How OCD Can Ruin Intimacy In Relationships: Tips To Cope With It

ocd and intimate relationships

Relationships are built on understanding and connection, but when one partner is struggling with OCD, it can create barriers to intimacy that are hard to overcome. In this article, we will look at how OCD can affect intimate relationships, and more importantly, offer practical tips and strategies to help couples navigate these challenges.

So, whether you’re struggling with OCD yourself, or you’re in a relationship with someone with OCD, this article will help you better understand the challenges, and offer solutions that can help to improve your relationship.

Do People with OCD Have Intimacy Issues?

Do People with OCD Have Intimacy IssuesOften, individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can experience challenges in their intimate relationships.

Let’s consider a practical example

  • Sarah, who has OCD, struggles with fears of contamination. This fear extends to her relationship, making physical closeness with her partner, like hugging or holding hands, a source of anxiety.
  • Her mind is often preoccupied with these intrusive thoughts, leaving little room for emotional connection.
  • Additionally, Sarah spends a significant amount of time performing rituals to manage her anxiety, such as excessive washing or cleaning which also leaves her emotionally and physically drained, affecting her availability for intimacy.
  • In intimate situations, Sarah’s fear of contamination can lead to avoidance of physical contact, creating a sense of distance between her and her partner.
  • Despite her deep affection for her partner, her OCD symptoms act as a barrier to both emotional and physical closeness.

Additionally, it’s important to consider that medications used to treat OCD, such as SSRIs, can have side effects impacting intimacy. These can include reduced libido or other sexual dysfunctions, further complicating the dynamics of an intimate relationship.

In summary, OCD can significantly affect intimate relationships, both emotionally and physically. Understanding and acknowledging this impact is crucial for both individuals with OCD and their partners.

How Does OCD Affect Intimate Relationships?

OCD can profoundly impact intimate relationships in various ways. Let’s break down the key areas for easy skimming:

  • Emotional Distance:
    • Intrusive Thoughts: Constant intrusive thoughts can create a mental barrier, making it hard for the person with OCD to be fully present and emotionally available.
    • Preoccupation with Rituals: Time and energy spent on compulsions can lead to neglecting the emotional needs of the relationship.
  • Physical Intimacy Challenges:
    • Avoidance: Fears, especially of contamination, can lead to avoiding physical contact, diminishing intimacy.
    • Anxiety during Intimacy: OCD-related anxieties can intrude during intimate moments, causing discomfort and withdrawal.
  • Communication Struggles:
    • Misunderstanding: The partner without OCD might struggle to understand the compulsions or fears, leading to miscommunications.
    • Frustration and Conflicts: The stress of managing OCD symptoms can lead to tensions and arguments, impacting communication.
  • Dependency and Reassurance:
    • Seeking Constant Reassurance: The OCD partner might seek continual reassurance, which can become draining and create an imbalanced dynamic in the relationship.
  • Impact of Medication:
    • Side Effects: Medications for OCD, such as SSRIs, can have side effects like reduced libido, which can further affect intimate relations.

Understanding these challenges is crucial for both partners in navigating the complexities of a relationship where one or both individuals have OCD.

Coping Strategies for Couples Dealing with OCD & Intimacy Issues

When one or both partners in a relationship are dealing with OCD, certain coping strategies can be incredibly helpful in maintaining a healthy dynamic. Here are some actionable tips:

Manage Intimate Relationships Anxiety And OCD

Know About OCD

Having an understanding of the condition can help you to recognize and manage your symptoms. Afterward, knowing what triggers your OCD can help understand why you feel anxious or compulsions when in a relationship.

Practice Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care is important for managing intimacy and relationships with OCD. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, taking breaks from work, and having time alone to relax. A healthy diet and exercise can also help reduce stress levels. This will help to reduce your stress levels, making it easier to manage your OCD.

Talk About Your Feelings With Partner

Talking about how you feel can be difficult, but it’s a great way to get support from your partner. It may help to find a private space or time when both of you can talk openly and honestly about your concerns and feelings. If you’re struggling with compulsive behavior or feeling overwhelmed, let your partner know so that you can both work together to manage it. This will also help to build trust within the relationship.

Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness is a great way to manage intrusive thoughts and feelings. It involves being aware of your thoughts, body sensations, and emotions without judging them or trying to change them. This can help you to better understand why you feel anxious or have certain compulsions when in a relationship.

Perform Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga can be beneficial in managing relationship stress associated with OCD. Practicing these regularly can help to reduce anxiety levels and compulsions.

Professional Counselling

Seeking professional help can be beneficial in managing relationship stress associated with OCD. A counselor or therapist can provide strategies and techniques to help you manage your symptoms, as well as offer support.

  • In couples therapy, sessions are specifically designed to address the unique challenges brought on by OCD in the relationship.
  • Therapists may work on improving communication skills, resolving conflicts, and finding ways to increase understanding and empathy between partners.
  • Common techniques include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to tackle dysfunctional thought patterns, and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to manage OCD symptoms within the relationship context.
  • Online Counseling Platforms: For those looking to explore these options in a convenient and accessible manner, online platforms like MantraCare and CoupleMantra offer specialized counseling services.
  • Resource Platforms: For OCD-specific therapy, platforms like TherapyMantra and OCD Mantra offer resources and professional guidance tailored to managing OCD.

Whether it’s addressing intimacy issues in the relationship or managing OCD symptoms, these online platforms can be a valuable step in the journey towards recovery and a healthier relationship.


Intimate relationships and OCD can be difficult, but with the right strategies and support, it is possible to manage relationship stress. Seeking professional help and understanding more about OCD can help to reduce anxiety levels associated with intimate relationships. With the right knowledge and support, couples can have successful relationships despite the challenges that come with OCD. Consider professional counseling and medication if necessary, to manage relationship stress.

For more information and guidance, please contact MantraCare. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding Online OCD Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session

FAQs About OCD and Relationships

1. Can OCD make you lose attraction?

OCD can influence one’s perception of attraction due to intrusive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. These symptoms might not directly cause loss of attraction but can create stress or anxiety that affects how someone experiences and expresses attraction in a relationship.

2. Does OCD make it hard to love?

Loving someone with OCD can be challenging due to the complexities of the disorder. However, it doesn’t make it impossible to love or be loved. Understanding, patience, and effective communication are key to navigating a relationship where one partner has OCD.

3. Do people with OCD not like being touched?

This can vary. Some individuals with OCD, especially those with contamination fears, might feel uncomfortable or anxious about being touched. However, this is not universal for all people with OCD. Each person’s experience with OCD is unique.

4. Can OCD affect your attraction?

OCD can impact aspects of a relationship, including attraction, particularly if symptoms create barriers to emotional and physical closeness. However, with proper treatment and understanding, individuals with OCD can maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships.

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