A Closer Look at HOCD

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?

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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?

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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?

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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?)

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5. Did you/do you want to be gay?

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6. Do you struggle/have you struggled with any OCD-related obsessions (HOCD or otherwise)? Have you been diagnosed with OCD?

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7. In general, do you find yourself primarily attracted to the opposite sex or your same sex?

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8. Do you find people of both genders attractive? 

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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<

Related posts:
Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
Another Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer
No One Wants to Talk about HOCD
A Big Ol’ HOCD Post
A Third Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer

119 thoughts on “A Closer Look at HOCD

  1. Interesting, Jackie………thanks for this “study.” I too am just beginning to realize how common this type of OCD is. As you say, OCD latches on to what’s most important to you.

  2. This was really interesting, Jackie, and I agree with the “trends” that you noticed. Thank you to all four of your friends who were kind enough to help in our understanding. I didn’t know HOCD was so common.

  3. i think this article seems to be convincing for any hocd sufferer.i am 17 yr old male and its been nearly six months of hell for me.the devil inside me is getting stronger and stronger day by day that i cant concentrate on daily activities .whenever i see handsome men on the street i get spiked off like some sort of a worst nightmare and to neutralize these thoughts i think about my girlfriend romantically and its like my love on her is getting stronger and stronger!!!
    anyways thanks for posting this article…

  4. Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling with (H)OCD for over two decades now and it’s been driving me to despair. All I’ve EVER wanted was a wife and family and these thoughts weigh me down with constant anxiety and sadness. It’s as if OCD doesn’t care and what I truly want doesn’t count. I am getting help, but it’s so hard living day to day alone and lonely, tormented by unwanted thoughts and eternal doubts. I love everything about women, and just want to be a good boyfriend or husband to a kind, loving woman. It’s all so sad. Thanks for your support.

      • Yes, doing CBT and mindfulness techniques. It’s been hitting extra hard because I just turned 45 and I feel my chances at the family life I want are slipping away quickly. I’ll accept no kids, but the prospect of life without the love of a good woman leaves me in utter despair. Thank you for your reply. I will read your information regarding CBT. Thanks for caring.

  5. Pingback: no one really wants to talk about HOCD | Lights All Around

  6. Thank you, Jackie, for having the courage to address this difficult and painful subject. I have been suffering for over 20 years, and have only just recently begun to get focused help for this problem. It’s nice to know there is a community out there…

  7. I read and I still don´t know. Sometimes I think I get a little from both. I mean, I have a story of OCD and anxiety. It was a moment that triggered the HOCD (before that I felt completely straight) and I panicked. I was 20 at the time. Now, I don´t know anymore. I feel being aroused by gay thoughts, but get completely anxious when I do. Never want to try an same-sex relationship because I am afraid of enjoying it and becoming gay (I relate with your gay friend, which freaked me out). When I am aroused by girls, I feel very very happy. Unfortunately it´s getting less frequent. Sometimes I become aroused (and afterwards sad and confused) by the most strange thoughts related to the same-sex (even with dirty homeless people and other unattractive stuff, I am embarrassed to say). I am constantly checking myself to the arousal (trying to figure, for example, where it came from).

    P.s. I had been to a shrink that said I had HOCD (I had it before), and he prescribed me some pills. I eventually left them and not I am seeing no doctor. We came to the conclusion that I had had OCD in the past (and I have a family story of depression). But now, I am really depressed and I don´t see an ending to this. Sometimes I just want to sleep and wake up no more.

    • Dear, dear anon,
      I’m o sorry that you see no ending to this nightmare. You seem to fit the description for someone with HOCD. I hope you will seek out ERP treatment and feel well again, friend.

  8. Hi Jackie,
    I was wondering if you could help me out; I’m confused but not really. When I was in junior high, I questioned my sexual orientation without any reason to do so; I have always been attracted to guys and have always wanted a boyfriend. There was one point where I stopped being friends with my best friend because I was worried that I was attracted to her (I’m not sure if I was uncomfortable with her growing sexuality or if I was experiencing attraction to her. I had never thought of her sexually nor did I desire a relationship with her but for some reason I was afraid that I was attracted to her. I stopped being her friend.) I have never desired a relationship with a woman but I had never pursued a relationship with a guy either until grade twelve and my first year of university. I’m currently in my ninth year of a heterosexual relationship. It is a good relationship but I do not have any real sexual desires. I have in the past been aroused by naked pictures of women and I am aroused by it now as well (I know it’s not HOCD related and I know that I do repress it…. I think); more so then men. I don’t like it, at all regardless. I want to be straight and not because of the social repercussions. I don’t want to be aroused by women nor do I want to be into having a relationship with them deeper than being friends. However, if I’m truly gay, then I will be okay with it. Anyways,I have known myself to be heterosexual my entire life and I have always enjoyed my heterosexual attractions; they have made me happy. I love dreaming about men! Anyways, last April I started to intensely question my sexual orientation; I have experienced all the symptoms that those with HOCD experience. The idea of being gay was abhorrent to me because it went against who I knew myself to be. I couldn’t accept myself as gay. However, at this point, I think I could accept myself as gay; I think I might be partially okay with it but maybe not…. I don’t know. I was looking at pictures of women today to test myself and I really didn’t mind looking at the pictures and I did feel myself become aroused. I didn’t like it but it’s what happened. It makes sense to say that I’m gay because I can be turned on by women and I don’t really enjoy sex nor do I desire it with my boyfriend despite loving him. I have read that women’s sexuality can change or that it’s more fluid. What if what I was experiencing was me just not being able to accept myself as gay? What if it was just part of the process of me coming out to myself? Today I went out and I didn’t really feel any anxiety. I felt like I could be attracted to some women I saw and other’s I knew I wasn’t. Is this the case with HOCD or am I gay? I can picture myself in a homosexual relationship and not be freaked out by it…. if I am in fact meant to be gay I suppose that would be okay; the idea of it doesn’t make me sick. I don’t think I’m bisexual; for me it has to be either gay or straight. I’m wondering if I’m one of those cases in which I was experiencing the symptoms of HOCD but it was just part of my own denial. What if my sexual orientation is changing!? I feel so jealous of those women who are straight. I’m pretty sure I’m gay and it doesn’t make me anxious. Sorry for my rambling, I’m just trying to work through my feelings.

    • Hi Brianne, how interesting! Do you have anxiety over NOT KNOWING? That can also be indicative of HOCD. I have an HOCD friend who is straight and married and doesn’t feel that much anxiety over the idea of being gay … but she does over the idea of not knowing one way or the other.

      • Hey Jackie and Brianne – I can completely relate to this post. Have been struggling with these symptoms for a long long time. I am getting CBT and am taking lexapro and remeron. These things are helping me. I think the struggle is and has been in not knowing. And for me, in recent years, I have obsessed over my smiling – why would I smile at that guy? So, then my ritual has been to suppress my smile, which ultimately makes me more uncomfortable than smiling! So, my therapist and I have decided I should smile more and sometimes, when I smile, I think to myself – maybe I’m smiling because I’m happy, maybe its because that person is attractive, maybe something was funny, or maybe its because I’m gay. Yeah – big charge out of that last one. This is not easy stuff and I probably do not do it as much as I could, however, it is, I think, getting easier. That is what I have to say to you – get a good therapist, you may have to work up to it, but you will eventually deal with the thoughts that are most haunting and you will eventually and maybe slowly (for me it seems very slow), see that it gets less difficult to deal with the uncertainty. Keep it up!

      • Hi Bzac! Good advice!! My ERP/CBT experience was quite similar– although mine wasn’t in regard to HOCD but to scrupulosity. ERP is undoubtedly the answer.

      • So then does anxiety over not knowing mean that I could be gay?
        I’m not sure what thoughts of mine are real. I often wonder if I’m faking having ocd… if I just want something wrong with me so I can be “special.” I haven’t seen my therapist in months because I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’m faking it, I don’t know what to tell him because I honestly don’t know what’s wrong. All I know is that I don’t want to be gay, I don’t think I want a relationship with a woman, and I can’t stop doubting my sexuality. That’s all I know to be true. Well actually this is also true: I worry that my boyfriend looks like a butch woman… I will look at his chest for breast bumps and I wonder (I think) if I want him to have some. This is all very confusing. I also do not want to have sexual fantasies… but I’m not sure what the truth is behind that – I think it’s because I’m afraid of the content and what it means about me – I’m not too sure though.
        I also find myself trying to prove that I have ocd in other areas of my life because then it’s more believable that I have hocd. I’m quite positive I have mild harm ocd; that’s believable for me because I understand what happens to me (the course of my thoughts and anxiety) when I have an intrusive violent thought….but that is very very acute… I haven’t had a violent intrusive thought that has provoked intense anxiety in over a year and they are always few and far inbetween.
        I also believe I have scab picking obsessions (not too sure this is related to ocd). I enjoy picking my scabs, I do it in secret, and I look forward to it, I will pick while reading, watching tv, while on the computer, driving my car….. I know it’s socially disgusting, and generally one scab becomes my best friend until it’s no longer pickable (sounds gross). My mom has caught me picking and has said I’d get an infectious disease… I do know though that I’m not as bad as other people. I have managed to heal my legs and arms and only stick to picking scabs in my ears. I have picked a scab on my scalp to the point of creating a bald spot. Anyways, I feel like I’m trying to convince you that I have a scab picking problem and I probably don’t. I just want there to be something wrong with me I think.
        I just can’t believe I have ocd. I don’t trust any of the past “symptoms” I have experienced…. were they genuine…… did I measure my fingers because I felt I had too in order to have hocd….. do i see reassurance because that’s what people with ocd do….. I can’t even remember everything I went through…… did I experience symptoms before I read someone else going through it or after… I know I genuinely felt like a man in the presence of some women…. I know I felt like I was being forced against my will….. I know the thought of being gay made my heart sink….. I know that I thought if I dug a little deeper inside myself I would eventually be able to accept that I’m gay or realize that I’m truly gay….. I know I ruminated about my past….. I know I wanted to die and hurt myself…. but were these real…were they my issues or someone else’s that I faked in myself
        I am sure… kind of… that I don’t want a relationship with a woman but I also feel like I don’t want one with a man… that I don’t want to be gay or straight. It’s so confusing.

      • Bri, my friend, the back-and-forth battle with your thoughts sounds precisely like OCD. Give yourself some kindness and the benefit of the doubt and look into exposure and response prevention therapy! Trust me: it’s the best thing you can do for OCD!

      • I know this is an old post but im a guy and i have thoughts exactly like this. Theres this guy in my class who im obsessing that i have a crush on. I had all the symptoms of hocd but its calmed now. This is making me stuck,i really want to know why i keep getting these sexual thoughts about him but im never aroused by them. I havent had a crush on a girl in a long time probably due to porn addiction which im getting over. I really,really dont want to be with him but (hopefully) HOCD attacks where i get these thoughts where i think id like to be with him “hey it cant be bad” i feel really bad about it believing its just denial. Ive never been aroused by a man only women. Ive thought about suicide once or twice. I read some things on how to get rid of unwanted thoughts about someone and it all says you get thoughts because you love them which makes me worse. His face keeps popping into my head i dont want it. Then i wonder how i came to the conclusion it was a crush because it started with thoughts i didnt want of his name which went away then hocd came along and it gradually escalated now every time i see him i go red then i sweat with fear. What is happening with me?

  9. My HOCD makes me get thoughts that every guy I look at is cute, even when I know I don’t think so. This happens mostly in public but can happen if I’m watching a Video on the Internet as well. It’s so irritating and unwanted.

  10. Just when I thought I had gotten over HOCD, it comes back. I understand that I am not gay… I know all these thoughts are ocd. And yet it still obsesses me, making me ask as a girl “do you REALLY like guys?” “Why do you like guys what’s so different about them” I just wish I could see males the same as before the HOCD struck. I used to just be able to think “oh that guys hot” “id date him”. Now my brain says “you’re just saying that to think you’re not gay” and I don’t find them hot anymore. It sucks, literally the life out of me. 😦

    • I know you feel too proud to see a therapist, Jamie, but pride has nothing to do with it. OCD is an illness, and when you ignore an illness, it usually gets worse. It’s not shameful to seek out a doctor for an illness. I hope you’ll look for sometime trained in ERP.

      • I seriously wish I could just get over my pride… I know that’s what it is. I’m really scared of being judged and having my family think “she must be gay” I can’t even imagine that.

      • Also, how would you suggest bringing this up to a trusted adult? My mom thinks I’m totally over it and it was “just a phase”. It causes me anxiety thinking about it. Also, can people with OCD get married and stuff? That may sound really ignorant and dumb but I just feel like it might debilitate some touchy areas such as that. I really want to feel better thanks for your posts. Xx

      • And yes, I recommend telling your mom (again, if you have to). Non-obsessive-compulsive people sometimes think that if you’re not talking about it, you’re not hurting. So be loud! 🙂

  11. I don’t know if you still reply but.. thankyou so so so so much for this post! It cleared a lot of things up!

    I have been in hell for the past week and a half! My close friend told me his childhood story; that his dad left his mother because he turned out to be gay 5 years after marriage. That story was ultimately shocking but I still took it with a pinch of salt because I did not relate to it. The next day, I also saw a show with two gay best friends which was entertaining but again, I took it with a pinch of salt because I didn’t identify with them.

    Then, all of a sudden I had this huge argument with my boyfriend and we were on the verge of breaking up and that completely and utterly shattered me. I could never live without him. I felt so emotionally drained with the thought of a break up, and he hasn’t been treating me well either so I was at an all time low. I know I suffered with OCD in the past and in fact I still do..

    So, I was in that vulnerable state and then all of a sudden I kept thinking I was secretly gay or had an interest in girls when deep down in my heart of hearts I have never, ever looked at another girl in a romantic/emotional way. I have attended a girls school for 7 years so I would have known then but I was always attracted to guys. I know because my first real love was a boy, in fact I had two first loves and I had this whole dilemma on them. But I don’t know where this doubt stemmed from. It’s crazy. I have always been interested in men and boys but right now nothing feels real anymore. My brain is constantly playing mind games with me and I am stuck in this fake reality. It’s like my body is metamorphosing into a ‘gay body’ and my real sexual identity is disappearing and i’m getting dragged into something that’s not me. I feel so bad that I was on the tube the other day and two women came infront of me and I started getting a panic attack; I went blind and started shaking and I fell so faint.. when I got off the tube I vomitted and fell down. This lasted for about 15 mins. I just feel terrible. I know i’m not but my mind won’t leave me alone. Fortunately, I am back with my boyfriend but I can’t even talk to him properly because of my HOCD. It’s killing me. I know for sure i’d rather be dead than handle this.

    Anyway, I don’t know! But thankyou so so much for your post! Cleared things up alot!

    Warmest regards!

    • I can definitely relate to your story!! Although I’ve never had a boyfriend like you, I had always been boy crazy and never ever had a crush on a girl (besides being like oh she’s really pretty she has nice boobs) in that way. Then about a month ago my friend was telling me about how her cousin was gay and he just traveled a lot so that he didn’t get attached. That made me think “what if I’m gay???!!!”, it lasted all night but it went away for about a day. Then I went to church the next day and I saw a girl with a big butt, and I couldn’t stop staring at it. I thought “stop staring that is so gay of you!” Then I tried to push the thoughts away, which obviously made things worse. I told my mom that night that I was having obsessive thoughts about liking girls. I remember vividly saying to her “but do I like girls? I know I’m straight!! But am I?!” It caused me awful anxiety for about 3 weeks straight, every waking minute id question it. Then one day I just kinda gave up and was like ” I know it’s HOCD, feel what you want you’re straight”. The anxiety definitely went down and that was also thanks to God( my main prayer requests was to stop the anxiety) but now I feel so drained. I am not attracted to anything, not even my celeb crushes. I can’t do ERP because I can’t stimulate anxiety because I KNOW it’s HOCD and the thoughts id use for ERP wouldn’t be legit. But if I know it’s HOCD why can’t I just accept it and be like, get on with your life,? Ugh it’s so annoying! OCD sucks. And I really don’t want to go to a therapist I have too much pride I suppose. Just know you’re not alone, I feel gross 24/7 too. Hopefully someone can find a cure!

      • Don’t give up on ERP just yet, Jamie! Keep looking for the right exposures– sometimes it doesn’t happen right immediately, but ERP is absolutely your best weapon against OCD.

    • Oh, you poor, poor dear! I’m so sorry to hear of all you’re going through. HOCD is difficult for straight and gay people alike because it calls into question our sexual identities, which is a very intimate part of ourselves. OCD is a liar and a tyrant and will enslave you. You can fight back against it with exposure and response prevention therapy. You can learn all about ERP therapy on my blog!

  12. Hey Jackie, first of all your blog is awesome! I was wondering, you wrote somewhere that you had HOCD when you were younger but never knew it until you stumbled across the term and though ‘oh that’s what that was’. So of course I am wondering how you got over it. Did it just fade away? And how long did it take?

    • Hi Tess! I struggled with OCD for 20 years before I got the right treatment. HOCD themes happened when I was in junior high … so my theme had moved on to harder, scarier, more torturous (for me) themes by the time I was treated, but my ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy wiped them ALL out. You can read about ERP on my blog– I write about it A LOT.

  13. Hey there thank you for your post. I feel that a lot of this speaks to me and I would like to have your opinion.

    I’m 26 years old and I have been suffering with what i think is HOCD since my mid teens. I’ve also seen a therapist who believes that too. Here is a summary of many sessions together. I guess what I’m looking for is a second opinion.

    During high school, I used to have crushes on girls. Unfortunately that resulted in many rejections since I was far from being the popular kid in class. I resorted to pornography for sexual gratification. Sometimes I stumbled upon gay pornography and while it aroused me sometimes, after all was said and done, I always felt guilt, disgust and a feeling that it didn’t feel right. It always felt more fantasy than what I really wanted. My therapist thinks that this is when I planted the seed for HOCD.

    I questioned my sexuality for many years. After high school, I found a new niche and had much less trouble with women. I had a few long term relationships with women as well as some shorter ones and I never felt like I was acting like a closeted gay person. My feelings were genuine and I was definitely attracted to them sexually. I never ever had to think of my typical gay HOCD thoughts in order to get aroused. It feels just natural. A woman’s body arouses me and when I have feelings for her it’s exponential. I also developed a lot of friendships with guys. I always felt like one of the guys in terms of discussing sex with other girls. I found it bizarre how I never had gay sexual thoughts about them and my thoughts, through the years, stayed confined to my mind and my computer screen. These days I enjoy more straight pornography.

    At one point I tried to experiment with guys because I had a huge “what if I really am” that was burning inside of me. I had spoken to a few men who were gay and who were willing to experiment with me but whenever the opportunity came about I backed off because it just didn’t feel right. Its as if the idea of experimeting and the reality of experimenting were completely divergent. Just to make things clear, I’m really not homophobic and part of me wishes my sexuality was more clear cut so that I would stop questioning myself all the time. I’ve read about gay people describing how they first knew and it didn’t seem complicated. They simply knew they were attracted to the same sex. I know I’m attracted to the opposite sex yet I seem doubtful and far from sure for the same sex. It seems definitely more complicated.

    A few years ago, I fell completely head over heels with a girl who is amazing. We had instant chemistry. We loved spending time together. We had amazing sex together and for the first few months of our relationship all the gay obsessive thoughts were gone. Then they started creeping back and getting worse and worse. I was literally beating myself up because on one side I had these very graphic and intrusive thoughts about gay sex and that I’m in denial yet on the other I had real feelings for this woman and I felt that if these obsessive thoughts would leave my life would be perfect. I also felt like I was mentally cheating on her and that it’s unfair to her to be with someone like me. I started then developing compulsive masturbation. The only way the thoughts would leave was if I masturbated. The thoughts would then leave for a few hours and I felt fine for the time being.

    I decided to consult a therapist. At first I didn’t know about HOCD and I was sure she was just gonna show me the ropes on coming out. She helped me realize that sexuality is complicated but shouldn’t be so distressing and anxiety inducing.
    After 6 months of CBT I felt like a new person. Those thoughts went from being almost always present to popping up once in a blue moon without any anxiety. The compulsive masturbation was also gone. For the following year I had practically zero doubts about my sexuality. I was able to invest myself more in my girlfriend and that felt great. I really felt like a new person. When I thought of the old intrusive thoughts that caused such a distressing arousal, I laughed it off because I realized how they were just thoughts.

    A few months ago, a stressful personal event occurred and since then the HOCD thoughts have resurfaced. They are less intense but still very intrusive. The tricks that my therapist taught me don’t work as well as they used to. I guess I’m in a relapse. Im planning on rescheduling with her in the near future. I’d like to try first to see if I can beat this by myself.

    Unfortunately the same questioning has resurfaced. Am I gay? Am I bi? Am I in denial? Or is it HOCD? Should I break up with my girlfriend that I love? Or maybe I’m lying to myself about that too? What if I marry her and then realize in 10 years that I really am gay and I’ve ruined her life? If these thoughts were reality would I enjoy them or despise them? My brain is constantly flooded with these thoughts as well as graphic sexual intrusive images.

    As you can see I’m suffering a lot from this as it causes a lot of distress and I fear it may lead to depression. I remain optimist since I beat it for a one year period and I think that I can do it again.

    What do you think? Does this sound like HOCD to you? Any advice if it is or isn’t?

    Thank you!

    • Sounds SO MUCH like OCD, my friend. Intrusive thoughts, check. Compulsions, check. Plus even the way that you word things is EXACTLY how someone with HOCD would.

      ERP/CBT … go back to what works! When I have mini-relapses, I always go back immediately to my exposures.

  14. Thank you. I found this really helpful. I have OCD and have had a lot of anxiety in the past. I went through hocd once before and it recently came back after I had a doubt about my sexuality just because I was shy around guys and never kissed a guy. I am trying to beat my hocd again but my brain just keeps saying no this is different it isn’t hocd this time. Though it is a struggle I believe I can overcome just like I did a year ago. Thank you for this post it really helped. I have checked out a lot of blogs regarding hocd but I found this to be one of the most helpful. Thank you so much

    • Hello Riyanna, thanks for your kind words and taking the time to say them!

      Your best shot at conquering HOCD is doing ERP therapy, which you can do on your own from home (it helps to have a book to guide you … try Dr. Jonathan Grayson’s “Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”). Remember that OCD/HOCD is a LIAR, so keep pushing forward with ERP even when HOCD lies to you!

  15. What about this….I have an amazing boyfriend and think he is attractive but I confessed (my compulsion part of my ocd) that I thought his dad was hotter than him. I hated this thought, it was intrusive and unwanted but I cant figure out if it is a real thought or just my OCD.

      • So is that how it works? I have things eat at me or repeat over and over in my mind until I say the thought out loud to someone (for example, the need to confess that I’m gay, or this strong urge to tell my boyfriend I want to break up even though I don’t want too, or, more frequently than ever, I will have something pop up in my brain that I want to tell someone and it will repeat over and over and over again in my brain until I tell that person what I want to say…. I have started to get in contact with that person immediately just so the thought will stop replaying in my brain incessantly).

      • Yes, you’re right. OCD = intrusive, unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety that you alleviate with a compulsion, and confession is a common compulsion. The good news is that you can break the nasty cycle of OCD with ERP therapy, which can be done with a professional or at home. Go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and read up on ERP and let me know what questions you have!

      • Thank you! I do see an OCD therapist and I’m currently doing erp for HOCD. It’s working, slowly but surely!
        I do have another question. I had said things will repeat over and over again in my mind until I say what I want to say….. could it still be ocd if what I want to say is as simple as “We should go to grand forks for a weekend.” It’s an example of something that has repeated over and over in my brain until I told my boyfriend what I was thinking. Can that still be linked to ocd? There are other instances such as that but that’s the one that I could remember.

      • Yes, for sure. A lot of obsessions/compulsions don’t make logical sense … for example, it’s not logical that repeating a certain phrase would keep your family safe or that steering clear of cracks in the sidewalk would do that, it’s not logical that not washing your hands a certain way would cause a pandemic in the country … but people with OCD treat those things like they are. You could link that if you don’t say something aloud, your anxiety will grow and grow until you say it … so then you do. But that’s giving in to a compulsion. Were you to practice response prevention, the anxiety would likely die down soon enough, though it can take practice.

  16. Hi I’m a 30 year old married woman from india. Until a year ago I didn’t even know what hocd was. And I’ve apparently been suffering from it OR denial since I was 16.
    It all started when I saw the movie Cruel Intensions. There’s a scene where two actresses kiss. And I remember getting all hot and flustered and running to the bathroom. At that moment I thought I knew I was gay . It made sense. I had sneaked and seen dirty movies on tv when I was younger on cable tv, I had enjoyed seeing naughty scenes, seductively acting woman, breasts, all the Jackie Collins sensual novels. And now I made sense why I enjoyed it so much . It was cause I was gay. From then on watching any kind of tv became a nightmare . I’d be scared to even see a woman in short clothing, I’d think I’d be aroused. I wanted to tell my parents but I just didn’t. I prayed to god everyday to change me. I really prayed. On one side there was this turmoil. The other side was school, I went to an all girl catholic school , had tones of friends and loved boy bands and wrote love stories about me and men. My favourite actors, Jason Priesly from 90210, David Charvet from Baywatch. And I had the best friends , we d gossip ,party , chill together . There were barely any boys in my life growing up. My family had none and school and it’s related activities limited it to all girl interaction. We’d have sleepovers, do quizzes , prank call ppl. Not once was I ever attracted to any if them. But after this I started getting scared to hang out with them once in awhile. But I would get over it and hang out with them and do the same stuff I always did. I was always scared I was gay, but never with real ppl. Just when I’d see ppl on tv . I would never imagine being with them. Till date it’s something I don’t do.
    Anyway life went on I’d be scared that I could be turned on by all women , including my family. I was so scared and ashamed . Then I got into college. Surprise surprise, a top of the line all girls college again !!! What was I thinking. When I was in college ,I started meeting a few men. I was 19 years old when I began to date my first real boyfriend. And he was trouble, super intelligent, uber talented, cute and with a temper to match. I was smitten, within a week he told me he loved me , and things got super intense. And then there was the sex. It was amazing. We d have it ever, I was beyond in love. But it was an abusive relationship he d put me down, make me feel bad about myself. It would hurt my chest when he would. There’d be breakups and make ups and fights and drama. And this went on for 4 years on and off. Till eventually god intervened and he went to Italy for work. After that I was immediately persued by better more attractive men. But nothing ever felt the way he did. The gay thought stayed in my head the whole time while I was with him. After college I went to design school. Surrounded by super creative talented and somewhat emotionally unstable ppl. It was awesome. But since I was a few years older, I became like I always have been The person everyone told there issues too. Cutting, abuse ,domestic disturbances. Everything. It was in 2nd year that something bad started happening to me , I started seeing scary images in my head, blood, gore, death, graphic details. I’d imagine hurting myself. I thought I was becoming a serial killer. I turned to god, I prayed and prayed and he helped me. I read deepak chopra, self help books .until finally one year later I decided to go to my parents, to tell them there daughter was dangerous and had gone a bit mad. In my early 20s was the first time I went to a doctor. Who diagnosed me with clinical OCD.this was a shock to me . I was the more untidy person I knew. How could I have OCD? He put me on medication, and within a few days I was better. I was shocked that that’s all it took. But the gay thing remained. I didn’t and sometimes still don’t relate that to OCD. During this struggle, I made an amazing friend. The happiest, nicest, funnest man I ever knew. I had known him earlier, but lots of texting and fun hitting on finally led me to decide to date him. There was no attraction as such between us. But I was always laughing ,and always wanted to touch him , rest on him, hug him. It was later that we started to date . And now 5 years later we are married.
    A few years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer , my aunt and my best friends mom died of cancer. That year I had my first panic attack. I wanted to die, I felt like I’d jump or fall off the edge of a building. I went to my doc the next day after a scary expirence. And be upped my meds and suggested I go to a therapist as well. This changed my life , I learned cbt and gor the first time ever I was not scared of my thoughts. I could say no and stop them.

    All but the lesbian thing, I keep repeating the words in my head , ( I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay)
    I explained to her that I thought I was gay even though I was with a man. I said I was turned on by women on tv, more than men. At times my breasts will rise when I’m with my friends( I have the same girlfriends in mylife since school. All off whom are physically stunning ) for no reason at all . And that would scare me. It’s like my heart is telling me I’m gay. She asked me simply if I had ever wanted to be with them. And I said no. Never. It’s been a year since I stpped going to my therapist . But now I feel like I need to again. I wake up most mornings feeling like I’m living a lie, in my head.( I’m gay I’m gay I’m gay ) keeps on repeating itself. And off late I find myself warm , flushed turned in for no reason. Especially around women. It’s like a voice inside me keeps telling me I’m gay always. Even tho I’ve never been in love with a woman. But suddenly I don’t want to meet my friends alone and at time when I do I’m hot , wet and my nipple are hard. Not that I’m fantasizing about them but just even just having a conversation on the phone will do this to me. I’m so confused. And I think it’s so unfair to my husband. He deserves someone who’s sure of themselves .
    I’m not madly attracted to him, and sometimes that’s the scariest thing. But I am myself with him, with all my darkness, gayness, ocdness. And he makes me laugh all the time.
    Please help me, am I gay ?
    Ps. Sorry for the super long post

    • Hello friend! Sorry that you’ve been battling with this for so long!

      What with your history of OCD, this sure sounds an awful lot like HOCD! Have you ever thought of doing CBT/ERP surrounding this? It’s the very best treatment there is!

  17. Hi thank you for your response so quickly . I did CBT it worked on all OCD themes but this gay thing . Also I’ve been off meds for over a year now. But what about the constant feeling of being turned on around women ?

  18. Thanks Zoe , glad to know I’m not the only confused one. It’s comforting to know that there’s someone who can relate to you .its the physical way my body responds that really messes me up. Hope we all find peace of mind soon.

    • My story sounds exactly like yours too Tee, yet I have never felt as ‘turned on’ as I want to be, and know I can be, with a guy. My ex knew about my OCD and was incredibly supportive, but we ended up ‘trying’ and I never felt the way I wanted to sexually with him. My OCD developed into ROCD with him and after 3 years I was exhausted and we decided to break up despite still being very much in love. Immediately my ROCD disappeared but my HOCD has come back again. The biggest part is the way my body responds to images of women kissing / being sexual and how in contrast, I feel so numb in situations where I want to be turned on. I see this as a way of protecting myself sub-consciously as I don’t want to associate such a fearful sensation with a wanted situation. I would love to hear how your treatment goes – both Tee and Zoe, to find out if the CBT and ERP help with being turned on when you don’t want to be. I hold on to the hope that one day I will meet the right man who will make me feel incredible sexually on top of being wonderful in every other respect. But I know it’s a long journey and I need to go through ERP which I am confident will help – but scared will not eliminate the body sensations. I am from the UK and the process is long and exhausting and is so expensive if I go private. I have had CBT before after having to explain the OCD to several doctors and psychologists before I was finally given about 6 weeks of sessions and more often than not, the sessions didn’t help as the therapist was so repetitive and I found it very difficult to believe she could help me. I hope you will keep posting about your journey and we will all overcome this!
      Hannah

      • Hi Hanna , please be strong . Last night I felt ‘turned on ‘at a family dinner !! Really so it’s all a LIE!!! Don’t belive it . Even though I know it’s hard to do so . I have a feeling it happens so often but I just notice it when it’s in an inappropriate situation . And that’s when the doubt and fear and guilt creep in. I’ve been in very sexually satisfying relationships with men , yet everyday I think I’m gay, living a lie, in denial etc. Even right now while my husband lies asleep next to me. But yes you have to have a partner who can understand the fact that you have OCD and that it’s a serious condition. Your ex sounds like he loved you very much to try and help you thru it for 3 years. But you have to get treatment and help yourself . That’s the only way you’ll be able to be happy with anyone . Sex is a big part of a relationship. But sometimes I feel like OCD makes me think that it’s the only thing. If I’m not enjoying it , having it often etc I must be gay , this marriage is a lie , if I was with a woman maybe I’d be satisfied always!! I forget all the other wonderful things I have with my husband.You have find a therapist you feel comfortable with. And I know with me medication and excercise really helped. Though cbt made me feel really happy and comfortable at one point . The think with OCD is that it’s chronic . I got happy so I stopped taking my meds , stopped working out got complacent with therapy . And boom it’s back ! The more I read about it the more I realise that you have to be on top of it constantly. Sometimes when I’m having sex the most innapropriate thoughts come into my head , friends , family , members it’s the grossest scariest thing . I have to tell my self to stop and that it’s not real. It’s just a thought , thoughts are not real . Please stay strong , you will find peace soon . I will say a prayer for you to help you through this.

  19. And how can I forget – Jackie, I just want to say a huge thank you for creating this blog and sharing your experience of HOCD with us. This blog has been the best thing I’ve found and I am so grateful for what you have said and what you have allowed others to share with you!
    Hannah x

    • Hannah, aren’t you just the sweetest? It’s my pleasure to blog about OCD/HOCD in the hopes that it helps people get the treatment they need (specifically ERP). I’m so sorry to hear of how it’s been messing with you. Remember that OCD is a liar, uncertainty is not the enemy, and ERP is the solution! Keep us all posted!

  20. hey I brendan im 28 and ill tell you my story its hard to remember but ill try.

    even when i was young i felt like a human trapped in a ocd body i used lock my house door walk to the shop and instantly forget if i had locked it or not i used to go and check if i locked it, also Disturbing thoughts of anything old people , gays, animals, death,kids. after my mate commited suicide i started getting suicidal thoughts couldnt look at anything without picturing me killing himself first i talked to my friend who was a psych major who said the more you react to them the more they bother you. he basically saved me.

    Hocd
    ok so my friend that saved me told me he was going overseas for 2 years with his gf so we all went out drinking and got pretty drunk the end of the night happened where i wont see him for 2 years. i got a thought in my head saying kiss him on the cheeck suddenly mind went “dude your gay” i freaked out big time i came home and thought maybe i can sleep it off. i woke up next day still there from then it just spiraled i couldnt look at same sex without disgusting images in my head anything to do with sexuality gave me anxiety i started asking for reasurrance “asking people if they think im gsy and if they cared if i was” most people said nah i wouldnt but your not dude uve had sex with many girls then i started lookin at guys kissing to see if i got aroused and nothin herre the thing that was like 2 year ago and i still have it what should i do?

    • Hi Brendan! Your story is very similar to many others who suffer from HOCD. The first thing is to get officially diagnosed by a professional and then begin ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy, the best treatment for OCD/HOCD. Please read the posts about HOCD and ERP at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and let me know what questions you have!

      • It REALLY, REALLY sounds like OCD. The more you research HOCD, the more you will realize that– though I do know that OCD is a convincing liar and will pull out all the stops to convince you otherwise.

        Trust me. Go to an expert, get the diagnosis, and then treat it with ERP. So much life and freedom and joy ahead for you!

      • its weird cos it went away for a while until other day my mind got i thought if that guy asked me out id say yes and i freaked out again. thoughts they know how to push ur buttons

  21. First of all, I want to say thank you so much. Reading this literally made me start crying with joy and some relief I haven’t felt for a long time. I know I’m not gay, and this is helped me so much. Thank you again!

  22. Pingback: Another Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer | Jackie Lea Sommers

  23. Dear Jackie,
    I’ve been struggling with this since October of last year. At first I would stay up worrying wake up worrying throwing up etc. I started a relationship a couple month before this time with a female and was crazy about her. She knew about the condition and helped me through it. It still seemed very real to me. Every sexual dream I have incurred I remember throughout this process is been involving a female. I lost my job in July of this year and have been stressed about money and paying bills and finding myself again. Well she came up about 3 weeks ago and we tried having sex and I couldn’t(all other times I could). Needless to say we have broken up so I can figure everything out and get my life back on track. I’m losing it and it’s making me think that I could truly be gay and that my whole life has been a lie. I don’t know what to do and it’s got me beat up way worse than ever and it just seems like I’m lost in who I am. Any suggestions cuz I’m losing it

    • Hi TJ! So sorry to hear about the hell you’re going through! Definitely research HOCD. You can read about it at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. See if you think that’s what you might be dealing with, and if it is, the appropriate treatment is ERP therapy (exposure and response prevention), which you can read about at that same link. Read the posts first, okay? Then let me know what questions you have!

      • Definitely sounds like I have it. When it started I would stay up all hours of the night with test questions to see if there was any arousal. I feel like I’m always looking to see if I’m attracted to girls or guys. Some days I go feeling 100 percent straight and vice versa. I truly love women an have my whole life. I can’t tell you the last time I had a great thought about a female and that’s what makes me nervous because it’s like all attractions have been lost. Does anyone else experience attraction and thought loss or does that just truly mean I’m in denial?

      • It happens to almost everyone who deals with HOCD. At least, anecdotally, that’s the story I’m always hearing from blog readers and HOCD sufferers. No worries: you’re just a regular old “boring” case of HOCD. 😉 Time to treat it with ERP!

      • Thank you. I’m going to see if I can get some help somewhere around my area. Doesn’t seem like a lot of people know how to help here on the east coast

      • Look for someone who is trained specifically in ERP– they should mention “exposures.” If not, do ERP on your own with a book. I have a post about it here: jackieleasommers.com/2014/10/05/self-directed-erp-therapy/

  24. Although I’ve never been diagnosed with OCD, because I’ve never talked to anyone about it, but I do have similar symptom. I’ve had many intrusive thoughts (about abusing my niece, or hurting other people) and they are hell. This may not be one bit sometimes I will feel the need to get up from where I’m sitting walk back and forth from my living room to my kitchen several times for no reason whatsoever. I have been diagnosed with Anxiety and Social Phobia (relevant later in my story).

    I’ve always identified as straight and always had crushes on boys, in fact my clearest memory from when I was young was trying to get my only friend (who was I boy) to be Fred from Scooby Doo for Halloween so I could be Daphne and we could kiss (he wasn’t to fond of the idea cause cooties)

    When I got a lot older I went through a phase of watching same sex porn when I was about 16/17 (it lasted about a year) but I would fantasize about men. However whenever someone would mention gay/lesbian I would become anxious. I was quiet heavy at the time and would worry that my clothes would make me look “butch” and would avoid going to things like gay pride/bars (my friend is gay) because I would worry people would think I’m gay. I’m not sure if it was just sheer guilt for watching what I did, and more concern about them knowing I was “doing stuff” on my own.
    It got worse in August this year. I’m really shy and always panic when guys talk to me, so I researched to see if anyone else had this issue online, I discovered a forum where a girl said she was shy around men and was gay. That’s when the thoughts got worse. I didn’t sleep for 3 nights and in the following month it was a struggle to sleep. I had a panic attack in a bar (I’m from UK and 19 now) because I wasn’t attracted to any of the guys (silly now I think about it) but later than night I kissed a guy (my first kiss ever and I really liked it. I’m currently really attracted to this new guy but I still get the thoughts. Any advice? Does it sound like I actually have HOCD or am I kidding myself.

    • It sounds like you have OCD of various themes (harm OCD, HOCD, etc.) to me. You should meet with a professional to be diagnosed, of course, and if you do have OCD, the best treatment is ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy, which I talk about a lot of my blog. Read up my posts about HOCD and ERP at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. I think you’ll see yourself in a lot of them. Don’t wait– seek help now! I wish I’d gotten treated earlier!

  25. Hello Jackie,
    I have been reading your blog posts about all HOCD. I am 17, almost 18 and I really really want to have it but I just don’t know. I have always had crushes on guys and always wanted to be with a guy. And I have for about a year now. One day the thought just popped into my head, what if I am gay. For about a week I thought and thought about this, but then it went away and my thoughts started to obsess that I didn’t truly love my boyfriend and wanted to be with other guys. I have a history of OCD, but when I was younger, I used to watch lesbian porn to get aroused. I never seemed to think anything of it, but now I am worried that because that aroused me I must be a lesbian. Just before this happened I wanted so badly to have sex with my boyfriend and it didn’t work out the few times we tried. Now I can’t stop thinking about why I would watch lesbian porn and I never want to do it again, but what if I do? I don’t want to be a lesbian, or bisexual, but i really don’t know anymore. I try to make myself disgusted by the thoughts, but I don’t know if those are obsessions or just me trying to deny myself pleasure. I am seeing a therapist and I told her about these thoughts, but after they went away for a few weeks I thought I didn’t have to worry about it. I can’t stop worrying and my thoughts are telling me that I want to try lesbian sex and I just really do not want that to be true. Overtime I try to think about my boyfriend now, my brain tells me, oh you could have that with a girl, you want that to be a girl. I don’t want to think these things when I am trying to be intimate with my boyfriend. Do I have HOCD? or am I a lesbian/bisexual?

      • Okay! Thank you for responding so quickly! I am in a lot of distress right now. I fear that I don’t have any compulsions anymore. It’s just thoughts so it can’t be ocd, right? I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, but when I try and see myself kissing other girls I don’t get disgusted, I’m just indifferent and that horrifies me. I try to accept the uncertainty, but that just makes me feel like I am accepting the fact that I must be gay or bisexual. I am afraid that if I take medication or do ERP, it will just reveal that I am gay. I used to want regular sex so bad and now I just don’t. I don;t know if that is the depression or the odd or what. Can it really make you think you want certain things? That sounds so crazy! I am going to see a psychiatrist to get medication. What if when I do ERP I do not get anxiety?

      • Your compulsions are likely seeking reassurance (what you’re asking for now from me!) and checking (always testing yourself to see what turns you on). These are some of the most common HOCD compulsions.

        Almost every person I’ve talked to with HOCD has the same symptoms as you (they lose their attraction to the gender they usually like, etc.).

        ERP is the answer. When you’re ready to fight to have your life and freedom back, that’ll be your next step.

        I apologize if I sound short with you at all. But it’s not healthy (for me OR you) to go round in circles. It’s almost certainly HOCD, and the treatment is ERP. When you’re ready. 🙂

      • Also, so sorry to be a bother, but what exactly counts as a compulsion. I am always seeking answers online? Is that a compulsion? I am so scared its not HOCD. This can’t be my life. I was so happy with my boyfriend a few months ago! What if i never get that back again?

  26. Hi

    I have questiond my sexuallity over the years I’m 35 have been single for 2 Years and over the last 2 years I’ve made myself ill over weather in gay. At this point I feel like I might be gay. I don’t look at men and think yes I’m attracted to them. But I do talk to gay men and get aroused on gay sites, I imagine experience doing things with a guy and it excites me. My cbt therapist believes in have hocd. But I’m not sure.

  27. Hi Jackie,
    I know I have ocd – it’s hard not to doubt it but it becomes more evident that I do when I resist seeking reassurance from others and through online articles. I was also diagnosed last year by an ocd specialist. I can’t develop crushes on men anymore, at all. I don’t understand how women who discover their homosexuality until later, had crushes on guys while growing up. I always had crushes on guys growing up……can it just change? I have a boyfriend of ten years and I do love him but I’m not exactly interested in sex or anything sexual. When I would allow myself to have sexual fantasies they always involved me having a large chest and being pleasured by a man…. but it always involved me with a focus on breasts…. even as a young girl I’d look at breasts and pleasure myself and I’d stuff my shirt….. outside of being aroused and in the real world, I couldn’t care less about breasts. I also remember when I was nine I was feeling “turned on” while hanging out with a friend…. I didn’t have a crush on her or anything, that I know of, but because I was “turned on” I told her to take off her shirt – it’s not because I was curious what she looked like, it’s not because I wanted to see her naked or that I wanted to touch her (I know that I didn’t… I’m pretty sure anyways)… it was because I was aroused… maybe that makes me strange and abnormal… I don’t know… but I am ashamed of it and really hope she doesn’t remember. I think growing up I used sexual stimulation and became aroused when I was stressed….. I’d pleasure myself when I couldn’t fall asleep at night or when studying for a test… it helped me relax I guess. Before hocd really hit me (I think I’ve suffered from it a lot longer than I first realized but not to the same magnitude) I wasn’t really a sexual person…. I’m kind of a prude…. but now I’m not comfortable engaging in anything sexual….. I’m too stressed and what if I am gay….
    Today, while watching tv, there was a movie commercial featuring Lindsay Lohan where she took off her underwear from under her dress in order to entice a guy……. I became aroused…… I didn’t want to engage in sex or pleasure myself because I was too stressed by what happened. Why did that happen! I think if I just let myself, I could be aroused by woman and desire them. I don’t think I want too though…. I don’t know. I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life. I can’t tolerate not being cookie cutter straight – I don’t want to deviate a way from being straight… though at the same time, I don’t think I want to be straight.
    I’m also finding that I’m curious about females in a sexual way (curious about females in sexual positions and attire)….. I don’t know if this is hocd talking and because my brain has been manipulated for so long by this… or if it’s genuine feelings…… I just don’t know!!! I need answers!

      • I’ve tried therapy with an ocd therapist but gave it up. I didn’t know how to explain what caused me anxiety nor was I able to say what my compulsions were; I’d feel like nothing was wrong when I’d meet my therapist…. I felt like I was faking and wondered if he felt the same way. I want help, but at the same time I’m resistant to help…… I’m the type of person who never really helps herself in the way that she should – I have IBD, I take my medication but not religiously, and I don’t take too much care into what I eat – I also have muscular dystrophy and I know I would benefit from working out, but don’t do it…… I give up on myself easily I guess. I know this is a question that only I can answer, but how do I find the motivation and the understanding that there is something wrong and that I need to have my ocd treated – I guess I just worry that this is all fake but I know I can’t fake what I’ve felt and have gone through!

  28. Pingback: Doc Omosessuale ed omosessualità repressa | LIBERI DA OSSESSIONI

  29. Pingback: HOCD More Prevalent Than You Think | Jackie Lea Sommers

  30. Hi Miss Jackie,
    I have a question about HOCD.
    When I was little, I discovered pornography. I saw heterosexual sex and I got excited and interested. But, when I discovered lesbian porn, I became addicted. I wasn’t to attracted to girls, but just making my lady parts feel good. Heterosexual poem only focused on males. I’m 16 now, I quit watching porn but I started to have anxiety that if I watched lesbian porn, I will become aroused. I was scared because I didn’t want to become gay. I had gay friends and I had no problem with them, but now I am starting to distant myself from them because I was afraid to get “hit on”. I know my sexual orientation is straight, because I always had crushes on guys, I had a boyfriend in 6th grade, and I want to end up with a guy and have beautiful children. My mind has repetitive thoughts about women, saying “you love women”, “girlfriend”, “wife”. I don’t like women in a romantic and sexual way. I also experience I have more girl crushes where I see gorgeous girls, I adore their hair or beauty. My real arousal has been about boys and their sexual organs really turn me on. I feel like my brain needs help because I am really afraid that my brain might be turning me gay. I know you can’t turn gay, because sexual orientation is by BIRTH. I think my HOCD makes me feel that I am not straight, when I know I am. I been around my gay friends for a while and I do love my friends, but I fear that I might be gay. I do get false arousal too. I feel sick and depressed. Talking about this thing makes me about to cry. What should I do?

  31. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been suffering from OCD since I was 2 years old. I am 21 now, and it’s gotten to the point where I have considered taking my life. Things like this, the support we have is what keeps me wanting to live and learn how to control my OCD. I have been suffering from HOCD for about a year now, and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t hangout with my girlfriends anymore. I’m terrified I will become attracted to them, or that if we have too much in common that’s God’s way of saying I a meant to be with her. When, I am beyond in love with my boyfriend I’m still questioning myself over and over. Is it normal to stop hanging out with friends, because you feel as if you’re hanging out with them because you’re attracted to them? For example, I was just shopping today and a girl that worked at the store she and I had literally EVERYTHING in common. She gave me her number, so that we can feed the homeless together. And, I was so excited and couldn’t stop telling my boyfriend and family about it all. And, my little brother goes, “Maybe you’ll become lesbian with her.” And, that definitely triggered my OCD because now I can’t stop thinking. Does that make me lesbian? Or, is that HOCD?

    • Hello dear Tory! Everything that you say sounds JUST LIKE HOCD! The good news is that it’s treatable with exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy!

      First, go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help and read the letter there. Then go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and read ALL the posts about ERP and ALL the posts about HOCD, okay? Once you read them all, you’ll have a good idea of your next step. Feel free to ask questions too, once you’ve read the posts first. Thanks! There’s joy and freedom and so much happiness on the other side of ERP, believe me!

  32. Ok so I’m an 18 year old girl who’s always been pretty shy, so I’ve never been in a relationship, just on a few dates. I have always identified with female characters and emotionally fallen for book boyfriends .As early as I can remember, I’ve had crushes on boys and wanted a husband and children and fantasized at being pregnant. When I’m out and about, I look around for men and check their finger to see if they are married. However, in the past I would compulsively look at pictures of naked women and occasionally men to get aroused. I never wanted to be with the women and the thought of experimenting with a woman gives me a “no” feeling. I have never felt drawn to any of my friends that are girls in the past. A few weeks ago, I got the thought that I’m gay and all of the sudden I felt sick, couldn’t eat, and my heart wouldn’t stop pounding. I’ve talked to my parents about all of this and they have told me that they will love me no matter what I am. However I would rather be alone forever than be with a girl. My brain keeps making me check what arouses me and twists my thoughts telling me that I’m gay. Thank you so much for your blog!

    • It’s the uncertainty of not knowing that bothers me. I’ve slept in beds with many of my friends at sleepovers and have never wanted to do anything. I feel so guilty about all of the bad images that I looked at and have quit

      • Now I can’t even picture myself in a relationship with a guy even though I am also turned on by the romance novel imagery and such. and I keep freaking out that someone is going to tell me I’m lesbian and I don’t want to be that I just want a normal life and to move on from this but my brain is telling me that I’m going to be unhappy forever.

    • “I would rather be alone forever than be with a girl.” That is not what a lesbian thinks, my dear one. This is what someone with HOCD thinks. Please go read http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help. Then read all the posts about CBT/ERP and HOCD at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD, okay? By the time you finish reading all those things, you will know what to do and how to treat OCD. 🙂 Best wishes! P.S. I’ll tell you right now that ERP can’t “turn” you gay. It doesn’t work like that. ERP is your solution. Run toward it, not away! Freedom comes through ERP.

      • In one of the comments from a gay person, it says that they admire the opposite sex but are only turned on by the same sex. I feel like that is me but it gives me a lot of anxiety to think about. Is it normal for young girls to experiment by looking at naked women? I am so ashamed that I did all of that and it gives me a lot of anxiety to think about. I have never had anything against lesbians, but that’s never a lifestyle Ive felt drawn too and I’ve never pictured myself having sex wth a woman. I know all of this is ridiculous, but I cannot stop fixating on it and am constantly seeking reassurance. Sorry for all of this!

      • If you’re still unsure you have HOCD, research it thoroughly (i.e. read a book about OCD). I feel confident that’s what you’re dealing with here and recommend you start ERP immediately, even if you do it on your own. But seeking reassurance is not helpful– it is giving in to your compulsions. Best wishes! I hope you’ll bravely choose ERP!

  33. Jackie,

    I really appreciate your expansion on this topic. I have found a lot of relief after reading your thoughts and advice. I am losing grip of knowing my identity. This “HOCD” has crippled me in several seasons of my life since I was 13. I have been free from it on occasion (this is what gives me hope that I being gay is not my true identity). I am so confused. I do NOT want this for my life. I started dating my bf about 6 months ago and this was not a part of me when we met each other. I am very religious, therefore I fear that the “fear” I’ve been experiencing is fear of displeasing God and not a real reflection of who I might be 😦
    This is the worst thing I have ever experienced. In fact, my groinal responses have gotten so frequent that it is a constant state. I can’t get it to go away.
    I realize that I might be “attracted” to women but have never fantastized..the only fantasies have been in a fearful and anxiety present state. But my “ocd” tells me this is because of my spirituality. I have not stopped searching the Internet for answers. Reading coming out stories…reading religious articles that condemn homosexuality…listening to ex-gay testimonies.
    I am so incredibly scared and honestly think that dying would be easier (although I know God doesn’t want that).
    Does my story sound like HOCD to you, in your opinion?
    I am getting into contact with therapist, however I am SO fearful that I will realize I’m gay during therapy.
    How did you separate the true thoughts/feelings from your religious background/eagerness to please God?

    I would appreciate ANY help. I’m sorry, I realize you probably have a lot on your plate and may not be able to attend to questions.
    Blessings

    • Hello friend! I wish it could be as obvious to you as it is to me that you’re dealing with HCOD! Get a professional diagnosis, then dive into ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy, the frontline treatment for OCD. Skip talk therapy (where you only discuss your issues)– this is not helpful for treating OCD and can even exacerbate it. You need exposure therapy. Please read http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help and then all the ERP, CBT, and HOCD posts at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. You’ll then have a really good idea of what’s next. P.S. ERP therapy can’t “make you turn gay.” But it still is very scary. But it’s what set me free.

  34. Wow! Love finding these sites. What a crazy disease ocd is. A complete life-suck in all that it is. Debilitating and inconvenient. I’ve had it for about ten years on and off. Thankfully more off than on. I ended up in the psych ward two separate times for it just getting way too out of control. I am married and have FOUR children now and hocd still haunts me every year or so. I also get relationship-ocd sometimes and worry about whether I love my husband or not, and infrequently obsess about death/dying. It’s a hard thing to overcome especially when the anxiety spikes and you keep feeding it with your worries and “fighting” it. Deep down I know how I feel and what is truth and I just ride out the waves. The best thing I have to fight is a supportive family. They’re all aware of whats going on and when it happens they’re here for me. I agree with what others have said about possible attractions to the same sex- I don’t want to date her, I want to be her!

  35. I have been having a problem with this like for three or four weeks now. It’s driving me crazy! I feel sometimes just driving into a car and die for these thoughts to cease or getting shot in the head. I have been reading about this disorder and tried to educate myself as much as I can. Even though I know these thoughts aren’t real, my mind always finds a way to make my better understanding fail. I get scared when I have these thoughts and sonetimes want to cry cause I am terrified of it. I really hope one day I can look back and just remember how silly it was to think this stuff and for all other who are suffering as well.

  36. Hello, I don’t know whether I am suffering from HOCD or gay so I am seeking for your help. I am a male.

    It really took me some courage to write this here. I always struggle with my “other self” about this and I really wanna get rid of it.

    First of all, I usually doubt myself on everything I do. Every decision I make will only come after numerous debates with myself because I was never sure. I was never very confident of myself. Sometimes, I will be extremely confident; but hours later, I might start doubting myself again. Having said that, I always check my answers during exams as many times as possible. Even after numerous checking, I tend to doubt my answers (whether did I write the correct one – even if I actually did) right after my exam. From these, I think I do suffer from some OCD.

    Now, getting into the sexual orientation part. When I was younger, I heard from my mother that I always prefer female hairdressers, I would cry having a male hairdresser doing my hair. When I was in Primary School (or you call it elementary school), I often speak to girls more than guys due to my gentle personality. However, I have my group of guy friends as well. I had a crush when I was 10, or at least I think it was, as when she migrated to Australia, I was the only one tearing and crying when my family sent her family off at the airport. TIll then, I have no issues with my sexual orientation. I never even thought about it. At that point, I know I am a guy, and guys like girls. No doubts no nothing.

    When I was 13, I finally found out porn. I was in an all-boys high school so learning about porn was fast, although I am usually the goody-two-shows boy type. So I checked on porn and learnt about masturbation. Even before that when I see love scenes on TV, I got the arousal and I would masturbate and all.

    Due to my obesity, I was always laughed by my friends during Elementary and High School. The people who didn’t laugh at me are usually my friends. So, with my fat body, I realised my penis (sorry for saying this) was very short, especially after comparing with porn videos.

    Then onwards, I actually asked my cousin of the same age to show me his penis to compare the size. That time, it was really about size, I have no other thoughts. After that, I looked into gay porn to have more comparison, as I am looking for someone with my size. Of course, I didn’t. But I was aroused by it and eventually masturbated to it. I felt guilty everytime I do that, because of my frequent check, it became a habit and that guilt came every single time.

    So I start searching online and realised that porn preference doesn’t define sexual orientation (I hope that’s true) and then I felt relieved and my obsession to porn (both straight and gay) continues. At times. I watched more gay than straight and that made me guilty and I would watch straight porn to reassure that I am at least still straight just preferring gay porn.

    My obsession of comparing penis cannot seem to stop. I keep checking at other men’s crotch see if mine looks the same as theirs (you know when you wear jeans, it will somewhat curve out at the crotch area). I don’t want to do that, but I cannot help it. I kept staring and it somewhat became a habit which I am not happy about.

    2 years ago, even after I slimmed down, my penis doesn’t grow much so the obsession of staring didn’t stop. However, I really my anxiety which leads me thinking I am gay is related to the gay porn I watch. So I stopped watching gay porn since then. I watch only straight porn. I even resort to watching lesbian porn so that I am sure that I got aroused by a female not a male.

    Recently, I really cannot stand myself looking at crotches of other men and also looking at them as a whole (frequently). When I look at them I will ask myself, why did I look at him like that? Am I attracted to him? Do I want to be with him? But I want to be with a girl, I want to marry and have kids. Or maybe, I want to be a girl to hide my gay identity, which means I am gay in denial. But I don’t want to be gay, but am I gay?

    Truthfully speaking, I don’t know how exactly does it feel to have a crush on someone. But if liking someone means you really enjoy talking and being with her, and you actually try imagining marrying her and imagine what happens next, then yes, I am currently having a crush on someone. But I keep thinking that I enjoy being and talking with all my best friends, whether boy or girl, it’s just that I never had the thought of marriage with the boys at all. As for the girls, the thought only came to one person though. But this doesn’t mean I am not attracted to guys, that’s what my brain tells me. And here comes my anxiety again.

    Also, I am really afraid to look at naked guys and be naked in front of guys because I know (or I am worried that) I will get an erection. And that makes me think I am gay, getting erections looking at naked guys. Again I checked online and realised that many straight men get erections when they are around naked men, that doesn’t mean they are attracted to them. And of course, I hope it was true.

    When I watch porn nowadays, I try to imagine gay porn (the imagination comes from the ones I used to watch years ago) and this time I make sure I don’t get aroused by it. And sometimes, I cannot control it, the erection came and I felt so wrong. A while later, I will check on straight porn and everything turns out fine and I masturbated to it.

    So I really want to stop this. I am trying to stop porn and masturbation. I am trying really hard, just that sometimes I couldn’t help it. But I am working on it. As for the staring, I still can’t help it.

    So can you please tell me whether I am straight with HOCD or gay in denial?

    Sorry for the extremely long story, this is the story I kept for so long and I really need to confirm this. I want to be straight (not to say that homo is not ok, it’s just I am not ok with me being homo – so no offence) 😦

    Any other comments are appreciated. Jackie I hope you reply me too.

    • Hello friend! I’m so sorry for all your suffering! It sounds to me like you’re dealing with HOCD here; it seems really obvious. But that’s the thing about HOCD– it seems obvious to everyone else but not to ourselves!

      I hope you’ll read my letter at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help. It will walk you through treatment options, which include 1) ERP therapy or 2) ERP therapy plus medication. You can do ERP therapy with a professional or on your own with a book to guide you, if you’re very committed. ERP therapy is hard– you will be asked to do things that trigger your anxiety– but it works. I suffered for 20 years before just 12 weeks of ERP therapy gave me back my freedom.

      Go read that letter, then go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and read all the posts about HOCD and ERP/CBT. They will give you a more thorough understanding of what I’m talking about!

      Here’s to future freedom, friend!

      • Thanks for the reply Jackie. So you mean to say that I am confirmed to be suffering from HOCD? I seriously hate the staring thing but it seems like I cannot stop it. I even stare the guys on TV and of course I got that “oh my god what am I doing? Am I gay coz I kept on looking at them and their crotch?” thought. Sometimes I got nervous whenever I see guys half naked on TV, I go like “omg I feel nervous, am I gay? Am I reacting to it?” And trust me. I didn’t enjoy that feeling (this makes me think I may not be gay), this feeling seriously sucks. I want to stop it ASAP. =(

        And yes, sometimes I find it obvious like I have HOCD. Seconds later, I go like: “am I just lying to myself? I might be gay. Nothing wrong to be gay so am I? If i am really gay, can I choose to be straight? coz I really don’t want to be gay and I want a relationship with a girl” And trust me, the thoughts repeat every now and then.

        Like I said I am worried I am gay which I do not want to be. So if I am confirmed a HOCD sufferer, I am planning to do self therapy without medication. I hope you can guide me on that.

      • I’m not a therapist, so I can’t diagnose you or provide therapy. I highly recommend that you meet with a professional for a diagnosis. If you still choose to do self-therapy, you will need a book to guide you like one of those I have listed at https://jackieleasommers.com/2014/10/05/self-directed-erp-therapy.

        Again, I’m not able to help you any more than by providing you with resources on my blog. I do wish you all the best in your pursuit of freedom!

    • Go re-read my first reply to you. It says, ” It sounds to me like you’re dealing with HOCD here; it seems really obvious.” Asking for repeated reassurances isn’t helpful– in treatment, you won’t be allowed to do that!

      • Yes, ma’am! I am so sorry I annoyed you Jackie, I didn’t mean to. Many apologies. Your advice is noted with many thanks. Shall not ask further and shall start treatment ASAP! Thanks Jackie, btw, are the books equally useful? Any one will do the trick right?

      • Haha, you’re not being annoying! No worries! I just wanted to call you out on your compulsion– because that is going to be a very real temptation for you in treatment that you need to deal with! A lot of people have recommended the Grayson book to me! (I did in-person therapy with an ERP specialist.)

  37. Thanks Jackie, I am now looking for an e-book version for the books you recommended. Btw, I am from Penang Island, Malaysia. Do contact me if you are visiting my country, I am glad to bring you around (I can’t give my personal details here, it’s public haha, so if you need it, maybe I can give it to you personally)

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