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OCD and Sex – An Unhealthy Obsession
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, impacts as much as 2 percent of the U.S. population. Popularized in films like “As Good as It Gets” and “The Aviator,” the highly romanticized version of Hollywood does not describe the absolutely crippling disorder, characterized by intrusive thoughts, constant anxiety and paralyzing apprehension. Sadly, there hasn't been much attention given to the relationship between OCD and sex, and if you suffer from the disorder, you know that it can definitely be an intimacy killer. The very thought of it may cause you to experience an intense sense of unease. That's not to say that you don't want sex. It's just harder to accomplish.
The Relationship Between OCD and Sex
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a highly complex condition with myriad symptoms, each of which is tailored to the individual. In fact, the disorder is so wide reaching that you can easily bring together three people with the same diagnosis, all of whom have a completely different sets of symptoms. These symptoms make effective treatment difficult.
The diversity of symptoms is especially apparent when it comes to sex. For some people, the apprehension is as simple as performance anxiety, and for others there exists a strong element of germaphobia. Some people are crippled by sexual fears and obsessions, like the fear of being stimulated by depraved sexual practices or even children. There is also a phenomenon known as SO-OCD (sexual orientation obsessions in OCD), in which primarily heterosexual men are overwhelmed by fears of changing sexual orientation. Chances are, you're not going to fall asleep heterosexual and wake up in the cast of “Rent,” but for SO-OCD sufferers, this idea can be a very real fear (well, maybe not the “Rent” part).
So the symptoms can be wide-reaching, but everyone deserves to have a fulfilling sex life, so the bigger question is, how do we treat the symptoms? As previously emphasized, there are myriad symptoms and manifestations associated with OCD, so it's not possible to suggest a blanket cure-all that will magically turn all OCD sufferers into assertive sex machines (although that would make for yet another fun dinner party), but if we can find the lowest common denominator that unites the vast majority of sufferers, perhaps we can come up with a solution that makes life easier for a majority of sufferers.
Treating the Disorder
Though the symptoms vary from person to person, we do see some common threads. Particularly, OCD-related sexual dysfunctions are commonly characterized by a fear- or anxiety-based loss of libido. If we simply treat the anxiety, or if we try to quiet the mind, some sufferers will benefit far more than others, depending on their individual symptoms. But if we can get straight to the heart of condition, and treat the mighty libido, we can assume that far more people will benefit. The key is allowing the sexual impulses to be made stronger than the neurological impulses.
This all sounds great in theory, but the question remains, how do we accomplish it? There are a number of herbal treatments available that have shown tremendous promise for improving sex hormone levels and increasing libido safely and naturally. Specifically, Maca and Catuaba have been shown to improve sex drive even in some of the most sexually challenged individuals. When it comes to OCD, though, any herbal remedy should merely supplement—and not replace—the treatments and therapies recommended by one's doctor. OCD is a lifelong struggle, and though it can be successfully managed, it requires constant, ongoing diligence.
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