Out of the OCD sufferers I hear from, 9 out of 10 are battling HOCD.
In the past, a friend “Hannah,” who has come out on top of HOCD, has been happy to answer questions about her experience with HOCD.
Hannah’s 1st Interview
If you have HOCD-related questions for Hannah, please read the above interviews first to see if she has already answered them. If not, you can anonymously submit your question(s) for Hannah by clicking here.
Once I collect a handful of questions for her, I’ll send them her way and post the answers!
Can I tell you my story and what im experiencing, so you can maybe talk to me a little about my hocd or my i don’t know its all so confusing it makes me wanna cry or I don’t know so please can I tell u my story?
James, I’m not a therapist. But I do have tons of information about HOCD at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. please start there and then seek out a therapist who can answer your questions! The correct treatment for HOCD is ERP therapy, which you can also learn about at the website listed above!
Hi,Jackie. I know you’re not a therapist, but I have no idea if i have this or not and wanted to see if i can get an opinion from you. First off, i’m a 17 year old male and before I had a panic attack about 5-6 months ago about a past experience in my childhood I NEVER questioned my sexual orientation, i never even found guys attractive. About a year ago I had broken up with a long distance ex girlfriend who lives across the country from me and it just did me over. I have no idea what it did to me, but it just derailed me so much. Now to my childhood. When I was a kid i dont know what to call it (sexually taken advantage of?) but i boy who was the same age as me would always want me and the other kids to play truth or dare, and obviously it escalated. This didn’t bother me much until the panic attack happened. I was just laying in bed, chilling and trying to go to sleep. I was also thinking about why I can’t consistently love girls like I did earlier in my life… then all of a sudden i just think about my childhood experiences and i asked myself if i was gay. I instantly just curled up in a ball, shocked about that thought and i dont even remember how many times i said thought no! No! No! The first few months after this i would physically shake my head when i saw a guy, whether if it was in person, social media, or TV. I get these thoughts that say “Do you want to kiss him?”, “Do you find him attractive?” “Do you want to take him out on a date?” Those seem to be the most common thoughts by the way. I’m no longer myself at all, i feel kind of bipolar to be honest. One minute i’ll be somewhat ok, then all of sudden i’ll just flip and become anxious, moody, negative, start pacing back and forth,want to lay down, etc. Whenever I see something dirty about a food I kind of don’t want to have ANYTHING to do with that food. For example, lately i’ll look at a cinnamon roll and think dirty thoughts, i ate a strawberry cream muffin a few days ago and it kind of resembled something (wink, wink). I just don’t understand anymore :/. I want help from a local psychologist who specializes in OCD and has heard of HOCD, but i’m scared that i won’t be able to see her because she has a waiting list and i have no idea if i can afford it. She has a sliding scale payment system and told me she would take the payments down 55% ($150 to $65) and i still might need help to even pay that. I have no idea what i’m going through anymore, i just want to be me again. I want to be able to just enjoy my life again.
As you said, I’m not a therapist. But I do have tons of information about HOCD at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD. Please start there and then seek out a therapist who can answer your questions! The correct treatment for HOCD is ERP therapy, which you can also learn about at the website listed above! There are two new HOCD stories at http://www.jackieleasommers.com that just were posted this week too! Blessings!
I have a question. Did it start to feel so real that you started believing that you were by or lesbian? That’s the part that scares me. I never used to have these thoughts ever. I’ve always had boyfriends I’ve never wanted to be with a girl. I remember obsessing over certain boys and elementary middle school and high school. And then Bam all of this started about six months ago. Now it’s all consuming and it’s ruining my relationship with my boyfriend. It’s making me think that I don’t love him and that it’s because secretly I want to be with women. That idea or thought makes me sick just thinking about it . I just don’t understand and I don’t know how everything could just change one day. Now I’m constantly checking and seeing if I find a woman attractive and it freaks me out. I used to be able to look at famous people and stuff and be like wow they’re really beautiful and joke around and say you know she has nice boobs and a nice butt and it never even affected me it was just not a big deal. Now My mind tells me that I was saying all those things because I actually wanted to be with them. Everything feels like it’s falling apart and I’m losing myself.
Hi Deanna! Everything you say is directly in line with the HOCD experience. The good news is that there is a treatment for it– exposure and response prevention therapy, which you can do with a therapist or even at home, on your own, if you want to keep it a secret. Go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and read the posts about ERP and the posts about HOCD! They will help you know what next steps to take. Your mind is lying to you. ERP can fix things.
Thank you very much for you quick response. This honestly feels like hell. The worse thing I’ve ever gone through. It started with relationship OCD and then. Has somehow evolved into this. Now hanging with my close gfs scares me because I get weird feelings like do you want to kiss her, do you want to be with her, or touch her. Like what the heck? I’ve never had that before. It’s so alien, but then my mind tells me I’m just lying myself and to just accept it and I get sick and then my mind starts running full force. My therapist is starting cbt with me first and then some erp I think after.
ERP is a type of CBT. I recommend reading up on ERP so that you know what to expect. It’s the frontline treatment; don’t bother with any other kind, with the exception of pairing ERP with meds!
I am sitting in the car with my boyfriend right now headed down to his parents. I’m crippled with anxiety and OCD teing me I don’t love him that you won’t enjoy this trip and that I’m gay. It’s stressing me out so bad! I just wanted to have a good time and enjoy this vacation and it’s already starting out bad. Any advice how to get out of this state. It goes away for a few minutes then bam
Hits again! These thoughts scare me. I was just on Facebook and saw a few pretty girls Pop up on people you may know and boom started again! It’s making me feel sick and nauseous and stuck.
Remind yourself that ocd is a liar. If it feels at all like ocd, assume it’s a lie.
I think it’s OCD. Just feels alien and bad. So thank you. I’ll just remin myself it’s lying. At least pray! Now I feel a little better right now. But I’m sure not for long because I know how my mind works. It’ll flip a switch and put the thoughts in my head again.
I’m 14 year old girl sorry for my poor English i have been dealing with hocd from almost 2 years i think. yesterday only i came to know that what I’m dealing with is called hocd.I’m just so terrified i almost cried 3 or 4 times because of this.i all the time think what if i might be bi or the other one ohh god I’m just so scared that i don’t even want to write that word thats why i had written it as “the other one” i haven’t had a single dream being with the same sex partner.my mind never ever made a scene where I’m kissing or cuddling or hugging same sex partner when ever i even think that a girl is sitting near me or is trying to touch me i just slap her or beat her and i go and hug or kiss my boyfriend in my mind.but i when ever i see any female celeb or any female i just think “do i find her attractive or is she pretty”.and i also clicked naked guys and naked girls pics on internet but i got nothing exciting from any of them.i just feel so disgusted even about thinking that i might be bi or g but i always get dreams of hugging or cuddling guys or having a boyfriend.i also got my first crush on a male celebrity and i have a very huge crush on a guy for whom i used to spend hours thinking about and i have even kissed a guy when i was 8 and i wanted more.i can not talk to this to anybody because i live in the place where talking about sexual things or anything related to it is a taboo and i cannot go to any therapist because people here doesn’t even know about these things and a guy used to touch me and i liked it alot i just don’t know what to do i just want to kiss a guy want romance with him have kids with and everything sexual only with him but i don’t know why i think that what if i like girls. no eww so dirty i just dont want to i only want guys guys boyfriends.and if a girl calls a girl pretty or hot or beautiful does it mean they are bi or g
Hello dear one! Everything you write is very, very consistent with HOCD. A girl thinking another girl is pretty does not make her anything except a girl who thinks another girl is pretty. It’s just a thought. It’s harmless, even though it doesn’t feel that way to someone with HOCD. I understand that you can’t talk to anyone about this where you’re from. Do you have access to a library where you’d be able to check out a book about OCD (not even HOCD specifically, just about OCD)? Let me know.
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I found your website a few days ago and I’ve been reading the interviews from former sufferers of HOCD, and I have to say it’s really been encouraging me. So thank you! However I am currently in a deep and dark place, and as much as I know it is not helpful to seek reassurance, I still have so many questions and fears. I am currently seeing a psycho-therapist for CBT, and although it has helped a bit, It’s not something that I believe will really pull me out of this dark place. I love the honesty and realness that i’ve found on your site, and I definitely feel inclined to share my story – in a way that I haven’t talked about before. I suffer from severe panic attacks, OCD and HOCD. I’m hoping maybe you can help me, and that my story can help others, too. I know this post is SO long, but it’s the most time that Ive ever put into explaining my OCD, so just please bear with me.
Maybe some helpful info first:
-I am 20 years old, and currently in my third year of college. In years past, I have struggled with anorexia and Body dismorphic disorder.
-Was non-aggressively sexually molested by older sister as a child.
-Was exposed to lesbian porn at the age of 13.
-My oldest sister is a lesbian.
The birth of my OCD:
So, a little less than two years ago, my boyfriend at the time cheated on me and we broke up. The break up was terrible, and I couldn’t get over it for months. I made some bad decisions after that, hooking up with a few guys just to make me feel better and to feel like I still had some worth. I believe this was the point in which my confidence began to decline. Fast forward to last fall, and I started dating a new guy, (I don’t want to disclose his name, so I’ll just call him Adam.) I was crazy about him from the start, and so naturally I wanted to “measure up” to his very high moral standard of women who haven’t been with more than 2 or 3 men their whole life. I didn’t have much self-confidence, and I truly did regret hooking up with guys after my bad break up, so I lied to Adam. I told him I had only slept with 2 men my whole life, when in reality I had slept with 6. Adam’s attitude towards the whole idea of “hooking up,” partying, ect. is extremely judgmental and almost aggressively negative. Interestingly, I shared a similar view – just not so judgmental. Having grown up in a christian home, I had always been taught that I shouldn’t live that way. I made some mistakes, but It was really just a phase and it was before I met Adam- and, for the most part i had forgiven myself. Anyways, the lie I told Adam literally ate me up inside for many months… All the time I felt like I was worthless, unclean and broken – at the same time, I was constantly going to extra measures to make sure Adam wouldn’t find out the truth; like being careful with my words, avoiding certain conversations/places, ect. It was exhausting. I felt horrible, yet at the same time I was mad at him for making me feel like i had to be perfect. I was mad that he would make me feel like a number dictated my worth. I was mad at myself for lying. Eventually, my guilt and shame had become so severe that one day I broke down and told him everything. After a long and hard conversation, we were okay. We stuck together and after a few days he said he forgave me and that he was sorry for making me feel like I had to lie. I felt so much better….. This was the last time I can remember feeling okay. Little did I know this was the beginning of OCD.
Weeks later, I was reading through an old journal of mine, when I was about 18 years old – long story short – from what I wrote, it seemed like I cheated on a “boyfriend” that I had had for maybe 3 weeks. I still remember the pit in my stomach that I felt as soon as I read the entry. “Oh my god, a boy kissed me when I was with someone else. I’m a cheater. How could i have forgotten about this? I’m a cheater.” I became sick to my stomach for days and I couldn’t get it off my mind. Keep in mind this happened nearly 3 years ago. Although this insignificant event had literally NOTHING to do with my current relationship, I felt compelled to tell Adam. At this point, I could already see what was going on in my brain. After many months of keeping a tormenting secret, I had now been wired to feel guilty about little things and need reassurance.
Another couple weeks went by and I was plagued by guilty thoughts of past hook-ups again. There was a few “almost hook-ups” that I hadn’t remembered before, and I went for a few miserable days before I once again sought reassurance in Adam, telling him, “babe, even though i didn’t have sex with this guy, I did this/that…I feel terrible.” My brain needed to make sure I was still accepted – still safe. There were even times I remembered kisses from boys throughout high school, and this even made me feel guilty. Can you believe that? Adam laughed when I told him this.
It wasn’t much longer after this that I noticed some quirky motion I sometimes did with my hands – something that I’ve always done since a little girl, which my parents always said was cute. One day I was curious to find out what it meant – Maybe I had muscle spams or something. I guess I hit the wrong answer on the internet, because when I saw the word, “autistic,” I lost my mind. For 2 months, I believed I was somewhere on the autism spectrum. I called awareness centers to seek reassurance, and sure enough every place told me I was completely normal. Anybody that I told about this laughed their heads off and asked if I was joking. Thankfully, that irrational fear has pretty much subsided.
Then, in May of this past year, things got worse. This is where HOCD comes in.
Above in my post I mentioned that as a child (5 years) my older sister (8 years) sexually molested me. Since then, as adults, I have talked to her about this. She believes she had been sexually molested by a woman at that age and she was practicing on me – not fully understanding what she was doing. Although it was rather harmless, this experience did open me up to being sexual at a very young age. I remember masturbating (not really knowing what i was doing) at the age of 5. I knew sex was to occur between a man and woman, and that agreed with me, but thanks to my sister, I had been conditioned to think sex felt completely different than what it really feels like. In other words, I never imagined something going inside of me, only clitoral stimulation. The reason I’m adding this information is because I believe its 100% the reason I then, 10 years later, was drawn to lesbian porn. Keep in mind that growing up, I never once had a romantic or sexual attraction to women in real life. I was always chasing the boys, crushing on them, writing songs about them, fantasizing about marrying a handsome man, ect. I have a literal obsession with jared leto hahaha. So, never did I question my love for men. I wanted to kiss them and be intimate with them – not women. But lesbian porn always turned me on. I would masturbate to it, and then feel so dirty and gross afterwards. I would almost hate those women as soon as I stopped watching it. It was a very strange dynamic. I liked their bodies and the chemistry between them, but I didn’t want that for myself. Even imagining two women falling in love felt very wrong and gross to me. That is not to say that I have anything wrong with the LGBT community. I am TOTALLY accepting – it’s just not what I personally want. Watching lesbian porn wasn’t a daily thing, but I did it often enough to eventually be drawn to weird kinds of anime lesbian porn. Weird. The ironic thing about me watching lesbian porn is, I never wanted to watch a video that showed the women actually being in love – it felt weird to me. I only wanted to see sex… boobs and butts turned me on, and hearing moans turned me on.
Overtime, I continued to watch lesbian porn on and off. I had many little flings with boys, a few boyfriends, but nothing with girls. I was boy crazy, but I liked lesbian porn. In fact, my friend angela once asked if I would make out with her at a party to impress the guy she liked, and I was drunk so I said okay. I remember feeling so disgusted. I wanted her lips OFF of me. If I was gay, I’m pretty sure that would have felt exciting, not disgusting.
I was still watching lesbian porn when I began dating the ex-boyfriend that cheated on me. He introduced me to mind-blowing sex, and I “fell in love.” I craved sex with him 24/7. I probably wanted it more than he did, and that’s saying something. I’m including this because I think it’s important to note how sexual I really am. My inclination towards lesbian porn has something to do with that – especially since I don’t like the romance between women, just the sex.
Coming back to my relationship with Adam, and how this HOCD started… I should have mentioned previously that our sex life hasn’t been the greatest. For a long time, I had pain during sex and we couldn’t figure out what it was. I also lost my initial attraction towards him, and stopped enjoying sex with him. I think it could be a combination of me not finding him physically attractive anymore, and the OCD/anxiety consuming my mind.
With all of that said about lesbian porn, this past May I realized, for the first time in forever, that I shouldn’t be watching it. I felt like by watching lesbian porn, I was cheating on Adam. There was an instant during this time where I saw a random woman with big boobs at an event I was working, and I was mildly attracted. The next time my boyfriend and I had sex, the image of her popped up into my mind in a porn-like scene and I thought it was hot. I remember wanting to KILL myself for thinking it was hot. OCD instinct kicked in, and as nervous as I was, I had to tell Adam. I was so embarrassed, especially when he said, “well….. are you gay?” Never before in my life had I considered that. In that moment, all the certainty I thought I had with myself was gone. Later, I figured out tons of straight women watch lesbian porn. In fact, most of the porn women watch is lesbian porn. But of course, thanks to the nature of OCD, that hasn’t been enough to make me feel normal. After telling Adam about my development of HOCD, he apologized for his reaction. He said, “I’m sorry for saying that babe. I was hurt because you don’t want sex with me, and instead you’ll get off to porn. Lots of women watch porn like that. Of course youre not gay.” That made me feel better for about 5 min, but then my brain started over-thinking. The overthinking has not subsided. I have not watched lesbian ever since that day, (almost 5 months.) The fear I have of being gay completely drowns out the temptation to watch it. Everywhere I go, I check myself to make sure i’m not attracted to women. I used to avoid watching movies with pretty women in it just because I was scared I’d find out I was attracted. I seek reassurance on the internet, and I try to find HOCD vs. homosexual comparisons. I talk about it with my therapist, boyfriend, sister, ect. any chance I get just to seek reassurance. I have no real attraction/ no feelings for any woman – but the fear of the possibility of attraction is too strong to let it go.
Ironically, along with HOCD, I’m struggling with an intense sexual attraction towards my male therapist. Sometimes my brain starts fantasizing about him during sex with my boyfriend, and I’ve even had dreams about him…I feel guilty for being attracted to someone other than Adam – its an OCD type of guilt. But, how ironic is this? At the same time I’m afraid of being gay or bisexual, I’m intensely and regrettably sexually attracted to other men.
Since then, I have had irrational OCD fears involving myself having mouth cancer, being pregnant, ect. I have recently had panic attacks where my throat feels like its closing up. I called an ambulance for myself because I thought I was dying. I was so embarrassed to find out it was just a panic attack brought on my ceaseless anxiety.
The OCD is beginning to control my life. I’ve contemplated suicide, but I don’t want it to. I could never hurt my family like that. I wan’t to be sure of myself again.
I guess my question for you is, what do you take of my situation? Does watching and liking lesbian porn make me gay? Should I just give up now???
Hi Elizabeth, thanks for your comment. It means a lot to me that you are willing to share your story. I don’t take that lightly. I know these things are difficult to talk about!
Firstly, I’m not going to answer your question about “does watching and liking lesbian porn make you gay?” because you KNOW the answer to that already. 🙂 You already answered it just in what you wrote!
Secondly, it seems really obvious to me (and maybe even to you? You have a tremendous amount of self-awareness!!!) that you’re dealing with HOCD and other themes of OCD. If you were to read a book about OCD, you would find yourself in the pages over and over again.
What remains is treatment. This is where you have to make some decisions. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is the #1 most effective treatment for all forms of OCD and the only thing I recommend (although I’m also in favor of taking medication in addition to ERP!). Start by learning a lot about ERP, what it looks like, and how it works. I recommend reading all the ERP/CBT posts at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD and maybe checking out a library book about ERP (I have a list of recommended ones on my blog). Tell yourself that you don’t have to make any DECISIONS yet … you are just collecting information about treatment and you can make a decision later. ERP can be done with an ERP specialist (which is the best, IMO) or on your own with the help of a book to guide you. It will involve doing things that make you really uncomfortable. Don’t worry about that yet. Just learn about ERP. You will know when you are ready for ERP!
Blessings on you, dear one! You CAN have freedom from this. I suffered for 20 years before just 12 weeks of ERP took my OCD out at the knees. 🙂
Thank you so much! It makes a huge difference knowing so many others struggle with this. I will definitely look into ERP – from what I’ve been reading it’s the only real way to tame this issue.
God bless you for taking the time to answer all the questions you receive. You have a good heart! 🙂
You’re welcome! Glad you’re going to look into ERP. You will find that all OCD experts recommend it as the frontline treatment. I did ERP for 12 weeks in 2008. In the last 8 years since, I’ve had such tremendous freedom. I didn’t deal with obsessions OR compulsions for the first year and a half after ERP. Since then I’ve had about 1 or 2 very minor obsessions each year … but they only last for about 2-3 hours each. That’s a total of 6 hours of obsessing a YEAR … I used to obsess any time I was AWAKE. This is a whole new life.
Hi Jackie. I am a 20-year-old girl in my last year of college. This anxiety all started over a conversation of sexuality, when I was asked if I was gay. I was taken back by the question and began to consistently question, rationalize, and seek reassurance. I was in a vulnerable state already, having ended a long-term relationship with a young man. Leading up to the HOCD, I was constantly comparing myself to other girls thinking, “He left me for someone like her. If I had eaten less, wore better clothes, or held less conservative morals regarding sex, maybe he would of still been at my side. ” I started obsessing over my poor body image leading up to to the HOCD. After the break up which was almost a year ago, I experienced panic attacks, more depression, and significant weight loss.
I have always been sexually and emotionally attracted to boys since I was little. To calm myself down, I wrote a list of all the boys I ever crushed on or loved. I always wrote down in my diaries wondering when I would ever get my first kiss and have my first date with a boy. I dreamed of marrying and building a family with a man. It makes me sick and tormented at the thought I am turning gay all of a sudden against my will. I became angry with God. I started blaming myself for having not dated more in high school. I blamed myself for waiting till marriage to have sex. I blamed myself for getting upset whenever I scolded boys for touching me inappropriately. Being straight has always been something I valued about my identity, but the OCD attacks everything I believe in. My life feels although it’s been a lie, and I wish that I could erase the thoughts and go back in time. Now I cannot even watch movies where there is a LGBT character or actor. I have isolated myself from my family and friends because of this uncertainty and fear.
I would rather die or never marry than be (bi) or lesbian. I am repeatedly told sexuality is fluid in the university I study in but I just don’t want to change into something I don’t want. I feel like my life has been ruined. I have been trying to accept the thoughts rather than fighting them to see if they’ll disappear, but they become so real to the point I’ll escalate my anxiety just to prove I am not gay. I don’t want to be bi–for me happiness is remaining straight as I have enjoyed being. I am sensitive to the point I am triggered by many things on a daily basis. These thoughts make me very sad–I feel like an empty shell of a woman. I get nervous just going outside my dorm and going to class. I don’t want to be attracted to girls at all. It is hard to talk about this to close friends and my parents, because I feel that they will just tell me to snap out of it or say it’s “internalized homophobia” or “denial.” I am currently in CBT and taking Paxil. Because I do not have a car, it would hard to seek a therapist outside my university who specializes in OCD. I have checked out self-help books as well and working my way towards self ERP. I worry ERP will reveal that I have been bi/lesbian my whole life–I just don’t want that to come true. I was so happy knowing I’m straight.
Hi dear! I’m so sorry for what you’re going through! I so look forward to when you have done ERP and you can look back on these emails and laugh at how obvious it is that you are straight. Anyone who feels and thinks the way you do is clearly straight . . . But when you have OCD/HOCD, it’s almost impossible to see. ERP therapy can help. It changed my whole life. Go to http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help and read the letter there, ok? You can do this.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. There are moments I feel calm and confident, but then I’ll view comfort as me accepting that I’m turning bi/lesbian. OCD fuels so much pain and confusion. I noticed the more I tolerate the thoughts, the more I see that reassurance will never be enough to satisfy OCD. When I’m most scared, I start thinking what if there is no such thing as me having HOCD? Because I’ll begin to think embracing uncertainty won’t help me heal, but change me into something I never was nor wanted to be.
Thank you for the letter, I sent it to my parents and it made a difference. When I broke down in August, I did not have the words to express what was happening to me. When I came across your blog a few week ago, I realized I was not alone. I hope to see more research about this type of OCD in the near future, because it would spread awareness among therapists.
Hello! My name is Brooke and I’ve suffered from pure o obsessions my whole life. I have always sorta been infatuated and obsessed with men since my younger years, hell I remember being 13 and with my current partner (we’re high school sweethearts😂) I fantasized about him all the time, and got butterflies at the thought of us together. I remember wanting to be intimate with him and wanting to love him. I should note I suffer from ROCD as well, hell my lesbian friend told me if I was gay I wouldn’t be so set on creating love with him, and wanting to recover so I can love him, and getting reassured when I can have feelings for him! I had always found girls pretty, from a young age, and wanted to be like them. Which made me fear I wanted a boyfriend bc of society and things while going through this. I feared I didn’t have an emotional connection or wanted emotional intimacy with my boyfriend despite me constantly reassuring myself and neutralizing my doubt. I’m not very sexual, sex was never something that interested me much. Probably bc I always was planning to save myself for marriage. I feared it was just lust between my boyfriend and I despite the ocd and me obviously having strong feelings about him. I was best friends with a girl for years, I got jealous at her being friends with other people bc I was afraid of being replaced. I got into porn at a young age too bc my sister had left a tab open (she’s bisexual, shocker) but I just got curious and watched the videos. I had always played pretend and had straight behaviors that I enjoyed, pretended I had a boyfriend and imagining me kiss one. My mind focuses on small things, Did yours ever do this too? When this first started, one of my biggest compulsions was checking and rumination, looking back on that one same sex experience I had as a kid. Only being 12-13, i feared that I was lying to myself when I began this. I don’t like the thoughts I get of women, if I imagine something and I think there was a girl there, I freak out! One of the biggest things I did as well, id list and journal about my obsessions. I’d always give reasons as to why I’d not want a girlfriend (it sounds boring, I just don’t like it, I’m not interested, it doesn’t excite me like my boyfriend does). Things like that. I’d put myself in scenarios where I’d be on a date or dating a girl but I could never enjoy it, and most of the time to reassure myself, I’d imagine me telling the girl I’m straight! I like when I can be with my boyfriend romantically, and when my ROCD wasn’t so bad and I could enjoy us. I’d also compulsively think of our future together for the relief. But once again, it’s small things and I’m afraid that on the Kinsley scale they talk about, my attraction for women is on the upper levels despite me obviously having romantic and emotional desire for my boyfriend
Brooke, dear one, you have so many OCD behaviors that make you an excellent candidate for exposure and response prevention therapy, the evidence-based, expert-recommended treatment for OCD. You can read tons more about it at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD or by emailing email@example.com an empty email with OCD in the subject line. Hugs!
Jackie, is it possible for HOCD to latch onto people that typically gross you out in fear you may be attracted to them?
Might not be called HOCD, but yes, that can absolutely be a form of OCD! (Happened to me in college!)
I was having HOCD really bad for a few weeks. Than a thought popped in my head saying what if I’m attracted to girls who are more masculine and that freaked me out because I’m not. And this girl from a town over from me dates a girl like that. And I’m like what if I’m attracted to her? And now i can’t stop thinking about it. Is that crazy? I want these thoughts to go away. I have a boyfriend but he’s away at college right now. What would you recommend to help these thoughts go away? I’m supposed to be seeing a therapist pretty soon, kinda nervous /:
ERP therapy, which you can do even without a therapist. read up at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD.
Jackie! Please I have a major question. Please answer it, I’m desperate. I’m thinking about beginning therapy. I have had HOCD since 8th grade and I am now a senior in high school. It was the worst when I was in 8th grade, and then died down a lot in high-school. However, the thoughts occasionally come back and i learned how to silence them. However, recently I had a homosexual dream which has left me questioning again and ultimately freaking out. I feel sick at the thought of being homosexual (though I support anyone who is!) and I am not attracted to girls at all. It seems so clear to me that I am straight, but I can’t get the thought out of my head. I want to attend therapy because clearly, I have not recovered like I thought I had. The therapist I found is gay, but seems amazing. I am wondering if going to a gay therapist would affect my therapy simply due to the topic that my ocd is. I have nothing at ALL against gays and this may sound naive but I am just wondering if going to a gay therapist would hinder or help my CBT.
It will not hinder it, so long as your therapist truly knows how to do exposure therapy for OCD. Ask her the “Questions to ask a therapist” first. I will find the link for you.
I was diagnosed with ocd 5 years ago in this topic. Recently I had a major spike I saw a picture of a bunch of girls on bikes with their butts hanging out and my eyebrows went up. Is this a sign of attraction? Also I worry about other things also make me a lesbian, like my sense of humour or the fact that I played tee-ball when I was younger. It sounds a bit stupid but nearly everything becomes triggering. I am still looking into ERP and am on medication. Is there any advice?
Hi Jackie! So I’ve never been diagnosed with ocd but my family has a history of mental health problems. I started experiencing intrusive thoughts about other women when I was watching a show and the girl suddenly turned out to be lesbian. My first reaction was pretty bland but then I thought what if I’m secretly lesbian or bi? Now mind this I was always attracted to guys before and never even had a lesbian thought. My thoughts were getting pretty bad but at the time I developed a crush on another guy so it went away naturally. A couple months later high school started and I got exposed to a sort of the LGBTQ community of the school in one of my classes. I didn’t mind them until this one girl who looked straight said she was lesbian. Now mind this before I thought she was just pretty like I wasn’t crushing on her or even gravitating towards her like I did with guys I liked. After I found out I started experiencing anxiety each time I looked at her and I didn’t know how to interpret it. It again stopped when I developed a crush on another boy. Fast forward a couple of months this boy I liked tells me he likes me back and at that moment the first thought I had was what if I screw our relationship up? He had a few other friends (who were guys) that I was mildly attracted to so I freaked out and said no to him when the topic about starting a relationship came up. Fast forward a couple more months my thoughts come back again when watching a show where a girl developed a crush on a girl and found out she was lesbian. It escalated quickly from there and I started analyzing every encounter with a girl in my life looking for signs. At some point I even almost believed what I was thinking but I felt a sense of relief after I calmed myself down after reading posts of lesbian women. I was never attracted to boobs, or long legs or pixie cuts but neither was I attracted to abs of men. The guys I crushed on always lured me in with their personality. I feel a sense of relief when I think I’m straight and a sense of warmth when I think that I’ll have a husband. On the other hand each time I see a woman I feel anxiety and fear sometimes even disgust. I don’t know how to interpret my thoughts or anxiety and I’m exhausted of them. I don’t feel like me anymore, what do you suggest I do?
Malina, all of this is characteristic of OCD! I hope you’ll explore my posts and resources at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/ocd!
Hey Jackie! When I do my compulsions I feel disgusted. I am scared that I am lying to myself and I actually enjoy them. Any advice? Also, your interviews with “Hannah” help me a lot with my OCD. Thank you for all that you do!
My best advice is to assume it’s OCD and move forward with exposures, especially with the help of a therapist or a quality book. I have lots and lots of resources at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/ocd!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ You can have freedom again. You can move forward without disgust and fear and that intense doubt. You can have your life back. ❤️❤️
Hi. Please help. Ive been dealing with this for about a month now. I had a random dream about kissing a girl and it derailed my whole life. I was having some relationship ocd already and this is so much worse. I’ve always liked men, I’ve been crushing on guys since I was like 4. I never questioned my sexuality at all, and I had just huge crushes on guys. Then this happened and i feel like im going crazy. I started to be scared to watch movies with pretty women or with gay themes, ive been constantly checking myself to see if im attracted to other women, and it takes up my thoughts literally all day. I really don’t want to be gay, but I’m just so confused. What if ive been living in denial? I mean, ive never thought that I was living in denial. I never used to be uncomfortable around homosexual topics or even gay family members. This is ruining my life, and the groinal responses make it so confusing. I just wish this had never started or I had never had that dream. And im a Christian so I feel terrible about watching porn to check and see if I was aroused. It just made it worse because it added on guilt and shame. My biggest fear is that this is not HOCD, even thought before this all started i had absolutely no desire to be with a woman in any way. I miss being able to crush on guys without having to ask “but what if im gay”. Please help.
Hi. Please help. Ive been dealing with this for about a month now. I had a random dream about kissing a girl and it derailed my whole life. I was having some relationship ocd already and this is so much worse. I’ve always liked men, I’ve been crushing on guys since I was like 4. I never questioned my sexuality at all, and I had just huge crushes on guys. Then this happened and i feel like im going crazy. I started to be scared to watch movies with pretty women or with gay themes, ive been constantly checking myself to see if im attracted to other women, and it takes up my thoughts literally all day. I really don’t want to be gay, but I’m just so confused. What if ive been living in denial? I mean, ive never thought that I was living in denial. I never used to be uncomfortable around homosexual topics or even gay family members. This is ruining my life, and the groinal responses make it so confusing. I just wish this had never started or I had never had that dream. And im a Christian so I feel terrible about watching porn to check and see if I was aroused. It just made it worse because it added on guilt and shame. My biggest fear is that this is not HOCD, even thought before this all started i had absolutely no desire to be with a woman in any way. I miss being able to crush on guys without having to ask “but what if im gay”. Before this started I was able to joke around about girls being pretty but it never bothered me and I was always very secure in my own sexuality and orientation. I’ve always been very insecure about my body so I used to constantly compare my body to other women’s bodies, to see if mine was “better or worse”. I was never sexually attracted to the women I would compare myself to, it was just i wish I looked like them so I could attract guys. Now I worry that maybe this is proof that I was gay and secretly looking at them just because I wanted to? I dont know. Ive been in lockerooms, a showered with friends, seen female nudity in movies, and never even reacted. Didnt affect me at all. Now all of those things would cause me extreme anxiety. Its even starting to affect my dreams, and I know that of course if youre thinking about something all day its bound to show up in your dreams, but it feels like maybe that’s also proof that im gay now. This sucks.
Hi friend, although my policy is not to engage in one on one ocd conversations, if you email firstname.lastname@example.org with hocd in the subject line, you will get a response full of resources!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
Can certain people trigger HOCD? I’ve been struggling with what I think is HOCD for about two months now and can not afford treatment at the moment.
Oh sure thing! Anything can be a trigger!
I have posts on here about how to do self-guided ERP!
Hi Jackie, I’ ve been suffering from HOCD for seven months now. I always imagined my future with a man but now when I imagine it, my HOCD tells me I dont want it and I start to feel anxious about being with man, even though it is what I always want it. And when I picture myself with a girl I feel nothing or, at worst HOCD tells me I would like it. My anxiety is now through the roof, I dont want to be a lesbian. Is this normal? Or maybe I am anxious about men becaus i fear I might leave because of hocd? Something like hocd and rocd mixed? Please help me, i feel terrible
Oh and I forgot to mention that Hocd gets into my dreams a lot. When I wake up I feel anxious and worry that i liked the dream, because sometimes it feels like i did a little in the dream, but in real life i would never do that. Can it play with your feelings in dreams like that? Please, im just really scared.
Hi Jackie- I have 13 year old daughter who has liked boys in the past ( big hard crushes). She has been doing virtual school because of Covid the past few months. A year ago one of her friends came out to her said she was gay. At that time my daughter didn’t care much of it. About a month ago my daughter saw a video of TikTok and it was two girls touching each other and doing inappropriate things. The weekend before that we had some friends over and they brought their 15 year old daughter over and my daughter found her pretty. She linked the fact that she found the daughter pretty and liking watching this video to her being gay. She came to me and said she had another panic attack in school when she saw she was looking at her girl and the “heterosexual “ aspect of her is diminishing and she is turning gay. She was very scared and almost in tears. Almost for the past month now she just thinks about this all day long . She says she has inappropriate thoughts of her female friends, her female teachers all day long and she thinks it’s because she is turning gay. She told
Me her brain is telling her she needs to be “gay”. She also told me that she has inappropriate thoughts of female family members. I wanted to see if this is hocd or if she is really gay so I told her if you really are gay let’s sit down and discuss this with our family so everyone can accept who you are. I was testing her basically. She started crying. She has stopped watching any kind of romance movies (she use to watch them a lot ) because she feels like she looks at the women too much and that gives her anxiety. Also to note: over Christmas we had gone to our family’s house and over there they had invited some friends and they have a 16 year old boy. She was crushing on him, but because I think this is HOCD she is even starting to doubt her past crushes on guys by saying “did I even like them?”. Sometimes she also says that she likes looking at some of the women in the movies. I told her that is normal. She has also said she gets gay dreams and then she thinks about them all day long.
Can you help me ?
Rachel, everything about this points to HOCD. I hope the info at https://jackieleasommers.com/2015/07/29/hocd-a-letter-to-loved-ones/ is helpful for you!
She also said up until 4 months ago she always thought she would grow up and get married and have a life with a man with kids. Now she is saying that maybe that life will be replaced with having a married life with a woman and the uncertainty is killing her. She said my life was always planned and now it’s not planned. I want to just grow up and start dating so I can figure out who or want I want. Is this normal in HOCD patients ? This all scares her very much.
Oh it’s not only normal… It IS what hocd IS. OCD is called “the doubting disease” and uncertainty is the crux of it. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to help her become comfortable with uncertainty because this current obsession with sexual preference will sadly probably just move onto another “theme.” Definitely get a book about exposure therapy and begin practicing it at home with her! I suggest Dr. Graysons book Freedom from OCD or the nOCD app!
Thank you so much.
I will help her as much as I can At home
It’s so painful to see her go through this
Yes, I know!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ The important thing here is to keep remembering that the issue is not actually around her sexuality. It’s a brain miswiring around uncertainty and that’s just the temporary thing it has latched onto for now. That said, it will latch onto other things if untreated. Thankfully ERP is very effective and can be done at home or with a specialist.
I also want to ask and add
Do the kids who have HOCD end up being gay relationships in adulthood or teenager years?
She is so much self doubt because of this and has so much anxiety.
Also- we have been working with a ocd therapist and she has been on medication.
I am not even sure if this therapist knows how to treat HOCD because I told her of my daughters problem she told my daughter
“It’s ok if you don’t know who you are attracted to right now – you don’t need to figure this out until later in life “
I want to help her at home but she I am not sure how to start with baby steps
If this therapist said that to her, they are NOT an ocd therapist. Any ocd therapist would be familiar with hocd and would treat the ocd with exposure therapy.
And no, hocd doesn’t turn anyone gay. Your daughter isn’t gay; she just has ocd, which means there’s a miswiring in her brain latching onto that right now. Exposure therapy rewires the brain correctly so uncertainty isn’t so devastating.
Please find a new therapist! This one is probably an excellent talk therapist for anxiety, but OCD requires a specific treatment and understanding. On the iocdf.org website there is a directory of therapists and a list of questions to ask to make certain they know how to appropriately treat ocd.
Thank you so much Jackie. I also spoke to my daughter and told her let’s start some exposure and response therapy. I asked her if she wants to look at a Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalog with me and she got so uptight and said it makes her so uncomfortable. Is this also normal for HOCD.
How can I help her with small baby steps?
Do you have any suggestions ?
Thank you again in advance
Yes, all exposures will be difficult. It may help for you to read a book about ERP, create a list of appropriate exposures (for example, Victoria’s secret is a good one, maybe writing down “I am gay,” etc.) and then having her rank them easiest to hardest. Start with the easiest. Record the level of discomfort 0-100 and do the exposure till the level drops in half, then move to next hardest.
Thank you Jackie.
I will refer to all of us
I hope she finds peace and gets cured. All was fine a few months ago.
She will be fine!! She has a supportive parent seeking out help and that’s the BEST THING. She really will be OK!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
Another issue she has is that she is also convinced her sexuality is changing and I told her this is just HOCD. She does not believe me . She keeps saying that her Brain keeps telling her she wants to be “gay”
Yup, that’s what ocd is… A brain disorder. So her brain is telling her that, but it’s lying.
She told me today she was having gay thoughts . Like if a gay girl asked her out what she would say. This is what she does all day long , have thoughts about being gay. Is this normal with HOCD
Yes, please read my posts about hocd at http://www.jackieleasommers.com/ocd!
Hi Jackie – thanks for all your help. I talked to her yesterday and said her brain is telling her to be gay but that is not what she wants . Also then she was like I have crushes . I proceeded to ask her who she mentioned she thought her aunt (my sil) was cute and beautiful and she thought her algebra teacher was cute and then she said she has fantasies about her gay friend that came out last year. I didnt know how to respond to all that
Any feedback ?
My daughter says that in her head she can believe she is gay … but she cannot say it out loud because it gives her anxiety. Is this a HOCD trait?
It’s the literal definition. The obsession is worrying she’s gay. The compulsion is avoidance of saying it aloud because of the anxiety. ERP will have the goal of doing so. But I am not a therapist or doctor. And asking for reassurance over and over is not helpful for your daughter. You must say, “I have already told you this is a disorder, and I won’t side with OCD instead of you.” ❤️
Thank you so
Much Jackie- you have been super super helpful. Last night she saw a girl in her tennis class and she said she thought the girl was so pretty and when the girl talked to her she felt like anxiety or nervousness. She was not sure and that scared her. 4-5 months ago this wouldn’t have mattered at all. Also she did tell me last night that she does compulsions to prove she is straight and she doesn’t have confidence in herself and maybe one day she will wake up and realize she is gay. I don’t think it works like this for gay people if you are actually gay.
Also she is like “her brain tells her to be in the position of being gay … every time she sees a poster of two girls kissing … or a pretty girl …. “. Like how can you be in the position of being gay.
She also gets scared because she mentions that she wants to be in that position of being “gay “ and that scares the living daylights out of her
Can you help on the above Jackie ?
My daughter told me today that she thinks her life was going so normal being a heterosexual and then she saw a TikTok video and that stimulated her (2 women doing stuff ) and she thought to herself – this is so weird and why do I like this? It must mean I’m gay and now that’s all she thinks about. Im assuming this is another sign of HOCD
Rachel, I cannot help further with your questions. An ocd/ERP expert must be consulted. I’m not a therapist or doctor.
Sure no problem. Thanks again for everything
Gosh, this is an old blog. I won’t be surprised if this is ignored.
So, I was recently diagnosed with OCD, and it’s pretty obvious that HOCD is my most common theme. It’s terrible, and has really been taking a toll on my life. My sleep? Awful. Day to day enjoyment of life? Awful. I’ve been generally avoiding all same-gender friends, because I’m scared I’ll be attracted to them. I can’t even wake up in the morning without getting an intrusive thought and becoming nauseous. I’m not going to get too much into specifics, but it’s been some of the worst days of my life.
Anyways, I’ve got two questions:
1. Can false attraction be emotional? Or is it merely physical?
2. What is ERP for HOCD like? I just started taking medication, and I’m due to start ERP in the coming weeks.
Thank you so much! Although I said earlier that I doubt this comment will be seen, thank you Jackie. Your blog has been so helpful for me in the last couple of weeks.
I’m so glad my blog has been helpful, friend, and I’m even happier you’re due to start ERP soon. You will be asked to do some things that make you uncomfortable, but you should start small… For example, looking at your same-gender friends without evaluating your reaction. Without checking for a response. Without researching things later. You may eventually move on to looking at attractive same-gender people in a catalog or reading an LGBTQ story. Your ERP therapist will help you build a hierarchy.
As for your first question, I will just say OCD is tricky and sly and can use just about anything to make you miserable.
Commit to ERP and your meds and to continuing to learn about OCD! You’ll be great. Seriously.
Thank you so much!
Hi! I’m sorry for leaving another post, and I know this is reassurance, but I’m having a really bad time right now and could use this.
Now, I’ve been dealing with HOCD for a couple months. My meds have just started kicking in, and I’m in my first week of ERP for this particular obsession.
However, I’m quite worried. As of last night, a friend found out I had HOCD and straight-up said, “give into the thoughts.”
That on its own was a trigger, but I’m even more scared after looking at myself. The thoughts don’t cause the same sort of fear they used to- in fact, I’m mostly just annoyed with them. Of course, they do still spark panic, plenty of times. I have one to three episodes a week. But I’m scared that, because it’s not the same fear, I’m just finding out my true sexuality.
Additionally, I was researching internalized homophobia (compulsions are fun!), and I heard that obsessive-compulsive behaviors are correlate to it. Is it possible that I’m just dealing with internalized homophobia, and my OCD is a hoax?
Again, I’m so sorry. I know I shouldn’t be asking this, but I really do need reassurance right now.
Thank you so much!