Since I first blogged about HOCD, more and more people have been coming out of the woodwork in my life to say, “That’s me.” I’m realizing every week just what a common OCD theme it is to struggle with and question one’s sexuality, even when there is really very little reason to do so. When I talk to obsessive-compulsives with HOCD, it’s very clear to me that they are straight (they want to be straight, they are not generally attracted to the opposite sex, etc.), but OCD– that old bastard– won’t give them any rest.
I decided to conduct a small, not-scientific-at-all study on my own so that I could compare responses and see what trends I could see. I asked the same 8 questions to 4 of my friends– one male and one female, each with HOCD, and one male and one female, both who are homosexual. I’m so grateful to them for their thorough and honest responses, which I have edited down without changing any of the meanings obvious in the larger context.
I’d like to share them with you.
1. When did you first start to wonder if you were gay? How old were you? Was there a particular experience that “triggered” your questioning?
2. When you first suspected you were gay, how did you feel? What emotions went through you, both as you considered what it would mean for yourself internally and for your relationships externally?
3. How long did the debating (am I gay/am I not?) last? Was this something you knew or something you were/are trying to figure out?
4. When you pictured yourself interacting romantically with someone of your same sex, what emotions did you experience? Also, how sure of those emotions were you? (Did you waffle back and forth between your reactions, or were you certain and set on a particular reaction?)
5. Did you/do you want to be gay?
6. Do you struggle/have you struggled with any OCD-related obsessions (HOCD or otherwise)? Have you been diagnosed with OCD?
7. In general, do you find yourself primarily attracted to the opposite sex or your same sex?
8. Do you find people of both genders attractive?
I’d be so fascinated to hear reactions to these answers from my blog readers. What did you notice? What surprised you? Are there any trends you are seeing or sensing?
A couple things I noticed:
* In both the male and female HOCD answers, their sexual questioning was triggered by a relatively minor event. In contrast, the homosexual response from both genders was more of a large-scale “I knew I was different.”
* My gay friends seemed to fear people’s responses and reactions more than they actually feared being homosexual.
* Both HOCD responses toward imagining romantic interactions with the same sex were primarily negative– disinterest, nausea– even though there may have been physical reactions that seemed to say otherwise.
* Those with HOCD thoughts were already deeply struggling with other areas of OCD.
* Everyone agreed that both genders can be attractive– but note that doesn’t equate being attracted to them.
I’d love to hear from my readers. What are your thoughts?
Disclaimer that I should probably have put at the top: I think it is obvious that this blog post is not at all about discussing the morality of homosexuality. This blog post is about discovering what we can about HOCD in comparison to homosexuality. All four of the people who so graciously agreed to be interviewed are my friends, if you think I will so much as let you breathe an insult in their direction, just get ready to feel my wrath. There are avenues for you to debate homosexuality and/or homophobia; this blog is NOT one. >calms down, flashes big smile<