDSM means learning how to negotiate and advocate for yourself, especially as a bottom. I’ve had to learn my own needs and wants inside-and-out along with how to communicate that to others. These skills are useful in many other areas of my life such as figuring out what is a lack of skill versus a lack of ability. Self-forgiveness is a lot easier when I’m more aware of my capabilities.

5. Healthy People Pleasing

Being in a power exchange dynamic gives me an outlet for the need to please. This need in past relationships has led to resentment, break ups, self-doubt, and more. Our dynamic is set up that each of us are putting equal work into the relationship. I can spend my people pleasing energy here in a safe way, knowing that Daddy will not take and take from me endlessly. He gives back.

6. Daddy Gives Me A Routine

Having someone else dictate what I will do every day is the equivalent of going to public school and being told what class you’re going to be in from 8am to 3pm. It’s relieving. I have my nightly routine of taking meds because I’m expected to. I wrap up my work around 6 or 7pm because Daddy is on his way home. ADHD brains crave routine but are bad at making and sticking to them. Following Daddy’s dictated routine means I just have to spend the energy sticking to it.

7. BDSM Is Adaptable To My Brain

I told Daddy early in our relationship that I’m not an easy person to be with. I’m stubborn, inflexible, want to be right all the time. I like for things to go a particular way or I get upset. The flexibility of BDSM and power exchange gives room for this. We toss out rules and methods that don’t work for us and pick up the ones that do. This isn’t to say that everything goes my way, I am the slave after all, but creating a relationship within a flexible framework gives both Daddy and I have plenty of room to do things that work for us.

8. Power Exchange Reins In My Impulsivity

An aspect of our power exchange is that I am a reflection of Daddy. If I behave poorly, make snap judgments, or say something I shouldn’t, it doesn’t tarnish just my reputation but Daddy’s. Impulsivity is difficult but having his expectations and knowing that my behavior reflects on him gives me a little extra strength to pause before I speak or think about what I’m doing. I don’t always succeed but everything’s a work in progress.

9. I’ve Learned To Ask For Help

One of the positive things about the BDSM communities I’ve interacted with is many people’s ability to ask for help. Whether it’s needing help setting up a play party, organizing a conference, or even moving a house, kink folk are willing to not just ask but also step up and help out. It can still be hard for me to ask but knowing that people I admire ask for help makes it a little easier.

10. I’ve Learned Self-Acceptance

BDSM has taught me so many forms of self-acceptance. It’s accepted and celebrated my fatness, my queerness, my gender nonsense. BDSM has looked at my tangled up ideas of service, submission, and slavehood and said “Yes. Do the thing.” So it’s hard to look at other aspects of my life, like my ADHD, and say that it’s unwelcome. BDSM has taught me that goodness lives inside weirdness and ADHD just gives me more goodness and weirdness.

BDSM and power exchange isn’t a cure all for any neurodivergency or mental illness but it can be a powerful tool. I’m grateful to have a loving Daddy who works with my brain and quirks rather than expecting me to change who I am. There are still plenty of things that I struggle with, including things on this list, but I strive to do my best – even if it’s just to make Daddy happy.

You can learn more about ADHD from ADDitude’s article – What Is ADHD? Meaning, Symptoms & Tests

This post has been linked to Queerousal, a sex blogging linkup by LGBT+ people, for LGBT+ people.

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