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'Relationship OCD' Could Adversely Affect A Couple's Sex Life

First Posted: Jun 18, 2014 08:31 PM EDT

It would be senseless to say that we don't get jealous from time to time, but is the envious emotion consuming your relationship? If so, you could be suffering from 'Relationship OCD,' which is categorized by pathological jealousy and self-doubt.

Relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder (ROCD) is listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This disorder contributes to a decrease in relationship satisfaction, thereby decreasing the level of sexual satisfaction. If happiness of any aspect of a relationship is in jeopardy, a couple's sex life is also compromised, according to researchers.

"Right or Flawed: Relationship Obsessions and Sexual Satisfaction," was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on June 6. The researchers sought to examine the association between Relationship OCD and sexual satisfaction. They found that not only does it affect a couple's sex life, but it also contributes to various other issues.

The researchers asked the participants to complete an online survey that asked questions to assess symptoms of ROCD, relationship and sexual satisfaction levels, as well as symptoms of depression, general worry, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attachment orientation. Behaviors such as constantly questioning your love for your partner, doubting your partner's love, or obsessing over your partner's physical flaws all contribute to symptoms of Relationship OCD.

The findings suggest that there is an association between ROCD and sexual satisfaction. Those who possessed symptoms of ROCD also reported having lower levels of sexual satisfaction, and they also exhibited symptoms of depression, general worry, OCD, and attachment orientation. Approximately one percent of U.S. adults suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a portion of them also suffer from ROCD.

Steven Brodsky, a psychologist and clinical director at the OCD and Panic Center of New York and New Jersey says that ROCD can actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the symptoms are drastic enough to push one's partner away. These patients also have unwanted thoughts, he says, even if there is nothing wrong with the relationship in the person's eyes.

Counseling can help mend this issue, but if it's avoided, Relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder can have an unprecedented effect on a perfectly healthy bond between two individuals.

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