Dear Di

Dear Di is the Fulcrum foremost expert in sexual relations
Illustration: Christine Wang/Fulcrum

This is wearing me down…

Dear Di

My partner is a germaphobe, they are grossed out by everything. This is horrible when it comes to intimacy as there are so many rules that I must respect to make them feel comfortable. Oral sex is completely out of the question as they gag at the thought of going down on me and we always need to change our bedsheets and take a shower after we have sex at night since they can’t sleep in what they call ‘post-sex sheets’. How do I make them aware that this is wearing me down?

-Tired but Clean 

Dear TC, 

For some people, sex is seen as a sport, they see it as they would see a hockey or football game. Imagine this for your partner, having sex with you is like playing a sports game – it’s like any other physical activity – once they are done they need to take a shower. As for the sheets this may be more of a cleanliness thing, some people just don’t like to sleep in a sweaty bed. 

As for oral, your partner might be grossed out by your privates, make sure you are properly washing them. It could also have to do with the fact that they don’t enjoy the taste of bodily fluids, this can be very true if you notice that outside of the bedroom, this person is a very picky eater…

Your partner may also just be a germaphobe. Certain people are super afraid of germs and may not even want to hold hands. Being a germaphobe is usually associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which for some people makes them feel a certain sense of anxiety and discomfort as soon as they feel dirty or sweaty, like your partner when they have sex. 

There is not much you can do, but you can try to progressively ease them into doing certain things that they may be disgusted by at first – but it will take time and (a lot) of patience. If you believe your partner id truly a germaphobe and suffers from OCD you can try to lead them to get help and having an honest discussion on how this fear of germs is related to anxiety-fueled compulsions. 

Love Di