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HOCD: Homosexual OCD & Sexual Orientation OCD

HOCD - Homosexual OCD

Homosexual OCD (HOCD) involves obsessions related to one's sexual orientation. Straight people with HOCD fear they may become gay (or are secretly gay); gay people may fear becoming straight.


Fear of Being Gay (Homosexual OCD / HOCD)


Emerging sexuality can be confusing for any teen or young adult, and gay teens face a variety of unique challenges over the course of adolescence.

In addition to learning to understand their own sexuality, gay teens must navigate complex situations and pressures that may not be relevant for straight teens. They must also deal with opinionated parents, friends, and others who sometimes hold differing views about sexuality. Anxiety, distress, and confusion are often part of this process.

This post is not about the anxiety associated with being gay or with “coming out” but instead discusses homosexual OCD (“HOCD”), an anxiety disorder that affects a small number of individuals. HOCD is not unique to teens but can occur at any age.

What is HOCD?

Homosexual OCD (“HOCD”) is a specific subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that involves recurrent sexual obsessions and intrusive doubts about one’s sexual orientation.

Straight individuals with homosexual OCD experience obsessive fears about the possibility of being gay. Their HOCD obsessions often consist of unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that uncontrollably pop into consciousness. To reduce the anxiety brought on by their obsessions, individuals with HOCD engage in a variety of rituals that focus on “proving their true sexuality” or reducing their perceived “vulnerability” to becoming gay.

Sexual obsessions can also affect gay men, lesbians, or bisexual individuals with OCD, who may become fearful about the possibility of becoming straight (“Straight OCD”). The common element that unites these seemingly opposite sexual obsessions is the fear of being attracted to something unwanted, taboo, or “unacceptable” based on one’s particular worldview. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be using HOCD-centric language in this post. However, the same basic elements are directly applicable to all people with obsessive doubts about their sexual orientation.

People with HOCD worry that they might secretly be gay or might become gay, despite not questioning their sexuality in the past. Prior to the onset of HOCD, they might have had few doubts about their sexual orientation. Many people with homosexual OCD also have a history of having enjoyed heterosexual relationships in the past.  It was only after the first unwanted thought “popped” that they became overly concerned about the prospect of being gay. The occurrence of this unwanted thought then causes them to question their sexual identity and reanalyze previous experiences, in light of the possibility that they might possibly be gay.

Individuals with homosexual OCD want to know “for sure” that they are not gay and often go to great lengths to prove to themselves that they are straight.  However, due to the way OCD is strengthened and reinforced by rituals, these attempts ultimately backfire.  The result is that some people with HOCD become extremely disabled.  In order to avoid symptom triggers, it’s not uncommon for people with homosexual OCD to become depressed and drop out of school, quit their jobs, end relationships, or make other life-altering decisions that paradoxically make their symptoms worse.

In some cases, individuals with HOCD experiment with homosexual relationships or adopt gay lifestyles because of doubt about their heterosexuality. This doubt causes them to leave their current spouses/partners, “come out,” and begin to date same sex individuals. However, in contrast to lesbians and gay men who “come out” and find happiness, individuals with HOCD find their new lives distressing, confusing, and dissatisfying. Moreover, they continue to experience doubt and uncertainty about their sexuality.

HOCD Symptoms


Homosexual OCD typically has elements that parallel checking, contamination, and Pure-O OCD.  Some individuals with HOCD have a predominantly checking-related variant of OCD.  When around same sex individuals, they “check” their own bodies for signs of sexual arousal.  Other people with homosexual obsessions have a contamination-related variant of HOCD and worry that contact with gay men, lesbians, bisexual individuals, or effeminate/androgynous people is “contagious” or may somehow “activate” their latent homosexuality.  Still others worry about acting on unwanted sexual impulses.  They worry that if they’re around gay people or same sex individuals that they might lose control and act out sexually. Some people with HOCD worry that other people will think they’re gay, and they spend excessive time and energy trying to “act straight.” Many people with HOCD experience all of the symptoms above.

What maintains intrusive sexual obsessions? Like any form of OCD, symptoms of HOCD are maintained by faulty beliefs, rituals, and avoidance behaviors. Faulty beliefs about sexuality and sexual orientation perpetuate fear about the possible consequences of resisting OCD-related compulsions. This is harmful because every time an unwanted thought is avoided or neutralized, it is reinforced and becomes more likely to become activated again in the future. Avoidance and rituals thus prevent the occurrence of corrective learning experiences that would ultimately cause these unwanted thoughts to decrease in frequency and intensity.

Rituals associated with homosexual OCD include mental rituals and behavioral rituals.

Homosexual OCD Mental Rituals


  • Asking self, “Do I find that person attractive?” (often applied to both opposite sex and same sex individuals).
  • Asking self, “Am I currently aroused?”
  • Asking self, “Am I appropriately disgusted by this?” when seeing same sex couples.
  • Other questions like the above that are designed to “figure out” or determine one’s sexual orientation.
  • Re-analyzing previous romantic or sexual experiences to make sure that one is straight.
  • Trying to convince oneself definitively of one’s sexuality.
  • Reassuring self about one’s sexual orientation (“I’m definitely straight”).
  • Mentally comparing self to straight people vs. gay men (or lesbians).
  • Repeatedly redirecting attention away from same sex individuals to opposite sex individuals.
  • Other mental rituals designed to “reset” or neutralize unwanted thoughts (e.g., mental washing rituals).
  • Repeatedly telling yourself that you’re not gay.
  • Trying to figure out why previous relationships failed (to make sure it wasn’t related to your partner thinking you were gay).
  • Planning for and anticipating all the likely consequences of “coming out,” even though you have no desire to “come out” or have gay relationships.
  • Planning how to leave your spouse or significant other (when you don’t actually want to do this).
  • Neutralizing “gay thoughts” with “straight thoughts.”
  • Mentally picturing opposite sex genitals or heterosexual acts to reduce anxiety about intrusive thoughts.
  • Scanning the environment to identify people who might be gay.
  • “Magical” rituals designed to distance oneself from unwanted thoughts (e.g., imagining oneself getting sick or vomiting when having unwanted thoughts).
  • Escaping from unwanted thoughts by recalling/reviewing pleasant past sexual experiences.
  • Replacing unwanted gay thoughts with violent thoughts.

HOCD Rituals & Compulsions (Behavioral)


  • Checking one’s own body for physical signs of arousal (can also be a mental ritual).
  • Walking in an overly masculine (if a man) or feminine (if a woman) way in order to “appear straight.”
  • Interacting in a overly masculine or feminine way.
  • Talking only about “appropriately” masculine or feminine topics.
  • Washing rituals (hands, etc.) if one comes into contact with gay men, lesbians, or bisexual individuals.
  • Watching straight pornography in order to reassure self that your’re aroused by it.
  • Watching gay porn in order to “prove”  that your’re disgusted by it or not aroused by it.
  • Asking other people if they ever find same sex people attractive.
  • Asking other “Is it normal to…?”- type questions over and over again to obtain reassurance.
  • Asking other people for reassurance about your sexuality.
  • Repeatedly asking ex-girlfriends/boyfriends why your relationship ended.
  • Dating excessively to “prove” that one is straight and/or that one is attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Compulsive masturbation to straight pornography in order to “prove” that one is attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Interacting in a way that is aggressive, insulting, or disrespectful to gay people.
  • In some cases, adopting a gay lifestyle because it feels like it is inevitable (due to OCD doubt). However, finding this lifestyle distressing and unwanted.
  • In some cases, dating same sex individuals or engaging in homosexual acts to figure out the meaning of these experiences, but finding these activities distressing and unwanted.

Homosexual OCD Avoidance Behaviors


  • Avoiding gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people.
  • Avoiding things that have been touched by gay men, lesbians, or bisexual people.
  • Avoiding physical contact with same sex individuals (handshaking, hugs).
  • Avoiding being alone with same sex individuals.
  • Avoiding conversations with same sex individuals.
  • Avoiding places frequented by gay people.
  • Avoiding public restrooms, locker rooms, and other situations potentially involving same sex nudity.
  • Avoiding attractive same sex individuals or pictures/movies featuring attractive same sex individuals.
  • Avoiding activities that aren’t stereotypically masculine (if a man) or feminine (if a woman).
  • Dressing in a stereotypically masculine or feminine way (e.g., wearing pink [for men]).
  • Avoiding music by gay individuals or movies featuring gay actors or characters.
  • Avoiding romantic relationships and sexual activity for fear of unwanted thoughts “popping in” during sex.
  • Avoiding eye contact with same sex individuals.
  • When in public, trying to avoid looking at the groin, backside, or chest areas of same sex individuals.
  • Avoiding masturbation due to fear about an unwanted thought occurring.
  • Avoiding TV shows with gay characters or gay themes.
  • Avoiding purple items, rainbows, and other symbols associated with homosexuality.
  • Avoiding androgynous or flamboyant clothing.
  • Manipulating your voice so that it sounds more masculine or feminine.
  • Not eating in public (in case food was prepared by a gay person).

Homosexual OCD Maladaptive Beliefs


  • Straight individuals shouldn’t find same sex people attractive.
  • Straight people shouldn’t have any doubts about their sexuality.
  • Every thought means something. I wouldn’t be having these thoughts over and over again if they weren’t meaningful.
  • If I turned out to be gay, it would ruin my life.
  • Straight people should only have straight thoughts. Gay people should only have gay thoughts.
  • If I’m not 100% straight, it means I’m gay.
  • If I have a thought that’s inconsistent with my desired orientation, it means I’ve “crossed over.”
  • Sexuality can be contagious.
  • Every time I feel sexually aroused, there must be a reason for it.
  • Feeling sexual arousal must mean that I want to have sex with this person.
  • If my current partner found out I was having these thoughts, s/he’d leave me.
  • If I keep having this thought, I’m going to have to act on it eventually.
  • Maybe the only way I can be free of these thoughts is to act on them.

Treatment of HOCD (Homosexual OCD)


“What if this isn’t OCD? What if I’m really gay?” These are important questions that you might wish to discuss with your therapist. If you have HOCD, doubt about your sexuality reflects an OCD-related “false alarm” that has nothing to do with your actual sexual orientation. If you are gay, your gay thoughts will be associated with pleasure rather than with fear (although you might experience anxiety about the social repercussions of “coming out”).

If you have homosexual OCD, what-if questions about sexuality are ultimately unanswerable in the way that OCD demands they be answered. In my South Florida (Palm Beach County) psychological practice, people seeking HOCD treatment are preoccupied with attempts to know the unknowable.  Unfortunately, there simply is no objective way to determine your “true” sexuality.  If there was a simple solution, you would’ve found it by now.

Because there is no objective way to prove your “true” sexuality to your OCD (it will always ask, “What if…?” and “How do you know for sure…?” questions), your HOCD treatment must focus on the goal of learning to live with the doubt. In other words, treatment should not focus on “proving” whether or not you are straight or gay but rather focus on providing you with better skills for tolerating the unknowable. Remember that HOCD operates just like other versions of Pure-O OCD: the more you analyze your thoughts and body to try to “figure out the truth”, the more likely you are to unknowingly reinforce your symptoms.

The best strategy for reducing your symptoms will be based on exposure and response prevention for HOCD. Exposures for HOCD are built around purposefully seeking out situations you avoid and then resisting mental and behavioral rituals. Developing a good exposure hierarchy can be confusing, so find a good HOCD therapist to guide you. Moreover, your HOCD therapist will also help you stay consistent in the goal of learning to live with uncertainty. Because you have probably spent significant amounts of time trying to prove your sexual orientation once and for all, it’s easy to fall back into this unhelpful goal.

If you’re interviewing potential therapists and one suggests that they can “cure you of your gay thoughts” or help you “know for sure that you’re straight”, consider this a red flag. That person is not an HOCD specialist. These types of promises are inconsistent with how effective HOCD treatment actually works. Although everyone with HOCD wants to get rid of their gay thoughts, thought suppression techniques will be ineffective in the long-run.

To understand why, or to read more about my general treatment approach in my South Florida (Palm Beach) psychological practice, see my posts on sexual obsessions, thought control and thought suppression. Overcoming symptoms of HOCD requires hard work, but people recover from this challenging form of OCD every day.

Questions? Comments? Living with HOCD or another sexual orientation obsession? Sound off below.




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212 Comments

  1. Dr. Seay,
    I recently read an article saying that this type of obsession should be treated with care because in some cases the person experiencing these thoughts is actually gay but they have OCD as well. Would this type of person have the same compulsions you presented in this article?

    • Hi Gabi,

      I think your comment underscores the importance of doing a thorough assessment and not jumping to conclusions. Many clinical issues are complex and require thoughtful analysis. The compulsions listed are certainly not diagnostic for HOCD. On the list, there are clearly several behaviors that would likely be exhibited by straight people with HOCD, as well as by gay people. The difference is understanding the function that these behaviors serve in that person’s life. Moreover, are the person’s obsessive thoughts unwanted? If so, why?

      I have heard unfortunate tales of improper diagnosis going in both directions: 1) Straight individuals (with HOCD) were advised by their therapists to “come out” and embrace their homosexuality…when in fact, these individuals had HOCD. Similarly, I know of cases in which gay individuals were told they have HOCD…when in fact, they were gay. I’m also aware of cases in which parents were convinced that their children had HOCD, whereas their children were actually gay (or vice versa).

      These are complex issues, but they can usually be resolved through a thoughtful, careful assessment.

      • I have struggling with this since i was 23 but it comes and goes. The first symptom lasted 7 months. The second hit me when i turned 26 and it lasted 4 mounts but now it has come back. The first time it hit me I was really stress out because I was 4 months away from getting married. I then had several experiences which caused me to question my sexuality. Some of my symptoms are also excessive shaking, sweating at night, depression, heat sweat, chill, irrational thoughts, anger, fear, and I get scared of men, scared of woman and I lose interest in woman. I know it will go away but it’s hard. I know it always hits me when i am extremely stressed out, but it’s still really hard. I know the only way out if this hell is when stop making a big deal about it. This are my steps.

        1. Don’t be sacred of the idea that you are gay. To more you think about it the more you stared believe it. This way your brain stops making a big deal about it. (don’t make a big deal)
        2. Give that time, and then it you will notice that you are attracted to the opposite sex again.
        3. Give it more time. Go out and in public and give it more time. You will soon see in time that all those thoughts and fear were stupid. It does goes away.

        But the main things don’t be scared and do not read too many things on line. They will confuse you even more.

        EDITS – (I removed some of the details because I thought it might be triggering for others.)

        • Hi Ugon,

          It’s great to hear that you’ve found some strategies that have worked for you. I think the idea of trying to become less afraid of the thought is very important, as OCD thrives on fear.

          Wishing you the best with this!

      • Hi Steve I need help, about 6 weeks ago my dad was in hospital with cancer treatment and the person who was next to him was a person who was married with 4 kids but realised he was gay, and I didn’t know that when I met the person , my mum had told me on a Sunday night on the 6th of October and those words didnt really bother me until I went to bed with heaps of energy ( I was going to wake up the next morning at 5 am to workout) then the thought entered my head and had a massive ardelaine rush followed by a 2 hour pannic attack , ever since that night I have not felt the same i keep questioning myself which in my raitional mind seems stupid and I’m too scared to hang around my mates now I’ve dropped 9 kg ( I was doing natural bodybuilding) I had to change jobs at work because there was homosexuals there ( which never bothered me before ) I feel like I’ve lost libido , the one girl I was seeing at the time did make me feel happy and my libido seemed to come back when we were kissing , one night on the 5th of November I got a hair cut a bad one and ilooked in the mirror I felt like I looked like a women because I saw a lessibian with the same sort of hair cut ( anyway that thought has gone away now and doesn’t bother me ) that same night I worked myself up and something nice had happen I went into a deep peaceful sleep , woke up the next morning feeling like my old self I went into work being able to look a guys in the face while talking to them without being scared . I could watch TV again without these silly thoughts but the I got a message from the girl I was seeing saying she was seeing someone else now which felt like a huge kick in the guts when I was finally feeling like I was getting back on feet one at a time , I constantly feel like a prisoner in my own head I know I’m not gay but my keeps honestly feels like it wants to trick me while my heart knows what it wants all my life I wanted to be a police officer and do bodybuilding I love my sport but atm where my head is I can’t feel like I can do any of it , and I’m getting sick of this and i dont want to bother my family with this which will cause them to freak out and make them wonder the wrong things and plus my dads dying of cancer and the household atm is abouste hell with heaps of fighting and arguing , all I wanna do Is go back to the same guy who loved action movies going out with his mates drinking and socialising and having a good time , it almost feels like if I had gone to the to list or wasn’t in the room and bit have heard those comments about the gay person I would of never of got scared and would be like I have always been.. Thanks for your time

      • Hey Steven, just wanted to say thanks for this awesome article! I had this anxiety for a few months and you’re totally right I would always “check” and “test” myself to make sure I wasn’t aroused. And then while I was checking myself after a gay thought I would think “Oh no, did my penis move from that thought? Or, is it slightly bigger after that thought?” Any way thanks again. Could you reply wth a quick thought? Would be much appreciated! Cheers, K

      • Hi, I’m 13 i have had hocd for two months it’s been horrible i am terrified of being gay. I have been straight for all my life and have never doubted my sexuality till now. I need help! So basically the other day i had a panic attack i have never feared getting mocked by my friends if i was gay but basically i thought popped into my mind of this guy who came out at my school and he got bullied. This suddenly made me have a panic attack does mean I’m gay.

    • READING THIS MADE ME HAVE A MAJOR SPIKE!!! NOW I AM REALLY STARTING TO FREAK OUT BECAUSE I KNOW I LIKE GIRLS BUT NOW I’M NOT SURE, SO NOW I AM REALLY ANXIOUS AND SEARCHING THE WEB FOR REASSURANCE,AND I KEEP CHECKING MY PAST TO ASK MYSELF IF I WAS ATTRACTED TO ANY DUDES!!!!

  2. Thanks for the article, Dr.
    Can you provide insight or advice to someone like myself that had same-sex exploration as a child? I have had off and on experiences with fantasizing (troubles me) about gay sex as well…but it usually was done with or in the presence of another woman. I am a straight (agh I hope!) male in my 30′s and I do believe I am definitely suffering from HOCD. In regards to fantasy, I HAVE had pleasurable thoughts but it’s something I wouldn’t or couldn’t ever do in reality. Still extremely troubling and I feel that having these thoughts means I am living a lie and in denial. I have read that experimental history is a sub-type of HOCD.
    Thanks again for your insight. Trying not to read about all this stuff anymore. It helps for a moment but as you know still adds fuel to the fire to people like us.

    • Hi E,

      Unwanted sexual thoughts can be very tricky. In order to stay consistent with my perspective on this issue, I can’t provide you with reassurance, and I would suggest that the process of figuring out the meaning of your previous experiences is unlikely to be helpful to you. My most recent post on mental checking may also be of interest, as it indirectly speaks to some of your current worries:

      http://www.steveseay.com/mental-checking-ocd/

      It sounds like your first step is defining your goal. If being doubt-free about your sexuality isn’t attainable, you have to decide and work toward the next best thing. Hang in there, and work on accepting the uncertainty.

  3. I’m 14 and I definitely have HOCD along with just OCD. Trouble is, my parents don’t want to take me to see a therapist. I don’t want to suffer for 4 more years so my question is how do I convince my parents to take me? I don’t want to live like this anymore. Also I would like to mention that my parents think I’m over reacting.

    Also – is it okay to find the same sex people attractive/hot/sexy?

    • Hi Sammy,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific tips for you on how to persuade your parents, as every parent is different. These conversations often work best when you’re honest, respectful, and thoughtful in your communications with them. Many parents may not know how to handle situations that feel overly intense (e.g., if the tone is emotional and/or demanding).

      RE: your question, I think I mentioned this in another comment. In staying consistent in my perspective, I can’t provide reassurance about these types of things, as ultimately reassurance tends to be unhelpful.

      Good luck with your parents!

  4. Thanks for this article.It’s great.Recently i sent you an email.Hope you will reply me back ASAP.

    Thanks

  5. Dear Doctor,

    There are no doubt homosexuals who fear of becoming heterosexuals as sexuality in general is a very vulnerable point for OCD. How do I know? I’m one of them. Right now it’s been three years I’ve been experiencing this. I posted some messages on various sites on OCD and the experts point out that there are many facets of HOCD. Sometimes they even call it SOOCD (Sexual Orientation Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). For people like me, I guess, the idea of going to a psychologist with such a problem sounds silly as some psychologists may say we’re in denial which is actually not true. I don’t know the ratio of hetero/homo HOCD sufferers but I think it is not necessary to know in order to find a way of treating the problem because the mechanism of its occurrence is similar. CBT proves beneficial as well as mindfulness technique, meditation and so on. I mean no offense to anyone by my post. I hope someone may find my post interesting. Remember: we are not alone! I wish everyone good health and prosperity in life!

    Best

    • Hi LukePL. It’s great to find someone who has a same problem. I have this problem for a 6 months.And i am even afraid to approach person who is an opposite gender.In the past i used to have a sex with opposite gender totally fine.I think it would be great if we just share our experience and what’s common for us.Maybe we can find a root and get better solution.

    • Love your comments, Luke! Thanks again for sharing. As you indicate, due to individual differences in sexuality, “Sexual Orientation OCD” (SOOCD) is actually a more appropriate term than the more commonly used “HOCD”. Regardless of whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, or describe your sexuality using other terms, SOOCD tends to be associated with fears about relationships, your own identity, and your ability to be happy in the future.

      • Steven put it in the most proper words. I think that avoidance of certain situations, people etc. only aggravates the problem. Ruminating (incessant obsessive thinking about our unpleasant thoughts/trying to understand why we suffer), trying to find the only proper answer or solution (what we can do to stop the disorder once and for all and wipe it out from our lives) make matters worse too. Reassurance seeking does the same. Because of doing such things we realize that we are following cul-de-sac. It is very difficult because the more you fight the worse the problem becomes. What we have to do is to try to understand ourselves better and take OCD with a grain of salt (as it is doubting disorder we should doubt the doubts, strange as it sounds but it may prove true) . I learnt that very often (too often) I took things too seriously and now I know that it was bad for me. I try to keep more distance to my own thoughts and observe them as they come and go. They will pass. The more importance we attach to our thoughts the more relentless they become. That’s the way the brain works, If we put more emphasis on certain thoughts brain treats them as if they were top priority thoughts. What is more, I observed I used to have too much pity for myself as I thought why I have to suffer so much, and that I didn’t harm anyone to suffer like this myself and so on. We shouldn’t have pity for ourselves because in fact it makes us even more self-conscious of our problem. Self pity makes us more bitter and unsympathetic.

        By the way I guess people use term HOCD because heterosexual men (and women alike) are very frustrated by their condition but nevertheless it can happen to anyone. As there are more heterosexual people than LGBT the term HOCD is better recognized. Sorry for the lengthy post.

        • Well said, Luke. Your perspective sounds very consistent with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which is emerging as a very helpful approach for treating OCD. At the 2012 IOCDF conference last week in Chicago, there was a lot of interesting conversation about integrating ACT and traditional ERP approaches.

          • Steven, thank you for the update! I’m very glad that such commitments are done for the well-being of all the OCD sufferers. There is a lot of good work done in order to treat this disorder but there is still a lot to do. Thanks to such conferences like the one you mentioned we are closer to the goal.

  6. There are several things I would recommend. These are rather difficult to do but in time a person can get used to it. For me a good thing although very difficult is not to react to obsessive thoughts, that is when such a thought pops up in your mind just observe, accept and ignore it. I know it’s difficult but people with OCD think that these thoughts carry an important message. But it leads only to more confusion. So, we need to just watch our thoughts floating in our minds without reacting to them. Easier said than done but eventually possible. There is no known person who would be able to consciously stop any thought, even a person without OCD, especially disturbing thought which carries a lot of emotional discomfort. In fact if we try to stop any thought from occurring we give such a thought a priority in our mental thought process, which means such a thought is more probable to repeat itself. And, consequently, if we attempt to stop some thought we just give it more power over us. Another good strategy/technique is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique in which a person should practice awareness of everything. What I mean by awareness/consciousness of everything is doing everything the best way we can focusing our whole being on a particular activity, from doing the washing up to reading a book or driving a car. Mindfulness is also about being able to observe the process of our own thinking as if we watched our thoughts from another person’s perspective, which gives a lot of objectivity to our thought processing. Mindfulness is worth trying and of course practice makes perfect. Apart from buying some good self-help books on cognitive-behavioural therapy I would recommend buying a good one on the mindfulness. Mindfulness is connected to meditation.
    Of course, you may try taking some supplements (of which you should inform your health practitioner). You can try various herbs, amino acid therapy, taking a good organic source multivitamin, some say inositol help them, and so on. I think there are plenty recommendations made by OCD sufferers on the internet. Finally, if the course of treatment doesn’t bear about any fruit you should go to a psychotherapist. All the best!

    • Very well-said, Luke. You make some excellent points. Thanks for sharing this!

      • I just hope to make someone else’s life better. I know there are many approaches to this disorder and some are better for particular people and some serve the others. The thing is to tailor the best approach to the individual sufferer. By the way Steven, your job here is invaluable! Thank you and keep it up!

        • Thanks, Luke. Glad to help!

        • Luke your insights are amazing. Thank you for having such a resilient and mature approach to this. You have given me hope. Thank you so much.

  7. First of all, I enjoyed this post but I have a few questions for you Dr. Seay. How does a truly homosexual person with percieved HOCD react to his “gay thoughts” compared to a heterosexual person who thinks he is gay, but actually has hocd? I think I may have it. For example, if I was around a guy who I thought was physically attractive, I would stare at him to try and figure out if I was really an attracted to him. Is this considered checking? This would happen especially when I anticipated being around a lot of guys. Afterwards, I would become extremely depressed if the guy I was staring at left a room before I was finished checking. Sexuality, I have read, is an innate emotional and sexual connection that vibes with who you are, and I feel no emotional connections or urges to have sex with men. I do however, feel this way for women. when I fantasize about having hetero. sex, It feels so right to me, but the idea of bedding another dude is just repusive to me and does not seem appealing at all. Also, do you think that instead of HOCD, someone may have a sexual orientation that is ego-dystonic in nature? Which is more likely in my situation? Last question, lately I have lost all attraction for the opposite sex, which is somewhat depressing, but at the same time I don’t have precieved gay thoughts of the same sex anymore. I find myself depressed whenever I cannot feel sexually attracted to a pretty girl, and now I find myself checking to see If I still like girls. Can you shed any light on what is happening here?

    • i lost attraction to girls at one point buy regained it.

    • Hi Nate,

      These issues are complicated, and I would suggest working directly with a therapist to help you get some clarity on this. As the post describes, many individuals with HOCD have checking rituals that involve checking their own bodies or thoughts for appropriate reactions. Perhaps my post on mental checking will provide some additional clarification. It is also important to note that reassurance-seeking (asking the same question multiple times and in multiple ways) can also be a ritual that ultimately strengthens doubt and certainty.

      Good luck with this!

    • With this type of OCD I find due to the depression an stress of all the unwanted feelings there is a lack of sex drive towards your natural sexual desires it’s normal and as you learn to not give any meaning to the thoughts an fears you’ll gain your sex drive an attraction back.

  8. Thanks for the article sir.I’ve some questions…
    1)Are ‘all’ the rituals,behaviors and beliefs mentioned by you applicable to a person with HOCD?Or only some of them may be present?
    2)A psychologist took my Rorschach test and said that there is absolutely no homosexual tendency or inclination in me.Can that mean that there is a chance of me being a bi?And she also told that I hardly have OCD.She says that such things are common in teens due to hormonal changes.But I know that I’ve always been straight and it’s symptoms are clearly present in me.Even my psychiatrist(who is a relative of mine)said that I have OCD.So,how far can Rorschach results be true?
    My anxiety must be apparent to you.So,I’ll be very grateful if you answer my questions to the best.Right now,I’m on Fluoxetine and Clonezapam.How far can medication be useful for HOCD?And what’s the best treatment for HOCD?Therapy or medication?

    • Symptoms will vary from individual to individual. Regarding questions about sexuality and/or HOCD, it’s important to direct these questions to your therapist, who can help guide your treatment. Regarding OCD, both medication and therapy can be helpful; however, research indicates that the effectiveness of therapy alone exceeds that of medication alone. Combined treatments can also be very helpful for some individuals.

  9. hey doctor i been suffering from this since june 16 2011. everything thats in the article i did. how do i beat it. i tryed looking at men anuses in public but dont get any arousal. so why is it still happening. also i still get arousaled by women

    • Hi Andrew,

      This article has some general principles to follow when recovering from HOCD, but you should consult with an OCD therapist for specific advice. Exposures are based around certain behaviors, but this is only part of the equation–your thoughts, beliefs, and mindset are equally important. Find a therapist to guide you.

  10. Dr.

    Thanks for the article as It has brought some relief to me. I believe I have been suffering from it for the past two months. I am 40 years old and have been straight and thought of nothing except being with a woman. Never thought of a man in that way at all. I was sad (maybe depressed) in the past couple years because I didn’t have a wife/girlfriend, a steady job, and living with my parents cause I couldn’t afford to live on my own. But I always thought. I got porn (straight) and a female escort once in a while and then these intrusive thoughts came out of no where! Kept me up for nights and a lot of anxiety. A lot of the listed rituals above were spot on but of course with this HOCD you can’t help wonder. Have I been gay or latent all my life? Is this related to hormonal or depression? Will this get worse in the future and I will be doubting myself for the rest of my life?

    • Hi Mark,

      If you’re experiencing these types of symptoms, I would recommend consulting with a treatment provider who can help steer you in the right direction. All forms of OCD are treatable–even OCD involving sexual obsessions. If left untreated, you’ll probably find that your symptoms will wax and wane over time. Offhand, I don’t know the specifics of any research studies implicating hormonal influences on OCD in men, although there is research suggesting that womens’ symptoms may vary along with hormonal changes (e.g., related to one’s menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy, etc.). Depression is a common consequence of OCD but is not thought to cause OCD.

      Best wishes in your recovery!

  11. Doctor Seay,

    Thank you are this article it clearly and concisely describes the issues I have been experiencing for the past few years. I would like the chance to speak with you either via email or phone. I am at wits end with this disorder.

    • Hi HEG,

      These symptoms can feel debilitating, but you’re certainly not alone. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, please call the office.

      Wishing you the best with this!

  12. Hi doctor i am just getting your reply and I will do as you said. But now it’s the same problem but with transgenders. I watch the lbgt porn and get turn on but I fel sad and irratated. But only by the sound. I know it sounds strange but for example if say ok Andrew this two transgender having sex I will get turn off but if I focus on the sound I get turn on. I don’t know what to do. I just want to be the old Andrew like before this OCD. I was happier and never doubted my heterosexuality.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Because this issue is complex, it’s important that you get individual guidance. Work with a therapist to develop response prevention guidelines, as well as an integrated recovery plan. That way, you won’t accidentally fall into any unhelpful behaviors that might feed the OCD.

      Good luck!

  13. Hi Dr. Thank you so much for your post. It has been very helpful as I sort out the terrible thoughts going through my mind. Question for you, I’m a heterosexual female who is happily married with one child and another on the way. The other day I was watching Black Swan and became sexually aroused by the sex scene that included two women. In response to this arousal, I because thinking of my husband and I together and proceeded to orgasm. I didn’t think much of it until later as I wondered WHY IN THE WORLD did that female on female sex scene turn me on!? Is it true that as sexual beings, we can respond sexually to sexual things, no matter what they are and that has nothing to do with our sexual orientation. Deep down, I know the answer is yes, that I’m a human being who was aroused by a sex scene and that I’m most definitely heterosexual, but this is where my need for reassurance comes into play. Is it a common thing for heterosexuals to be sexually aroused by erotic images no matter the context?

    • OCD always wants us to know things with perfect certainty. However, recovery is based on breaking OCD’s rules and learning to live more comfortably with doubt. In this case, it sounds like you have your own best guess. Let’s just stick with that, so that we can avoid falling into a reassurance trap.

  14. Hi. I struggled with HOCD for almost a year. It crippled my life to the point that I had to move home and pretty much dropped out of society, which only made things worse. It’s painful just to think about it. Therapy helped a lot but what really helped was getting into Al Anon. In my case, so much of my daily anxiety had to do with my growing up in an alcoholic household. I’m sure that path is not for everyone. It just happened to be for me, so I wanted to throw it out there. Today, I am in a great relationship and my HOCD fears are gone.

    • I love it when people share recovery stories. Thanks, Gordy. When you’re stuck in the thick of things, it’s quite easy to get demoralized and imagine that there’s no way out. Thanks for sharing the truth — that people really can recover from this.

  15. Hi Dr. I am a 21-year-old male and have been suffering from this for two to three months now. Let me also say that I have had my girlfriend have been dating for over a year and a half now and it has been so wonderfully amazing. Anyways, I have been so obsessive over this question and my girlfriend wanted to take a break from me and at that point I felt worse but my fears started going away because that’s when I knew I was ruining this myself. When she did that I instantly felt more courage and less fear knowing that I had to deal with this and not procrastinate any longer. So I went to a therapist. She told me that I was probably 70% straight and 30% gay. She also said that I should go out and enjoy gay experiences at a gay club or dating a guy. After I went to this therapist I have been feeling at my all time low. I mean I feel really bad and disgusted with myself and so un-in-love with my girlfriend. Now I keep thinking of ways to kiss a guy to “find out” but I don’t want to do that! I don’t know what to do at all. I feel so defeated and such lack of motivation.

    • Hi Tyler,

      I think many people who are reading this can relate to your dilemma – do I have OCD, or is my sexual orientation different than what I would like it to be?

      Your comment raises a lot of important issues. In the context of HOCD treatment, individuals develop a hierarchy of feared situations that they use to systematically tackle their doubts and fears. Treatment works best when individuals practice lower level exposures first and gradually work their way to the top of their hierarchy. With HOCD, it’s important that you practice exposure with the right mindset — exposures are not about “finding out” (which can be a ritual) but about tackling uncomfortable situations. In practice, dating would not be a hierarchy item (at least not with people I’ve worked with). Going to gay events/clubs might be included for some individuals, but not necessarily…if it was included, it would certainly be at the top of the hierarchy…and it would never be something that you would attempt without a large amount of groundwork leading up to it. To do otherwise would probably backfire.

      I think in moving forward, you’ll definitely want to work with a therapist. You might consider discussing your reservations with your therapist and then choosing what to do based on the outcome of that discussion.

      Good luck!

  16. Hi Dr. Seay,
    First off, thank you for the article, it was very informative. I’ve recently had a close friend come to me and tell me about his recent experiences with HOCD. He is currently undergoing therapy and working with professionals. All-in-all I think he’s taking care of things remarkably well to ensure his long term mental health.

    My questions come down to ‘What can I do to help?’ and ‘How do I approach the issue again?’ Now, I’m not at all uncomfortable with any of this, nor would I be if he were Homosexual, I just don’t want to cause more harm then good. Do I carry on as normal (we’re guys in our early 20′s, we make plenty of jokes about each other)? Should I leave this topic out of conversation and wait for him to bring it up if he needs to talk about it? I’ve read some of your other articles now, but I haven’t seen a whole lot on what people can do to help those facing these issues.

    Thank you again for the article, it’s helped me gain a better understanding of HOCD, and in turn, my friend.
    -CB

    • I would suggest talking openly with him about it to see how you can support him. Don’t walk on eggshells or let OCD make life weird–he’s still your good friend, and OCD shouldn’t be allowed to change that.

      With that being said, if he’s progressing according to a hierarchy, some “normal” life activities will be more challenging than others. You should try to be respectful of his wishes and be available as a potential exposure buddy, if that would be helpful to him. Exposure buddies can be invaluable–just having another guy to hang out with despite his unwanted thoughts can go a long way to putting OCD in its place.

      • Thanks again, I’ll be taking your advice.

  17. Hi Dr. Seay,

    I’ve had and still am having episodes of HOCD. I have been straight and had no issues with gayism or fears that I may turn. It happen at my 21st birthday when someone told me people can turn gay. I got Homosexual fears and knew straight away this was an OCD. Since then I tried reading more on this.

    I’ve been trying to administer E&RP myself because I never could tell anyone. It all goes well and I feel better for a week then something happens and I am back where I began. Ironically, I work with face recognition and all I need do is look at a face of some attractive person from the databases this is all it takes!

    These days my fears are getting replaced by feelings of demoralization.

    -Ertceps

    • The process of recovery takes time and a lot of hard work. If you get stuck, consider working with a therapist.

  18. I am so glad i found this site. For a long time now I’ve been having sympthoms like those listed above and on the checking-articles etc. Obviously we are many, and it even has a name! Would it be possible to do skype-sessions?

    • Licensing laws limit where psychologists can practice. If you’re in Florida, Missouri, or an eligible country, we could discuss the possibility of teletherapy or Skype-based therapy sessions. However, because of the necessity of conducting in vivo exposure, Skype-based therapy might not be in your best interest…in which case, I wouldn’t be willing to provide remote services.

  19. I get it. I can’t ask. But what kind of quality of life is this? How am I supposed to approach a member of the opposite sex with any confidence if the best you can offer me is that I have to “learn to live with uncertainty”? I have always had sexual performance issues with women. From my first encounter onward. I’ve either had issues getting it up, getting off or keeping it up. I am attracted to women and have never doubted my sexuality until about 19 years old. I think I just have anxiety about performing but my mind tells me I’m gay. I’m not attracted to men but I have sexual fantasies about same sex encounters that arouse me. I think it’s just the taboo of the situation but I don’t know. I was engaged and living with a woman for a long time and had a very satisfying sex life with her. Incredible in fact. She left and now it’s back to not being sure. Having performance issues with woman. Seeking refuge in these homosexual fantasies. But the idea of being gay leaves me so unhappy. How is it possible to be aroused by these ideas if I’m straight? Why am I not able to get it up even though I find woman attractive. I cannot just live with this. I am so unhappy. I miss my ex. I want to move on but I’m too scared. I don’t want to live in denial but if I find out I’m gay I don’t think I can’t live that way. I can’t just live with not knowing. I just need to know one thing. Can a man be intensely aroused by homosexual thoughts and still be straight? I know I’m not supposed to ask but I just can’t help it. I’m stressed and terrified. The idea that I could be gay is like my worst nightmare. I have nothing against homosexuals. I just don’t want to be one.

    • Trying to be certain about something that feels uncertain can be an exercise in futility. Not knowing can be very difficult, but it can get easier.

      RE: sexuality itself, research by Kinsey, etc. has suggested that sexuality isn’t binary but is best thought of as a more complex phenomenon. Whether or not you agree with Kinsey’s research, it’s an interesting perspective to have in mind when thinking about this topic.

    • Man, I feel you so much. It can be HELL on earth to go through what people like us go through. You lose your confidence, your self worth, your joy and you vision for life…
      I have experienced the intensity of the emotions you have expressed here. I have had situations where I couldn’t get it up too and even had a beautiful girl walk out on me in utter shock screaming “this has never happened to me in my life” (imagine how I felt)… Its really painful and can bruise a mans ego.
      What I feel is the best approach is to learn, now that you are no longer in a relationship to love yourself again for who you are without needing someone else to make you feel acceptance and loved. Realize that these experiences are there to teach you a very vital lesson about who you are and who you want to be in life. You can either be a victor and overcome this very painful struggle or be a victim and let the frustration tear you to pieces and shred your life apart. Start exercising, eat right, forgive yourself for some of the thoughts you’ve thought, look in the mirror every day and remind yourself of who you wan’t to be… love yourself as much as you can and in every thing you do and you will begin to heal. I really recommend you read – ‘You can heal your life’ by Louie L. Hay and ‘Conversations With God’ by Neale Donald Walsch, also read LukePL’s comments above. These books ask deeper questions about who we are as souls and why all these things happen in our lives. Thanks for sharing your frustrations bro… It really helped me put things in perspective and to realize that I’m not alone. It also reminded me why I need to keep pressing on, having been suffering from this intensely for the past two years and having recently been dumped by my woman of five years who could sense that I had changed for the worse. That’s the price I had to pay for not facing my fears and deciding who I am in the midst of this and I will never let that happen again. I’m changing everything in my life, thought by though, day by day… I hope you can too…

      From Frustrated 2

  20. Dr. Seay,

    I want to say thank you for laying all of this out – it’s amazing how this condition is even possible, but glad to know I’m not alone as I used to believe to be the case. My one question is as follows: how is it possible for me to live with uncertainty about the possibility of being gay when I am very much a Christian that does not believe it could be OK under any circumstance? I know from my past experiences with various manifestations of OCD (fear of spiders, fear of not sleeping, fear of having songs ‘stuck’ in my head) that not worrying (attempting to not care) is definitely the way to go, but in this particular instance, this is just not an option for me. How do I not care about being gay, when, in my heart of hearts, I know that it is wrong? Also, do you have recommendations of competent local professionals that can assist with therapy – I am in the Houston, TX area. Thanks in advance for your time and care – God Bless.

    • You’re in a great place for treatment. Dr. Björgvinsson and the other people at the Houston OCD Program are excellent. Regarding your question, there are many things in life we can’t know for sure, and somehow we learn to cope with them effectively…even to the point that we no longer think about them. Do you remember how scary it was when you first began driving? Compare your early driving experiences to the ease (hopefully) that you experience now when driving. Although you are not guaranteed that you will reach your destination, most people learn to accept this uncertainty quite readily with practice.

      At this moment in your life, attempts to figure out how to reconcile your religious beliefs with your possible sexual orientation is an avoidance strategy. You can’t know the answer to that right now. It would be like refusing to learn how to drive unless someone could give you complete assurance that you’ll never kill someone.

      The goal of treatment is to become okay with the not knowing. And ultimately, when we don’t do rituals or avoid certain things, symptoms and doubt decrease substantially. Although we may never know for sure, the not knowing doesn’t have to feel so scary.

  21. Hello Dr Seasy,
    I’ve read through this blog and has been very helpful.

    I am a 30 yr old male, and have had the fear of being Gay for a while now. The first time happened around 5 years ago, after cheating on my girlfriend with a younger girl. I fell deeply in love with both and found myself splitting my heart in two. when the lid of my lie uncovered everything was downhill from there. I started having very strong panic attacks, and from the uncertainty i went seeking answers going to Transexual prostitues and I think i accomplished to traumatize myself. I believe I have HOCD because since then the fear comes and goes. After that Ive had many other relationships with women, and had a great time. and also have made myself go through homosexual experiences to confirm the “fact” that I am actually straight or finally “come out”, but when I have had these encounters i find myself afterwards deeply depressed and disgusted of myself reinforcing the idea of being straight. This has happened on and off. Whenever the fears comes back I go and find a same sex partner to check again if Im gay or not. This causes me a lot of frustration and mostly fear of living a lie. I am a person who is not very worried about what people may think and I try to deal with fear and anxiety through meditation and self understanding, which helps alot. But lately Ive had trouble performing with my female sexual partners, been single for quite a while, and havent been able to find a a partner to share a deeper relationship other that One Night Stands, and is mosty the fear of being alone that drives me to the uncertainty. Now Im back at wondering my sexuality and looking for same sex partner to prove it. Also going into gay chats and porn pages to see the level of arousal i get. Of course, since I am going through this again i do feel aroused, but cannot picture myself sharing feelings with a person of my same sex. I think my biggets fear at the moment is not finding a woman to be my partner, hence i must be gay. Please help me doctor, I fell I am in trouble cus it hurts to go through the experience of having sex with someone you don’t actually like, but still do it to test and put my self on an extreme situation to check my sexual orientation. i know my body and my mind, and have experimented with them quite a bit aswell, I think it might be an important data for you to know that i take psychedelic drugs (LSD) and smoke marihuana, and these fears and feelings do appear stronger when i am under the influence of such substances or after taking them, even though they also seem to have helped to face my deepest fears and personality areas that i don’t like and accept myself the way i am, doubtful and uncertain.
    Looking forwar to your reply
    Thank You

    • It sounds like a very confusing situation and that you might benefit from working with a psychologist individually who can help you sort this out.

  22. Desculpe meu inglês, sou brasileiro, há 4 anos sofro com a ansiedade e medo de que possa ser gay ou bi. Tudo começou quando beijei uma garota e ela me humilhou, tempo depois percebi q achava homens bonitos, aí o pânico se espalhou. Até hoje nunca me excitei por homens, teve uma vez q estava tão desesperado, q depois de tanto forçar uma masturbação com um pornô gay, ejaculei, mas sem orgasmo, aí me acabou. Se sair na rua não posso encarar os homens porque tenho medo de me atrair. Eu não sei o que é atração sexual, acho q se tivesse esse conceito, me ajudaria, e a relação dela com a ereção, será que tenho problema de ereção por não me aceitar gay ou bi? Ou será q isso é porque sou hétero? Quando tinha uns 5 anos dei um selinho em um amigo, que coisa gay, não tinha facilidade com esportes, que coisa gay, sou nerd.
    Minha mãe tem crise de pânico relacionada a doenças, meu pai, com limpeza. Lembro que antes de todo esse episódio tinha medo de estar atraído pela minha irmã mais nova, tenho 18 anos, esse medo me deixava em pânico. Sempre quis ter uma família, a minha esposa, a minha casa, os meus filhos, sinto que esses pensamentos estão me proibindo disso, será que estou em negação?
    Fui a uma psicóloga, ela queria fazer terapia afirmativa comigo, não vou mais nela, pois eu não sei se sou gay, acho que não, pois não tenho ereção.
    Tenho sonhos repetitivos gays, alguém me chamando de gay, alguém tentando me encostar, presenciando uma cena erótica, mas em todos lembro estar mal e com nojo, em alguns, até buscava me testar para ver se me excitava. Já sonhei transar com garotas.
    Já tentei falar pra mim mesmo, ok sou gay ou bi, mas depois de 2 dias o medo volta, e a duvida persiste, não aguento mais, tenho que medir meu pênis sempre para ver se estou excitado.
    Sou meio cético em relação ao HOCD, creio q seja uma desculpa, pois aqui no Brasil ninguém o conhece, nem os psicólogos, mas eu queria muito que ele fosse real, pois seria um esperança para eu ter uma garota, que eu sempre sonhei.
    Não posso ver nem meu pai q imagens de sexo vem na cabeça, com pessoas desconhecidas, amigos e parentes, todos do sexo masculino, também, as vezes penso em chutar meu cão, ou vem pensamentos do tipo, passe a língua no seu esperma, ou deseje o mal para quem lhe deseja o bem.
    O que fazer? Preciso de ajuda? Onde procurar essa ajuda no Brasil?
    Agradeço.

    • Sorry my english, I’m brazilian, 4 years I suffer with anxiety and fear that he may be gay or bi. It all started when I kissed a girl and she humiliated me, long after I realized q thought handsome men, then the panic spread. Until today I never excitei by men once had was so desperate q, q both after forcing a masturbation with a gay porn, ejaculated, but without orgasm, then I finished. If you go out in the street can not face them because I’m afraid of men attract me. I do not know what is sexual attraction, q think if I had this concept, help me, and her relationship with the erection, do I have erection problem by not accepting me gay or bi? Q Or is it because I’m straight? When I was about five years gave a peck to a friend, that gay thing, I had no facility with sports, that gay thing, I’m a nerd.
      My mother has panic attack related to disease, my father, with cleaning. I remember that before this whole episode was afraid to be attracted by my younger sister, I’m 18, that fear made me panic. I always wanted a family, my wife, my house, my children, I feel that these thoughts are prohibiting me this, am I in denial?
      I went to a psychologist, she wanted to make affirmative therapy with me, I’m no longer there, because I do not know if I’m gay, I guess not, because I have no erection.
      I have repetitive dreams gays, someone calling me gay, someone trying to touch me, witnessing an erotic scene, but remember all be bad and disgusted in some, sought to test myself to see if it excited me. Have you dreamed of having sex with girls.
      I’ve tried to tell myself, ok I’m gay or bi, but after 2 days back fear, and doubt persists, not take it anymore, I have to measure my penis to see if I’m always excited.
      I’m skeptical about the middle HOCD, I believe q be an excuse, because here in Brazil nobody knows, not psychologists, but I really wanted it to be real, it would be a hope for me to have a girl, I always dreamed of.
      I can not see my father nor q pictures sex is in the head, strangers, friends and relatives, all male, well, sometimes I think about kicking my dog, or has thoughts like, pass the language on your sperm or wish evil for anyone who wishes him well.
      What to do? I need help? Where to look for such help in Brazil?
      Thank you.

      • Oi Henrique,

        Tbm sou brasileira e sofro de HOCD desde os 13 anos… hoje tenho 30.
        Passei por tudo o que vc escreveu, principalmente a parte de não poder nem olhar para minha mãe… eu sei como é horrível ter medo de olhar para qq pessoa e esses pensamentos aparecerem do nada.. é quase a morte… mas com o tempo e com o tratamento certo melhora e muito!
        EM que cidade você mora?
        Eu já achei vários psiquiatras (mais novos/formados recentemente) que conhecem sim o HOCD. Foi assim que fui diagnósticada.
        Se quiser entre em contato e eu te passo o contato de lagum deles.
        Fique tranquilo, respire fundo, é uma doença… que vai e volta… o importante a aprendermos a lidar com ela.

        • Thanks, HOCD Lady!

        • Olá HOCD Lady, moro em Curitiba, se puder me passar alguém daqui, o endereço e o telefone. Você mora onde?

      • Many of the avoidance behaviors you describe are consistent with OCD, but it would be best for you to work with a psychologist to help you sort through these issues. I would recommend contacting the International OCD Foundation. They might have some Brazilian psychologists who could be helpful in this situation.

  23. Where can I find a list of therapist who understands HOCD in various areas (zip?)? We don’t live in Florida and have questions about our daughter who recently “came out”‘ Nobody including a close sister had any indication that she was gay. She says she has been gay her whole life and just and a relationship with a girl. If she is gay we are fine with it but she has severe OCD and would like to try and get her to talk to someone. Thanks.

    • Ralph, I would recommend leaving this to your daughter, as it sounds like she’s happy (at least based on your description). It’s certainly possible to be gay and have OCD symptoms that don’t include sexual obsessions.

  24. Dear Doctor,
    I am suffering from this, I have told my parents about this and they want me to go and see a therapist to help me with the disturbing thoughts and always checking to see weather I am aroused by gay sex and what not.. which I am always disgusted by but I always need reassurance every day (that’s why I always check weather I’m aroused or not). But I am to frightened to go and see a therapist, worried they will tell me I don’t have HOCD and that I am just homosexual.

    What shall I do?

    • It can be difficult to start therapy, regardless of the presenting problem. When I treat patients with HOCD, we work on accepting the uncertainty that surrounds sexuality. In the end, avoidance of the possibility of being gay will be unhelpful (especially if you have HOCD!).

  25. Hello Dr. Seay,

    I’ve read your discription of HOCD and I found a lot of symptoms and reactions that I’m experiencing. I’m a person that thinks a lot and has a high intrapersonel level of intelligence.

    I’ve never had this problem before 4 years, when I started having family problems, I left my girl friend then 1 year later I started dating again.. My partner didn’t really make me very comftorble during the act since she had her own childhood issues. So our sexual life was hell, I started having Erectile Dysfunctions, which led to premature ejaculation, things got worse and I didn’t enjoy my sexuality as I used to.

    When we broke up, i started seeing other girls and I couldn’t get properly aroused. I stoped talking to my dad because of more family problems and I started being autonome. I have a lot of stress and HOCD comes back from time to time and annoyes me. Especially, that it causes me anxiety before the sexual act. So I looked up on the internet that porn addiction is one of the causes of ED. I stoped and things started getting better, but the problem is that I have been hit by men lately which has made my symptoms worse.

    However, lately, I met a girl that I’m attracted to and I’ve been able to find my old self.

    If you can give me a bit of advise I would be thankful,

    And thank you for making things clearer.

    • Hi Anth,

      If you need advice, it would be best for you to consult with an individual therapist who can advise you on your specific situation. You could also consider one of the various self-help books for OCD that follow ERP principles.

      Wishing you the best with this!

  26. hello i have been suffering with HOCD for the past 5 yrs i have had many gf’s and many sexual incounter’s with women however my relationship with my last gf of 3rs has just recently ended and i have been having much trouble to engage women with conversation that will lead to sex i havent got laid for over 7month now and it’s killing me i tend to be shy at times i often times have alot of anxiety in large social gatherings i tend to shut down and not talk at all and just avoid eye contact with any1 how can i feel more confortable in social settings and my hopes of one day gettin laid again :p

    • Hi Ray,

      I think I replied to your other question. Sounds like social anxiety to me…check out CBT for social anxiety.

  27. As a HOCD sufferer (or at least what I was diagnosed with), it is clear to me that the purpose of the treatment is to help the person to “live with the uncertainty” of not knowing. However, as Gabi suggested in the first post, what criteria do you use to differ a Pure OCD from an actual gay person?

    Also, if that person is in his 30s or 40s, wouldn’t you believe that the distress felt by the sufferer would be considerably disturbing based on the fact that his life could have been potentially a lie?

    In other words, anxiety per se should not be used as a criteria to diagnose a condition like this. And my problem with CBT steams out of the fact that it only deals with the issue at hand, and completely ignores the possibility that the disturbance felt might be a symptom of a deeper cause, as it has proven in the history of psychology.

    • Hi EAC, anxiety is certainly not sufficient to diagnose OCD. Diagnosis is a complicated process, which involves many factors…of which anxiety is only one. The goal when working with any patient is to try to understand what’s going on and then to offer a treatment plan that promotes quality of life.

      I also think that contemporary CBT is less reductionistic than how you’re describing it. It’s possible for CBT to be very cold and mechanical, and it’s also possible for it to be very empathic. Sure, CBT doesn’t posit that we need to know the true “why” in order to successfully treat a condition, but CBT is predicated on understanding an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors…which are affected by a person’s upbringing, learning history, and current situation.

  28. hello i have been suffering with HOCD for the past 5 yrs i have had many gf’s and many sexual incounter’s with women however my relationship with my last gf of 3rs has just recently ended and i have been having much trouble to engage women with conversation that will lead to sex i havent got laid for over 7month now and it’s killing me i tend to be shy at times i often times have alot of anxiety in large social gatherings i tend to shut down and not talk at all and just avoid eye contact with any1 how can i feel more confortable in social settings and my hopes of one day gettin laid again

    • Hi Ray, this sounds a lot like social anxiety. You might consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety. Treatment is largely behavioral and involves taking social risks, identifying the typical “thinking traps” that get you stuck, and changing the way you talk yourself through stressful social situations.

  29. Hi Doctor. I notice in many of your responses, you advise people to go see a therapist. My question is, how do you know which type of therapist to find if you cant find a HOCD therapist?

    Also does it usually cost a lot of money for this kind of therapy? If it does and someone cannot afford it – is it still possible to recover without therapy?

    • TJ, if you’re looking for a HOCD therapist, your best bet is to find someone who specializes in OCD treatment. The International OCD Foundation has a database that can help you find providers. Fees will vary depending on the provider. You should know that some therapists have a “sliding scale” which means that the provider’s fee is adjusted based on the client’s financial situation.

      Some individuals follow self-help based strategies and can do quite well with this — it all depends on the person and the specific situation. I have listed some good self-help books in my post about OCD books and websites.

  30. gday steven,

    i hope all is well

    im 31 years old and from Sydney Australia

    ive been suffering ocd for many years (i can remember having these type symptoms since i was 12 after being diagnosed at 22 ) including harming someone and suicidal ocd since i was 18 due to one of my first gfs committing suicide with hiding belts closing closets etc etc

    anyway… ive seen a few therapists through the years 3 of them top in the treatment of ocd

    and at the end the treatment that was most effective
    was anafranil and very low dose of seroquel xr

    ive had hocd at least since i was 22 and this is the first major article
    ive seen
    thank you

    i don’t know if this going to recognized as reassurance

    but these symptoms get me

    (im very scared of this)
    This doubt causes them to leave their current spouses/partners, “come out,” and begin to date same sex individuals
    ————————————————————————————
    Scanning the environment to identify people who might be gay
    ————————————————————————————
    If I’m not 100% straight, it means I’m gay.
    ————————————————————————————-
    If I keep having this thought, I’m going to have to act on it eventually.
    ——————————————————————————————
    “What if this isn’t my OCD? What if I’m really gay?”

    ive had my gf at my longest relationship for 3 1/2 years (didn’t have one cause my ocd was that bad and finally my ocd is improved due to meds)

    damn i cant get this outta me head
    how can i all of the sudden say im gay
    how can i say its finally gonna catch up with me….

    and finally

    Dr. Seay,
    I recently read an article saying that this type of obsession should be treated with care because in some cases the person experiencing these thoughts is actually gay but they have OCD as well. Would this type of person have the same compulsions you presented in this article?

    can this b true

    help me doc

    kind regards
    art

    • Hi Art,

      Every situation is unique, and sexuality can be an especially tricky topic. As you mention, gay individuals with OCD can also experience doubts and fears about their sexuality…which can make the differentiation more complex. If you have concerns about HOCD, I would recommend talking these over with your therapist. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be difficult (if not impossible) to achieve the type of clarity you seek by simply reading things online and then trying to “figure out” if they apply to you. If you actually do have HOCD, you should be wary of “figuring out rituals” which provide unhelpful reassurance.

      Wishing you the best with this…

  31. Hey, How much would therapy cost?

    • If you’re interested in treatment, give the office a call and someone will explain the billing process to you (e.g., fee structure, how out-of-network insurance benefits might allow you to be reimbursed for a portion of your treatment expenses, etc.).

      • Sir, first i have a question aboutthe dreams.. When i have i have enjoyable heterosexual dreams than my gay dreams almost seem like nightmares with no good feelings at all. Sir i love woman im afraid causeto go to a therapist because this all started with a dream and when i went to my physician see said maybe these are thoughts i have been repressing and made me feel worse when i thought getting this off my chest would make me feel better.. Ii never engages in sex in any of these homosexual dreams but would see people inone dream engage but it made me very very uncomfortable… Also now its like im scanning men to see if there is any sexual attraction and me i work out so now when i see a person with a nice body its like its tellin me u like that u want that… I can get a full nights sleep i have been missing school i cant tell my family or friends i dont onow how they will react plus i hqvent had a date cor slept with a girl in a while.. Im so desperate i masturbate to transexual porn but only transexual on woman the other stuff disgust me sorry to get very graphic as to ur laughing…. But its plaguing me i onow im sraight but now all these thoughts i dont even fight them anymore i accept it and just tell myself im gay i have neve had any sexual experiences with men nor do i wish to. I just dont know if its hocd or real life. I did go through a tranny phase before and i did go through these thoughts beforebut when i was a teenager im 22. And i wonder if my hormones just changed as i quit smoking weed trying to stop masturbating and drinking and just want me back im happy go lucky person although i have been depressed for a while and pretty sure i suffered withocd before because when i was younger i needes everything to be shmetrical like the amount of stones i stepped on if i hit it with the middle part of my foot or hand id have to do it it for the other parts as for the top bottom close to bottom or top… I think… As for the dood locking problem i believe that i have been suffereing from that for a while and disnt even notice. But maybe im just trying to justifu this hocd.

  32. Hi Steven,

    I am coming off a nervous breakdown over the summer that including lots of anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but this is one that I’ve struggled with off and on for a few weeks. I definitely noticed it becomes much more overblown when I’m already feeling anxious or uncertain like you say. My questions is, does that sound like something more related to anxiety, or could it be OCD? I haven’t had a history of OCD, but you never know.

    Also, do you people who fully recover from this? I ask because you always seem how long people struggle with this, so it might be reassuring.

    Thanks.

    • When it comes to specific diagnostic questions like this, it’s important to meet with a local therapist who can get a full history and understand your situation in its entirety. Regarding your question about recovery, keep in mind that the goal of treatment is to accept uncertainty surrounding sexuality, not to prove it conclusively. A success story doesn’t necessarily end with individuals having perfect confidence about their sexuality. However, you don’t need perfect confidence in order to dramatically improve your quality of life. Moreover, once you learn to approach intrusive thoughts differently, they often decrease in frequency and intensity.

  33. My hocd went away for 2 months then came back. I’m on haldol and cogentin . Should I tell my therapist about erp therapy. It’s the same problem but without the anxiety what can I do. I have the automic gay thought but without the anxiety.

    • ERP was specifically designed to address the anxiety-related components of unwanted, intrusive thoughts by making use of the process of habituation. If anxiety is not one of the main features, ERP might not be indicated.

  34. Dear Dr.,
    Your article makes a lot of sense and is personally applicable. I was unfamiliar with hocd until this article, but have been diagnosed with ocd for 15 years. After reading these symptoms, however, I now question if I am ‘just trying to use hocd and your article as an excuse.’ In essence, your article has made things worse (not blaming you, of course). Is this a form of reassurance problems? The more and more your article was convincing, the more and more I questioned if I was just ‘buying in’ to help forget about it.
    Again, I’m not asking for your thoughts on my sexuality. Instead, i’m
    asking if more knowledge can reinforce symptoms?
    Thanks in advance.

    • This is certainly one of the domains that can feel very complicated, and this article can be unsettling for a variety of different reasons.

      Reassurance seeking can be a powerful ritual. The reassurance works at first and makes you feel better, but confidence can erode pretty quickly. If you haven’t seen it, check out my article on reassurance seeking in OCD. Re-reading, conducting excessive internet research, and utilizing “figuring out rituals” can all be unhelpful strategies for dealing with doubt and uncertainty.

  35. Thank You, yjis helped me alot

  36. Hi im 32 yr old female Ive had this for over ten years on and off been diagnosed twice and currently going through treatment, Ive one session left. been doing cbt /exposure therapy. However Ive had a massive setback and feel ive undone everything Ive learnt. I have this underlying fear that Im in deep denial so much so that ive covered it up by calling it OCD. I convinced somehow that ive suppressed /repressed the real me hence the reason Im still suffering like this for over ten years. Why is it still there wasnt some truth in it? I know Ive got to tolerate uncertainty. Ive lost my attraction to men totally. How long and will I ever be free of this…

    • You should address these concerns with your therapist. In many cases, imaginal exposures can be helpful for addressing some of these types of uncertainties.

      Keep in mind that lapses and setbacks are common. They certainly don’t mean that you’ve undone your hard work or that you’re back to square one. One important skill is learning how to manage these challenges without getting overly frustrated or demoralized.

      Wishing you the best with this!

      • Thanks for the reply. Its uncertainty I cant handle it seems.

  37. I’ve been battling with this particular OCD theme for years, although I didn’t realize it was OCD till about six months ago when it suddenly blew up on me. I’d dealt with OCD before–but these obsessions were so repugnant and so relentless they finally forced me to tackle the disorder head-on. I’ve started exposure therapy; I’ve begun properly incorporating the pharmacological component. And if you’re reading this, if you’re struggling with HOCD/SO-OCD and you’re scared that you’ll never get back to normal (whatever your normal was), I’m here to tell you something very important:

    It DOES get better.

    It won’t get better without lots of hard work; some of it sucks, and sometimes you’ll honestly think you’d be better off having OCD than going through another exposure exercise. But if you’re fed up with obsessive thoughts, you’re willing to do the work, and you’ve got an OCD specialist guiding you along, you’ll get there. In the meantime, and at the risk of overstepping my boundaries, try and learn how to let your obsessions just happen. As a thirty-two year-old heterosexual it’s been a real challenge letting these particular thoughts occupy any space in my brain…but once you learn that they really are just thoughts and that there isn’t necessarily anything more to them than that, you’ll be well on your way. The other thing (and again, it’s hard) is getting to a point where you can acknowledge that hey, you might actually be gay. Ultimately, no one can be 100% certain about their sexual orientation. Take me, for instance. I’ve dated exclusively women. I’ve only been intimate with women. And one day I want to marry a woman and spend the rest of my life with her while making lots of babies. I know this. I think. But MAYBE I’ve missed vital cues along the way. Maybe my relationships with women were all a ruse designed to prevent me from accepting my “true” self. I don’t think that’s the case…but again, I can’t be positive. All I can do is gather the information I’ve accumulated through the course of my life and go from there.

    We’re all in this together, working to combat an enemy that most of us probably didn’t know existed till a short while ago. Don’t kid yourself: it’s tough sledding. There will be times when you’ll want to give up; sometimes the thoughts will seem overwhelming. But with hard work, perseverance, and proper guidance we’ll get there in the end. I wish you all the best–and remember, IT DOES GET BETTER!

    • What a great comment! Thank you for posting this, hti32. It’s wonderful to hear that you’ve made some significant progress with your symptoms.

      Wishing you continued success!

    • Wow, sounds like your on to a good thing. Ive been doing ok. I had a few tiring times. I really like the fact youre embracing your spikes and agreeing to the possibility that ‘what if’… even tho that scares me I kknow thats the main thing I gotta deal with.. Once the fear goes then no need to worry about it because u dont fear it anymore! Easier said then done, but ultimately Ive got to take the risk.. that MAYBE its true! That was difficult to say and I dont want it to be true but lets try embrace the worst case scenario and worst imaginal things my creative brain can think of.. eek!

  38. My hocd went away for two months. I was flirting with this girl for that wo months and had no hocd symptoms but when she moved away it started coming back. It’s back but without the anxiety how do I completely get rid of it for good

    • I have discussed this issue in my post on unwanted thoughts in OCD.

      The best strategies for managing HOCD are based on exposure and response prevention (ERP), a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy. One goal of treatment is to learn to tolerate and accept the thoughts rather than escape from them.

      wishing you the best with this!

  39. Hi Dr. Seay

    As I was reading these posts, it only gets me more confused. In your very first post you said that it can get confusing as far as providing a good diagnosis.

    I was diagnosed by Dr. Steven Phillipson on this issue in 2010, and my fears about homosexuality go back years ago. However, the more I have learned about it the more it seems I have “elaborated” new mechanism to tell myself I am gay, and just on denial.

    I have told him that sometimes my thoughts are not necessarily unwanted, and yet he is 100% that I have OCD. Also, I feel as if I am not attracted to women anymore, and yet, he suggests that these are as well symptoms of OCD.

    I guess my comments and question is where do you guys meet as far as providing a clear defining line to say this is OCD and this is not. And according to these posts, there is a lot of gray areas that don’t seem to match at all.

    thanks for your comments.

    E-

    • Hi E,

      You are in good hands — Dr. Steven Phillipson is an excellent psychologist.

      OCD can involve pervasive doubt and uncertainty about many things, including one’s own diagnosis. Trying to definitively prove to yourself that you have OCD is often counterproductive, as these efforts often reflect reassurance-seeking rituals. Sometimes, the hardest challenge is finding a way to move forward despite not having perfect certainty about your path. Recovery often involves suspending efforts to know for sure and investing your energy in other things…be it in exposure, relationships, or value-centered activities.

      Pursuing the answers to some questions is counterproductive. I would’t try to convince you that you have OCD in the same way that I wouldn’t try to convince you that you are gay or that you are straight. You might never feel perfectly certain about these things. Our task would be to help you accept these uncertainties and to learn that ultimately these questions are less important than you might think.

      In your case, if the thoughts are not unwanted, you shouldn’t expect them to be so. Your task involves accepting uncertainty about the nature of your thoughts and the nature of yourself, while simultaneously building more meaningful experiences into your life.

  40. Hi Dr Seay

    Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication, you have taken the time to address, extensively, this issue that has almost led me and from the comments I’ve read many others to suicide.

    You mentioned in the article that sufferers of HOCD may drop out of school, quit their jobs, end relationships, or make other life-altering decisions that paradoxically make their symptoms worse. I’d like to offer a different view from a long-term sufferer’s perspective.

    While those who experience HOCD in the recent short term may end up worse off by responding to the shock and not quite knowing how to respond, people like me who have been suffering from this for sustained periods of time (for me it was since I was a little boy and had a homosexual experience) sometimes we base our lives around this problem such that we construct a reality that allows us to hide behind our lives like choosing a career that people around you approve of even though its not significant to you or staying in a relationship just just because its comfortable fearing what might happen if you’re single, abusing alcohol and other drugs (substances) and developing sexual addictions to porn and compulsive masturbation etc. all these things create a downward spiral of a false reality created by one who is not dealing with the core problems and the effect its had on one’s beliefs about life and ones perception of self.

    In this case quitting a job, leaving that comfortable/painful/boring etc. relationship, changing studies or careers to something that’s more meaningful etc. may actually the first baby steps of the necessary leaps we must make to recreate our realities to truly reflect who we are and to accentuate our strengths and conquer our fears.

    Thank you so much Dr. for your amazing approach to this issue and for taking the time to educate us and foster such comforting discussions as many of us, including me though we were all alone in this.

    May your work continue to touch and change lives!

  41. I am 23 years old (still virgin).I have unwanted same sex attraction. I don’t want to live a gay life. I want to get married and have children. Is that possible? I am suffering from HOCD which is ruining my career. I can’t concentrate in my studies and work. Please help!

    • I feel your pain. My opinion is thus:
      Yes its possible, it will pass.
      no porn! lots of walks, and family life, the need to clothe, house and feed your kids will override any gay feelings, (I think / hope). Hope that helps you, but any action or decision you make is yours alone.

      • Thank you for your important suggestions Merlin! I’ll try my best to follow them. Yes I am determined to live a ‘straight’ life.
        Regards,
        Anish.

  42. Your article was a great help, because I am trying to help a friend who has problems HOCD. She began the process of HOCD with a sudden loss of his sexual identity, this time when he threw himself to the ground, scratching herself and screaming (internally) that he was not gay. At that time she was away from home, studying medicine elsewhere. His college friends suggested that she have sex with her boyfriend to “cure” this doubt. It happens that she was a virgin and this was his first sexual experience. When having sex with her boyfriend, grief for being “gay” only grew because he was not feeling pleasure (for obvious reasons, I believe). A psychologist from the university where she studied applied therapies based on the concept of Carl Jung (and it did not help – only worse). Today she recalls moments of his teenage years to see if committed “homosexual acts.” She always remembers events when she was 12 years old and uses the details of this time to strengthen your HOCD. For example, says that watching porn movies and often pays more attention in women than in men in heterosexual scene. How could she be so sure that today she is 23 years old? Another detail: she created a kind of fixation with the words “undefined”, “doubt”, “uncertainty” (or similar terms). I did a test so funny: asked if she liked more apple or grape. She stopped to think hard, because they are two fruits that she likes. In the meantime I asked if she was in doubt (obviously the question was about the fruit). And she promptly replied, “then I’m gay”? She simply ignored the context of the conversation to set up a single word that favored the existence of HOCD (or the supposed doubt about his sexuality). I wonder how I can deal with it, because the family is already running out of resources and identity crises are becoming increasingly frequent. In Brazil (where live), this type of countryside TOC does not have specific knowledge.

  43. Hi
    I must apologise for the rambling nature of my post. this is a sensitive topic, and I’m a sensative guy, and am no way sober.

    Life story fragment follows:

    I’m 37 years old, and male. Have never yet (had the good fortune) had a homo sexual encounter, but have considered it in great depth on and off all my life. Puberty was a nightmare, non stop gay fantasies which I only managed to get past (ie, not follow that course) by telling myself that its ok, one day I can have sex with a man, but for now Ill hide all that as of social reasons and think of girls instead. funnily enough, I experienced major major paranoias.. that was when I was seventeen. (tricky time, brought up the last 2 years by my single dad(who was totally ace), who then died from cancer). so a bit of time spent distracted from me,
    (ended up at the hospital the day he died I issued instructions to the security to not let my estranged mother in, gave in after some hours, and then let her in, he died a few hours later)
    Also, around that time, developed a bit of hate (scared??) of women, this slowly past thankfully(a couple of years).
    Then paranoia as every one else had girlfriends, not me, didn’t loose my virginity until 21, and then was only by chance (a girl whom idolised me)
    then, fluke (like the third time i had sex) I have a son, the best thing I could have done, so next few years all busy. split up after he is a year and a half, so not a long relation ship (but a dammed scary one – left me scarred) so the next 10 years, (later rationalized it, to think since then – whenever had gay thoughts told myself – I have been the opinion that gay sex is something that develops from a lack of sex. plenty of sex, will stop the mind from going down the next path, of same sex.(i doubt this now)
    that kept me in check, and I could dismiss any thoughts no worries.
    ) commuting every weekend, looked after my son, and she looked after him during the week.
    A ten year time of swapping from straight to gay thoughts, would have acted upon them, but never had the time, had to commute each weekend…
    so, finally, thirty something, I’m going to go for it, take action (other than living inside a virtual world every day – multipurpose things computers, porn and life..)! but no, again thwarted – the amazing happened, a woman parachuted (not literally) into my back garden, the same woman who took my virginity all those years ago..
    the first morning we slept together and wok together woke grasping round to find the expected penis! but the was none, I cried as It (although great) meant that I had a serious amount of denial to deny, can I manage this? can I think these thoughts all the time, even grasp for the penis when sleeping with a woman, and manage to keep it straight and hold the relationship together. he is obviously a wonderful woman, but I worry that she is to devoted to me, and that I’m undeserving of her attention…
    what can i say – sorry no love, i might be gay… ffsk.
    anyhow, so we went along, and we went along, and now…. being a god spermer, we have 3 more kids.. (how did that happen?) jeepers – over fertile or whaat! they are just the best, but kind of adds to the pressure!
    after the first one, I had the pressure off, as she to busy half the time for sex, but over the next three years, we had full penatrive sex about a dozen times – producing another two kids! (omfg)
    married, kids, (4), late young age (37), have spent the last few years doing most of the obove list, dare not get a passport, in case i then take it upon mysel to shoot off around the world (pun intended), fancy lots of blokes at work, but dare not discuss, cant even discuss with the wife (did have a freak out a year ago, broke down and cried and told her about my thoughts etc – that went well) so, the options –
    keep all as is… – ok, but tension rising, tempers flaring, I worry I may loose control and run away for good…
    next, test my gayness – yes folks, can i give it and take it and will i love it as much as i think i will? – dream of having that sort of life, a flat, gay mates, who are sound, but gay / bisexual, but that has many dangers – who will it be? – someone i have sex with, or someone i live with? the latter please. want to be able to talk about things, and get involved, rather then the Saturday night pissed type action.
    anyhow…
    so sleep is an issue as ever, sex is always an issue, but have lots of good excuses for not having it, but do sometimes quite enjoy it (if she ever reads this…)
    this is all serious sh8f,
    sorry for drifting there.
    health worries are what drove me to actually discuss it with my wife, – as I had extreme dental issues the last decade, culminating with a major permanent abccess in the roof of my mouth, now thankfully gone (after a 2 year wait and hospital) – that did make me thing that the clock is ticking fast, and I had better get gay if i wanted to be gay and soon, while the kids (other than the eldest) are young enough they would not understand, eldest would be a bit confused though.. hmm
    SO – what can I do? Ideal, would be to have a boyfriend, and a wife, but hmm.. few issues there! (so what , i have to cheat, go to toilets etc, ??! not sure if I can do that)
    pretty dammed sure that I could be full on major, but have managed to hold myself back through civil programmining, until now, I cant even though I now accept (was in denial all this time) that I want it.
    so, have to live with it.
    the mental anguish.. oh dear.. apologies for the rambling contained herein.
    I’m thinking that I will plan myself an excursion, and have a good night out, I probably just need to go to the pub more often!
    Dreams are not really enough it seems..
    feel like a teenager again, so excited, cant think about anything else all day long, whatever it is, its good! but just so wrong! oh dear.

    Don’t want to mess up your really good blog about this hot topic,

    Have now (i hope) accepted that I may be gay, or bisexual, and and working towards, building acceptance of that, (which would come in handy if it happened;)
    problem – friends, (not to worried there) family, kids the only issue) and self, self hate and self loathing (oh yes used to be into self harm as a way out, got me out of a few sever mental states, but scars to remind me, and to hide every day.) hope have conquered all this, but you never know when have to deal with it again.
    Other than that – all well, other than having to have 5 courses of antibiotics, and now i have an oid (wtbf) (from the biotics) which is driving me nuts. – but does serve as a good way to stop me from parting my cheeks for anyone just yet!, so it has its blessings.. bought a fast car, brum brum, work busy. its really really really hard to live with, cant talk to anyone, cant resolve it, as to do so would surly mean loosing all I have, and starting afresh in some far flung cornet of the world.
    So wish I had resolved this years ago, but think perhpas it was meant to be like thus – mankind would not get far if every man and woman decided to just be gay, but it does free up the woman to take another man, so perhaps natures way of telling me when to get of the fence.. four kids is enough me thinks!, especially with my level of confusion and doubt, the next twenty years, (no wait he next for ever) is going to be tricky..
    As have not done the act yet, cant say my punchline, of “the lesson learned is it and see” but there, said it anyhow,

    so, have only ever slept with 3 women, one was a one nighter, one was a year and a half frightful relationship for many reasons , gave me a son though, and currently, 7 years in, married the last two years + 3 sons.
    Last year and a half – extreme gay thoughts and feelings.(building over the last decade in particular)

    long and the short – its all just sex.

    (or is it?)

    time to grow up, jus t listening to myself blubber, jeepers…

  44. I had OCD since June 16 2011. It went away twice but it came back now it’s back but without the anxiety. How do I get rid of the thoughts for good and return to my normal life

  45. I have been struggling with HOCD for about five years. A very wonderful therapist helped me realize this was the problem, as I was sure that I was gay and that I needed to die, because I could never truly be happy. (Well, as you can see, I have some anxiety and depression, too.)

    This article helped me but also cause more of the “but what if I really am gay and ocd is just a cover-up” questions. I would recommend to anyone who is feeling this way to go get help. I had a therapist (she moved) and a psychiatrist who put me on medicine that really helped me identify my thoughts for what they are – OCD.

    My therapist also taught me to “Triple R” my thoughts – relax, relate, release. When a spike (intrusive thought) comes, try to relax your body. I actually will phsyically spread my fingers and toes because it calms me down. Now, relate your thought. I say, “This is your OCD.” Then I say, “It’s okay to let this go and not worry about it.” Then I try to find something else to do. I don’t think this is a solution but just a coping mechanism. It does help me though.

    My question is:
    Do you have a list of therapists who specialize in HOCD? I really want to get better, but my therapist had to move away and I want to try some real strategies to help my OCD. Will it ever go away or will I have this my entire life?
    Thanks.
    LL

  46. Dr Seay,

    The LGBT community swears up and down that this is ex-gay therapy and there is no such thing as HOCD.

    They also contest that this could be a standalone symptom of OCD.

    I gathered these summations from various websites while conducting my exposure therapy for OCD and also as part of my compulsive habits to release anxiety.

    HOCD feels real to me, why would people tell me it is not?

    • I feel like I can answer this for you having suffered from HOCD and feeling like I have beaten it just from finding out what it is. Though be aware this is not medical advice and blah blah blah. The answer is simply because that’s not how it worked for them. They haven’t felt the sting of HOCD so how could they possibly understand it. For them they felt like they wanted one thing, and so they were happy to get that. There to actually seams to be a lot of phobia within those communities about these kinds of things simply because of the way it worked out for them. For example In many strictly gay circles they don’t think bisexuals are real. They think it’s just a self doubter swinging on the fence. When it’s been shown scientific studies that some people show almost equal arousal for both genders. Also therapy for HOCD isn’t ex-gay it’s teaching you to be okay with the unknown possibilities, whatever it is you feel like doing.

  47. Dear Seay,

    I never questioned my sexuality until one of my best friends sent me an email that I am gay and stopped taking with me. This happened after I told him I have romantic and sexual attractions for him. I have had 3 same sex partners before but I never gave much thought about being gay. I never questioned before if I were attracted to women. But after this guy sent me an email questioning my sexuality and saying that he is straight and he would never get attracted to men, then I developed this HOCD. I never thought of getting married to a man although i had sex experience with men before and it started at age of 18.I am aware that I am attracted to men ever since my puberty but only to a very few of them not all men though.Now everyday i am afraid that i am gay and would never get married to a women and even if i get married i would not have sex with her. I have on and off attractions for both sexes before and sometimes i feel i am completely asexual. sometimes i feel like i am straight. sometimes i feel i am gay. i don’t know what to do but all i want is to get rid of my same sex attractions and lead a normal life. I do not want to be a gay and i only get attracted to very few masculine men. I want to marry a women and have a happy life. But please let me know how to get rid of my same sex attractions and anxiety associated with being gay and wanting to be straight ? I am 25 male now.

    Thanks,
    Kay.

  48. It seems that I suffer for HOCD particularly upon reading your article. However I don’t otherwise suffer from OCD at all. Does HOCD only target OCD sufferers?
    Thank you

    • HOCD is considered a specific subtype of OCD that involves sexual obsessions. Some individuals have primarily HOCD-related symptoms and may not exhibit symptoms in other OCD domains.

  49. I think I suffer from HOCD. When I was thirteen I went through a phase in which EVERYTHING turned me on. I was fully aware that some guys turned me on, yet when I had sexual fantasies they were always about girls. Problem is, as time went on, I would often times worry that I was into guys, and at age fifteen this became an obsession, and even caused me a major nervous breakdown and depression.

    I am 23 years old now and I consider myself straight. Even though I’ve never been in a serious relationship, I’ve only felt emotionally attracted to girls.
    My sexual dreams are always about girls and when I wake up I feel great. The very rare occassions I’ve had sexual dreams about guys (in which there is never actual sex, btw), I wake up feeling weirded out and this off feeling usually lasts all day.

    Now, I should mention I’m not a homophobe, I get along fine with gay people and support their campaigns for equality, despite some of my family being against it.
    But still, sometimes I have these HOCD attacks in which I NEED to reassure myself that I’m straight, or ask other people their opinion hoping that they will tell me I’m straight. I have even gone as far as to visiting gay chat rooms and asking gay people if they think I’m gay or straight based on what I feel.
    It drives me crazy and I’m sick of it. I can´t visualize myself dating a guy or starting a family with another guy. Its always a girl. So why does this torment me? More than a disease, it feels like an addiction. I know somehow that if I could get rid of this HOCD I would be living a perfectly normal and happy life.

    • Many of your behaviors do sound like they involve major doses of reassurance-seeking. If you’re concerned about the possibility of HOCD, talk it over with a local OCD therapist, who can help clarify the source of your anxiety.

  50. I was recently watching a straight porno and the name of a friend of mine popped into my head.A voice repeated his name 3 times in my head rapidly.I quickly tried to stop thinking about it a proceeded to ejaculate but afterwards i felt kinda weirded out about the whole thing,not really scared and panicing but kinda disgusted, and kept trying to logically reassure myself that I am straight.Is this because of HOCD or something else?

    • If you’re concerned about OCD, talk it over with your doctor who can help determine the cause of your anxiety.

  51. Hello doc.,
    By reading your website i came aware what this desease really is. I was diagnose with ocd because i tend to wash my hands several times even if they are already clean, i lock the dor multiple times and than come back to see if its realy locked, etc.
    I never told anybody what else was going on with me, many times i think i am going crazy.
    I realize now that i might have other forms of ocd. This type of ocd, HOCD, is really in to me, by reading this article i revise my self in it. I also have what you call Scrupulosity and other things.

    Right now what is killing me is to know if its possible to have several different obsessions at the same time, some times i think i might have schizophrenia, this is realy killing me…

    Can one have multiple different obsessions at the same time?

    Thank you, and Merry Christmass.

    • Hi Joao, it’s very common to have multiple obsessions. In fact, I think most people with OCD tend to have more than one.

  52. it all sounded very real to what im going through right now and then the only thing im foccused in on now is this. “What if this isn’t OCD? What if I’m really gay?” im guessing that sums it up pretty good.. this is a hiddious thing to go through if its actually what im going through..

    • The doubt and uncertainty surrounding these symptoms can be incredibly difficult. Hang in there!

  53. Hey doctor I need help I used to have anxiety about this but now I just have the thoughts but no anxiety how do I get rid of thoughts forever please please help

  54. I have this article favourited so that whenever I feel really bad I can read it and know that there are people out there who understand and that I am not alone :) thank you :)

  55. the article really helped me I always reread it >>thnx

    • Glad it’s helpful, but please don’t use it for reassurance-seeking.

      • Ironically doc, I use this for reassurance seeking. Every time I feel absolutely dolorous, I read this to feel better. I do feel better, it doesn’t last though.

  56. Hello Dr. Seay,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this article.

    For the past few years I thought I was going insane with the back-and-forth game my mind would play with these sorts of thoughts. I knew I had OCD, but these symptoms are newer. My old therapist only made things worse by telling me that maybe I was gay and these thoughts happened and that “we would work on that,” increasing my anxiety and avoidance issues. So now that I know this is “normal” for OCD symptoms, I can find an appropriate therapist in my area. I will definitely come back to the article any time I feel the urge to fall into my habits of avoidance.

    Thanks again, you’re a lifesaver.

    • Thanks for reading, Brandon! Hope you’re able to make some rapid progress in your fight against OCD.

  57. This article is the bomb!

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! I have had HOCD for years now and have been aware of what it is for about 4 years. Just the awareness of it is the biggest help to me I find. Because knowing what it is helps to say to myself “Ok I do have a challenge in my life at the moment. But its not my sexual orientation, Its my OCD” I still have little spikes but its amazing to know that when I do I can pull up this article and get clarity and distinctions. There are so many things here that are exactly how I think. And that is a real comfort.
    Rock on everyone. You have never lost you peace and happiness. It is still there. It will always be there.

    Like the chinese say:

    When the eye is unobstructed, the result is sight.
    When the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing.
    When the mind is unobstructed… the result is wisdom and peace.

    Much love to all and a happy new year!

  58. Whoever you are you’re a genius this actually works :). Slowly but surely I’m becoming my old self again.

  59. I definitely had HOCD when I was a child, I showed practically every symptom you listed. But now that I’m older, I think I am lesbian, but I’m almost positive that it isn’t HOCD. I get pleasure from thinking about other women, and I have no fear of being gay. How can I tell that it isn’t just the HOCD coming back?

    • This doesn’t sound like HOCD. If you’re happy and you enjoy the thoughts, then you probably don’t have sexual orientation OCD.

      • I read that it’s highly unlikely for one with HOCD to actually turn out gay. You initially didn’t like the notion being attracted to people of the same sex so much so that that you had HOCD. And now you think you are gay, doesn’t that mean you didn’t have HOCD in the first place?

  60. Hi Steve,

    I will be going for CBT but the doctor that will be doing my treatment is in training and not experienced in my diagnosis. Is it a good idea to continue going to that doctor? Or should I ask my main pychiatrist to refer me to someone more experienced and knowledgable in this area?

    Thanks so much!!
    R

    • Hi how are you doc ? i am recently practicing abstinence because relationships have failed me in the past …. I love women and desire them emotionally, physically and sexually but only when i masturbate i sometimes have thoughts of the other sex. I cant see myself being emotional with the other sex….. Im Confused ? can u help?

      • Hi George, if you’re concerned about OCD, it’s probably best to have a therapist guide you. Issues relating to sexuality can be tricky, and you don’t need to go it alone.

    • Trainees can be excellent options in many cases. They are often knowledgeable about newer treatment approaches and their work is always supervised by a licensed professional. If it’s not a good fit, you can always be referred to another provider.

  61. Hey, Thanks for this article. I am an 18 year old girl who has been struggling with HOCD for the past month. I’ve always been an obsessive person in everything I do, but this past month, I got the thought that even though I’ve been straight my whole life, “What if I’m bisexual” This thought has been coming and going in my mind and I litterally obsess over it. Every time I see a girl, even if it’s like an old lady or a child, I get so anxious and and always check to see if I get aroused. To me, these thoughts are absolutely distrubing and I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything with a girl or liking a girl, but I think the fact that I kept obsessiving over it makes my body/hormones aroused. I found myself falling into the majority of the symtoms listed above…would you say that these symptoms are just HOCD and normal for the disease? I even started to isolate myself but will try to get over this by changing my mindset so I can be my happy self again! any suggestions?

  62. Hello do you give online sessions?

  63. Always been straight all my life untill someone said am i gay and ive been thinking and asking myself how do i know im not gay and started to get really depressed about it. I know start looking at males thinking are they attarctive and i can tell when they are but would
    Never have a relationship with a boy or have any sort of sexual contact with one. Need
    Help getting really distressed about this and the thoughts always pop up first thing in the morning. Is this HCOD seems
    To be on my mind 24/7 and its killing
    Me! Is this HCOD?

  64. Doctor i have a question, how can you tell if its HOCD or just denying you’re gay? I think HOCD play tricks on us and make us believe we’re gay and we’re just not dealing with it, it’s killing me. I never had sexual desires with a guy or things like that, it makes me ask myself if all of the relationships i had before were fake, im really anxious about it. Hope you can answer my question, thank you!

  65. One time i was in the shower and masturbated to women and i climaxed then failed. But then i fantasized about men and i felt like i was about to ejaculate. But i never got an erection from men. Only from women. Am i gay?

  66. One time i was in the shower and masturbated to women and i climaxed then failed. But then i fantasized about men and i felt like i was about to ejaculate. But i never got an erection from men. Only from women. Am i gay? Or am i just worrying too much? Btw i have a gf and thats adding to the worry.

  67. Hi Doc – I have a good idea I suffer from this awful thing. I discovered this link when I was surfing the Net for a possible reason why I don’t have any sensations whatsoever anymore when I ejaculate. Arousal is no problem. What do you think? I’m 49 and really never had this problem before!

  68. Dear Doctor, I have expressed many of the symptoms above, but I have a question. I’m a 20-year old male who has always had crushes on girls, the thought of being with one make me incredibly happy. I only get erections by women and the thought of being with a man makes me feel disgusted (I’m not against homosexuality). Anyway, I’ve always had OCD symptoms, I’ve been afraid of germs, illogical hypotheticals, and unwanted thoughts. But unlike the other HOCD experiences I’m reading about, mine has been there ever since the age of 10. I’d see a guy that I might think was “good looking” and I’d fixate on him for days, weeks, maybe even months. They felt like crushes, but they didn’t feel the same as the ones I had with girls. When I had a crush on a girl, the thought of being with them made me extremely happy. Additionally, what differed from these male “crushes” and my crushes on girls is that 1. They have never made me pleased only EXTREMELY ANXIOUS 2. I’d spend more time thinking about the notion of “this means I’m gay,” than the person themselves. I keep asking myself how did I even choose the guys I fixate on, does this mean I’m gay? I must think he’s extremely hot! But whenever I try to accept my gayness/bisexuality, I test myself with masturbation and I never succeed in ejaculation thinking about men. I’ve been on and off with these questions for 10 years, but I recently got my first girlfriend, and my anxiety has been at an all time high because I’m thinking “what if I’m one of those closeted bisexual people that is lying to this great girl?” I love her so much, and I get turned on by her, but these thoughts keep coming back – these “fake” crushes on men. I’ve realized that my attraction to women is legitimate, but I’m now worried about bisexuality. Does this sound like bisexuality, am I repressing my attraction towards men? Please, this is the first time I’m actually confessing to someone about this. Does this sound like OCD or am I just utilizing it as a scapegoat to deny my homo/bisexuality?

  69. Dear doctor i had those symptoms also i always had crushes on girls and had sex with girls and enjoyed it very much but one time i saw trans porn and now i keep thinking do i find guys cute? am i gay? fear of never like/loveing a girl again scares the shit out of me, i looked at gay porn to see if it would turn me on but no then i go to stright porn and yes it does but i keep thinking all this gay stuff. its been around 2 months now. i ask the “what ifs”.. i have never in my life liked a guy or seen a guy in any sexuall or romantic way. im scared to go out and look at a guy and think oh hes cute or something. and now i kind of lost all my sex drive.

    • Don’t worry about it , it’s Ok.

  70. Thank you so much for this article.

    I have been struggling with this for years since the thought “popped” when I was a teen. It is difficult to ask others if they also feel this way. It became a loop of anxiety because I kept asking myself why am I asking myself these questions and why am I so aware of these things. I tried to suppress it and rationalise it but I think now I am going to try the response prevention technique. Thanks so much, you really made me feel more at peace. I was worried I would find a “if you question your sexuality, you’re gay.” Thank you very much for posting this.

    • Glad you found the article helpful, Rob. Try response prevention, and see if it helps you get a better handle on your symptoms.

  71. I am beating my ocd when I was a kid I had a bad game of truth or dare after doing mushrooms and smokeing weed I started to shut down and have panic attacks becauseid have intrusive thoughts no images and I’d ask myself questions on questions in my head until I’d have a mental breakdown and throw up I’m not attracted to the same sex I never have been I love women I’m attracted to women I’m good at getting women but my brain just has triggers that send me into a panic. I have beaten it simple by knowing who I am your brain will try to ask u questions u can ever fully answer unless you know yourself if fear of turning gay makes u scared makes u sick and makes you puke. Just remember its all in ur head. I love my gf and she’s all I need. I know who I am and you guys know who you are don’t let these thoughts and ocd rob you of your piece of mind. Just remember garbage in garbage out. Porn and weed and shrooms mixed with a past mistake can try to ruin you stay strong and know that these thoughts can only afffect you if u let them remember alot of ppl have terrible thoughts the difference is most don’t fixate on them stop giving them power and you’ll be fine be confident in who u are. I had no therapy

  72. I have HOCD since 2008 but some topics of article triggered me.

  73. I am 15 and in despair, I am currently in an out patient program at a very credible place. I have been seeing a psychologist since the age of 6 and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I have been told I have OCD and i believe that I do sometimes but then I always reanalyze or say I dont think this is OCD. I have question my sexual orientation only once or twice before but recently really have been struggling. I always thought I was straight and had crushes on people of the opposite sex and enjoyed it. I always search people in crowded places to see if I am attracted to them or go on-line to take quizzes and read articles about “When did you know that you were a lesbian”. Before all of the questioning I never wanted to kiss or date any of my friends of the same sex. I notice that some girls are attractive but then all these thoughts come into my head and have a panic attack. I feel like I have so many questions but I am afraid to ask because I am afraid that my psychologist will say that I am seeking reassurance.

  74. Hi, I have been seeing a psychologist for a few months after some problems that i had. At first she said i had depression and anxiety but i wasn’t sure and felt it was much deeper. I wrote down a long list of feelings and thoughts that were unwanted and mainly of a sexual nature and i have gone back to her and she has said that it appears that i have OCD tendencies. A lot of the thoughts are sexual based and i do tend to check a lot of things such as windows, doors and put things in piles and in order and also wash my hands a lot,With regards to the sexual thoughts I am concerned how people perceive me and worry if people think i act in a homosexual way or homosexual manor, i try to avoid awkward situations where i am around males in groups. I have always been heterosexual and never looked at males in that way, this only started after myself, my partner and a male friend were having a drink and for some unknown reason he kissed me on the lips in front of my partner. I naturally recoiled and said what are you doing but he didn’t answer. Ever since i haven’t been able to let it go. Not because i had feeling , i just cant seem to dismiss it, it drives me mad. This carried on for a period of months without my partner knowing and in the end i went onto a chat site to speak to someone that was homosexual thinking that i would feel uneasy and dismiss it. This only seemed to make it worse and to cut a long story short i arranged to meet him because the thoughts in my head kept getting harder to dismiss. while i was with him i knew it didn’t feel right but the thoughts in my head started again, (if I’m not homosexual then why did my friend kiss me, why cant i dismiss it, why did i talk to this other person and why am i here) i couldn’t seem to see the steps i took only what was in front of me with no logical explanation as to why i was there. When i got back home my partner found some of the messages of the person i was talking to and we split up. I have since tried to explain to her and she has been very supportive and attended my psychologist appointments with me. she has tried very hard to understand all of this but she needs some help to and i wondered if there was any help for partners of HOCD or OCD sufferers if of course that is what i have got. I would appreciate any reply as this has caused a lot of upset and we all just want to figure things out. Thank you for any help in advance.

    • I forgot to mention that i am 29 years old, i’m not sure if this would help you to determine whether it is HOCD or not. Thank you. Richard

  75. Hey doctor, I’ve recently started having thoughts about everything. I have anxiety from time to time and Im taking nursing classes and since then I have been seeing everything a bit differently. I;ve never had a boyfriend or anything and im a junior in high school.I still like guys and i dont find girls attractive, but Im still having thoughts and Im Terrified! I dont know what to do! I cant go to a therapist or anything and I will have random panic attacks over this stuff… What do I do?

  76. Hello, I’m adam and I’m a 15 year old teen. I’m very confused as I don’t know if I have hocd or if I am actually gay? Here’s my story, I’ve had straight relationships my hole life! I’ve had many girlfriends and I’ve had sex with girls, but never guys, I was going out with my current girlfriend for 9 months, but then we broke up, yes I was upset, then 4 months after we broke up, I was doing my mock JC course, and out of nowhere, I started to think I was gay. My biggest fear is becoming gay though ( non-homophobic ). At first I didn’t know what it was and I had cried over this to my bestfriend ( who is a girl if that means anything ). She couldn’t believe it. She even said ‘you don’t seem like the type of guy to turn out gay, you love girls ‘. I did plenty of research trying to find the answer! Finally I found it! I found hocd! When I read about it I felt totaly relieved and thought I can’t be gay, but then the thoughts kept coming, I would often ask myself if I was, or I would look at a lad and ask myself if he is attractive, but most embarrassingly, when masterbaiting, gay thoughts would come in and I would panic. It has been happening to me for the past 2 months, but I’m this time, I have being going back out with my ex girlfriend, I thought this might stop how I feel, but it made it worse! Yes I find her attractive, and I have feelings for her, but I still get really bad thoughts! Even when I look at hot celebrities that 6 months ago I would of found hot (e.g rihanna, beyonce etc.), I now don’t find them hot! I am very confused and really stressed out! It seems crazy that I’m stressed out at 15 but it’s true! Please somebody help!
    Thanks,
    Adam.

  77. I do believe that this HOCD. I always have seen women attractive and masturbated to lesbian and straight port ( :) ) but i was looking at some transsexual porn and thought i was when i wasn’t. I ask myself am i aroused? I turn my head when i see gay guys or guys perod ( Cept for friends) i have unwanted thoughts that keep popping up out of nowhere. I know im not but i hate it and dnt know how to get rid of it. Its usually just what ifs. Any advice doc?

  78. Is it possible for one with HOCD to loose sex-drive briefly? That is kinda normal right?

  79. I’m constantly asking myself if I’m REALLY attracted to my boyfriend (he’s my first and only partner and I must admit I never had the urge to rip his clothes off right this second – I do enjoy sex with him, though, or did before I started questioning my orientation). I do think that women are more beautiful than men and that I could enjoy sex with women, but I also notice that I tend to confuse aesthetic attraction with sexual attraction (since I find it so hard to figure out what sexual attraction actually IS), which might explain part of my doubts. I’ve only ever had crushes/have fallen in love with guys, even when I was a little girl. So what does this sound like? Closet lesbian? Bisexual? Asexual (since I can’t figure out what sexual attraction is and if I’ve ever experienced it – also, my sex drive is quite low) who’s into guys romantically? I feel like I shouldn’t even need those labels, but unfortunately I’m just so confused right now …

    • Your delima sounds a lot like mine, except I’ve never had a serious relationship and I am still a virgin; and the thought of being in a relationship with a woman literaly makes me nauseous.

      I am also unsure of the difference between aesthetic and sexual attraction, expecially when I am going back through my memories in search of reasurance. It also doesn’t help that all this crap with HOCD has mademe feel as though I no longer find men appealing, even men I was attracted to/crazy about from before the HOCD (though I do have rare moments of clarity where I do see an attractive guy, and then I become depressed/sick with the feeling of “it doesn’t matter because I’m not allowed to like men any more” or I will think “if I wasn’t going though this right now I would totally be gaga over that guy right there”)

      Like you, I’ve only ever felt anything for men ever since I was a very young child (also like you, I’ve never had the urge to rip their clothes off as soon as I see them other than once or twice (unless the HOCD is messing with my memories); I’m also extremely shy, suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, mild hypochondriac and am not an overly physical person so this also is being used against me by the HOCD) and this HOCD is making me question whether I ever was truely attracted to guys I’ve had crushes/been in love with in the past (my brain asaults me with ‘what if it was all a lie’). I know that seeing naked men still turns me on, but when I see a naked woman like in a movie love-scene I am overcome with complete terror and try to avoid looking (whereas used to, I never would have even paid any attention to the woman’s body). And I know I’ve never felt anything for women other than friendship, occasionally, before the HOCD set in, I would think ‘oh she’s pretty; I wish I looked more like her’ once in a while and move on or if I noticed her clothing or hair and liked it I would fixate on that. But now, with the HOCD, I still don’t often noticed a woman’s figure, I only ever look at their faces to see if I think they are pretty, and if I do the panic and terror sets in; sometimes it isn’t even their face that sets me off, I can still just notice their hair or clothing and it will cause the spike. It’s like just feeling the ‘i like that’ feeling sets me off now adays, even if that feeling is being felt towards an object or a place. It’s all so confusing!

  80. hi i have had hocd for 8 years now.first it started off with thaughts and then it turned in to fantasys and it gave me a erection and i started masturbating on it.i can not imagen being with a bloke but everything in my life i see as gay i cant let it go.i use todate and bed girls intill the gay obsession came.imso scared at the moment that i hyperventilate.please can you give me some advise?

  81. Hi Dr,

    First of all, sorry for my English. I hope I can get an answer anyway!

    My story is basically like all the others. I am 21 years old and have been with my girlfriend for 2,5 years, and I have struggled with these thoughts since 7-8 months back. My girlfriend made a joke on me about me being gay or bisexual, and this made me started to thinking and worrying about this.

    I started to check myself and questioned my behaviour.. Am I aroused by this? Have I ever been? How am I talking? My clothes? Everything! Recently I’ve also had Dreams about this, I can be chased about naked guys, or seeing naked guys and be afraid that I would get aroused. But tonight i was dreaming that a guy gave me an oral, I don’t know how I felt in the dream, physically it felt good, but I woke up with the worst anxiety ever. Is this it? Am I really gay/bi? I have usually been pleased with how I sleep, No gay Dreams, only abot my issues (being afraid of homosexuality), As if I’m about to evolve into something I do not want to be. Is this a proof that I like guys?

    I really hate myself for this. I don’t want to be gay or bi, I want to be with my girlfriend, I can’t see myself being with a guy.

    I have been at two different psychologists, the first one said that I was confused and told me to calm down, and the second (my currently) says it could be HOCD, but that you can never be sure. I am now in the middle of a CBT therapy. But it is something that not feels right, I am starting to doubt that it is HOCD, and that I might be developing bisexuality. [u]Why[/u]? I really don’t know, I have get used to thougts about having sex with men so I don’t know how to react to them. But I know for sure that I want to be with my girlfriend.
    My Life is a living hell, what is happening to me?

    I have some questions (feel free to answer) for you that would help me.

    Is it common to having Dreams about sexuality/your fears about HOCD?

    Is it normal to dream about their OCD-problems? If I dream that I’m excited, it means that I’m excited in reality?

    Is it strange that I doubt that it is HOCD?

    Is it common with false attraction to friends? Sometimes I think that I would be in love with any of them, because we hang out so often.

    Is it common with loss of attraction to Girls and that I find it hard to enjoy sex for the moment?
    I would be thankful for answers!

    Best regards,
    Simon

  82. Hi im 15 years old and im feeling all of these symptoms and i dont know who too talk too i have un diagnosed forms of OCD for example if have to have everything 90 degrees to the edges in my room for example an ornament on my desk etc. or at an angle and before i have worked myself up to complete tears unable to stop because my cousins were in my toom play fighting and it was getting untidy eg. And now this and i dont feel comfortable speaking to my parents about any of these and i feel alone…

  83. Doctor please help me. I am 16 yrs old and I think I have hocd. It all started at 4 months ago. My mom got a job at a place and she had a boss who was homosexual. My mom is REALLY into zodiac signs and uses this constantly.Her boss is a taurus and I’m a gemini. She would constantly say you’re so girly like him or you act just like someone else. Or if I thought i had bad breath and she would tell me i’d do the same thing he’d do and retreat into the bathroom while panicking. I also have a gay uncle who I don’t like not because hes gay but because he is mean to my mother when they were best friends when growing up now all of a sudden he hates her. Once this happened I was terrified and I mean terrified i would take tests online to see if I were gay, watch coming out stories and masturbate to straight porn to prove i was straight and watch gay porn to prove I wasn’t turned on. I have homosexual acquaintances and I have no problem with them. I would defend homosexuals in arguments saying no one should be picked on. I was homophobic as a kid but more or less like what if he hits on me or anything (I was 11). Once I turned 14 I thought that i was a douche for saying gay when I meant stupid. Look these thoughts interfere with everything I do, talking to girls, playing video games, watching movies and eating (gogurt equals phallic symbol).I don’t want to be gay but I would sign a gay rights act and defend a gay kid from bullies in high school. I never wanted to date anyone until I met one girl in high school. We went to the movies her and a friend of mine I sat next to her and was so happy. I wanted to tell her how I felt so I did it and she didn’t feel the same. I felt depressed all summer I wanted to cry but I never did it. When she finally started talking to me again I felt like I was over her until I saw her up close then I felt depressed again. And saying why do you do this to me? Look please Doctor tell me what I can do I really need help.

    • I was a constant porn watcher too and I enjoyed straight/ lesbian porn even putting family and friends in sexual situations with me (all women). I’d watch gay porn to show myself I wasn’t attracted and that would work for about 30 minutes. I saw Sitter the movie and when Slater came out I noticed I behaved like how he did before he came out (except for feeling sad when one of my friends didn’t want to be friends anymore). I always wanted everyone to like me so obviously losing friends made me feel sad.

  84. ok i get it i have hocd and i may never be able to stop the gay thoughts.. they are bothering and get me down.
    how does someone who is cured of hocd act …
    can they talk to women and be attracted to them.. at the moment i am completley un aroused by any women…. does this come back? or am i to wonder the earth unsure and unbothered bby this to live as a hermit who is only attracted to my work… i used to be such a sexual being.
    is this gone forever.

    • i also have bi polar. i had hocd for a couple of years before i had a manic bipolar episode and fuck me hocd is a walk in the park…. A WALK IN THE PARK compared to bipolar..

  85. Thanks for the article Dr Steven. ive been having these kinds of obsessions that i might be gay for a while now. it started around 5 years ago and with therapy and zoloft i got way better. i quit the zoloft like a year ago and now the thoughts are back. thing is this time i decided in my head to try to embrace the fact that im gay if its true, rather than just run from it. so in my attempts to find out if im actually gay, i started fantasizing (on purpose) about making out with girls rather than guys, and the fantasy actually turned me on. i also started watching lesbian movies excessively in an effort to de-sensitize myself to the whole idea and prevent the bad reaction (by seeing how perfectly normal and natural thing it is). this has been going for the last month. since then ive had like a couple gay dream. that coupled with the fact that i was actually turned on by fantasizing about girls (and reaching orgasm) is making me think that i might in fact be a lesbian. what do you think? is it possible for straight people to dream about same sex intercourse and be turned on by same sex fantasies?
    i realize that you must get all kinds of stupid questions all the time but i would really really appreciate it if you could answer mine.

    thanks again

  86. I’m a 14 year old guy that has always dated girls,made out with them, looked at them in sexually arousing ways… but i all of a sudden got a thought saying ‘what if im gay?’ i feared this thought for months. then my thoughts were changing around.. i had questions such as
    -am i gay?
    -do i want to be gay?
    -am i gay because i experimented when i was younger?
    as i started to take medicine the worry got less intense. but this made another worry pop up.. ‘ since im not worrying about being gay, what if i am gay?’
    I always look for reasurrance from family that im not gay, but it’s so hard n to believe them! it bugs me all day every day. i have had other worries such as what if i go to hell, and what if i get an f in school..
    i just wanted to see if you thought i have homosexuality ocd…so do i?

  87. Ronnie, I’m a 17 year old in the same situation as you. I firmly believe that if you’re worrying about being gay, you probably aren’t. This has been my personal experience.

    Anyway, for Dr. Seay, here’s my story; I’d love it if you could tell me if this is HOCD, because it seems like it is.

    ‘m a 17 year old male, about to be 18. My entire life, I’ve liked girls. All I’ve dated is girls, and all I’ve wanted is girls. Sure, I’ve had an occasional gay fantasy, but that’s not exactly uncommon. Anyway, since about Christmas, I’ve been worried that I’m gay. Usually, I take one of the psychological sexual orientation tests and try to answer it honestly. Most of them report what I think-I’m straight. Anyway, I started watching gay porn, and immediately began to be terrified that I was gay. It’s really bad sometimes; I can’t focus on anything else outside of wondering if I’m gay. So now it’s morphing into some form of anxiety around other guys, in many cases, my friends and family. Regardless, I’m confused as hell right now. I have no idea what I am. I feel like I’m not gay, and I’m just terrified of the remote possibility. I also feel as though I’m not bisexual. I really have no desire for other men. Sure, I can acknowledge that some of them are attractive. I have trouble selecting the MOST attractive one out of a group or anything like that. However, I don’t have any emotional attraction to men, outside of the whole “this guy is like my brother.”

    I really don’t think I’m gay, but I’m concerned that this might be HOCD. I read an article on it just now, and it seems like I exhibit a number of the symptoms (i.e. retching when I see gay males kissing or whatever).

  88. Hi,doc
    i am 17 year old male…..i live in japan…during my whole life i never had any
    thought about homosexuality or any fear…but i did had some OCD symptoms like closing doors and washing hands…but few months a ago i accidently click on this gay porn side…..although i was disgusted by it and i close it but before that i was watching some girl porn and i had erection so certain thought started coming in my head that did i like the gay porn ….and why did my erection did not turn off by the gay porn…i never like a boy/man i never fantise about them never,never…. but it just than a thought came to my head that i like masturbation with my hand that hand is of a guy…so it gave me pleasure so what if the others male body gave me pleasure and i might like the gay sex but this thought terrifies me and i keep fighting it i really don’t like man i have not emotionally attraction to them,i have a number of crushes on girls,and i have many ex and recent girlfriends but i have this fear that i might be homo sexual which i am not i have been hit on by many gay man i was so grossed out back then back this things keep haunting me plss help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  89. this HOCD is really ruining my life and seeing people here who are suffering from it for years is making me more nerverous and i am worried that i might give my hetro style and become gay

  90. and i have a question that is really worring me that what if i enjoy having sex with a man just out criusotiy i guess but this thought gross me out even when i think about touching a man it creeps me and i fell like vomiting it is really destroying my life

  91. Hi
    I am a 14 year old guy and i am worried and completely confused about my sexuality. When i was six i remeber having crushes on girls, rigt throught to when i was 13. These girl crushes meant a lot to me. I really did enjoy them and i have always wanted to be with a girl when i grow up- i get on really well with them and i still fund gurls attractive and pretty. However, about a year ago i begun to watch porn. I watched straight porn and became kinda jeaois of the guys with the big dicks!
    I never watched gay porn and the idea of homosexuality never occured to me. I just felt turned on by these guys and looking back on it i think i didnt even notice the girls in the film.
    This tears me up in side knowing that i jacked off to gay fantasies for a year, although i never ever would want to try them for real. These fantasies were often extremely kinky and they were really odd- it never iccurred to me at the time that these thoughts might be gay- i was wanking to guys whilst in real life i was flirting with fit girls and i am currently in a crush right now ??!!
    I am just so confused by all this- it started by this gay guy at school calling me gay and i have been intensly depressed for months. I know i dont want to be in a gay lifestyle and love a man but i feel it is inevitable. I am terrified and i have never ever come across anything quite this difficult in my life before. I am not anxious about coming out or about what people will think if i am gay- i am just so shocked that i hav spent my whole life feeling straight and emotionally loving women and now it feels as if i am gay and i cant do anything about it.
    I hate having to check out guysall the time abd having to ceck out girls all the time for reassurance. I am also terrifyed that i am sub contioualy gay and that i have bben for my entire life- i feel like this is gay realisation- i am completely freaked out unsure and scared.
    I love girls emotionally and the only real person who can make me forget about hocd is my girlfriend
    I feel so happy when i am wig her
    I would love to be in a meaningful relatioship in my life with a beautiful girl i love- i really do
    But this gay feelig makes me feel like i dont want to
    Sadly i hav been attracted to guys in the past ( i jerked off about my best friend once) but i never considered myself gay or that i would like o do it in real life. I dont mind gay people but i would never want to be in a relationship with a guy and those gay fantasies were nothing more than fantasies. However, now i feel as though they were really real, evern though i hav no wish to do them in real life
    I hav a damaged home life and a bully for a brother who is very insecure and picks on me. I long to be with a hot girl but feel i cant!
    I have had ocd in the past, (i had to lock and open doors multiple times and became anorexic) and i really do think ( and want to be straight).
    Please help

  92. Hey dr. I’ve been going through all of this and one thing I’ve struggled with was that I seem to have lost my excitement for women before I would jump at the chance to be with a hot girl now I feel like I can’t get excited. I’ve had no problems staying hard during sex but unwanted images come into play is this normal for some with this condition. I’m seeking professional help at the moment and it is helping but I just still have many unanswered questions and it freaks me out?

  93. Hi I’ve been having the Hocd signs, and they’ve made me so depressed, one thing I’m stuck on is yesterday there was a photo of two girls doing doggy style with short stuff on and I don’t know if I was uncomfortable or “starting to get horny” the Hocd tells me I was getting horny, I was damp down below but I have a discharging problem, this was really uncomfortable I don’t think same sex relationship are right, I’d never ever want to be gay, and if this wasn’t Hocd then no matter what I would never go with a women I wouldn’t dream of it, I don’t find it right, I’m so scared incase this means I’m gay, please can anyone help me, this all started when I was like 6/7 because I made out wih two different girls, I don’t know what came over me but I’ve had depression since!!!! I’m not 16, it comes and goes but I’ve had it bad for nearly a year now, suggestions and options is this Hocd ????

  94. My husband disappeared after I had a miscarriage ( 7 months ago) and avoided all contact with me. Seven months later when I managed to get him on the phone he told me he was gay. He has been plagued with anxiety and depression since even before I met him which was 7 years ago. and the loss of the child made everything worse, he says. He is 35. He saw a therapist who told him that repressing normal heterosexual sexual urges for a long period of time could cause someone to become ‘gay’. Is this true? He was always homophobic and says he cannot stand the person he has become and refuses to see me. Please help, I am at a loss as to how to handle this situation.

  95. Dr . Im 14 I started out watching straight porn . Then I started watching gay porn . I started to look at men differently but i also had feelings for women . I found out that it is natural to look at men and think that they are attractive . But now i think im gay . I do feel as if those compulsions are true . I just recently started looking at straight porn again it does get me excited just as gay porn did . I used to always get hard at men , but i dont now . Is this normal ? Am i Gay / Straight ? Thanks !

  96. I was just diagnosed with OCD because of these thoughts about other women. For 6 months I was absolutely against the idea of being gay. Now, I sort feel like my stomach is gone and I get somewhat sexually aroused, and it scares me really bad. But sometimes I fee okay about it. What does this mean? Am I turning gay because of my OCD?

  97. when i was young (11) i did something gay it wasn’t sex or anything im now 15 i have a girlfriend now and i really love her and im not sure if i have HOCD or im gay ive never had an attraction to a guy ive never been aroused by a guy i wasnt even aroused when i did that mistake and now i cant look at people of the same sex in the face i get anxiety attacks and im not scared that if i were gay i wouldnt get accepted and everyone would hate me im just scared of being someone im not wich is gay im sure im straight im also sure im not bi because i was thinking over it and i was thinking of accepting myself as bi but i still know im straight and i like girls and i get images i dont want and thoughts i dont want when i get them i get disgusted and i get anxiety and panic attacks so i wanna know if i really have HOCD and when i watched some straight porn i would get aroused but when i watched some gay porn i wouldnt get aroused at all i would just get disgusted and have alot of anxiety so can you please help is this HOCD or am i really gay? please help

    • i also always have the “what if” questions all the time and they wont stop and also have those moments when i check that if i do feminine things and check the way i talk and check alot if i get an arousal when i get the images and thoughts but i never do

  98. Ok so this is my story: I’m 13 yea old, male. About 2 weeks ago these thoughts popped into my head of me being gay, and lasted for few days and then vanished and i forgot about the whole thing. Then after a few days my mom made a joke of me being gay (after I tried to walk on heels as a joke) and then i remember the thoughts i had had a few days ago. It started to bother me and bothered me for a week until i desided to google is it normal and is it linked to hormones and puberty. Then i found this and found out i was having the same “rituals” listed above and that helped me a bit. Today was a better day, i know i’m straight now, and i will continue dating girls in the future, and I didn’t do ANY rituals today, but i was worried and scared of the HOCD and will it come back in the future (and i was thinking about how weird and scary the human mind is) so know i’m asking you: 1: I know now I’m straight and i will keep dating girls, but will this come back in the future or will this vanish and will i forgwt about it overtime? 2: If it won’t go away, will it disturbe or interrupt my life much? 3: Is this part of puberty and linked to hormones? 4: should i tell my parents and go to therapist or wait if it come back/gets worse and then tell them? 5: Is this serious on scale 1-10? Thank you, i would love to know and would be happy if ypu wouöd anwser this. Thanks

  99. I have got only one question. I’ve been thinking this for a long time. All my symptoms match , but Im worried because when I have this gay thoughts of seeing someone of the same sex that has good looking I feel like I’m liking my thoughts. That freaks me out. I know that it may sound like HOCD but I feel like I have the same “romantic”/sex feelings when I would see a gorgeous girl.

  100. I always had been attracted to men in my life. The thoughts being with a women is repulsive me. I did previous watch lesbian porn or read lesbian porn (not anymore because I prefer watching straight porn) I genuinely feel uncomfortable but I’m draw to weird stuffs. I do have intrusive thoughts and I tend to be obsessed with these thoughts that cause me to be anxious and feel uncertain. I tend to dress feminine, worry that I may appear like a lesbian. I hate these thoughts. I went to see a psychologist and he thoughts that I had sexuality issue, fear of heights and anxiety.

    1. Every morning I have to fight the thoughts “I’m not a lesbian”
    2. I constantly reassure myself even If im arousing, if im attractive to them, i even took the Kinsey Scale test for 8-10 hours
    3. When I do accept the possibliity that I might be gay or come out to myself, I am not happy because I don’t desire to be in relationship with a woman or have sex with them, but the anxious decrease and my subconscious is laughing at me and state “girl youre not gay, youre straight I’m just messing with you.”
    4. My only problem is not avoidance but the compulsion.
    5. It’s possible that you can suddenly turn gay in the later age.
    6. It’s possible that I can denial that I don’t have HOCD eventhough I do have HOCD.
    7. I’m scared to see a psychologist because they might think I’m in denial and that I have been gay my life which it distress me a lot.
    8. What is the best OCD book you can recommend and does eating healthy makes an impact on treating OCD?
    Ps I do have OCD regard with health, bugs, self harm, harming other.

  101. Do you know a therapist who treats the HOCD in Mexico?

  102. I feel very depressed and cry on and off. I have night sweats and my heart races and pounds. I have a lot of anxiety. This all started after sometimes watching lesbian porn out of curiousity. I fantasized once about one of my female friends and I can’t stop obssessing over it it is ruining my life. I have always like men. And this ocd is making me believe that I don’t. I am not attracted to any females when out anywhere. These thoughts just run through my head like a movie saying I really want to be with my friend but I want to be with a man and want these thoughts that I never had before to go away.

  103. I really need help, I had HOCD before and it went away for a month but then i got it again, but this time the anxiety from the thoughts has gone, i don’t know why, i’m just not scared of them anymore and this creates anxiety because does that mean that I’m gay now, i really don”t want to be and i”m scared.

  104. Dr.
    I just wanted to know if HOCD can happen at a young age, around 11 or so, and continue throughout adolescence? I have been struggling with this for about 10 years now and I fear that there is no end. I can go months being carefree and then spiral back down into this depression. I have only had heterosexual relationships and experiences and have enjoyed them and hope to one day get married and have children but I constantly fear that I will and then I will figure out I am a lesbian. I think I know where it all began but what I’m mostly concerned about is the fact that it has been in my life for so long. I constantly go remember situations and how I felt which causes even more anxiety. I want to go to a therapist at my college but I am unsure if they know anything about HOCD. When I get back into this depression I want to figure out where it truly began and if I was just a lesbian all the time and I’m just not admitting it, because they say you know if you are gay at a young age and since this has been going on for so long I’m in fear that is my situation. There are times where I look back and think how silly I was for even thinking such a thing but then something triggers me and down I go once again until I figure out a way to pull me bs k up again. I almost feel numb during these times and just unable to enjoy life in general. If you could give me some insight I would greatly appreciate it!
    Thank you for your time,
    LKM

  105. hey Dr I’ve had ocd for 2 years now when It 1st started I was depressed couldn’t smile at anything just down write miserable I did most of the symptoms look at Straight porn to see if I still get aroused look at gay porn to see if I’m disgusted, look at male genital area to see if it arouses me, ask for Reasuurance, get unwanted thought pop up when I was tryin to think about other stuff to this I’m Abit Better only using myself for help and My Gp now I’m heaps better but I don’t have compulsions anymore just obsessions or mind compulsions not physical Ones. Every time while Making love I have these unwanted sexual images pop up off my friend what should I do

  106. hey steven! thank you so so much i feel like i am not going to cry tonight because of this. see my problem is that i am a sophomore in high school and just recently had this obsessive thought or fear of becoming homosexual or one day waking up and wanting to become transgender. i also have a fear i will be attracted to one of my teachers one day and it is distracting me in class sooo much. thanks alot this really suppressed my thoughts.

  107. Steve, thank you for writing about this. Finding this information and realizing that it’s my anxiety manifesting in this particular way has really helped me find hope. I am getting better at recognizing the thoughts as OCD and resisting the need to reassure myself by thinking of past crushes and relationships with guys, and I’ve pretty much stopped checking. I still struggle though, and I went through a bad phase over the past few weeks.

    Finally, I had to tell my husband about it. I showed him some articles because I knew they explained it better than I could. He was confused at first, and told me it’s OK if I’m attracted to women, we’re all a little bit gay. And that actually helped me, because apparently the thought of being a little bit gay provided a bit of that illusive certainty we HOCD sufferers seek, and it did not cause the distress and anxiety of “What if I’m gay/I’m gay.” I was feeling much better the next day, but I could tell my husband was not. I talked to him about it and he said “how would you feel if I told you I might be gay?” I said that’s not what I told you; I have intrusive, anxiety-inducing moments at the thought of being gay. Anyway, long story short, he doesn’t understand why I would even have the thought “I’m gay” if it didn’t mean I was gay. I told him I’m not attracted to women, I don’t want to be with women, so I’m not gay. It’s just the thought itself that causes distress and panic. I’m not homophobic, but I’m sure it has something to do with “gay” being the insult of choice growing up and that I’ve always been insecure, even as a young child.

    I have dealt with anxiety in the past, (mainly social anxiety and hypochondria/fear of loved one dying suddenly), and he has been there to support me through it. He has never experienced it though and is having a hard time comprehending this one. I’m so scared now that he’s going to divorce me because he’s afraid I’ll just end up leaving him for a woman anyway. Even if that extreme doesn’t happen, I’m so scared that telling him has ruined everything good about our relationship. He is the love of my life and it makes me so sad and so angry that this stupid condition could ruin it. I guess I am just looking for advice on how to explain this to someone on the outside. HELP!

  108. Whats is the difference between unwanted thougths and hocd

  109. Yes I have struggled with these intrusive thoughts my whole life and I found out it was part of my OCD pattern of life which had gone back to when I was a young child. It’s funny that very little research has been done on the topic and little is known about Gay OCD. Sometimes it’s difficult to cope with but I just remind myself that when annoying obtrusive thoughts pop in my head that I have OCD and this a result of a thought disorder.

    Also, i find that watching porn can make it worse…. With unnecessary images popping up in my head at inopportune times.
    T

  110. I was born in 1951 and I was and still am a sensitive person. Sensitivity in those days was regarded as the preserve of wornen, and definitely not of men. Boys who showed their feelings were called ‘sissy’ or other degoratory names.
    I was beaten quite severely by my father who possessed Victorian views, and believed the child, whether male or female, should be brought up by the mother. When my father physically abused me I ran to my mother for protection, so I inadvertently adopted the view that violence which I received from my father equalled masculinity. In the same way I came to think that sensitivity and the protection I got from my mum equalled femininity . I was an only child without many friends and any I had were girls. Deep down I felt different – a sensitive and confused boy and later young man in a world in which I felt so isolated.
    My father never talked to me very much and I felt uneasy in his company, but he worked a lot. so sometimes I didn’t see him a lot. It’s sad but because I couldnt identify with my father in a male way, I ended up identifying with my mother in a feminine way. And this way of thinking has ruined my life.
    I didn’t want to date girls because I didn’t feel ‘manly’ – anything but it!!
    And when I was in my late twenties I went to a gay club in a city near me.
    Inadequate some friends there, and was on the ‘gay scene’ for some years,fell’in love’, but was and still am unfulfilled in my personal life . I simply wanted and still want the love of another man to help me cope with the past and the hurts inflliceted on me .
    I guess I suffer from HOCD, but at the same time I think like a woman, and feel like a freak!
    Do you understand me? Or am I oversensitive ? I fee so alone although I have many good friends, though no family. Can you offer any advice?
    Thank you.

  111. Actually this article pretty much fixed it up for me, basically it just told me I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Back in May of this year HOCD started for me. I had a dream where I kissed a guy, and I didn’t even notice it was a guy in the dream at first and then I noticed, and pushed him off, and said “dude I’m not in to that.” At first I didn’t even think twice about this dream, and then later on in the day I started over analyzing it and before I knew it my entire life was flipped upside down. And it’s just been reaking havoc on my mind and body since then until earlier today when I found out about this condition. A big part of it was that I felt like I must be the only person in the world this confused, because I didn’t see how I could ever find closure on this when it seems like everyone else has their closure. Something that may be of interest is that I was at a really susceptible place at the time of that dream. I was starting to have ED due to desensitization from years of looking at porn compulsively. And I’m the kind to over think things, so I was starting to feel rather insecure at that time in my life wondering if I really found my partner attractive because I started to have a low sex drive because of all that (later I found I did very much so, but the HOCD was still getting to me.) Making it just the right time for this crippling HOCD to kick in, and it’s been hell. And last night I noticed I was still compulsively looking at porn pretty much every day multiple times a day, now MOST of the time it was because I had to prove myself one way or another furthering my desensitization and lack of real sex drive. So I said you know what I’m going to research porn/masturbation addiction, and there it was HOCD, and I saw that there were tons of other people who obsessed over this unexplainable thing, and the best tool that they used to stop it so that it never returned was to stop masturbating to porn. Also stop masturbating all together for an extended amount of time to get through the withdrawal of porn addiction. Letting their dopamine transmitters and receptors heal from all the damage caused by porn. Really just finding out that I wasn’t the only one made me relax about it, because I was able to see how ridiculous it was.

  112. “Just because a theif breaks into your house, does not mean he has found your hidden treasure”-an anctient acetical proverb. Basically, the presence of unwanted thoughts shouldn’t threaten our true values/ beliefs. The key to defeating Obessesive thoughts, in my experience, is by no longer interpreting the thoughts as a threat. Holding firm to your beliefs, and simply observe the intrusive thoughts like a disinterested by stander.

  113. Hello, your article saved me … I am an 18 year-old female and i am suffering from hocd…I have gone to a therapist and the thing goes well. At least I can enjoy life again, go out with friends, talk with my family, laugh. I have a life again and I can sleep. Well, I am not perfect but I feel better. It was hell…pure hell. I still have the doubt and sometimes it makes me feel bad, but I controll it. When I was 6, I’ve been sexually abused, and I remember myself always scared about being gay or pedophile. Now, that this obsession starts to fall apart, I am starting to fear that I am going to hurt children or my dog, but I control it and I am trying really hard not to do the checking and the rituals and just accept the thought. Is that common for ocd? Also, I would like to ask you if it is normal the fact that I am getting better, but i still feel depression and fear over the thought and having the impression that thiw whole situation doesnt belong to me? Sorry for my english.

  114. Hi, I have been straight all my life, as far as I know, and recently I kissed a girl drunkly then it started, obsessions about my orientation :( I am quite an innocent 18 year old girl and this has really been getting to me. can’t sleep, eat or carry out a function without the thought in my head and its tearing my life apart :( I now have lost interest in singing, dancing and the things I like to do. I also have lost interest in boys and everything I do, I think whats the point because being gay would ruin my life. It’s all I talk and think about which isn’t good. Am I suffering from HOCD? sometimes my own thoughts scare me, I think would I like a relationship with a woman and my mind answers yes but I’ve always liked boys and imagined myself married with children happily. It’s so frustrating. I keep thinking I’m in denial but then it upsets me. I thought I liked boys and I don’t even remember the kiss!! please help?

  115. Dr. Seay,
    Just wanted to say thanks for this. I’ve got a lot of those symptoms and it’s helped me a lot because I know I’m not actually attracted to other guys, especially considering I’m a little uncomfortable around gays, but anyway it’s just fed off itself for a few years and made me start to believe it, but now I know there’s a way to get better and stop thinking the intrusive thoughts. So again, thanks for the article

  116. Hello!

    I’m a 16 years old man from Sweden, and I found this article very interesting. I have always been totally sure of my sexuality, which is heterosexual. I’ve been in love with persons of the opposite gender several times, last in January 2013.

    But suddenly, one day in March, I became a strange and very unpleasant feeling when I at the school sat together with a boy in my class. It was a extremely unpleasant feeling of fear of that I’m maybe gay. I became very afraid, and since than, I’ve struggled with this fear more or less every day, with some days intervals when those feelings took a “break”.

    Now, when only some months remains until it’s one year since I got this problem, I at times am deeply depressed, and think back to December in last year, when everything was good. Sometimes this depression is so deep that I feel a sadness, and then I only miss the bygone times. It’s indescribably miserable, and I cannot more look forward to the coming times, because of missing the bygone days.

    Innermost, I don’t feel myself homosexual, and that’s why this fear of being it is so irritating. I’m as above mentioned 100% sure that I’ve always been heterosexual, and as late as in the beginning of March this year, I was happy of seing persons of the opposite sex. But sometimes today, the struggle against the fear is so grueling that I can’t anymore enjoy to see girls, because I feel a fear of falling back into the unpleasant feelings. It’s like my brain says it’s meaningless to be attracted to girls because I will nevertheless feel the fear.

    When I get in the 6th grade at the school, some class mates mobbed me and called me gay, and thereafter, I developed a fear of as well being homosexual as homosexuality in general, but it took over two years until this fear was developed into physical feelings. I wonder if these unpleasant experiences have caused my homophoby, that has developed a fear of being homosexual.

    I am so afraid of being homosexual that I on beforehand worry that I will feel these feelings when I meet a boy, and when I am most worried, I become feelings of lack of control over my thoughts, and I can suddenly get thoughts even if they’re both unwanted and unexpected, and then I try, as one of the symptoms mentioned over, to “neutralize” those thoughts with heterosexual such.

    Is there any chance of that will I get rid of these extremely unpleasant, unexpected and depressing feelings?

  117. Hi Steven,
    This is a very interesting and insightful post. I have several patients that I am currently treating with HOCD and I plan on forwarding them a link to the discussion.
    BTW, I also noticed that you cited me in your OCD Cognitive Deficits article – thanks!
    Keep up the great work.
    Sincerely,
    Dr. David Direnfeld, C.Psych.

  118. Hello, so the possibility of having HOCD has occurred to me, as I’m 14 (male) and currently struggling with something that feels like this. I was also wondering if this can change, or mutate if you like, I’m now not as scared of being gay, I just really don’t want to be. I still repeat some of rituals, reassuring myself that I’m not gay etc, I want reasurrence that I’m not, OCD also runs in my family, but im not sure if this is it, although I was close enough to sure it was at the beggining, however now I couldn’t be too sure. Thank you!

  119. I was dating a girl for 1 year and i was so in love, my first real girlfriend who i loved having sex with and everything was good. Then with the stress of school, my mother’s alcoholism, financial struggles, and going away to school, i began to become very anxious. I never had anxiety before until when i was studying for the midterms on Nov 7th i tried masturbating to my gfs pictures and couldnt get an erection and the thought came into my brain, “What if I am gay?” every since that day, 11 months ago ive had anxiety, the chills, and my mind has been racing with almost all/ if not all of the HOCD thoughts you have described. I talked to my parents, bought books to read, and went to therapists who dont even know what HOCD is and looked at me like im crazy. I still have my girlfriend but its not the same and when we have sex i get images of men and get physically disgusted. Everytime i talk to a guy i see images and i repeat im not gay im not gay. i dont enjoy doing anything anymore and I may turn to alcohol because thats the only time when i feel normal. Previously, i think i had a porn addiction and always had performance anxiety like im not good enough or small enough so i never went sexually with girls despite wanting to. I’m very depressed and don’t know what else to do because I can’t cope with this any longer. Please help.

  120. Dear Dr,
    I want to ask some questions and tell you a little bit about my thoughts.
    Since I was 9 years old I had some questions that I found strange like “if I abused my little brother and I dont remember?” Things like that.
    But then I say “thats just stupid a thing like that is impossible to forget”… Anyway I grew up and those thoughts were not important for me anymore.. But then at the age of 19 I started with some thoughts about “what if I kill my mom” “maybe I want to” “maybe I dont lover her” but of course I was so afraid and I usually cry because my mom is my bf and I couldn’t enjoy being with her as before… But I overcame this thought as well, then the thought of being pedofil, esquizofrenic, and religious thoughts with sex scenes.. How ever I did overcame all this but there is just one thought I can’t overcome and its being lesbian. I have a boyfriend he is my first official boyfriend, but this thought sometimes comes when I am with him even tough I don’t want it. I have read A LOT of this topics about OCD and HOCD and I know that I am not my thoughts and that have to be ok with uncertainty, l personally don’t watch porn (not straight and not homosexual) I also don’t masturbate because for me this is not ok (my beliefs), I used to watch my panties to see if I had something when I saw a boy or a girl, but I stop doing this because the reassurance is not ok, I try not to do any compulsion in fact I don’t know if I have one; it might be searching in the internet and reading so much over and over again web pages about this and always searching for an answer of a new doubt.. I need to overcome this last thought and I need to do it my self because here in My city there is no OCD psychologists but actually I think I can do it my self. I go with a psychiatric and I am taking the min. amount of medicine..
    I really want to be happy and stop thinking about this, I wish to be like a normal girl with her boyfriend, Sometimes I think this world would be easier with out gays because that way I wont be with this doubt, actually before I saw lesbians with disgust but now I think I’m used to it because all my thoughts about them. I am afraid of dreams about lesbians and feeling arousal but i guess this is not reality so this doesn’t tell my sexual preferences.
    Sorry for all the writing please answer ! I would be grateful all my life and if you want me to pay something just tell me.
    Thanks in advance !!!

  121. This HOCD seems so real and im so depressed i have not been able to enjoy anything in my life for about a year. my HOCD tells me whats the point of talking to girls if im always going to have these disgusting thoughts. I also feel like i look feminine, sound feminine, I watch the way I walk, sit, hand gestures, etc. My HOCD says that I have had this my whole life; however, I never questioned my sexuality ever, never masturbated to gay porn, never thought of gayness when i was with my friends. This has killed my social life at college to the point where i cant even go out.

  122. Foxdelta,
    You’ve just explained my situation entirely! I was bullied in school and feel the exact same way! It’s great knowing there’s someone else out there! Do your thoughts come to you as questions or statements? Or both?

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