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Homosexual OCD

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For seven months I have been having intrusive thoughts about being attracted to men. I’ve been searching the internet everywhere looking for answers on to stop these thoughts or how I can go back to being normal again. A month ago I have been doing compulsion checks such as comparisons of looking at pictures of women and men and seeing who I am attracted to. I tried telling my parents about my condition and asked if I could see an HOCD therapist but they thought I was just being crazy. I have nobody to talk to about this it’s just been me searching for answers on YouTube, forums, etc. Some people say to “come out” which terrifies me and others say I have HOCD. Recently I went over to my cousin’s house and we watched a movie together he’s male and older than me. I kept having intrusive thoughts thinking I was a girl who was about to kiss him or something like that. It eventually passed because I concentrated on remembering I’m a dude and I’m not into that stuff. I’ve loved women my whole life and I don’t want to change that. I don’t fear to be gay because I’m scared of what others think, I’m scared of losing who I am. I don’t fancy masculinity, facial hair, etc and I never did before all this started. However, sometimes my mind says I’m lying to myself and I’m just afraid to become gay because another part of me won’t approve. I hope this isn’t true. The reasons I don’t fancy men is because being “attracted” to them make me uncomfortable, I don’t like male body parts, I feel dread by the thought of liking men, male body parts make me uneasy, I feel suicidal by the thought of liking men, I always wanted a girlfriend, and I always wanted to be loved by a woman. However, sometimes I feel like I don’t have a valid reason why I find the thought of being gay bisexual bad to me. I feel like if I don’t have a reason not to be gay or bisexual that’ll I’ll turn gay or bisexual. It terrifies me my whole life I loved woman and woman only I don’t want that to change. I don’t want to like men because I just don’t want to. I wish I could return to being straight again. (From the USA)

Homosexual OCD

Answered by on -

A.

I appreciate the courage and honesty of sharing these difficult thoughts. Questioning your sexuality as a teenager is very normal. Yet I can understand how difficult it is to have intrusive thoughts of this nature.

Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is hallmarked by a disproportionate fear of being ridiculed for being gay — or excessive anxiety about becoming gay. Part of this can be having intrusive thoughts and images of homosexual behavior and the fear that others might think you are homosexual. The obsessive thoughts are often accompanied by compulsive behaviors like checking.

In HOCD, which is not an official diagnosis, but rather a term used to describe these symptoms, obsessions are characterized by the excessive fear of being or becoming homosexual and being ridiculed by others for being gay. There is an experience of intrusive, unwanted mental images of homosexual behavior and/or fears that others may believe he/she is homosexual. Compulsions are usually in the form of checking. From this paper, this quote is particularly helpful for understanding the nuances and dynamics of HOCD:

“While conceptualizing sexual obsessions, it is important to recognize that people with sexual obsessions find their thoughts immoral and do not wish to act them out. They are different from fantasies, as the obsessions are unpleasant and provoke guilt rather than being enjoyable. The person in HOCD is not able to stop thinking about same-sex relationships, and the thoughts are severely distressing to him/her. Although in fantasy and dreams he fantasizes about the opposite sex. He often feels emotional intimacy with a partner of the opposite sex. He is worried that people of the same sex might be attracted to him. Sexual obsessions in OCD rarely produce sexual arousal. These obsessions usually decrease sex drive. Obsessions about homosexuality differ from an individual who is actually gay because they do not feel attraction or arousal to members of the same sex. The obsessions result in guilt, shame, distress, and anxiety. The patient often tries to learn more about sexual identity issues to reassure himself that he is not a gay.”

Your anxiety seems to be more of one of identity. It sounds like you are wrestling with who you are as a sexual being, your gender identity, and from what you are saying the anxiety is about trying to figure this out.

I highly recommend talking about this with a therapist about this. Let your parents know that you are having suicidal thoughts and want to talk to a therapist. You don’t have to tell them about the HOCD — it sounds like they don’t understand it, but explaining you have thoughts of hurting yourself will hopefully let them know the seriousness of your distress. Seeing a therapist and talking to one is important. If your parents are unwilling — talk to your high school guidance counselor. He or she will help get you to a therapist who will be able to help.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Homosexual OCD

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Homosexual OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/06/21/homosexual-ocd/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 Jun 2020 (Originally: 21 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 Jun 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.