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OCD: The libido ruiner you didn't know about

Know why people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have a troubled sex life and ways to cope with the issue.

Written by Aishwarya Iyer |Updated : July 20, 2018 12:28 PM IST

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is defined by the medical fraternity as an obsession followed by compulsive acts to fulfill it. Let me break this down for you. Let's say our mind is an alarm system like the one that you install in your car. The idea of installing this anti-theft system is that it rings when someone fidgets with the car lock. Hence, it is a warning in case of an imminent danger. Now let's assume that the alarm in your car has some issue, and it starts to ring without any trigger.

The first time it rings, you get up and check, call the police if needed, etc. but realize that it was a false alarm. It happens again, and you react the same way, maybe a couple of times more. But once you have realized that the alarm is faulty, you stop paying any attention. Isn't this a normal scenario? Yes, but for someone with an OCD it is quite different.

Bhakti Thakkar Bauva, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, explains, "In people with OCD, this alarm rings time and again. And they realise that it may be a false alarm, yet are not able to ignore it, as the alarm is associated with negative thoughts and excessive anxiety. With time they may start indulging in other activities like checking car beforehand, feeling this may prevent the alarm to ring, and this way new symptoms start to emerge."

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OCD and sexual obsessions

Most people don't associate OCD with a sexual dysfunction. Contrary to what you may believe, OCD very much affects one's sexual life. No, we are not talking about how someone with an OCD would want to have sex over and over again in order to achieve sexual perfection. In fact, people suffering from OCD have troubled romantic relations, mostly due to their aversion from sex. They have various sexual obsessions that are too complex to understand yet, plagues their sexual life. Here are 4 common sexual obsessions of an OCD patient:

1) Fear of contamination

For someone with an OCD, thoughts that keep plaguing them includes an irrational fear of being contracted by a disease. In most cases, they believe that they would contract STD (sexually transmitted disease) like Herpes, HIV etc. They believe that any bodily secretion will make them susceptible to STD. This obsession will lead them to undergo compulsive tests to make sure they are fine.

2) Disgust

People suffering from OCD experience a high level of disgust even while thinking about sexual activities. Apart from the contamination fears, they find it extremely unhygienic to have any contact with bodily fluids. Even if they've had an intercourse, they will indulge in rituals of compulsive washing, laundering all bed linens, clothes, towels or anything that they believe has come in contact with the fluids. Hence, they believe it is better to avoid having sex, altogether.

3) Sexual orientation

One of the most common fear that someone with an OCD is about becoming a homosexual, bisexual or so. Studies say that roughly 10% of OCD patients suffer from sexual orientation fears. They are extremely hyper vigilant when it comes to this fear.

4) Sexual deviance

This is extremely common among people with an OCD. They avoid having sex because they believe that they would indulge in sexual deviance like rape etc. For example, if a lady is sleeping with her son. She would obsessively fear that she will soon turn into a child molester since they share the same bed. This irrational fear would lead to aversion.

HOW SHOULD YOU COPE WITH THESE EXERCISES

If you or your loved one suffers from the above obsessions, here are few ways to cope with them:

1) Admit it to yourself The first step is to face the situation and believe that this is a condition you are going through. The next step is to seek help ti understand the condition.

2) Involve your doctor and partner One way to deal with the condition is to tell about your obsessions to your partner and doctor. Let your partner who is engaged in this sexual relationship know about your inhibitions.

3)Join a support group When you do join a support group, everybody suffering from similar condition will give an insight of what they have experienced. This will help you to understand your condition, so that you can deal with it better.

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