I have been with my boyfriend for nearly a year now, and it is better than I ever imagined a relationship could be. We live together, we have a cat, and we are both very happy. The problem is this: my OCD makes any type of sex impossible.
We are plenty intimate – we mostly pleasure each other by mutual masturbation – but I can’t even bear to be completely naked with him when we do this for fear of fluids. He is very patient and understanding, but I worry about how long that will last.
He wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but there is a very real possibility that it will be a very long time – if ever – before I am able to have sex, and I am afraid that he will eventually start to resent me for it. Is it possible to have a lasting romantic relationship without sex?
Thanks for your help!
-Keepin’ It Dry
When you say “my OCD,” it sounds like, “my puppy,” or “ my favorite cat.” If your OCD is held and coddled, it will snuggle you and remain with you. I don’t know where you are in your healing process, but I encourage you to challenge your OCD threshold.
That is to say, how far can your disorder go until it runs your life? Phobias are real, OCD is real, anxiety is real: but human beings have an even realer capacity for healing. With proper time, care and attention one can reverse, or at least lessen these types of discomforts.
If you have not already tried, perhaps begin first by thinking outside the therapy box, and later, outside the sexual box. Ie, instead of Psychiatry, dabble in the other healing arts for answers to your questions. To every thing there is a season, and to every ailment, there is a root. Working with an acupuncturist, a cognitive behavioral therapist, sex therapist, massage therapist, sexual surrogate, shaman or even a regular psychologist or clinical social worker could begin to address your fears of fluids from a new angle. Other ideas: doctor-monitored herbal remedies, yoga, meditation, and/or drastic changes in diet.
On the flip side, you could also take another route. That is the route of acceptance. This means accepting you will never sleep with your man in the traditionally anticipated way. You worry about him, and I worry about you. Are you selling yourself short sexually by so quickly giving your OCD free rein in the bedroom?
If not, maybe this is your threshold. Maybe this sex, at all, is your triumph in which case I congratulate you. And the truth is that yes, sexless relationships are possible. Especially in your case, where you are actually having sex, just not intercourse. A lifetime commitment to mutual masturbation has happened before and can be a phenomenal way to explore the less-known regions of sexuality and sexual pleasure.
Click here for details on enhancing sex without intercourse. Everything from new forms of touch and activity, to using other senses and forms, like talking, smelling, etc as means of enhancing your bedroom delights.
Sex Without Intercourse by Gerda Mundinger, a book of anecdotes from real people on how they enjoyed each other without “doing it.”
Let Me Count The Ways: Sex Without Intercourse by Marty Klein, Ph.D. and Riki Robbins, Ph.D.
I am all for you committing to and celebrating a non-intercourse-having existence, as long as that celebration is not a way of quitting and selling yourself and your partner short before reaching towards healing your phobias. Our bodies are limitless in the knowledge and secrets they hold, you might need to grin and bare it and begin (again) the arduous process of exploring the underside of your OCD.