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HOCD: 30 Things You Need To Know

HOCD - 30 Things You Need To Know - 300
HOCD is a misunderstood and under-recognized
variant of Pure Obsessional OCD (Pure O).

HOCD (Homosexual OCD) is ostensibly a variant of OCD in which the sufferer obsesses about being gay. Of course, like most subtypes of OCD, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Unfortunately, the numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding HOCD lead to this condition being poorly understood, under-reported, and ineffectively treated. Here are 30 things you should know about HOCD and its treatment:

1. The term HOCD is not a formal diagnostic term. It is simply a slang term for OCD in which the sufferer’s obsessions focus on their sexual orientation. Some naysayers claim that HOCD doesn’t really exist simply because it is not a formal diagnosis that can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That’s a lot like saying broccoli is not really food because it’s not listed as a category of food by the USDA. Broccoli is a type of food and HOCD is a type of OCD.

2. The term HOCD is a bit misleading. While most people with HOCD obsess about secretly being gay, a significant number of gay people who struggle with OCD obsess that they are secretly straight. This is why some people prefer to call HOCD “Sexual Orientation OCD”. The bottom line is that, no matter what you call it, the core obsession in this variant of OCD is the fear that one is secretly not living in accordance with what they see as their their “true” sexuality.

3. Similarly, some people obsess that they are secretly bisexual, or that they are secretly transsexual or transgendered. Basically, people can and do obsess about almost anything, especially when it comes to their sexuality.

4. While HOCD is extremely common, it is not well known by the public. Many people mistakenly think that OCD consists entirely of compulsive hand washing, door checking and stove knob checking.

5. HOCD is under-reported, mostly because people who experience it have so much shame about having thoughts about being gay. This under-reporting is also a function of people simply not knowing HOCD exists. This is further complicated by the fact that so many mental health professionals are utterly clueless about HOCD.

6. Most people with HOCD are not particularly homophobic. In fact, many are quite open-minded when it comes to issues of gender and sexual orientation. They just feel a tremendous amount of concern that they may secretly want to be gay, mostly because they see themselves as straight. The same goes for those who are gay who obsess that they are secretly straight (sometimes called “Straight OCD”).

7. Thoughts are just thoughts, and having gay thoughts does not automatically mean you are gay. Most people at some time in their life have at least some passing curiosity about sex with the same gender. Curiosity about all sorts of things is a normal part of the human experience, and curiosity about sexual matters is healthy and predictable.

8. Additionally, having sexual fantasies about the same gender does not automatically mean you are gay. Everybody has sexual fantasies, and everybody has sexual fantasies about things they are unlikely to actually do. Humans really, really like to fantasize about things that are taboo. We are naturally curious about sex, and that includes sex that is “forbidden” or outside of our normal sexual menu. Again, curiosity about sexuality is normal and healthy.

9. A history of experimenting with same-sex behavior when you were young does not automatically mean you are gay. Sexual experimentation is an extremely common part of growing up, and many children, adolescents, and young adults do all sorts of things that their parents would be appalled by.

10. Likewise, a history of being sexually abused as a child does not mean you will automatically become gay. The great majority of people who were sexually abused as children are not gay (including most of those who were abused by a person of the same gender).

11. If you are straight and a gay person expresses romantic/sexual interest in you, that does not mean you are gay – it means they are gay. Gay people come on to people for the exact same reason that straight come on to people – because they are hoping that the other person will respond favorably. Their interest in you is based on what they want, not on what you want, and what they want is based on your gender, not your sexual orientation. There is no reason to assume that their interest means anything more than that they find you attractive, and the most appropriate response is to be flattered, not to assume that you are gay.

12. You do not need to ”know” your sexual orientation with 100% certainty, any more than you need to know with certainty what you are having for lunch next Tuesday or what color socks you were wearing on New Years Eve. HOCD is not really about sexual orientation at all – it’s about having an exaggerated need for absolute certainty about sexual orientation. But absolute certainty is not possible. It doesn’t exist! Nobody on the planet can guarantee with 100% certainty that they will always be gay or straight or bi or whatever. Certainty is not required, and searching for it is a compulsive waste of your time and energy.

13. Many people with HOCD obsess about experiencing a groinal response that they have in reaction to anything they perceive as being potentially “gay”, such as:

• Exposure to attractive people of the same gender.
• Exposure to overtly gay people.
• Exposure to gay music, gay TV characters, or gay themed films and books.

This groinal response is almost always a function of the HOCD sufferer paying way too much attention to their groin. The simple fact is that people without HOCD spend virtually no time whatsoever analyzing their groin for signs of arousal.

14. Many people with HOCD are extremely concerned with the fact that they notice people of the same gender who are attractive. And just as with the groinal response, this problem is almost always a function of over-attending. Most people who don’t have HOCD do not spend a whole lot of time analyzing whether or not they find people of the same gender attractive. That said, it is completely normal to notice that some people of the same gender are attractive. There are lots of attractive people in the world – why shouldn’t you notice them? Recognizing that a person of your gender is attractive does not mean you are gay – it means you have functioning eyeballs.

15. If the idea of sex with a person of the same gender sounds awful to you, then you probably are not gay. Gay people like the idea of sex with people of the same gender. Likewise, if the idea of sex with the opposite gender sounds awful to you, you are probably not straight.

16. Sexual orientation exists on a spectrum ranging from really, really straight to really, really gay, and people can exist anywhere on that spectrum. Furthermore, one’s sexual orientation may vacillate over time. Everybody knows people who have “experimented” with same-gender sexuality, or who have been straight sometimes and gay at other times. The bottom line is that you are not obligated to fit perfectly and permanently into a category of “straight” or “gay” or “bi” or whatever flavor of sex currently turns you on. There are no rules about your sexual orientation. You can be whatever you want, whenever you want.

17. HOCD is not curable, but it is treatable. Research has consistently found that the most effective treatment for all forms of OCD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with an emphasis on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

18. Challenging your distorted thoughts about your sexuality and your sexual obsessions is called Cognitive Restructuring. This is the “C” part of CBT, and for many, this is a very valuable aspect of treatment.

19. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the “B” part of CBT, and is the key ingredient to treating all forms of OCD. Using ERP, the HOCD sufferer learns to challenge and change the compulsive behaviors that they have been doing in response to their anxiety-provoking obsessions about their sexual orientation. These behaviors tend to fall into four categories:

• Overt compulsions (e.g., washing your hands or changing your clothes after spending time with a gay person).
• Avoidant compulsions (e.g., not going to gay neighborhoods or watching gay themed TV shows).
• Reassurance-seeking compulsions (e.g., asking friends and family to confirm that you are not gay, or that you are not acting in a manner that could be construed as gay).
• Mental Compulsions (e.g., repeatedly analyzing your thoughts or actions in an effort to prove to yourself that you are not gay).

20. A key part of ERP for HOCD is Imaginal Exposure. This technique involves writing short stories based on your obsession and then repeatedly reading those stories until they become boring and non-triggering. For many people struggling with HOCD, imaginal exposure is one of the most effective components of treatment.

21. Mindfulness and acceptance based treatments are great adjuncts to CBT / ERP, and are considered the “third wave” of CBT (cognitive and behavioral therapies being the first two waves).

22. Some people struggling with HOCD worry that treatment will ultimately make them become gay. Treatment with CBT / ERP cannot “turn you gay”. Simply put, therapists are not that powerful. Likewise, therapists cannot make a gay person become straight (which is why conversion therapy is a crock).

23. Likewise, many people with HOCD are extremely concerned that treatment will result in them discovering that they are in fact secretly gay, and that they have been “in denial” all along. When it comes to HOCD, the concept of gay denial is utter nonsense.

24. Treatment with CBT / ERP does not include having gay sex to “prove” whether you are straight or gay. Out of sheer desperation, some people with HOCD try to prove to themselves that they are straight by “testing” whether they like having gay sex. This always backfires, resulting in the sufferer feeling more confused and tortured than ever.

25. Conversely, treatment for HOCD is focused on helping the sufferer learn to accept the presence of intrusive, unwanted sexual thoughts, without taking those thoughts so seriously, and without demanding that they have 100% certainty about their sexual orientation. Again, thoughts are just thoughts, and absolute certainty is not possible.

26. We have treated hundreds of people with HOCD, and not one has been able to articulate why it is so important that they have absolute certainty about their sexual orientation…because it is not imperative to “know” your sexual orientation with 100% certainty.

27. Sometimes people with HOCD start to worry when they feel less anxious about their unwanted thoughts. This generally happens in response to one of two things happening – either they have somewhat habituated to these thoughts due to experiencing them so frequently, or they have become less anxious as a result of making significant improvement during therapy. In either case, they often then get anxious about not being anxious, and may start to obsess that their reduced anxiety is really just further evidence that they actually are gay. This is called a “backdoor spike” – just as they are getting relief, their HOCD finds a new avenue to torture them. The best response to a backdoor spike is to realize that it is just a new twist on the same old intrusive, unwanted thought, and to accept its existence without paying it any special attention.

28. Many people with HOCD also experience other subtypes of OCD, especially other variants of Pure Obsessional OCD (“Pure O”). It is particularly common for people with HOCD to also struggle with a variant of Pure O known as Relationship OCD (ROCD).

29. Still not sure if you have HOCD? You can click here to take our free online test for HOCD.

30. Want to learn more about this misunderstood and under-recognized variant of OCD? You can click here to read our four additional articles about HOCD.

•Tom Corboy, MFT is the founder and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, a private, outpatient clinic specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety based conditions.  In addition to individual therapy, the center offers six weekly therapy groups, as well as online therapy, telephone therapy, and intensive outpatient treatment.  To contact the OCD Center of Los Angeles, click here.

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508 Comments

  • Tom, absolutely fantastic stuff!! You guys are dead on it…….as usual!! Love it!

    Reply
      • Hi there, around 2 months ago I got this unwanted thought about gay sex, and then I started thinking I was gay. I was freaked out, I would reassure myself by thinking about women which would arouse me, until it stopped working. I lost my attraction and lost my sex drive and I am afraid that I am gay. I am anxious around men, and when I am around them I am always testing and checking for arousal. I know I don’t enjoy being touched by men, but I just can’t come up with a conclusion. I always preferred women in my life until I started testing over and over again to reassure myself. Do you think this is OCD and will my attraction to women come back? Also I always moderate how I dress, when i wear shorts I feel like I am gay. These thoughts are preventing me from doing things such as baseball, fishing because “thats not what gay people do.” I am hesitant to travel as well.

        Reply
        • Anthony,

          A few thoughts…

          1) Purposely thinking about women in order to reassure yourself that you are not gay is a compulsion, and it is making your OCD worse.

          2) Ditto for testing and checking for arousal around men.

          3) Ditto for moderating how you dress.

          4) You don’t need “a conclusion’ to your concern about being gay – you need to accept that you brain generates lots of unexpected thoughts, and to let those thoughts be there without taking them seriously. They are just thoughts.

          5) Asking me to provide you with an opinion as to whether you are gay is also a compulsive attempt at finding a “conclusion”. If I played that game with you, it wouldn’t work in the long term. Your brain would just come up with thoughts that dispute my opinion.

          6) If you think straight people don’t wear shorts or travel, and that gay people don’t fish or play baseball, you are mistaken.

          Reply
      • Hi Tom I’ve had HOCD for almost 4 years and I’ve been clear of thoughts for almost 2 years until They came back 3 months ago. I know Im not gay or bi but I keep obsessing over the fact of people being born gay and I’m scared I was born gay or bi due to my cousin kissing me and performing oral on me and him making me give oral to him. I think it caused trauma due to thoughts of a secret gay me growing up due to him almost brainwashing me into saying I like boys and that we are boyfriends. It scares me to think that I liked it or not because I don’t remember how it felt. I just remember his penis in my mouth. And it terrifies me to believe the reason I remember this is because I liked it. This happened while I was 4 or 5 years old. I wanted to stop when we were 5. And we did. But I kept getting thoughts when I grew up saying I liked it and that I liked boys even though I never had any kind of attraction to boys. When My hocd finally became intense was at age 13. Those same past experiences and thoughts have been bothering me ever since. I never had any attraction to boys growing up like sexual or romantically.

        Reply
        • Johnathon,

          A few thoughts…

          1) You say that you fear you were “born gay”, yet you provide no legitimate evidence to support this thesis. Furthermore, it would be virtually impossible for you to find evidence that supports or refutes this thesis. I encourage you to not try to figure out whether or not you were born gay.

          2) The only “evidence” you provide for your thesis that you were born gay is that cousin kissed you when you were a kid, performed oral sex on you, and forced you to perform oral sex on him. But his behaviors have nothing to do with your intent. The behavior of others does not reflect your intent or character, it reflects their’s. You were 5 years old and someone forced you to do things that you clearly were not comfortable with.

          3) That said, it is completely normal for children to be curious about sex, and to experiment with sex, including same sex behavior.

          4) There is no secret gay person hiding inside of you.

          5) It is quite common for unwanted OCD thoughts that have decreased or disappeared to reappear from time to time.

          Reply
          • Hello Tom,

            I believe my HOCD was birthed while I was in an extremely drug-induced state quite a few months ago, and have since quit all drugs. I did experiment as a child/teen but never felt like i was ever inclined towards men, and grew out of that phase early on too. I’m 31 now. It’s not as though after all this time, my sexual identity could just change, is it? I’m not even sure what I’m trying to ask or say in this post here exactly, so i apologise. My brain is a bit scattered. I think the main thing I’m worried about now with this HOCD is that I’ve isolated myself as a result of it, which I believe is only exacerbating the issue, but also that my sex drive is completely gone now. I don’t masturbate or even care to have sex anymore despite having it available to me. This does worry me, but i don’t fantasize or crave sex with me neither. I just feel dead inside. Especially since my libido was always strong. I don’t know how to get it back, and it’s been 8 months for me now.

          • Ash,

            A few thoughts…

            1) Quitting drugs was a very good idea. So many people experience OCD that either starts while on recreational drugs, or is exacerbated while doing recreational drugs. Conversely, I have never once seen recreational drugs improve someone’s OCD.

            2) You are correct – sexual identity and orientation do not just change overnight. It just doesn’t work that way.

            3) You are also right that isolating yourself is likely not a good thing.

            4) The loss of libido is extremely common in HOCD. However, it is also common in depression, and many people with OCD also become depressed. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      • All 30 points are correct about hocd i hit by this at the age of 29 i am straight i always found females attractive and i became porn addict one day i dont know i had this urge to watch gay porn during masturbation i was already sexually turned on by watching straight sex i went to see gay thing and masturbated , it was just one tym thing i always watch straight sex i never found men attractive never , from that onwards i become obsessed that watched gay sex makes you gay i went to depression i was not eating food and drinking water nor i was slept like 3 nights and 2 days , all the symptoms of hocd i found on me checking reassuring. Etc i went to 3 Physicatrists now i am taking CBT. What u suggest i know i am not gay or bi but yes i was porn addict i still have Sexual fantasy Being a girl having sex with ugly men I really disturb by this but it turned me on , what u suggest please let me know Thank you

        Reply
        • Arjun,

          This sounds like HOCD to me. You ask for my suggestion, so here it is…

          Continue with CBT.

          Reply
          • So hey Tom.
            Around January 2,2020, I saw a short clip of guys kissing. Oddly enough, I actually thought it was a man and woman from the angle, and it turned out to be two guys. I felt pretty weird, because the kiss, seemed pretty hot (when I thought it was a straight couple). This carried on to the next day, and the thought abot “What if I’m gay?” intensified. Over time, it began to completely devastate me, until I found out it was HOCD. I do have a history of scripulosity and Contamination OCD, and went through intrusive thoughts when I was 15. I’m over those. However, this feeling of checking for arousal, masturbating to straight porn, brought me down. I’m 19 atm and was somewhat a porn addict. Whenever these thoughts aren’t there, I check out women. My HOCD seems to dwindle, and as and when I feel ‘straight’, the gay thoughts strike in. They aren’t really natural. I go, “Hey, what if I was gay? What if I had a same sex partner?” Having these actually stresses me out. I fear being gay, but I’ve become so habituated, it’s like the new ‘normal’ to me. No history of experiments. I still have a ‘natural’ erection looking at/talking to women.

          • Sharv,

            This all sounds like HOCD to me. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      • Hello,
        I am 33 male
        About one month ago i had a dream or a dreamy thought with a male tv star i like, that i would be conftable if he would touch me.
        I have always been straight and i am recently married. I never had desires with man.
        Since then, this thoughts are killing me. I checked if i like men, i get anxious with my male friends because i think they are nice to me and i could fall in love..i can”t focus on anything else in my present. My wife wants a divorce and i don’t have the courage to make things right again because i fear i am gay and it will probably not work. I have lost my interest in women and i fear of kissing or engage in romantic activities with my wife because i fear it will feel that i am with a man..

        Reply
        • Adilah,

          Dreams generally mean nothing at all important. But you are valuing this dream as if it were some sort of harbinger of a sudden change in your sexual orientation. It is your ascribing value to the dream that is the problem, not the dream itself.

          Reply
      • Hi Tom,
        I have had relentless doubts about my sexual orientation for a while now. My therapist diagnosed me with ocd and I have pretty much all of the symptoms you described, but I was never really boy crazy. I had a boyfriend in middle school who I thought that I really liked. I fear maybe my sexuality has changed. I have had a couple boyfriends in high school but I would sort of dread hanging out with them. There is also a guy I thought I liked but I don’t get as turned on when we hookup as I think I should. I am afraid to tell my therapist all this because I don’t want her to say I am in denial. Please help am I just repressing my sexuality even though I get immense anxiety when thinking about being with a woman instead of a man?

        Reply
  • Hello! I have a few questions related to this article:

    *Is it common for people suffering from HOCD to worry that they’re not just gay, but also bisexual? I’ve been suffering from this theme for about three months now, and I fear both things.

    *I know that you said that said a person doesn’t need to “know” their sexual orientation, but the idea of not knowing for sure that I’m straight and only want to be with men for the rest of my life scares me. Is there ever going to be a point where I can accept the uncertainty and be able to confidently say I’m straight without doubting it?

    *You stated that there is no cure for OCD, yet I’ve read stories about people with this theme who have made a full recovery and know that they’re straight. Is that possible?

    *I sometimes fear that this isn’t HOCD and I’m really just in denial or making it all up. Will therapy be able to give me the clarity to recognize this is OCD and reaffirm who I was before this all began?

    Thank you!

    Megan

    Reply
    • Hi Megan,

      Thanks for commenting. To answer your questions:

      1) As our article notes, obsessing about being gay and/or bisexual is quite common. There is no significant difference between these obsessions. HOCD is not dependent upon any specific orientation being the focus of one’s obsessions. We have had many gay clients with this form of OCD who obsess that they are secretly straight.

      2) Acceptance of uncertainty is not something that will magically descend upon you from the heavens at some future point in time. It requires a philosophical shift away from “this thought matters and it needs to go away”, and towards “this thought is not particularly important, and I accept its presence in my brain”.

      3) I suppose that some people may have complete recovery from OCD, but I think you would be setting yourself up for disappointment if you made that your goal. Thoughts are just thoughts, and they don’t require a “cure”. I encourage you to accept the unwanted thoughts without paying them so much attention, and without trying to get rid of them. The “cure” is found in acceptance. When you accept a thought, its existence no longer matters.

      4) The fear that one is “in denial” is incredibly common in HOCD. I encourage you to read our article “Doubt, Denial and OCD”

      Reply
  • Thanks for this article.

    I’ve yet to find an expert on HOCD in my home country.

    Recently I’ve gone into a relationship for the first time in my life. And while the beginning was great and I definately knew I was attracted to her, I later on (when things were getting serious) started doubting if I actually liked her. What if I’m not into women? Am I attracted to her or not? And so all hell began again. Sometimes when we have intercourse I lose my erection and that just ‘proves’ to me I might be gay. It’s killing me. I’m also afraid to tell her because it might scare her off.

    What should I do? I did tell her im on fluoxetine for OCD struggles.

    Sorry for this rant. This site has been the only place I feel understood. The information provided is on point and I wish there was a better information source in the Netherlands on this.

    Reply
    • Hi Thom,

      Everything you write sounds like classic OCD to me. In fact, your comment is a perfect example of how ROCD and HOCD often go together like a hand and a glove. It makes sense that if a straight person were to obsess about being gay, that they would also obsess that their heterosexual relationship is not in keeping with their “true” sexual orientation. Likewise, if a person with OCD who is in a straight relationship obsesses that they are not really interested in their partner, it makes sense that they might then look for a reason for this obsession, and might thus start wondering if their sexual orientation is the reason for their unwanted thoughts about their relationship.

      I encourage you to discuss this matter with your girlfriend. If she gets “scared off” by this issue, she is likely not a good match for you in the long term. I also encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. If online treatment with one of our staff therapists is an option for you, we can be contact through the contact page of our website at https://ocdla.com.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply. It means a lot to me.

        I will look into the online therapy.

        Reply
  • I can’t thank you enough for composing this INCREDIBLE article. A major part of my life and struggle can literally be summed up in these 30 points. I really look forward to working with your team when I move to LA, in three months, to discuss this further and receive additional assistance.

    Reply
    • Nathaniel,

      Thanks for your kind words. It is gratifying to know that you found our article meaningful. Feel free to contact us before you arrive in Los Angeles so that we can make arrangements for scheduling. Take care.

      Reply
  • CBT really is the answer. It will not cure ocd but give you the tools to navigate life with it. Great article!

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      You are absolutely right! CBT has repeatedly and consistently been found to be the most effective treatment for all forms of OCD. Thanks for your comment and your kind words.

      Reply
        • Kathy,

          I’m not sure where you are located, but we may be able to help you. We are able to provide online therapy to people in ten US states, as well as to people in most countries outside the US.

          Reply
  • Congratulations for this excellent article, it is wonderful and brings much hope and relief to know that there are specialized clinics that treat with a lot of “lucidity” the HOCD. I’m from Brazil and it’s very difficult to find professionals who understand and treat this disorder properly.

    A big hug, God Bless!

    Reply
  • My problem started as HOCD but I feel that I have become a lesbian by so much thinking of it. What bothers me most is that I constantly feel I want to put my lips on women’s breasts because breasts are soft. Every woman I see I feel attracted to her breasts because they are soft and therefore nice to feel with the lips. Have you ever seen such a case? Before this all started I was only attracted to men. For me to go to public places is hell. If I see a woman that is attractive it is very obvious to me that I am attracted to her and if I see a woman that is not beautiful I then tell myself that she is a woman and then I feel I am also attracted to her by the mere fact that she is a woman. I am afraid to go out because of this.

    Another thing that is bothering me is that I also became attracted to myself because I am a woman. When I see my breasts I want to touch them with my lips because they are soft. If I see my cleavage I cannot stand it because I feel very attracted and therefore I am constantly wearing clothes that do not show an open neck. I was even hospitalized because I could not shower since I did not want to see my body and feel that strong attraction to myself.

    Reply
    • Helene,

      Everything you write sounds like HOCD to me. Your over-concern with being attracted to breasts is a very common theme for women with HOCD. Even your concern with your attraction to your own breasts seems to be nothing more than a twist on your fear of being attracted to women.

      The most important thing I can tell you is to stop avoiding things that trigger your fear. When you avoid wearing cleavage-baring clothes, you are doing a compulsion that will only make your obsessions worse. The same advice applies for not going out where you might see attractive women, and for not showering for fear of seeing your own breasts and finding them attractive.

      You would be better served by accepting that breasts are indeed soft and attractive, and accepting that you find them appealing, without taking that to mean that you are a lesbian. Why shouldn’t you find breasts soft and attractive? Thinking that breasts are soft and attractive does not mean you are a lesbian – it means you are capable of noticing that breasts are soft and attractive (see item 14 in the article).

      Reply
    • Lesbians don’t sit around and obsess about being lesbians all day, every day. They just are.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom,

    I can’t tell you how much this has helped me. I have suffered from anxiety and low self esteem for decades. It has culminated in HOCD and ROCD, the last few years. It drives me to the point of distraction. Thank you so much for sharing this. God bless you.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear that you found our article to be helpful. It is extremely common for people with HOCD to also struggle with ROCD.

      Reply
  • I found this article very interesting and it definitely matched a lot of the things I do, feel and obsess over. However I don’t think I would consider myself HOCD, because the obsessions haven’t been solely on if I’m gay or straight, but instead have been about everything that I either don’t think I am (gay) or that is immoral (a paedophile, rapist, incest, etc).

    I have struggled with these obsessive thoughts since about 17/18 and I am now 28 and I saw a doctor a few weeks a go and I am now on an NHS waiting list to be seen for CBT therapy.

    I consider myself pretty normal, had girlfriends etc, but my obsessions have definitely effected them and it has got to the point where I’m unemployed and not really doing anything that triggers me, no TV, no socialising and I split with my girlfriend around 6 months ago. I have recently told her everything though, regarding my obsessions. She said she knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what and didn’t think I was ready to open up about it.

    Reply
    • Bradford,

      I think you might have a misunderstanding about OCD. Many people with OCD struggle with more than one obsession. Having HOCD does not preclude one from also experiencing other variants of OCD. Having intrusive thoughts about pedophilia, rape, incest, etc., does not negate the fact that you also have unwanted thoughts about being gay. It is also noteworthy that all the obsessions you mention relate to sexual behavior. It is quite common for people with HOCD to have other unwanted sexual obsessions such as these.

      Also, avoiding triggers such as television or socializing is only making things worse for you. Getting on with life will require you to face things that trigger your unwanted thoughts. Avoidance will only perpetuate the problem.

      Most importantly, I want to encourage you to follow through with your plan to pursue treatment. HOCD is a very treatable condition, and there is no reason to let it derail your life.

      Reply
  • Hey Doctor! I believe I have started with ROCD and it moved to HOCD, and lately I’ve been starting to feel like I was just fooling myself. I have a consistent history of watching same sex porn since childhood, and also fantasizing about the same sex, but I have always had crushes on boys and considered myself heterossexual, I always saw the fantasies as a tool to reach an orgasm faster whenever I masturbated. However, I saw ppl on the web saying they were like that and realised they were gay and what they thought was admiration for the same sex was attraction. Lately I haven’t been attracted to guys (I just sadly acknowledge they’re handsome) and I’m trying to see if I actually feel attracted to girls. I don’t think I am but it is as if my brain can’t process that and the fantasies/coming out stories. I’m so afraid of being a later in life LGBT and hurting my bf. Also, thinking “yeah I’m lesbian” or “it would be nice to fall in love with a girl” is beginning to tranquilize me (although I believe I love my boyfriend). Does it make sense or this tranquility is just acceptance? Can my fantasies mean nothing? Is it possible to have only ROCD or HOCD without other…

    Reply
    • Mary,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Yes, it is possible to have just HOCD or ROCD without the other. It’s quite common in fact

      2) I don’t know if you are straight, or gay, or bi, or curious, or open-minded, or whatever. I also don’t think being any of those things is a catastrophe. There is far more to a person than their sexual orientation.

      3) Thoughts and fantasies are not the same as actions.

      4) I encourage you to seek an assessment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. They should be able to help you.

      Reply
  • Hello again,

    Thank you very much for answering my questions. I have a few more:

    *I know that’s it a problem wanting to be certain about my sexual orientation, but at this point, it’s driving me crazy not knowing if I’m straight anymore. I miss feeling attracted to men and knowing who I was before this all set in.

    *I found a great therapist who specializes in treating these obsessions, but I’m scared ERP won’t work. I’ve tried it before by myself, and it made me end up liking the thoughts. I know the goal isn’t to make the thoughts go away, but I wish they would…

    *This particular bought started because I chose to masturbate to the thought of being with a girl and had a fairly large orgasm. I had fantasies about women before in similar situations, but I didn’t really think too much about them. This time though, the physical response felt so strong. I’ve read a lot of other comments like this on pages and I’ve heard if you choose to think about them while masturbating, there’s a good chance you’re gay or bi. This bothers me because, once again, it feels like I’m in denial, even though I’ve only ever been with men.

    Reply
    • Megan,

      To answer your questions:

      1) Of course it is driving you crazy not knowing your sexual orientation with 100% certainty – you have HOCD.

      2) Many people with OCD are afraid that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) won’t work. That doesn’t ean you should not try it. One thing of which I am sure is that if you don’t try ERP, it won’t work. And doing it by yourself is likely not the best approach, unless you have extensive training in ERP.

      3) People masturbate to all sorts of things, including things they would not choose to do in their real life. Furthermore, people often get especially excited when masturbating to things that are taboo, or forbidden, or just plain kinky. Also, analyzing the intensity of one’s orgasm is counterproductive. Orgasms vary for all sorts of reasons, including such factors as temperature, time of day, stress, or being tired. And over-attending to the intensity of one’s orgasm is typical of those with HOCD. Finally, allow me to note that you would almost certainly have a perfectly fine orgasm – maybe even a fantastic orgasm – if you were to masturbate to the image of a bowl of oatmeal. Your body would physically respond to the masturbation, regardless of the fact that a bowl of oatmeal is not particularly sexy.

      Reply
  • Hi Dr Corboy, sorry for my English, I’m French,

    I’ve been plague with what I hope is HOCD. It’s been going on and off for 14 years, but the last 3 years have been hell. I’m married to my wonderful husband that I love with all my heart. I’ve always been straight, my first crush was at 8 with a boy. I always loved man and been in relationships with man.

    One day someone said that I was with my “girlfriend” and it scared me that I thought she thought I was a lesbian. Now I notice every woman I see on the street and I’m afraid that I’m attracted to them. My mind keeps telling me “you’re gay” and the words lesbian and gay pops in my head all the time. I hate it, it’s driving me crazy. I need to read your article everyday just to feel 70% better. When I feel better something will happen and the circle starts all over, the checking and getting reassurance that I’m straight. Lately it seems that I notice every woman I see on the street and question if I find them attractive.

    I’ve never been diagnosed with OCD, but younger I was sure that I sold my soul to the devil and I would pray all day long to be saved in a ritualize manner counting the number of time i said each prayer. Also I got really scared of acne, so I would wash my face 6 times a day 15 times each, I needed to count the number of time I wash to make sure my face was clean enough.

    Do you think I have HOCD or am I a lesbian in denial.

    Reply
    • Catherine,

      A few thoughts…

      You say that you never questioned your sexuality until someone made a comment that freaked you out. I fail to see how someone else’s comment has anything to do with your sexuality. What others think or say does not determine your sexuality. If someone said you were Portuguese, would that make you Portuguese? Of course not.

      Reading this article, or any other articles about HOCD everyday is a compulsion that is clearly not helping. While I appreciate that you find this article meaningful, I strongly encourage you to stop reading it.

      Likewise, “checking and getting reassurance”, and “questioning” to see if you find women attractive is compulsive, and is making your HOCD worse.

      Everything you write sounds like classic HOCD, not “denial”.

      Your previous experience with compulsive prayer and compulsive washing strongly suggests a history of OCD. Your current obsession with your sexual orientation sounds to me like nothing more than a continuation of that OCD.

      I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
      • Hello again

        Thank you so much for answering my questions.

        What really bothers me is that I feel that if I don’t know with 100% certains that I’m straight it’s going to drive me completely crazy. I question it all the time, it’s all I think about.
        My minds always says “you’re gay just say it” and I’m saying no I’m not and i try to rationallize it and find argument to prove that I’m straight and when I finally find proof that I’m straight my mind will say “you’re gay and just trying to find excuses like saying that you have HOCD.” I just want my life back when I use to not care at all about my sexual orientation. Now I am even questioning if I should be with my husband, am I going to ruin is life. I want to be with him, I even said to myself that if it turn out that I’m a lesbian I would stay with him because I love him.
        Sometimes when a walk behind a woman if I notice her “butt” I will start obsessing if I really wanted to look, why did I look, did I like it. It’s always the same thing the never ending questioning and trying to finally figuring out if I’m straight or a lesbian.
        I took your HOCD TEST and check 23 items on the list.

        Reply
        • Catherine,

          A few thoughts…

          1) If you scored 23 on our online HOCD test, then you almost certainly have HOCD

          2) The reason you don’t know with 100% certainty that you are straight is because it is impossible to know such a thing. After all, a person can alter their sexual proclivities anytime they choose. I am straight, and for all I know I will wake up tomorrow to discover that I suddenlty want to have sex with men. If you pursue or demand certainty, you are doomed to failure and misery.

          3) Why shouldn’t you notice a woman’s butt. If she has a nice butt, it is worth noticing. I bet you also notice people with really huge, unattractive butts. So what. It doesn’t mean that you want to have sex with them. It means your eyes are functional.

          Reply
          • Thank you for your help. I’m sorry for bothering you again with my doubts.
            You say that I don’t need to know with 100% certainty that I’m straight but the not knowing is what’s driving insane.
            Also, the fact that it’s been on my mind for 14 years should be an indicator that there is something wrong about my sexuality? People who are straight don’t asked themselves if they are gay, they know what they are. What I know is that I absolutely DO NOT want to be with a women. I don’t find woman to be sexually attractive, but I can see if a women is good looking and that scares me. I’m very depress and I cry all the time.
            I make bets with myself all the time, like if I can empty the dishwasher in less then 2 minutes it means I’m not gay, when it works I feel relieve for a short amount of time.
            Finally I had a few sex dreams about woman, and when I wake up I want to cry, I’m afraid to go to bed. I’m always on the internet reaserching what my thoughts and dreams means and it’s making me very sad and depress, because what I read is really not helping.
            I need to know do you believe that I have HOCD or should I just accept that I maybe gay? Thank you!

          • Catherine,

            A few thoughts…

            1) Not knowing your sexual orientation with 100% certainty is not the source of your angst. Clinging to the idea that you must know is the real problem.

            2) The presence of this concern for 14 years is not an indicator of being gay – it is an indicator of having OCD.

            3) People who are straight or gay generally don’t spend 14 years wondering about their sexuality. The only people who do that are people with HOCD.

            4) You say that you “absolutely DO NOT want to be with a woman” and that you “don’t find women to be sexually attractive”. That does not sound like any lesbian I have ever met.

            5) Your “bets” are superstitious compulsions and they are making your OCD worse, not better.

            6) Dreams are just dreams. They don’t carry any sort of objective truth about anything.

            7) You do not need to “know” if I think you have HOCD. If I give you reassurance, then I will be doing the exact wrong thing. And it wouldn’t work anyway – in just a matter of time, your brain would be coming up with some new challenge to my reassurance. What you “need” is to stop paying so much attention to these intrusive thoughts about sexual orientation. They are just thoughts.

  • I believe I went through HOCD, obsessing over being gay when I was going through puberty and I believe I’ve had OCD for ten or so years, diagnosed June 2016 formally though.

    July 2016, I had a thought that maybe I was trans, I believe after having a slightly related conversation with some friends. This was a very stressful period in my life. After this, stress from other things took over and I forgot completely about this until October 2016. Again I had another random thought that I would like to experience sex as a woman this time and then started obsessing about it a lot.

    Now I get periods where I find the idea of being trans absolutely ridiculous which last for like a week and I’m a lot happier, although I get minor obsessions. Then I get periods that last for like 1 month+ where I spend all day obsessing about wanting to be a woman/have boobs/vagine/wear women’s clothes/makeup, especially when seeing attractive women.

    Reply
    • Jackson,

      There are many similarities between HOCD and TOCD (Trans OCD). In both situations, the individual obsesses about whether they are lying to themselves about who they are, and the treatment is pretty much the same.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    How can one tell the difference between whether they’re merely questioning their sexuality or whether they actually have HOCD? I believe I have Pure O but I never even knew HOCD existed; I always thought I was just opening up a part of myself that I didn’t know was there. Now that I’ve read about HOCD I’m even more confused! How do I know what’s real and what’s not??

    Reply
    • Tahlia,

      Keep in mind that HOCD is just a type of what is commonly called Pure O. That said, there is no way for me to discern via a brief blog comment whether you are gay, bi, straight, or whatever. If you are struggling with unwanted thoughts of sex with the same gender, the most basic question to ask yourself is whether the idea of sex with a person of the same gender sounds horrible to you. If so, then it is likely that you are straight with HOCD. Conversely, if the idea of sex with a person of the same gender sounds appealing to you, then you may be gay or bi. To get a better of idea of whether you have HOCD, I encourage you to take our free and confidential online HOCD test. If you continue to struggle, I encourage you to seek an assessment with a therapists who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • I am 21 female, straight my whole life. My intrusive thoughts all started when I watched a show and in it a woman turned lesbian at 40 and that made me so uncomfortable. That night I had a dream I kissed a girl. I woke up in a panic, crying, disgusted, scared, confused. Since then I have had these obsessive intrusive thoughts that I may be turning lesbian against my will. The first two weeks I couldn’t eat anything. I’m still scared to fall asleep as I have dreams I don’t want and I wake up anxious and crying afterward. I’ve been with my bf for 4 years and I’m scared I’m turning lesbian and won’t be able to marry him. My thoughts make me cry so much and they make me masturbate (to men) three times then I take a bath. But then I wanted to check if I could madturbate to a woman and against my will I did. I cried for two hours. How could I do that if I was straight? I didn’t want to do that I don’t want to be with a girl at all but I find myself checking if I want to kiss every girl I see, I can’t watch tv shows I used to love or go on Instagram anymore cause I get uncomfortable and scared I will turn lesbian or bi. Does this sound like HCCD or denial? I just want to go…

    Reply
    • Jess,

      A few thoughts.

      1) People don’t just suddenly “turn gay” at 40.

      2) Dreaming that you kissed a girl does not mean you are gay. It means you had a dream. I suspect you have lots of weird things happen in your dreams, just like everyone else on the planet.

      3) The only reason you are “anxious and crying” in response to the dream is because you are assuming the dream is telling you some deep dark secret about yourself. It isn’t. It is just a dream.

      4) Masturbating to see if you get off is a checking compulsion which is virtually guaranteed to backfire and make you more anxious in the long-term.

      5) You were able to masturbate to a girl because you can masturbate to anything. If you were to masturbate thinking about french fries, you would eventually get off. Would that mean you want to have sex with french fries? I doubt it…

      6) Avoidance of TV shows, Instagram, or anything else in an attempt to control what thoughts pop up in your mind is every bit as much a compulsion as checking via masturbation. It will only make things worse.

      Reply
  • Im 23 and began having textbook HOCD when someone at work said he bet i liked penis. From then on things spiraled down fast to having unwanted thoughts anxieties 20 hours a day for months. I got anxiety so bad every time i would just look at another male. I couldn’t even look my brother or father in the eye. Now I have these thoughts telling me this discomfort when I make eye contact with other males is just unwanted attraction. Have you seen this before?

    Reply
    • Daniel,

      What other people say has no bearing whatsoever on your sexual orientation. If this co-worker said you were the King of England, would you believe them? Of course not. Let idiot co-workers say what they want without taking what they say to have significant meaning. And yes, the few of establishing eye contact with someone of the same gender is a fairly common HOCD fear.

      Reply
  • Hey, really good article (Just like the 4 parts) I had my first maybe I’m gay thought in 2015 and went to search on google fear of being gay and that’s how I discovered hocd. I haven’t seen a therapist and I really don’t have the courage to do either. After almost two years of the thoughts and doubts I still don’t know my sexuality and I have given up trying to know because every time I think I can get into a relationship with a guy I’m pulled back to doubts and fears. But I got say I am more calm right now, not so stressed but not so happy too. The things that is stressing me lately is the fact that was mentioned on the article “Furthermore, one’s sexual orientation may vacillate over time” Sometimes I think that being straight was not “made” for me. It doesn’t make sense but that’s what invaded my mind lately. That no matter what I do, being straight isn’t in my future. And even though I know this is a possibility to everyone, is a little hard to accept because I grow up wanting to be with men.

    Reply
    • Antonella,

      A few thoughts…

      1) You don’t need to “know” your sexual orientation. In fact, trying to get certainty about your sexual orientation is a compulsion that makes your OCD worse,

      2) I don’t know know if being straight is in your future. I also don’t know if being gay is in your future. Nobody needs to know what their future holds, and in fact, nobody can know. This applies to pretty much everything.

      3) Obsessing that you “might” be something is a waste of time and energy. Just live as you want to live without concern for labels, and without analyzing your sexual orientation. If you want to be with men, then be with men.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom,
    I really really struggle to believe this is ocd and that I am not gay. My groin seems to be getting triggered by men every day. Its freaking me out. Why didnt this happen in my teens and early to mid 20’s?! I hate the new me. I dont react to seeing boobs onymore or anything. My whole sexuality changed or maybe I was latently gay and the questioning triggered it to present itself. I’m very worried. Just seeing a good looking mans face triggers a groinal response. I am not checking or consciously checking myself. They happen instantly and unconsciously. I am worried I am gay and just cant accept myself. 🙁
    Are these groinals just my natural attraction?? I dont get them for women. Im 35 now. I have only had 1 girlfriend btw.

    Reply
    • Dave,

      You say you aren’t checking yourself for the groinal response, but I suspect you are over-attending to your groin, and over-valuing what you experience in your groin. The simple truth is that nobody except those with HOCD pays any particular attention to their groinal response in reaction to anything. You are assuming this groinal response is important, and by doing so, you are making yourself miserable.

      I doubt you will be able to effectively change the way you relate to your thoughts about your groin on your own, and I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes intreating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
  • I’m not sure is this is hocd, but I’ve have been thinking that I turned gay 5 months ago and I have not felt this horrible in my entire life. I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and just say I’m not gay I’m not gay, or when I wake up it’s the first thing on my mind. I have never been attracted to a guy and I always been attracted to women. I have always wanted a girlfriend at a young age. It was always girls girls girls. Now that the thoughts about being gay have plagued my mind I can’t seem to look at a guy and think they are good looking and I can’t even be around my friends anymore. I just don’t understand how I could turn gay it doesn’t make any sense. I’m not aroused by any of the thoughts and I hate them. I wish they would go away but they aren’t. I also feel like I’m getting used to them. I don’t get a deep anxiety when a thought comes up. My biggest problem is being around the same sex because my mind thinks I’m attracted to them when I’m not. I also feel like I check my body a lot when I’m around guys. I’m scared that my sexuality has changed because supposedly it’s a fluid. I’ve never had an OCD but can I still have Hocd?

    Reply
    • Justin,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Everything you write sounds like classic HOCD.

      2) People don’t just suddenly “turn gay”.

      3) Checking your body is a compulsion that makes OCD worse.

      4) Ditto for repeatedly saying “I’m not gay”.

      5) Yes, one can develop HOCD without ever previously having any signs of OCD.

      6) Sometimes people with HOCD eventually become less anxious about these thoughts because they habituate to them. Then they get anxious about not being anxious. This is called a “back door spike”, and is described in #27 above.

      Reply
  • I’ve always been heterosexual and never had any doubts about it. I’ve always fallen in love with boys, I’ve even been in a serious relationship for two years. I’m going through a phase of great stress and fears, and the last of them started when I was watching a series that dealt with the subject of a relationship between three people. That shocked me a lot. Worst of all was a scene between the two women that left me very confused. I’ve always watched movies and serials that had these scenes and nothing had ever made me doubt my sexuality. However, after seeing this epsódio, I was distressed, the images did not leave my head. When I met my boyfriend, I wondered “what if he was a woman? What if he had boobs? “And these ideas did not please me. All the beautiful women I see frighten me, I always think I’m attracted to them, that I’m a fool, that I do not know myself anymore. These thoughts have repeated themselves so much that now they no longer give me the displeasure they used to give and I am even more desperate, thinking that now I really should like women. I get depressed, with anxiety and a lot of anguish.

    Reply
    • Shaila,

      This is the fourth time in the past month that you have posted a comment, each time using a different pseudonym. It seems pretty obvious that your posting of comments is a compulsion that you are using in an effort to minimize your discomfort. I encourage you to instead seek treatment with a therapist specializing in OCD.

      Reply
  • Over the last six months, I’ve noticed myself judging men’s appearance, even their vocal tones as sexy and cute, which would be odd for me being a happily married heterosexual man for almost 8 years. I’m currently 30+ and a father of two boys. Before this came out of nowhere, I’ve never had any physical attraction, let alone judged any man’s appearance. Now I’m even reviewing images of my old friends and obsessing. I’m totally confused, leading me all over the place mentally and physically. I haven’t lost the attraction to women, but now I feel like a Chippendale’s scout. Smh

    Reply
    • Tommy,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me. You are trying too hard to not have unwanted thoughts, which pretty much guarantees you will have them. A better strategy is to shrug them off as just silly thoughts that don’t merit any attention whatsoever.

      Reply
  • I think I have HOCD. I try masturbating to it but honestly can’t enjoy gay porn and nude men despite how good looking they are. Though there were a few times I pushed myself to ejaculate and since then I can’t stop obsessing. I don’t like how it feels when I masturbate to gay porn thus I usually go flaccid but if I push myself hard enough I get the feeling of orgasm even though it doesn’t feel enjoyable and I am uncomfortable looking at gay porn. Am I in denial, I try to convince myself that I am in denial but I just don’t desire men. Did physical stimulation made me react?

    Reply
    • Erny,

      If you masturbated while looking at a turnip, you would likely ejaculate eventually. That would not mean you are turned on by turnips – it would mean that you were turned on by masturbating. No big surprise there.

      That said, it is important to note that masturbating to gay porn in order to test your sexual response is a very common and extremely counterproductive compulsion done by many people with HOCD. This ALWAYS backfires, as the HOCD gets worse, not better. I encourage to stop this immediately.

      Reply
  • Thank you for the article. It seems to me that HOCD is always talked and written about but rarely POCD. Its as if it is the ultimate taboo disorder, so horrible that even professionals rarely write about it – adding more shame and distress for sufferers. I feel pocd would have additional issues as well as its own set of problems separate from hocd. Yet, according to this article and others, all sexual orientation ocd is the same – its all ocd. But could you really replace h with p in all the above places in this article? How could number 7 and number 8 apply to all forms of sexual orientation ocd? For Ex. – I have no fear that I am homosexual. I am not aroused by the same sex. Yet I have had a few few homosexual fantasies in my lifetime – most straight people do. And still, I have no fear that I am gay. Zero. Unshakable certainty. I have always been attracted to the opposite sex, even as a child – movie stars, my teachers, a friend’s attractive parent, etc. But if I were to have a rare taboo sexual fantasy about a child – now that would seem to me different than the average heterosexual having the rare and occasional homosexual fantasy. Am I wrong? Thanks so much for your work.

    Reply
    • Gene,

      A few thoughts…

      1) There is no taboo amongst OCD specialists against discussing POCD. It is a fairly common variant of OCD, and there are plenty of articles about it online.

      2) You say that this article views POCD as the same as HOCD, but this article does not even mention POCD.

      3) That said, POCD is quite similar to HOCD. Unwanted thoughts are unwanted thoughts – nothing more, nothing less. Just because one has unwanted POCD thoughts doesn’t mean those particular thoughts are special and somehow more important or meaningful than other unwanted sexual obsessions. There is nothing special about POCD.

      4) Nowhere in our article does it say that everything in items 7 and 8 applies to POCD as well as HOCD. That said, much of what is said in those two items does apply equally to POCD.

      5) I agree that most people find pedophilia to be more offensive than unwanted thoughts about sexual orientation, but I assure you there are people with HOCD who couldn’t care less about random pedophilia thoughts that flit through their consciousness.

      6) You appear to be over-focusing on the content of POCD as being something that distinguishes it from other unwanted sexual obsessions (i.e., that POCD is “special” because pedophilia is more offensive than homosexuality).

      7) For what it’s worth, there are plenty of other unwanted sexual obsessions that cause great distress for people with OCD (i.e. incest, necrophilia, bestiality). And some people with these types of obsessions are able to have unwanted thoughts about pedophilia without taking those pedophilia thoughts anywhere near as seriously as they take their sexual obsessions about family members, dead people, or animals.

      Reply
  • Hey.
    I know I’m not sexually attracted to guys because I don’t have groinal responses, but if I look at certain guys, and I notice that they’re attractive, I’ll turn away. While I’m looking at something else, In my mind I’m assessing whether I felt attraction for that guy. It backfires, because while I’m looking away, there’s this sensation that appears in my head that feels like physical attraction. It’s some sort of feeling I can’t point out, but It feels like attraction and that’s my biggest fear. Sometimes its triggered when the memory of the guys face pops up in my head while I’m looking away , and other times, the sensation is there on it’s own. After this sensation presents it self every time I look at that guy thereafter, that same feeling appears. Then I end up analyzing his features to make sure I’m not physically attracted to him, and it backfires every time. Then I look at other good looking guys and then I’m like well why aren’t I “attracted” to THESE other guys!! Does that mean I’m gay, if this happens with certain guys, and not others? What’s happening? I don’t want to date guys, I don’t want to do ANYTHING romantic or sexual with guys.

    Reply
    • Nate,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Not everyone with HOCD has groinal response. Likewise, having a groinal response is not automatically indicative of being gay.

      2) Turning your head when you see an attractive guy is a compulsion that is likely making your OCD worse.

      3) You are spending way to much time analyzing the “sensation” in your head. This too is a compulsion, and it also worsens your OCD.

      4) Ditto for analyzing the features of attractive guys.

      5) All of this sounds like textbook HOCD.

      Reply
  • It has been killing me that im not sure whether im 100% straight, i keep wondering if im gay or bi, these feelings have come recently and now when im in the street i seem to look at males to see if im attracted. Could i just be in denial? I have been having this anxious sick feeling in my stomach since it started and i find myself looking up porn to see whether i am still attracted to girls or if i am attracted to guys. Ive been analysing past situations to figure out if i did things that were gay or bi things to do. I also check myself for groinal response a lot, after looking at males. Despite what may seem to be symptoms showing i may have HOCD, im still not sure if i just am in denial or have internalized homophobia. I lost all drive for my girlfriend and wonder if that is to do with it. The other thing is that when im sitting down on the sofa and i cross my legs i think it makes me look gay or bi and i uncross them, is this a compulsion or not?. Sorry for the long response, just figured it would be good to talk about it and see what you have to say, am going to see a therapist soon, but not sure if they will know what hocd is.

    Reply
    • George,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Actually, not having 100% certainty about your sexual orientation has not been killing you. Irritating as hell perhaps, but hardly deadly.

      2) This all sounds like classic HOCD.

      3) Yes, uncrossing your legs in order to appear less gay is a compulsion.

      4) If the therapist you are scheduled to see does not know what HOCD is, then you need a new therapist.

      Reply
  • So is it normal that if you have HOCD you sometimes worry “what if I’m just living my life as a lie and I don’t ever become happy because I’m denying this to myself.” But then you realize a marriage with a man is what you want, but feeling like your denying it gives you anxiety?

    Or to become anxious thinking about men when in reality that’s all I’ve ever like. I’m straight but anything relationship wise is giving me anxiety.

    Is it also normal to sometimes feel like it’d be easier to just “admit it” to myself to make it go away, but then I freak out because I know deep down I am not lesbian?

    A little backstory- This started when I was going into junior year of HS and ended towards the end of junior year. I’m now a sophomore in college and it’s randomly starting again.

    Reply
    • Emma,

      Yes, all of the things you note are quite common in HOCD.

      Reply
  • I constantly seek reassurance on blog posts like these or other stories of people going through similar thing. My mind is almost telling me “you want to have sex with women” and “society made you think and act Straight” but I hate this but it’s like half of me or maybe even most of me I don’t know anymore is swying “just come out. It’s who you are.” A month ago I would have been disgusted I feel like (my mind says I wouldn’t have been) but now I’m nervous that I’m not rejecting it completely and it causes so much distress but when I think it’s the OCD causing the distress it’s like something says the distress is because I can’t accept my sexuality. I’ve always been nervous around boys and now it’s like something is saying you always will be and will never fall in love with one unless for society. I don’t want this but something says I do. I’m nervous to go back to school away from my mom. I don’t even want to be around men because it makes lee nervous now. I hate living like this. I was so disgusted at first and now I feel like admitting it. Can OCD play with my mind like this?

    Reply
  • I am suicidal and the services in thr UK are terrible for help so I would really appreciate a reply.

    I am 17 and loved girls ever since I can remeber. Even in primary school when all the boys were playing a hump game were they all dry hupped each other I just watched in disgust thinking how obsurd it was. I have been diagnosed with extreme OCD and struggled with things like lighting, toilet obsessions, fixing my bed 100 times every night etc etc. When I was 12 I watched a film where the guy only realised he was gay when he was 40 which made me worry If I could to turn gay. Long story short I was getting the groinal responses. But it still didn’t feel right to identify as bisexuality even when I tried. I had a phase where I watched transexual porn about a year ago because I could orgasm much faster (sorry for tmi)however now I am wonderingl if I came much faster simplu because of the groinal response. Of course a tingling sensation is likely to cause a faster orgasm right? Not only that but when I am testing myself why do I pick the videos that show the biggest penises? Is it because my ocd makes me curious? Or because they give me the biggest gro8nal response?

    Reply
    • Joe,

      This all sounds like HOCD. That said, if you are truly suicidal, I encourage you to go to your local emergency room immediately.

      As for getting more OCD-focused help, I encourage you to go outside of the NHS system, which I know can have long waitlists. You can find good, local OCD specialists by searching online.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I just wanted to say thank you very much for writing this article. It helped me through the hardest times of my hocd. I felt like a lot of the things mentioned in this article was about me. It made me feel reassured, less alone and I didn’t feel like I was crazy. For all those struggling with this, don’t be afraid to seek help! I found a psychologist that specializes in OCD treatment especially CBT and ERP and it’s made a huge difference. I understand what you guys are going through. The annoying thing is that you know it’s all in your head but somehow it’s so hard to just say ”whatever”. You get scared over and over again. You’re not alone! ERP may seem scary at first but just give it a try it really does help. I was too scared to try at first because I didn’t even want to think about what scared me but I couldn’t take it anymore and tried it. So far I’m feeling much better than I was at the start of this. Still get scared at times but fighting my way through it! Be strong and stay strong everyone! 🙂 We all deserve a life without fear or anxiety. Thanks again for all your work on this website! I am so grateful to you.

    Reply
    • Sally,

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s gratifying to know that our blog articles have helped you on your journey, and great to hear that you have found help with CBT/ERP.

      Reply
  • Hello.

    Thanks for this site, it helped me a lot.

    Sorry for my English, I’m Brazilian.

    I have suffered a lot with OCD for some time and by the end of 2016 these problems began to happen in the sexual orientation, I cry a lot, I am taking anti-depressants, but the improvement was little. Guidance from this site helped me a lot and thank you for that.

    But regarding this article, I have some doubts:

    In section 12, you say that no one can know with 100% certainty his sexual orientation, nor ourselves? Is this uncertainty because everything can change in the future? Or is it a statement for the present? And respectfully, to understand better I add, you probably do not have HOCD, so you also do not know with 100% certainty your sexual orientation?

    Thanks for helping out.

    Reply
    • Mateus,

      Nobody can know their sexual orientation with 100% certainty – period.

      Furthermore, nobody needs to know.

      Analyzing whether “uncertainty” pertains to the present or the future is a compulsion.

      Accept uncertainty without taking it all so seriously. It’s just sex.

      Reply
  • I have had a sick feeling in my stomach for weeks and have been analysing everything and been very anxious, thinking what if I’m gay? what if I’m bi. I check every person i see on the street, for girls to see if im still attracted to them and for guys, to see if i am now attracted to them. When i get really anxious i repeat i’m not gay 10 times to try and calm me down. I keep thinking im just in denial, im going to speak to a therapist soon, but does it sound like i might have HOCD, i did the test and i got yes for 20 of the boxes, but i still dont feel any better. Would appreciate a reply. Thanks

    Reply
    • Matt,

      A few thoughts,

      1) If you checked 20 items on our HOCD test, you almost certainly have HOCD.

      2) Checking your response to people on the street is a compulsion. It only makes things worse.

      3) Ditto for repeating “I’m not gay” repeatedly.

      Reply
    • Hello, I am a 23 years old (m) and while Corona I developed the fear that I could be gay out of nowhere.I never thought about men never was attracted to men and the thought is still feeling uncomfortable and ridiculous.I am straight my whole life never questioned it been in a few relationships and had a crush on girls.I want to sleep the entire day to avoid these thoughts and seek for reassurance in watching straight porn or look at my crushes to see if I am sexually aroused because there is a lost of attraction in girls and every time there is no sign my heart is throbbing and my stomach is feeling horrible.And the moment when I am fully attracted to girls again is amazing,feeling something like happiness and relief.

      Reply
      • Marvin,

        Three things:

        1) This all sounds like HOCD.

        2) Trying to avoid your unwanted thoughts by sleeping all day will not work,. You will just find the thoughts are there when you finally awaken. Avoidance is a classic strategy for trying to cope with unwanted thoughts, and it never works in the long term.

        3) Ditto for reassurance seeking by looking at porn and checking to see if you are aroused by women on whom you have a crush.

        Reply
  • Hey,
    So I’ve had this issue for 10 years now and it completely consumes my life every day even when i’m speaking to people or an attractive girl i have this anxiety in the back of my mind that im going to say im gay out loud or even in my sleep by accident and then my life will be over and everyone will think im gay and will ruin my chances with girls and will be made fun of for something i’m not. It’s weird its like i say “im gay” in my head but it’s not how i feel its like some sort of tick or weird thing my mind makes me do because im so afraid of doing it RUINING MY LIFE. I have no interest in being in a relationship with a man but i have groinal response almost every day when I check, i have a gay sexual thought and thats THE MAIN thing that freaks me out is i get excited sexually i think cause i get hard and blood is pumping but at the same time i feel sick because im stressed and get mad about it/depressed I hate the thoughts but then i get aroused i think and makes me feel tricked that i like them idk so confused. I DONT WANT SEX WITH A GUY but I always think about it and then i resent the thoughts. im not attracted to men I LOVE women PLEASE HELP!

    Reply
    • Josh,

      A few thoughts…

      1) The fear of saying something inappropriate, and/or something you don’t really want to say, is fairly common in OCD.

      2) If you said “I’m gay” out loud, it would not “ruin” your life. Yes, some people might make fun of you, but most people wouldn’t care.

      3) Even if you were gay, that would not ruin your life. Plenary of gay people lead great lives, and plenty of straight people are miserable failures. Sexual orientation does not correlate with life success.

      4) “Groinal response” is extremely common in HOCD. Stop the checking and the groinal response will likely decrease significantly. I assure you that the only people in the world who worry about groinal response are people with HOCD. Additionally, gay men do not go around analyzing whether or not they are getting an unwanted hard-on. I encourage you to read our article “OCD is Fake News”, especially the part about over-attending, over-valuing, and over-responding, which exactly addresses the whole idea of “groinal response”.

      5) Accept the existence in your consciousness of whatever you think, and whatever sensations you have, without taking them so seriously.

      Reply
  • I just wanted to ask, is accepting thoughts a good way to deal with Hocd? I accept thoughts of liking guys without checking for reassurance, is this a good method. Also is it common for Hocd to come back over time, i overcame the fear for quite a while however it just recently came back.

    Reply
  • Hello,

    Thank you for the helpfull article, i’ll explain my situation. I am sexually attracted to women, but I worry about something. Since a few years I sometimes feel nervous and uneasy near guys that are good looking. I don’t know where this comes from. It feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife in my stomach. I don’t really have this feeling with women, because I enjoy their company and for the ones im interested in I prefer as much company as possible. I don’t have this wish with men, but still it feels weird. Are these signs that I’m in love or attracted to them? I dont feel sexually attracted to guys, and thought of kissing of having sex with them makes me noxious. Im just curious where this comes from. I am familiar with OCD in the past, had multiple other situations in which I had unwanted thoughts of ‘what if…’ situations about fights or break-ups. Is this also OCD? I do recognize myself in the checking rituals and comforting myself with things that make me feel more straight again. These thoughts just make me very uncomfortable and it is depressing. It almost feels like Im the only one going through this and it hurts.

    Reply
    • Maarten,

      Let me see if I have this straight…

      You enjoy positive feelings with women.

      You have an entirely different feeling around attractive men, specifically a feeling that you describe as being similar to being stabbed in the stomach.

      You want to know if the feeling of being stabbed is a sign of sexual attraction???

      I don’t know how you made this leap in logic. You enjoy the feeling you have with women, and you clearly don’t enjoy the feeling you have with men. How then can you come to the conclusion that the negative feeling you experience with men means the same thing as the positive feeling you experience with women?

      The only explanation I can come up with is that you have HOCD.

      My suggestion is that you stop the “checking rituals” and stop trying to comfort yourself with things that make you feel straight. These are compulsions, and they are making your OCD worse, not better.

      Reply
  • Hi I am a female who have only ever liked and dated boys in my life, i never questioned my sexuality until I recently I started doubting myself. I’ve read through many articles and posts about hocd but there are a few things that confuses me. I do notice girls, i admire their looks and sometimes would even stare longer, but I never felt attracted to them. There was a classmate of mine, she was pretty, nice & talented. Whenever she is in my line of vision i would think she’s so pretty she’s so talented, how does she do it and all that. When I am with her though, i don’t feel anything, she’s just like a normal classmate to me. Most of the time I wouldn’t think of her unless I actually see her(which is not often) and it’s usually just a passing thought. But recently with this hocd, my brain keeps giving me the image of her telling me that this is proof that I might be bi or I could turn gay and I would disagree. These images and reasoning are a result of checking, to reassure that I am not gay. You talked about acceptance, does that mean I should accept these thoughts and images? Even if they are a form of compulsions? People say to stop the compulsions. So what do I do.

    Reply
    • Niki,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Why shouldn’t you be allowed to admire an attractive, talented woman. I think George Clooney is handsome and talented, but that does not mean I want to have sex with him. There is no reason that you should feel any shame or discomfort with admiring a woman.

      2) Having thoughts of a woman being pretty and talented is not “proof” that you are gay or bi. It is proof that you think she is pretty and talented. Don’t look for secret meanings.

      3) The problem is not the thought that she is pretty and talented. The problem is that you are, by your own admission, “checking, to reassure that (you are) not gay”. Stop checking and allow your self to have these perfectly normal thoughts.

      4) Yes, you should accept these thoughts and images. That doesn’t mean accepting that they are meaningful or accurate. It means accepting that they exist in your consciousness. The thoughts are not compulsions – they are obsessions. The compulsion is the mental analysis of the thoughts. Let the obsessive thoughts exist, without doing any mental compulsions (or any compulsions at all).

      Reply
  • Hi!

    These last couple of weeks have been extremely hard for me. I do believe I suffer from HOCD, but what really makes me spike is the fact that I as a woman get turn by lesbian porn. But I have never had the urge to be in a relationship with a woman. Right now I am living with my BF, and last year I had a really bad case of ROCD, but now it feels like it is more centered on my sexuality. It always feels like I have an urge to be sure about my sexuality. I have become quite asexual lately and don’t feel the sexual drift towards my partner. It really scares me and makes sad. Like I am living a lie. Also, I am also very triggered by all the articles online about sexual fluidity and people who suddenly after many years of marriage find out that they are gay or lesbian. I am very afraid that this is my truth.

    Reply
    • Paola,

      A few thoughts:

      1) It is extremely common for people with ROCD to also experience HOCD.

      2) Lots of people like porn that shows things that would never do in “real life”. This includes gay stuff.

      3) Nobody needs to be “sure” about their sexual orientation.

      4) Sexual fluidity is nothing to be afraid of. The fact that some people are sexually fluid does not mean you have to be.

      5) The only truth is that you are a sexual being, and that sexual labels more specific than that are not needed.

      Reply
  • Ey doc! I present many of the symptoms described there but, there are days when they are mild and others in which I am afraid to observe a man.some symptoms: At first I was afraid to leave because I was going to fall in love with a man; There are days when I have so much hyperventilation that my brain comes with the idea is because I like it; Yes I do not look at a woman as unattractive as it is, this tells me that I am homosexual because they should like me; I have ideas that I have a repressed homo and even a bisexuality, to think this causes me a great discomfort and adding that if I say that I’m hetero, it increases the feeling that I deny myself, when I have been 22 years as a hetero; I’ve been a year with the symptoms that you describe in that nosology and adding that for times the intensity increases; I can not see men (be my father, uncles,children, etc.) because my anxiety triggers, I try to control the breath but it does not give me. Sometimes I feel sensations in my rectum and in the penis, without reason a relative and I come a head that is because I’m gay or if see a man this sensation is part of the symptoms like oppression, hyperventilación, dizziness , vomit,…

    Reply
    • Steven,

      Everything you write here sounds like HOCD, and nothing you write here sounds like you are gay.

      Reply
  • Thank you for this article.
    However, I still do not know if I am gay and in denial for 20 years or having HOCD since 20 years. Bullied in school, I tried some day to masturbate to gay thoughts. It worked and over the next months I shifted completly to gay thoughts when wanking. Then looking at pictures of men, became addicted to gay porn and in the end last years to gay chat.Despite of that, my crushs and relationsships always have been with girls. So I thought I am bi. I am married and enjoy sex with my wife. Addiction to online gay sexs escalates and I became so anxious beeing gay and in denial. I left porn and chat 9 months ago, sex with my wife is better than ever, noticing attractive women more than ever. However I still recognize attractive men, wondering if I would like to have sex with or even a relationship with them. Looking at men and women in the net. Reading artickes about coming out (spykes as hell) and HOCD. Thinking 24/7 if I am in denial, becaming depressed. I am on medication and the depression is gone. But still am convinced I am gay often in the morning, convinced I am bi in the afternoon and convinced being straight in the evening. And feeling a lot of guilt.

    Reply
    • Christian,

      A few thoughts:

      1) If you have had unwanted gay thoughts for 20 years without acting on them, then it is unlikely you are gay.

      2) Of course it “worked” when you masturbated to gay thoughts – you were masturbating. You could think about paint drying and if you masturbate, it will “work”.

      3) I don’t know if you are gay or bi or whatever, and I fail to see why you or anyone needs to put themselves into a box. How about this – you are sexual, with no qualifiers needed. Stop trying to figure out your sexual orientation. It is unnecessary.

      Reply
      • Tom,

        thank you very much for your answers, highly appreciated. Especially the last sentence is the same what my therapist also says. However, I do not know why I would like to have certainty. I know that I could never be 100 % certain and also that nobody really could 100 % certain. Anything I read or hear will be turned against me by my thoughts. E.g. I often think that I do not have HOCD, and that I am really gay. Knowing that it is a symptom of HOCD to think not having it, my mind tries to convince me that I am just pretending thinking not to have HOCD. Really crazy. The problem is I enjoyed to masturbate to gay fantasies, gay porn or gay sex chat and became addicted to it. I was always subconscious afraid being gay since the age of 13. I am afraid that I would love a emotional, romantical and affectionate relationship to a man if I would ever try it. My thoughts make me believe that I am just surpressing my feelings for guys. Beeing in therapy, I have discovered with my therapist, that I have had a lot of pure O symptoms, some also with compulsive behavior since the age of 8 or so. What a mess.
        @Paola: I could understand everything you wrote! Best regards from Germany

        Reply
        • Christian,

          A few thoughts…

          1) The reason you “would like to have certainty” is because humans often find uncertainty uncomfortable, especially when it relates to something that they see as “important”. And people with HOCD think their sexual orientation is incredibly important. In fact they often over-value having a certain sexual orientation to a completely irrational level – we have had numerous clients say they would rather die than be gay! This is, as you would say, “really crazy”. In what world would being dead be preferable to being gay. It makes no sense. In the big picture of life, sexual orientation just isn’t that important.

          2) People masturbate to all sorts of things that they would never do in real life. Often the forbidden-ness of a particular fantasy makes is all the more arousing.

          Reply
          • Tom, thank you very much for your help! I will try to keep your thoughts and hints in my mind

  • Thank you for the article. I realize that this question mirrors those of a few of the past posters, but I have been struggling a lot and hoped that you could help. I have been suffering from HOCD for quite awhile now. When I first started checking to see if I had a response to gay porn, I did not have any kind of positive reaction and was in fact repulsed by it. Recently, however, i experienced an intense amount of arousal and had a very powerful orgasm from it, which obviously caused a great deal of distress. I know you have stated in previous replies that we shouldn’t analyze the quality of our orgasms, but speaking as a sufferer of this disorder, it’s very difficult to have something like that happen and not read into it. Do you have any idea why this might be happening to so many of us? I look forward to your response.

    Reply
    • Josh,

      You note that you had a powerful orgasm in response to gay porn, and I am assuming that means that you were not just looking at it, but masturbating while doing so. Assuming that is correct, the simple reason that you had a powerful orgasm is because you were masturbating. The problem is not that people with HOCD are having especially spectacular orgasms, but rather that people with HOCD often analyze their orgasms. To be more precise, you are over-attending to your orgasms and over-valuing what you observe while over-attending. I encourage you to do the following:

      1) Stop masturbating to gay porn in an effort to check your arousal level and the quality of your orgasms. This is a classic HOCD compulsion and it will NEVER provide you with long-term relief from your obsessions.

      2) Stop analyzing your orgasms. The only people on the planet who analyze their orgasms in an attempt to discern their sexual orientation are people with OCD.

      Reply
  • Hi, sry for my English.

    I am straight, when I was in high school I loved girl, when I was in college I loved dozens of girls, I even had love failure for 2 years, I know I attract only girls, 6 months back I had same sex encounter from then I have been checking my sexuality, before that I emotionally, romantically attracted girls, now I am dating girl, these kind of anxiety disturbing me loot, now I am 25, I know I don’t attract to any men, but how stop this kind of anxiety feeling completely.

    Reply
    • Arvind,

      Well, I don’t know what you mean exactly by “a same sex encounter”, so there is no way for me evaluate what that means. What is clear is that you prefer to be with women. So my primary suggestion is simple…be with women. Don’t waste your time analyzing an encounter that you clearly don’t wish to repeat. Maybe it was innocent. Maybe you were experimenting. Maybe you were curious. Maybe you were drunk. Maybe what you describe as an “encounter” was not really all that sexual. I don’t know, and I don’t think it is important. If you want to be with women, then be with women. One “encounter” should not determine your entire sexual future.

      Additionally, I think you are wasting your time and energy if you are trying to “stop this kind of anxiety feeling completely”. Anxiety is a fact of life. You would be better served by accepting that you are experiencing anxiety, without assuming that the feeling state of anxiety is important. Don’t analyze your anxiety and don’t over-react to it. Just be anxious and be with women.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m a woman, 23 years old and I’ve never doubted my sexuality until the last months, after see a tv show. I have been suffering from these thoughts since the beginning of the year. I have a boyfriend.The fact is different to what I see in people who actually have HOCD is that they doubt sexuality. I don’t see myself as lesbian or bi right now (Although I felt before). But there are women who give me a lot of fear, because I find it very beautiful and interesting. I have the thought that in certain situations that i create in my head, I’ll want to kiss or have a relationship with them. But I never thought about it or thought I would want it until those thoughts started. I feel really bad about it, because I dont want to think I’d like this. It’s totally different from who I am. Sometimes I bring a thought that has already made me very bad to see if I still feel the same. The problem is that I find and FEEL that I could want it or like it makes me feel completely sad and confused. The fact that I feel this all so real makes me think that I dont have OCD and just dont want to accept that I have this feeling about certain women. I dont want that!

    Reply
    • Maria,

      This most recent question is no different from the multiple questions you have asked about your sexual orientation here and on other articles on this blog using many different pseudonyms. My answer remains the same.

      Reply
  • Question! What if I don’t care about the idea of sex overall? It doesn’t bother me, nor do I like the idea. It’s just kind of there.

    But thanks! I’ve been having the back door issue, I am very glad you took this all into consideration. I’m a very young HOCD sufferer and I’m glad I took notice of this. My close guy-friend likes to jokingly tell me ‘that looks gay’ and that’s what triggered the intrusive thoughts. I’ve ignored him when he says that and he doesn’t do so anymore. Glad he took a hint.

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      A few thoughts…

      1) It’s fine if you don’t care too much about sex. There is no one fixed amount of interest that one “should” have in sexual activity. People are different. Also, an individual’s libido vacillates throughout life.

      2) That said, there is a good chance that your current low level of libido is to some extent a function of HOCD. It is quite common for people with HOCD to complain about a loss of libido. Think of it this way – people naturally try to avoid things that make them anxious and uncomfortable. If your HOCD thoughts about sex are making you anxious and uncomfortable, it makes sense that sex would be less appealing to you.

      3) People, especially men, and extra-especially young men, often say stupid things related to sexuality. “That looks gay” falls squarely into the category of stupid things that men say.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom, ever since i was about 11 years old, currently 23 I’ve had this irrational fear that I’m in denial about being a lesbian. I’ve always loved boys, & considered myself straight but this fear always creeps in. I remember when this occurred at 11 years old I was watching a film in which I felt a groinal response for a woman, ever since then I’ve felt freaked out about this. In High school it returned, when a guy i liked made a comment “i feel like you’ll try the lesbian thing in college”.The fear comes & goes throughout the years but it was never as bad as this year,these thoughts & feelings have made me depressed & isolated.I avoid going out and watching movies or going online due to the fear that I could find a woman attractive or like her. It’s become unbearable I am always in my head and can’t seem to enjoy anything anymore. My anxiety has spiked to the point that I get very uncomfortable around women, especially those around my age or women I consider pretty and can’t even look at them directly without feeling anxious and upset stomach. I’ve also found that my attraction to guys has decreased & I feel very sad thinking that I won’t ever get it back. I feel…

    Reply
    • Elle,

      A few thoughts…

      1) You are unlikely to find too many lesbians who say (as you do), “I’ve always loved boys”. By definition, they don’t love boys at all.

      2) For over 50% of your life, you have had this anxiety producing thought, yet you have never acted on it. That strongly suggests that you are not particularly invested in actually acting on it.

      3) What some bonehead said to you in high school (or at any other time in your life), plays no role whatsoever in determining your sexual orientation. Looked at another way, guys say all sorts of stupid things that merit no attention.

      4) Avoiding socializing, being around women, looking at women, going online, watching movies, etc., are all compulsions that are making things worse for you, not better. So long as you continue to run from these thoughts you will remain terrified of them.

      5) I encourage you to seek assistance with a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of OCD.

      Reply
  • I have had a history (intrusive thought) since 4th grade when I had unwanted thought of disregarding my parents and teachers whom I utterly respected. I gradually got over it. Last year, I had unwanted thoughts regarding blasphemous stuff and it troubled me severly but then I searched about it and found its an ocd and stop paying attention.
    Now I have these thoughts about my sexuality. I am a 21 yr old virgin male. All the symptoms are exactly familiar to me. I am failing to get over it and it’s causing serious anxiety. My thoughts dwell on these worries:
    1) I feel I admire good looking guys (not sexually) more often and get worried thereafter, and it spikes it. And then I feel I am checking out guys more than the passing by girls.
    2) I find gay porn very disgusting and the thought of engaging me wants me to puke. But I still get these thoughts and sometimes dreams.
    3) Why I get aroused sometimes by nude guys pics when at the same time cant handle the thought of them coming over me.
    4) I will not be able to enjoy sex with women coz of this prblm but I am damn sure that I cant have it with a guy either bcoz its not me.
    5) Should I reboot and abstain from porn and…

    Reply
    • Aman,

      A few thoughts….

      1) All of the unwanted thoughts you describe sound like OCD. When looking as the variants of OCD, it quickly becomes apparent that the only difference is the specific content, and that the process is identical. In other words, HOCD is not really different from other forms of OCD.

      2) The goal is not to “get over” unwanted gay thoughts, but rather to not assume that the thoughts are important, and to not give them so much merit. You learned this lesson with your prior unwanted thoughts – as you noted, you stopped paying attention to them. Do the same with these HOCD thoughts. These thoughts are just nonsense that your brain is telling you.

      3) Most (but not all) straight guys are pretty uncomfortable with gay male porn. Conversely, most gay guys really like it. Your disgust with gay porn is a pretty good indicator that you are not gay.

      4) Yes, you should stop looking at gay porn. My guess is that the only reason you are watching or looking at gay porn (what you describe as “nude guy pics”) is to check for arousal. This is a compulsion.

      5) Your dreams are completely unimportant in any discussion of HOCD.

      6) There is nothing wrong with noticing that some males are attractive. Noticing this does not mean you are gay. It means you have eyeballs that are properly functioning.

      Reply
  • Hello Tom,

    Your articles are great, thank you!

    For over 20 years now, I’ve been fixated on a girl that I had class with in school. She has very androgynous features, which I found very arousing. Over the years, I cannot stop obsessing over the “groinal” type of responses I get when I picture her in my mind. I even take it steps further where I envision what it would be like if I had the opportunity to be with her, and the arousal gets stronger to the point where I feel like I actually want to know that experience. Almost like that idea of having “forbidden” fruit.

    I’ve tried so hard to accept these thoughts as sexuality is often fluid, but my anxiety continues to cripple me.

    What is your take on this?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

    Dee.

    Reply
    • Dee,

      My take on this is simple – you have HOCD. People without HOCD would experience these types of thoughts, shrug them off as unimportant, and get on with their day.

      Reply
  • I’m suffering from str8 OCD, i.e. I fear I might be str8. I’ve had it for 10 years now. Earlier, I had other forms of OCD but this one is the worst. This is dreadful. Sometimes I feel OK and sometimes I feel very bad. It all started with some trauma. First there was severe depression with mental images (obsession) to find out they cause groinal response and reassurance seeking (compulsion?). Pure-O kind of thing. The traumatic experience (the starting point) was I wasn’t successful with my sexual initiation when my boyfriend told me such things I started to doubt everything about myself. Until that moment everything seemed alright. After couple of years I started dating a guy and then my obsessions became even worse. I tried with other guys and it didn’t work out. So I stopped and am on my own for like 7 years without hope and will to be with anybody. It’s very hard. I’d love to have someone to rely on. I know being gay isn’t only about sex. It was always very natural to me. But my brain is hard to accept anything. I just try to relabel these thoughts ‘false news’, it helps but I have to be very consistent, which sometimes is hard, especially when my mood is low.

    Reply
    • Luke,

      There is no fundamental difference between what is sometimes called “HOCD” (aka “Homosexual OCD”) and what is sometimes called “Straight OCD”. This lack of difference is why some people prefer to view the two issues as one issue called “Sexual Orientation OCD”. In both cases, the sufferer obsesses that they are not living their authentic sexual orientation, and the treatment is identical.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the prompt reply! I wrote here earlier but the discussion was closed (it was several years ago). I come back to your site from time to time for some guidance, looking for updates etc. And yes, actually I started calling these thoughts ‘false news’ after reading your article. I know it is SO OCD. It’s dreadful. It can happen to people of any sexual orientation. What about a traumatic experience igniting the spark of this form of OCD in a susceptible person? May it be connected to PTSD too? I’m almost 32 y.o. now, even as a child I remember having some tics, and then developing OCD in my adolescence but it was mild, mostly fear or germs, hypochondriasis and the likes. I’m from Poland so finding help is quite difficult here. I was diagnosed with anxiety neurosis but was afraid to give more details for the fear of further misdiagnosis/misunderstanding. So, to help myself get through I mostly practice mindfulness, meditation, qi gong and take helpful herbs/vitamins… to manage my symptoms but I fear it’s not enough. When I’m stressed out my symptoms are even worse but I try to get along and try to find hope and not give in to this terrible disorder.

        Reply
        • Luke,

          Looking for what “caused” your OCD is a waste of time. Even if you find some sort of answer, that won’t have much impact on your OCD symptoms. Insight is nice, but real change will only come with a change in how you act in response to your obsessions.

          Reply
  • Hi
    After finding this site I finally realize what I was Experiencing some 40 plus years ago with Same sex thoughts going around in my head causing me all kinds of anxiety. I can certainly relate to the symptoms I have read on the site. As you can imagine It felt like hell at times. Back in the early nineteen seventies Homosexuality was something that was rarely talked about. I can remember how it all started A couple of my co workers mentioned to me that the reason I had acne on my face was because my girlfriend was not giving me enough sex it seem to trigger something in me. of course they were just teasing but once my brain got that message I guess the obsessive thinking kicked in. then the compulsive mental thinking. and of course the reassurance need. and thinking back to my past and remembering some same sex experience’s as a teenager and cross dressing experience’s. But I have learned to live with these thoughts over the years and I now realize It is ok to like gay porn bi porn or transsexual Porn or straight porn it does not mean any thing. My problem has been having to know 100 % I found your number 16 on the list very helpful . Thank you for this Informative Site.

    Reply
    • Martin,

      Thanks for commenting. Im happy to hear that our article has been helpful for you.

      Reply
  • Hi doctor.
    I had a religious OCD that really freaked me out that I was possessed or something, then it turned to HOCD is that possible tho?
    I have been battling with HOCD for like over a year now.Ever since I have been thinking like maybe if i get into a relationship it would go or like I was going crazy.Then during these frequent disturbing thoughts.
    I remember being sexually assaulted by a guy and that freaked me out that maybe that changed me into gay, maybe it’s been lying deep down in the recesses of my mind,maybe I was gay in denial,I was freaked out.Plus before having HOCD I have masturbated to gay porn a few times and after doing it I feel guilty and that got me thinking maybe masturbating to gay porn turned me gay but I have stopped now. Now those gay thoughts feel so real. Like if my nipples are sensitive intrusive thoughts about getting my nipple sucked enter my head by a guy its disturbing. Every time I analyzed in my head my thoughts there are sometimes groinal responses.Its freaking me out. Plus can the HOCD be centered on a particular person like this guy I don’t like intrusive thoughts about loving him like a lover comes into my head.
    Please I need help

    Reply
    • David,

      A few thoughts…

      1) It is quite common for OCD to change themes. There is nothing odd about your OCD switching from religious themes to sexual themes.

      2) People don’t get turned into homosexuals. Besides, it sounds like you didn’t enjoy being assaulted, so why would that experience make you turn gay? If anything, I would think it would turn you away from being gay.

      3) Trying to control what thoughts pop into your mind is absolutely the wrong thing to do – it virtually guarantees that your OCD will get worse, not better. You would be much better off if you accepted the presence of whatever thought shows up. I didn’t say you should like the thought, only that you should accept it’s presence, just like you would accept the pain of a headache.

      4) Ditto for “groinal responses”. Stop analyzing them.

      5) I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
      • Now I am very confused.
        The groinal response is very strong like when I check out hentai gay porn it causes an arousal and erection almost instantly without thinking about or participating in it and when I seek assurance checking my arousal level it’s the same thing I am freaking out cause it’s feels like I want those thoughts. What’s more confusing is real gay porn don’t do that only the hentai gay porn. And when I check the porn without checking arousal level like just viewing two people having sex the response is minimal. I am really confused now doctor. It feels like am lusting over men now and I really want my sexual and romantic feelings directed towards women. It’s been that way my whole life. In my desperate search for assurance I masturbated to the hentai gay porn no matter how much I tell myself an arousal is just an arousal and we can get off to anything it doesn’t feel like it it feels like am really gay.
        I really don’t want to be gay. I have had same sex fantasy when I just started masturbating and later switched exclusively to opposite sex counting it as my high libido at that time.
        Now it’s all coming back and it feels like am in denial.
        I am confused.

        Reply
        • David,

          Well every so often someone posts a comment on our blog that throws me for a loop. The truth is, prior to your comment, I had never heard of Hentai porn. Having now looked it up, I see that it is Japanese anime porn, specifically focusing on “sexual perversion” (i.e., “non-normative” sex, whatever that is)

          That said, porn is porn. A simple rule of thumb is that if you look at porn – any porn – you are increasing the odds that you will suddenly be thinking about sex. And when humans think about sex, they get horny. In other words..

          Of course you got aroused – you were looking at porn. What on earth did you expect to happen?

          If you want to reduce your symptoms of HOCD, stop looking at gay porn. It doesn’t matter if it is anime gay porn or any other kind of gay porn. Stop checking. Let yourself have whatever thoughts exist about sexuality without judging some thoughts as “ok” and other thoughts as “not ok”. It’s just sex.

          Reply
  • Hi,

    From 5 years on I have the fear that I am an lesbian. Before that I always liked boys. I am now 21 years old and for over a year I had a uge crush on a boy. When he finally confesed he had a crush on me too, the fear of being a secret lesbian came back. It got so bad that I analized every feeling I had for him and comparing it to the things I felt looking at a woman(witch scared me a lot when I felt something, maybe the gronial response) till the point that I felt nothing for him anymore. That was all happening in the very first month that we were dating. With pain in my heart I quit the relationship. Now I can’t stop checking and being afraid of the fact that I am a lesbian in denial. I don’t want to be a lesbian, and I don’t understand why the relationship with the boy I am crazy about didn’t work out. Am I a lesbian in denial or am I thinking myself crazy? I am really depresed and thinking about commiting suicide, because I don’t know who I am anymore and I am making myself crazy. I don’t want to be a lesbian.

    Reply
    • Lies,

      A few thoughts…

      1) The problem is not the thoughts – the problem is the checking. This is a classic OCD compulsion and it is ruining your life. Stop checking (and all other compulsions) and things will improve.

      2) Everybody has goofy thoughts which they don’t understand. But you take these ridiculous thoughts seriously, while people without OCD just laugh off their goofy thoughts.

      3) You say you “don’t understand why the relationship with the boy [you are] crazy about didn’t work out.” But you explained exactly why it didn’t work out – you broke up with him. This was a compulsion as well. Your goal is to allow uncomfortable thoughts and feelings without over-reacting to them.

      4) Have you considered telling him that you have OCD and explaining HOCD to him and explaining how your unwanted thoughts led you to break up with him. If he truly cares about you, he would hear this with compassion and he would support you as you get treatment for this. And if he is not supportive, you are better off without him.

      5) If you are genuinely suicidal, please take yourself to your local emergency room immediately.

      Reply
  • I have identified as straight my entire life ( I am 21 now) and have never questioned that. I have been attracted to girls for as long as I can remember and have had intense crushes on only girls my whole life. I am still a virgin but I have had sexual experiences (exclusively with women) since 8th grade and have enjoyed them. I am not hypermasculine and have thus mistaken for gay before. I first had male fantasies in high school and I was not at all comfortable with them at all at first. But I was able to accept pretty soon that they were just fantasies and even if I masturbated or felt aroused at a man from time to time to them it did not mean anything. Recently I have been going through hell. I have all of these uncontrollable thoughts that I am actually gay. And it got so bad that I couldn’t sleep because all of these thoughts kept coming. And i’ve constantly been freaking out if I am aroused around men and also been thinking back to every moment in my life and every experience I’ve had with girls and wondered if they were real. What I hate the most about this is that I feel like what I’ve always wanted for my life is now in limbo. I’ve only ever wanted to be with girls.

    Reply
    • PB,

      Sounds like HOCD to me. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • Tom,
    I’ve been a heterosexual male my whole life without question. This includes also being attracted to women from a young age to long term undistracted and fulfilling sexual relationships with women in adulthood (Im 28). Just over two weeks ago I noticed myself finding a few guys facially good looking (no sexual thoughts or responses) and about the same time I noticed myself not having the normal levels of lusting towards women who are obviously hott. This prompted a fear response that somehow I suddenly might be gay or bi. So I’ve been experiencing textbook HOCD symptoms ( intrusive thoughts, selective attention to men and their features, googling articles, asking friends for reassurance, reassessing my history, and loss of sexual desire toward my fiancé ) the last two weeks. I have no desire to be romantic, emotional, or sexual with a man. But what keeps hanging me up is that even though I’ve identified my lack of desire for men and the anxiety about this has decreased, I’m still reassessing most men to see if I find them good looking and my normal lust and attraction for women including my fiancé hasn’t returned 100%. Is this normal with untreated HOCD?

    Reply
    • Alex,

      A few thoughts…

      1) You have been exclusively straight for your entire life, and having a thought about some guys having attractive faces doesn’t make one suddenly turn gay.

      2) Actually, nothing makes people suddenly turn gay. It just doesn’t happen.

      3) Monitoring and evaluating your level of lust for hot girls is a compulsion.

      4) Monitoring and evaluating whether you find men attractive is a compulsion.

      5) Asking people for reassurance is a compulsion.

      6) Assessing your sexual history is a compulsion.

      7) These and other compulsions make OCD worse, not better. Stop the compulsions, accept the discomfort related these thoughts, and stop doing anything that is aimed at reducing your anxiety about your sexual orientation, and you will likely see significant progress. If not, get into treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • hi.sorry for mistakes. I am from Iran.
    it all started when I started university.after being attracted to some of my female classmates I fallen in love with on of my clasmates but she rejected me. 2 years passed trying to attract her but all failed.being in severe depression.i was 20 when it happened.i woke up with a repetitive sentence in my mind telling me “you are a women”.it caused a great fear, distress and panic attacks. i did not have any control over them,trying to resist. i never questioned my identity before.i was completely wanted to be with women.how could it be possible?i was sure who i was.i was feeling lost in myself trying to convince myself I am a man . reviewing my past for any sign to prove I am not a woman.one day when watching myself in a mirror i never felt myself.my mind saying you have killed yourself.a truly nightmare.it continued until I visited a psychologist due to my anxiety.he said may be you are Trans or gay or bisexuals. I was really confused.telling my self what is happening to me? I am not any of them.after that visitation, sexual images popped in my head.before this it was just a thought.it was like a hell.anxiety and fear became permanent.i…

    Reply
    • ES,

      Based on what you have written here, I doubt that you are trans or gay or bisexual. It sounds much more like OCD to me.

      Reply
  • I’ve had HOCD since age 13 (I’m 23 now). During the times when I have no anxiety and am hardly thinking about it, I would still get random thoughts. For example, I was watching a show a few years ago, when HOCD hadn’t been too strong for a while, and I would see an actress and my head would say, are you attracted to her?? And I couldn’t prove whether I was or not, which scared me because the thoughts were so random and specific, and not during times where I was necessarily obsessing. Also during my childhood: I vaguely remember a movie trailer where a women wearing lingerie was seducing a guy, and maybe I was turned on (can’t remember specifically), but the fact that I remember that scene and not much else from my childhood means it must have meant something. And lastly, I realize that I had no sexual fantasies growing up, I mean I have fantasized most of my life about being with men, making out, but not necessarily sex. But, I did wait until marriage to have sex, and now love it. I read articles of women who thought they were asexual because they repressed their feelings, but now realize they are lesbian because they didn’t allow themselves to fantasize about women.

    Reply
    • KC,

      Nothing you write here even remotely suggests you are a lesbian. You note that you “love” having sex with your husband. That sounds pretty straight to me – lesbians do not report loving sex with men.

      Also, you note “the fact that I remember that scene and not much else from my childhood means it must have meant something.” No – it means nothing more than that you remember something. You are falling for the classic OCD trick of being convinced that having a thought or memory “must mean something”. Actually, lots of thoughts and memories mean nothing of particular importance.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply, I will definitely read that article. I was wondering, do you think sexual repression is strong enough that people don’t realize they are attracted to the same-sex?

        Reply
        • KC,

          Nothing in your comments suggests that you are “repressing” your sexual orientation. In fact, your most recent question sounds like a typical HOCD obsession in which one worries that they don’t have OCD, but are instead “in denial” about their sexual orientation.

          Reply
  • I can’t get over this thing I did when I was a kid. I think I played like this girlfriend simulation and I’ve been obsessing over it all day and feel sick. I can’t remember if I did it to earn points, if the dating aspect of it intrigued me, or if I did it cuz I like the dating a cartoon girl part?! I’m going insane and feel like this proves I must be at least bisexual. And I can’t stop obsessing over it, trying to remember every single detail. Agh.

    Reply
    • Dana,

      A few thoughts…

      1) I have no idea what you mean about “earning points” or “dating a cartoon girl”, but I am guessing you fantasized about being romantically involved with a female cartoon character. This does not mean you are gay or bi. It means you had a fantasy.

      2) We all did and thought things when we were young that we look back on and shake our heads.

      3) You say this has been bothering you “all day”. If you have had this concern for only one day, it doesn’t even come close to suggesting that you have HOCD.

      4) Trying to remember every detail will not bring you peace. Accepting the fact that your brain thought some strange stuff will.

      Reply
  • Tom,

    I feel my situation is slightly different from some of the posts above, as I have accepted over the past few years that I probably am bisexual, and I am perfectly fine with this being the case. I have been battling with HOCD for the past 3 years now despite seeing several therapists as I keep failing to resist doing mental compulsions and instead keep checking for signs that I am not really a lesbian. From a young age I fantasised about kissing girls and this continued into my teen years, now thinking about this really panics me and makes me believe I must be a lesbian. However, I have never had a crush on a girl growing up but have had very intense crushes on boys. Also as I have got older I have found my fantasies have changed drastically and I only really fantasise about men now. Although I have noticed this change in my sexuality and I know I really love my boyfriend and our sex life I can not stop worrying that I am in denial and my childhood fantasies are an indicator that I am actually a lesbian…

    Reply
    • Lucy,

      I think you may have an inaccurate idea of what “acceptance” means. You say that you have accepted that you are bi, but then you note that you “keep checking for signs that (you are) not really a lesbian”, and that you fear you are “in denial” because you have had sexual fantasies about women. Well, if you were really ok with being bi, I doubt you would be too upset by the idea that you have had sexual thoughts about women. True acceptance would mean that you don’t get upset with these thoughts.

      I encourage you to move beyond the need for a label for your sexuality, or a category into which your sexuality easily fits. How about instead of defining yourself as “heterosexual” or “homosexual” or “bisexual”, you just define yourself as being “sexual”. Humans do not really need these labels at all. And nobody needs to feel guilt or stigma or shame for whatever consensual sex happens to turn them on.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your reply, I agree I need to stop obsessing about trying to fit into a specific box or category. However, I guess what I’m really asking is how important are sexual fantasies in defining sexuality? I worry from reading about stories about latent homosexuality that these are significant indicators even when I try to accept these as normal/just one part of my sexuality.

        Reply
        • Lucy,

          There is no direct link between sexual fantasies and real life. People have all sorts of fantasies, many of which they have no intention or desire to act out.

          On a separate note, reading articles, books, websites etc. about latent homosexuality is a compulsion. I see no benefit to you from reading these types of stories. Stop reading these stories, and stop doing other compulsive and avoidant behaviors in an effort to get certainty about your sexual orientation. These behaviors are making things much worse for you.

          Reply
  • I’ve been suffering for awhile, constantly ruminating on things about when i was younger and experimented with a woman. I’ve had OCD my entire life, i remember getting a thought asking if i should kiss my friend, i remember constantly trying to get closer and closer to test myself. Or just to see, my first crush that i can remember was on a man. One of my best friends now actually. And as a young girl the idea of women liking me never popped up, i was boy crazy i guess you could say. Then i began to see porn and lesbians and i felt groinal responses which i didn’t like nor understand. I was shocked and kept laughing and things bc i was so shocked. ROCD and HOCD hit when i was 14 and met my boyfriend who I’m still with (I’m out of high school and we’re looking to buy an apartment.) I won’t lie and say i still suffer from both. HOCD hasn’t hit me this bad in so long. I fear that when i was younger, my “desires” and dreams of men, were society feeding me with the american dream, the ideal life. But that was all i dreamed of as a kid, I love my boyfriend and i love being romantic and sexual with him. I was only in the 5th grade through 7th when this happened.

    Reply
    • Brooke,

      The key word in your comment is “experimented”. Lots of people experiment with same sex behaviors when they are young. Experimenting with same-sex behaviors in grades 5 through 7 does not mean you are gay. It means you were a curious kid fooling around with sex. Aside from these experimental behaviors that occurred many years ago, you present not one shred of evidence to suggest you are gay.

      Reply
      • Thank you! I usually fear that bc I called myself straight after these things it meant I was in denial. I’ve fantasized about boys my whole life. But I got exposed to porn and wondered if I was bisexual around the time I experimented but it was just normal questioning with no real fear. I worry now that bc I was confused about my feelings toward a girl at this time too it means denial bc I called myself straight and told my friend I just desired men. I also feared that bc I watched tv shows with lesbians in them or read erotica with it it also meant I was gay/bi. But when my boyfriend kissed me for the first time I couldn’t stop blushing. And before my HOCD all I could think about was him romantically and sexually. And my first day of 8th grade after this whole questioning era, I saw a very cute boy and began to blush and crush on him like crazy. I also liked it when boys liked me and I wanted to kiss them when I was younger. Before 5th grade was before any sort of questioning and I only wanted to fit in with girls to my knowledge. When this began, I walked into my kitchen and got a memory of me making two girl dolls kiss and I feared I was gay after that. Then my ocd came up.

        Reply
        • Brooke,

          You note situations in which you jump to conclusions without any facts to support those conclusions. Watching tv shows with gay characters does not mean you are gay. It means you watched a tv show with gay characters – nothing more.

          Reply
  • Hello,
    I’ve been a straight man all my life. I’ve fantasized about women, masturbated exclusively to lesbian porn, and I’ve had a million female crushes. I’m a recent college grad and up until now, I’ve had a fear of looking gay to people. Making sure my voice didn’t sound a certain way, making sure that I didn’t move in a certain way, etc.
    Recently, I’ve had an intense fear that I might be secretly gay. I’ve started to masturbate to both straight porn/fantasies and gay porn/fantasies to see which I’m aroused. I’ve tried this a million times in the last month and about 99% of the time, I’ve ejaculated to straight porn and the other 1% has been to gay. After I test, I feel disgusted over what I looked and then go for a long walk to get it out my head. I tell myself “no more testing” and then I do it anyway. I’m starting to get scared that I might be gay because of this. I don’t find men attractive and I do not ever want a sexual or romantic relationships/encounters with one either. Recently, I’ve been getting turned on more and more by straight and lesbian porn but gay porn doesn’t disgust me like it used to. It doesn’t arouse me either. This is in spite of the fact that it doesn’t arouse or disgust me, and gets me scared that I secretly want it.

    Reply
    • A,

      Sounds like textbook HOCD. I STRONGLY encourage you to stop testing yourself by masturbating to gay porn and gay fantasies. This is compulsive and it is making your HOCD worse.

      Reply
      • I hadn’t tested since posting this but an extremely unwanted dream just caused me to replace and test again. The whole day, I kept thinking about it and once again thought “you know yourself. It’s just a dream. It doesn’t mean anything” and then I got aroused at the thought of a heterosexual fantasy and then I decided to test if I could get off to both by switching to the thought of both and back. I know that I’m straight snd I feel like I’m getting it out of my system now. The feeling of grimacing and cringing at the thought of me having any same-sex encounter. I whole heartedly believe that this is my last time testing and I’ve started a system to prevent me from relapsing. I think I’m starting to get more confident in my sexuality as a straight man. I know that I would never touch the same sex or have the same sex touch me. I’m having decreasing urges to test as I’ve stopped and even though j did release after a few days, I feel like it’s starting to leave my system after a few months of this.
        Hopefully, I can continue this and if not, I’ll seek some help. I feel like I realize the ridiculousness of this and the negative impact of being scared of something that…

        Reply
        • A.,

          A few thoughts…

          1) Dreams are not important or particularly meaningful. If you dreamed you were toaster, would you test yourself to see if you were a toaster? Of course not.

          2) The only people who test themselves to see if they are gay are people with HOCD.

          3) Humans can get off to just about anything. Being able to get off to straight or gay fantasies does not indicate that one is straight or gay. It indicates that their sex organs are working properly.

          4) You don’t need a “system” to not test. You just need to not test.

          Reply
          • I’ve accepted the fact that I’m straight but the thoughts and images are leaving my mind and becoming blurrier but then I feel the need to test and the images come back in full force. The urge to test is still there and I’m trying to resist the urge to do it right now. It’s very frustrating for me not to do it because I can’t even look at a woman I’m attracted to without having to prove that I’m not attracted to men.
            I tried to do the Imaginal Exposure therapy but then felt the need to prove it and then started to do it. How do I stop myself? Do I just stop cold turkey?
            It’s frustrating.

          • A.,

            Yes, it can be frustrating to have obsessions. And yes, the urge to get some sense of relief or certainty by checking or doing other compulsions can be extremely strong. That said, the best response is resist the urge to check. The relief provided by checking is at best temporary, and at worst, will make your OCD increase.

  • Hi, i‘m a 22 year old girl. I have a bf for 2 yrs but the question if i could be a lesbian bothers me for 7 years now. Before I had severe fears of tumors and cancer for 2 years and went to all doctors to prove me wrong. The question ‚am I gay’came up once & i started checking if i could imagine being with a girl, checked my pulse & watched lesbian porn. The prob is/was that it really turns me on and i orgasm better while thinking about women. When i Met my bf i didnt think about being gay for a while but also i couldnt orgasm without thinking about girls while having sex with him. Immedeatly a Voice in my head says: See, you only like Girls, you know it you just dont want to accept it.
    I feel so depressed and keep checking for signs that i am indeed lesbian. If i see pretty girls or a Girl who might be lesbian in my view, i question myself if i feel attracted and the voice goes: yeah you know you want to Kiss her, touch her, sleep with her… and it actually feels like I really want it! I‘m so afraid that the voice speaks the truth and i‘m Just too afraid too accept it and am in denial. In good times i can enjoy sex with my bf but in bad ones i always think i‘d prefer girls

    Reply
    • Leonie,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Your previous health fears were OCD, and OCD frequently morphs from one obsession (i.e., health) to another (i.e., sexual orientation). So it is not surprising that you have obsessions about being gay.

      2) From what you write, these thoughts of being gay appear to be unwanted. Lesbians like the idea of sex with women. They do not experience the idea of being gay as unwanted.

      3) You have had a boyfriend for two years, and despite these unwanted thoughts, you remain with him. That does not sound like a lesbian to me.

      Reply
  • My friend has recently said to me that she has HOCD.

    Here is what she said (text):
    “So I suffered from what is known to be HOCD. Homosexual OCD, or HOCD, is a subset of OCD in which sufferers constantly question their sexuality. I know I’m straight my whole life, and I never question it. But my HOCD keeps telling me I’m a lesbian. It has gotten to the point if I laugh/talk with another girl I think I’m a lesbian.”

    Before what she said, I’ve never heard of this before. I didn’t know what to say. She says she is getting suicidal thoughts from it, yet I don’t even know her in real life. She is merely a friend online.

    She hasn’t told any family members, and doesn’t want to get associated with medication or therapy. I really need something to say to her, I just don’t know how I can help.

    Reply
    • Elena,

      The best thing you can do is to encourage your friend to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). If, as you indicate, she is unwilling to pursue treatment, then she is likely going to continue suffering.

      Reply
  • Hello, I’m a straight man and I have been suffering for HOCD for a few months and I’m starting to get scared now. I’ve been attracted to women but now I’m terrified about the fact that I might be bisexual or gay even though I only find women attractive.
    Recently, I’ve been “testing” by masturbating to the thought of me having sexes and I’ve started to “test” to sex scenes for both straight and gay couples in TV and movies. I’ve been able to ejaculate to both! Now I’m terrified about this.
    I’m similar to the guy above in that I used to be revolted by the thought of doing anything sexual with a man but now I’m terrified that since I don’t find it revolting anymore, that I secretly want it now.
    Can you please help?

    Reply
    • Ed,

      Three thoughts…

      1) Of course you were able to ejaculate while masturbating to gay imagery – you were masturbating.

      2) What you call “testing”, I call “doing a compulsion”. So long as you compulsively test your sexuality by masturbating, your OCD will get worse.

      3) The fact that you are now feeling less horrified by the idea of being gay is addressed in the above article in item #27.

      Reply
  • Dear Tom,
    I am a 29-year-old woman and I am writing to you from Hungary. It was 2.5 years ago when hocd thoughts first popped into my mind. I received a medical treatment that definitely helped me. Last summer I was hospitalized again with another kind of obsessive thoughts and I met new doctors. I also talked about my former lesbian thoughts with them. They told me that I actually do not have ocd! And why? Because I am not like other ocd people in the hospital… and because my lesbian thoughts did not just appear out of nothing but were a result of a longer thinking about “why was I not attracted to my boyfriend”. That time I did not have lesbian thoughts anymore and I was deeply in love with a man, but I am still confused. If I actually do not have ocd than am I REALLY a lesbian? Or bisexual? Even if I like guys better? What if in my late 40-s, when I will already have family and children, I will find out that I am attracted to women?

    Reply
    • Zs,

      I cannot provide a diagnosis via email, but it sounds to me like the doctors who told you that your unwanted gay thoughts were not indicative of HOCD are idiots. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who actually knows something about treating OCD and all of its variants, including HOCD.

      Reply
  • Hi, i post here in other time, but i have one doubt last and i hope you could answer, i’ll be thankfull. There’s is some diferency between homossexual fantasies and make some minds scenarios? Before everthing started i never had homossexual fantasies, but now, sometimes i create scenarios in my mind to check if i could act like that. And sometimes i feel like i could enjoy or could want to do. I saw in the article that for some hetero people obsession is not about the existence of the gay thoughts, but about the fear that enjoying their fantasy element means they are engaging in the reality of it. I dont know if i really would enjoy acting like this, but feels like that and thats is what i cant accept, thats whats make me lose my mind and sadness! Thanks one more time

    Reply
    • Maria,

      Lots of people fantasize about things that they would never act out in their real life. This is normal. You are allowed to fantasize about anything you want.

      Reply
  • I’ve been dealing with what I think is HOCD for more than 10 years now. I’m wondering if i am just in denial. I have never had any desire to be with a woman sexually or romantically, however I seem to only like and easily orgasm to lesbian porn which gives me MAJOR anxiety. I also think the female form has always been more “eye catching” to me, possible because of my own body confidence issues.
    When I was with my ex I could orgasm much faster when I thought about lesbian porn and now it feels like whenever I see a woman in any kind of sexual scenario or not fully dressed it feels like i get aroused. But when I see a good looking guy I don’t feel the same immediate sexual arousal, all I know is that’s a good looking guy and I’d like to date him. I find it difficult to orgasm during sex and sometimes don’t orgasm at all.
    I’m afraid that my INTENSE arousal to lesbian porn and my less intense arousal towards the men I have been with in my life are indicators that I’m in denial. I hope someone can help me make sense of this.

    Reply
    • Ene,

      Some straight people find gay fantasies very exciting, even though they have no desire to act on these fantasies in real life.

      Reply
  • I’m an 18 yo male and for almost 6 months I’m having these unwanted thoughts (not fantasies) I’ve been straight my whole life ieven fell in love with a girl last year and have numerous crushes and sexual fantasies for a lot of girls .it all started 6months ago when i had a weird same sex dream which i didn’t enjoyed at all and fell really uncomfortable after it and then these questions started to pop in my head that am i really straight i still find girls attractive but at the same time i also observe almost every guy near me and question that am i attractive to him due to this reason i have stopped from various activities like watching films that they might trigger those questions and I’m a huge movies fan and same goes with the songs as well i think they might be trigger points so i don’t listen to them .it’s killing me and sometimes and then think about every girl which I’ve fantasized in the past that weather or not it was real when i was 13 i had a same sex experiment i just discovered masturbating and watched porn a lot(straight never gay)and was really horny and i never thought about any guy like that i also fear that i might not love anygirl again due to these…

    Reply
    • Tughral,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Having a gay dream does not mean you are gay. People dream all sorts of things.

      2) The fact that you experienced the dream as unpleasant, and that you experience your ongoing gay thoughts as unwanted, suggests that you have HOCD.

      3) Questioning whether you find men attractive is an obsession. Avoiding movies and songs for fear that they will lead to unwanted thoughts about men is a compulsion. Compulsions will make your obsessions worse, not better.

      4) Lots of kids experiment with same sex behavior when they are young. This is not unusual, and it does not mean you are gay (see #9 above).

      Reply
  • Hello, I am an 18 year old guy and I am pretty sure I am dealing with HOCD but I still keep thinking that I am in denial. It all started with me questioning if others think I am gay. Literally everybody, I thought my parents think that I am gay, my brothers, my friends, my grandparents. Then I noticed an article of finger length ratio and started panicking about it because I have the “gay” finger ratio. I have never had gay thoughts before, I have always wanted a girlfriend and probably kids in the future. I remember going camping with my parents in the summer and thought that “It would be so amazing to find a girl to do this with me”. I am scared, I feel like I am losing it. I constantly check if I find a dude attractive on the streets, on the TV, Youtube, music videos, everything. It’s driving me crazy, I honestly feel like I have lost my future goal if I can’t be with a girl. I am pretty sure I have depression too, I have been sitting inside for a way too long time because I had some health problems and had to stay homeschooled for last year. I talked with my mother about this and she said I have never seemed gay or anything. I have never had these doubts before, it was…

    Reply
    • Nick,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Other people thinking you are gay does not mean you are gay.

      2) I doubt “everybody” thinks you are gay. And if they do, so what.

      3) I have heard this finger length ratio theory for years. It remains just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

      4) Checking to see if you find guys attractive is a compulsion that will make your OCD worse, not better.

      Reply
  • Thanks so much it really feels good knowing that im not going insane and am not alone with this!
    I have been suffering from a lot of these symptoms, i just randomly started doubting my sexuality even though before it i knew i was straight without a doubt… but now its been like this for probably nearly 5 months and its horrible. I know deep down that im not gay and not bi but it doesnt help. I keep going around analysing every guy i see to see if i get arroused and i never have really, i guess thats the groin thing u mentioned. But then when i notice and attractive guy i immedietly think “oh i must be gay since i found him good looking” and i feel horribe. I have a girlfriend who i love so much but this is stressing me out so much and i have exams which will set me up for life and this really isnt good for me at this time. I even go as far to watching gay porn to see if anything happens and nothing does, yet i have to keep doing it to prove to myself that im straight. I also have this thing where i get unwanted thoughts right at the end of masturbation causing the process to repeat itself over and over until i get it right :/

    I have a feeling this is hocd but like another common symptom, i need reassurance so what do you think??

    Reply
    • Owen,

      A few thoughts…

      1) You say “I know deep down that im not gay and not bi”. Well, that sounds pretty straight to me.

      2) Analyzing guys to see if you find them arousing is a classic HOCD compulsion. It is making your HOCD worse, not better.

      3) Ditto for watching gay porn to see if you find it arousing.

      4) It sounds like you are repeatedly masturbating to be sure you come without the presence of an unwanted gay thought in your mind. This is yet another compulsion that will worsen your HOCD.

      5) Seeking reassurance does not help.

      Reply
  • A question.

    Is it possible for bi people to have hocd?

    Because I fear (well think) that the homosexual thoughts and arousals I have are true (don’t know that yet, could be hocd) but I’m still scared shitless that I’m gay and scared that I can’t enjoy women in my life, which a part of me desperatley wants, as I only have had crushes on the opposite sex but for some reason don’t feel arousal anymore as my mind clings on the thought that I am gay and because I became addicted to porn.

    Thanks for the answer

    Reply
    • Bob,

      It sounds like you are hoping that you might be bi because you think that would be preferable to being gay. But nothing you write suggests you are bi or gay. Everything you write sounds like you are a straight guy with HOCD.

      Reply
  • Okay, I really need some answers right now.
    I’m a man and I’ve been terrified that I’m bisexual.
    I don’t feel attracted to men in any way. I just don’t feel anything when I see a good looking man. The male lower body is also a little gross to me too.
    However, I recently started testing myself.
    I imagined sex with both sexes and I was able to erect to the the thought of the woman but not the man.
    I attempted to see if I could climax with thoughts of me making love to a woman and I could.
    I attempted to do the same with thoughts of me with a man. I didn’t get an erection from the thoughts but I kept pushing myself until I eventually climaxed.
    I don’t want to have sex with another man! I have been depressed and angry at what I tried to test today and I’m starting to become afraid that I really am bisexual despite my lack of attraction.
    I can only stop testing for one or two days and then I fall back into it afterwards. It makes my life terrible. I’m not getting aroused by these things.

    Reply
    • JT,

      You write two things that seem diametrically opposed to me:

      First you say: “I’m a man and I’ve been terrified that I’m bisexual.”

      Then you say: “I don’t feel attracted to men in any way. I just don’t feel anything when I see a good looking man. The male lower body is also a little gross to me too.”

      If you were bisexual, you would by definition, be attracted to women and men.

      Testing yourself is a compulsion. It doesn’t help – it only worsens OCD. Stop testing and things will likely improve.

      Reply
  • I am 41 years old I was 100% straight all my life but one year ago in a moment of very high stress due to some changes in work and country due to a comment of a friend I started to doubt my sexual orientation. I started to analyse everything carefully with hope to get a strong conclusion of no doubt about my heterosexuality but the more I thought the more doubts appeared in my head. After one week like this I had the idea to check gay porn and my surprise was that I felt a strange sensation of arousal mixed with very high anxiety. After that I checked it many more times with similar outcome panic attacks together with a strange sensation of arousal. Sometimes I think to see details that I could be aroused of but I never got even “hard” because of all anxiety
    1. Is it possible to have high level of anxiety and arousal at same time? or I am confusing anxiety with sexual arousal?
    2. Is it possible that I am repressing this inside me and this is why I have anxiety and because of this anxiety I can not even get hard?
    3. I also check myself and my genital imagining sexual situations with same sex, mainly I feel disgusted but sometimes I had the feeling of something and then I panic.

    Reply
    • Teo,

      There is nothing unusual about experiencing arousal when looking at porn. Humans are innately turned on by sexual images. So feeling some arousal when looking at gay porn is not surprising.

      Far more important is that you find this to be anxiety provoking. This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      And don’t get too caught up in the idea that you may be “repressing” some secret gay side of yourself. That is nonsense psychobabble.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m in my 20s, I’m straight and I’ve been dealing with OCD for years. Recently, it’s shifted to HOCD themes and it’s frustrating. I started “testing” by trying to compare my attempts to madturbate to straight porn/thoughts/attractive women and gay porn/thoughts/attractive men.
    I get erect every time I look/think at the straight and stay flaccid with the gay stuff or get a very, very weak erection.
    I feel attraction to women and when
    I don’t feel aroused, I get scared.
    When I do feel aroused, I get scared that “I’m trying too hard” as I’ve seen gay people say that they did this in spite of the fact that I have felt genuinely attracted since I was a child.
    Recently, my days have been going like this:
    Feel no sexual desire in the morning and feel anxiety because of it.
    Feel immense attraction to women before noon.
    Trigger gets me terrified at lunch.
    Feel disgusted after lunch.
    Go home and test.
    Then get disgusted over what I tried to masturbate to.
    I was having a good day and then a massive fear consumed me, I felt numb to everything, and I lost all focus for a while. It dissipated and the thought of that stuff grossed me out.
    I’m sick of feeling…

    Reply
    • NF,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Where on earth did you get the idea that you are required to always be horny. If you are not feeling particularly hot for women in the morning, that is fine.

      2) You report feeling “immense attraction to women before noon”. That does not sound like any gay man on the planet earth.

      3) If you’re not feeling particularly aroused by women at any given moment, you think that means you are gay. And if you do feel aroused, you think you are fooling yourself. Nowhere in this argument do you allow for the more obvious interpretation, which is that sometimes you are horny, and sometimes you aren’t. Welcome to the human race!

      4) Testing yourself for sexual arousal to any stimuli, gay or straight or whatever, is a compulsion. Stop testing yourself!.

      Reply
  • Hi,m a 24 yr old girl.M in a relationship with a great guy from last 5 months bt the question if i could be lesbian/bisexual bothers me frm last 1 year.i have nvr questioned my sexuality earlier.All this started when i was i dnt knw fantasizing or it was a random thought,all i remember is i was thinkng of my friend n it was not sexual but then i thot m i gay because m thnkng of a girl n then another thought have i lost my attractn to guys.n these thoughts gave me such an anxiety.The thoughts kept flowng like an ocean nd i confided this to my parents they said there is nthng n these are jst thoughts dnt pay attentn to them.i kept movng on n these thoughts became less and became zero 1 day but after 5 months i strtd to thnk of it again just to know why i got this thot n wat triggred most was my past i sometimes used to watch lesbian porn n then switchd on to straight porn,but there were times i become so exited while watchng porn n masturbatng dat i wanted to do somethng to that girl.though those thoughts went away after masturbatng n i nvr wanted to do anythng wth girls in real lyf.I knw m nt attrctd to women bt these thots haunt me like i was in denial,i luv my bf so much. Plz help

    Reply
    • AC,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me. You say you want help, so I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
      • Thankyou for answering my question. I also wanted to ask that after all this started i got same sex dreams once or twice..Is it ok to have these dreams? I really get anxiety when i think about those dreams

        Reply
        • AC,

          It is “OK” to dream about anything. Literally anything. They are just dreams and do not merit any particulate concern or attention.

          Reply
  • A lot of this sounds really familiar to me. I’m a 27 year old male. My biggest issue has always been that since I was 12, I’ve masturbated to pictures of men. I remember seeking it out on the internet, and stealing my sisters yearbook to look at football players and shirtless runners. I thought I was straight and just admired their bodies. I’ve never looked at women in porn, and it kinda makes me uneasy. The thoughts that I have about a same-sex encounter do not repulse me either. But for some reason I obsess about knowing if I’m gay or not. I have considered myself straight but it’s confusing because I’ve always been drawn to looking at men.

    Reply
    • Joe,

      You say you have never masturbated to images or ideas of women, and that even the idea od doing so makes you uneasy.

      You also say that you have always masturbated to male images and thoughts.

      You also say that in your youth you stole your sister’s yearbook to look at pictures of football players and shirtless males.

      You also say that fantasies of same-sex encounters do not repulse you.

      All of this put together suggest the possibility that you may be gay. In fact, I see nothing here to suggest you are straight.

      That said, why would being gay be so bad? You clearly like males enough to masturbate to them exclusively.

      Maybe you’re gay, maybe you’re straight, maybe you’re bi. Maybe you are just you. I encourage you to seek out counseling with a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with confusion about their sexual orientation.

      Reply
  • Hi, im a 22 year old guy, for about 6 months ago I got crazy in love with a girl that didnt end well. After 3 months after that I got really interested in a girl that im now in a relationship with. I have never ever looked at a guy and thought that I wanted to have sex with him. But when I got in a relationship with my girlfriend I wanted to stop looking at porn after been doing it almost every day for 5 years. and when I stopped a gay fantasy came in my dream that I somehow turned me on wierd. I had some wierd fetishes through the years because of porn. But after that I totally panicked and asked myself if I were gay, now I have been living with it for about 2 months soon and it have been killing me inside. even though I have looked at gay porn and been having fantasies about it I never thought I would be gay rather saw it some sort of fetish or just the idea of it that its forbidden. Never affected my life in real life. Girls has always been the way until now, im thinking about it the second I wake up until the second I go to bed. What do you think is the cause of it? I scored 25 points on the test

    Reply
    • Gary,

      A few thoughts…

      1) This all sounds like classic HOCD. And if you checked off 25 items on our online HOCD test, that’s a pretty good sign you have HOCD.

      2) All sorts of weird stuff shows up in dreams. And virtually all of it is unimportant. If you had a dream of having sex with a toaster, you wouldn’t take it seriously, and you wouldn’t think it has special meaning. Your gay dream is no different.

      3) You ask what is the cause of HOCD. That is like asking why do humans a have baby toes. I’m sure there is a reason, but I don’t think it is particularly important, and searching for the reason is a waste of time. You would be better off learning to better manage the weird, unexpected, unwanted thoughts that come into your consciousness, rather than trying to figure why they are there.

      Reply
  • Hii my name Sahil I am 20 year old male 3 months earlier I was watching stupid video on youtube that the host in that YouTube video was asking people if they wanted to have threesome in Thier life and guy said yes and the host asked would u share your girlfriend with your male friend and he said yes if my girlfriend agrees to it .i was so devastated to hear that how can one share his girlfriend with other guy .then sudden thought popped into my head will i be ok to share my girlfriend and in reply to that I kept replying to my self I’d rather choose to die than sharing my girlfriend.then I wondered what if I liked male,male,girl porn and in that porn two guys having sex with one girl and I went on to see the porn to make sure I didn’t liked it but while watching the porn the two guys left the girl and started to have sex with each other and it was terrible for me to see two guys having sex with each other .and instantly closed the porn I was feeling horrible.then these visuals from that porn kept on coming into my head I was feeling terrible and then I started to question my self was I liking the men having sex with each and these obsessions of bieng gay started from that point

    Reply
    • Sahil,

      Some stranger on YouTube being open to having a two-guy/one-girl threesome has nothing to do with you.

      Testing to see if you found porn with a two-guy/one-girl threesome arousing was a compulsion that made things worse, not better.

      This all sounds like HOCD.

      Reply
  • Hi, I am a 16 year old girl who is suffering with HOCD (as far as I know/hope). The groundless response triggered it greatly for me when I was high sitting in my bed. Since then, I have had a fear of becoming lesbian, being lesbian, not liking/never liking boys (even though I obviously did) I am a dancer so like all my friends and girls my age, I’m aware of woman’s bodies much more than men’s I guess u could say. After i had the thoughts, I started physically viewing woman differently from their bodies to faces. The major red flag for me is that when I was younger, I engaged in sexual experimenting when I was like 9 or 10 and younger. It occurred with maybe 2 boys and 3 girls. Never thought anything of it until 1. I had the thoughts and 2. 2 of them turned out to be gay/bi. It freaked me out. I never had anything against gay people, but I knew it wasn’t me. So my experimenting never worried me before. I am dating this guy who I am so in love with and am sexually active with. I’ve been with 2 guys prior to him. I enjoy being with him and I feel guilty about my past and my thoughts. Do they mean anything? Is this real? I think I have ROCD 2 and it’s getting all mixedand now I m lost

    Reply
    • Kiki,

      As item #9 in this article points out:

      “A history of experimenting with same-sex behavior when you were young does not automatically mean you are gay. Sexual experimentation is an extremely common part of growing up, and many children, adolescents, and young adults do all sorts of things that their parents would be appalled by.”

      So you experimented as a child. So what…so did just about every other kid. There is nothing shame-worthy about your childhood experimentation.

      Also, you say that you have a boyfriend who you are “so in love with” and with whom you enjoy sex. And you clearly find these thoughts about being with women to be unwanted. I see nothing here to indicate that you are gay, and everything to suggest you have HOCD.

      Finally, as item #28 above notes, it is quite common for people with HOCD to also struggle with ROCD.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the help. Your websites have been a huge help to me. I just have a couple other question
        1. Considering it becomes extremely debilitating when I’m on my period, could that be connected? It clearly is but would you happen to know why? I dread my period 10 times more now because of it.
        2. Is it normal that when I hear stories about gay people who have come out, I seem like I relate? Not right when I hear it but after pondering it. Is that HOCD?

        Reply
        • Kiki,

          1) Many women report increased OCD symptoms when menstruating or when pregnant. Fluctuations in hormones appear to be the culprit.

          2) You have HOCD, so you are likely to see false evidence of being gay in just about everything. Seriously, we have had people comment on our blogs that they think they are gay because of the clothes they wear, the sound of their voice, the size of their fingers, and a whole host of other ridiculous things. I encourage you to look up the term “confirmation bias”.

          Reply
  • Hi,

    I am a 24 years old male and recently I have been having these homosexual fantasies that I just couldn’t get out of my head. It started yesterday when I asked myself if I really was gay? as most of my friends and relatives question me that which pissed me off and lowered my confidence.. so I’ve been staring at guys and found some of them attractive but not in a sexual way..I kept forcing myself in this scenario like what would it feel like to hold hands with a guy but I felt disgusted after. It’s way different when I look at attractive women on the other hand I feel comfortable and I feel like I want to do things with them sexually. I’ve always been looking at straight porn sometimes even lesbian but never tried gay porn and I don’t feel like I should either. This feeling is making me suffer I lose sleep, apetite etc etc and I just want to get out of this situation.

    I also suffered from a mild depression because I girl I tried to court with didn’t end up liking me back.

    PS

    My past crushes they are all girls and I really do want to go out with a girl and marry her and start a family with her but I never had a girlfriend before.

    Reply
    • John,

      This sounds like textbook HOCD. I encourage you to do the following:

      1) Stop paying attention to idiots who question or tease you about your sexual orientation.

      2) Stop testing yourself to see if you like the idea of being with a guy. This is a compulsion and it is making matters worse, not better.

      3) Find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • Hi, thank you for this post. It really has helped me to look at my situation in a different way, but I’m still concerned about my thoughts and feelings. Since I was young I watched pornography. But last year I got scared that I might become a pervert or that if I ever got I boyfriend he would leave me because I watched porn. One day the thought came to my mind that I looked more at the girl than the guy and that this might mean that I’m lesbian. After that I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind and tried to reaffirm myself that I liked men. I looked at every men and tried to feel any attraction to him, even if in reality I didn’t really thought of them as attractive. I started to thought that I may be in denial that I was lesbian or if I listened to a song about love by a men and liked it this meant that I was putting myself in the place of the guy and was a lesbian. And when chatting with my female friends I felt really uncomfortable when saying nice things because I thought that I would develop unwanted feelings. I have the fear that these unwanted thoughts will in the end make me become a lesbian. I feel anxious in public and uncomfortable with my female friends.

    Reply
    • Leia,

      Thoughts cannot make one become a lesbian. Besides if it were that simple to control one’s sexuality, you could always just choose to switch back by purposely having thoughts about being straight. Do you see how silly this sounds.

      You respond to the article with the classic, “Yes, but…” kind of thinking that is so common in OCD. If the article makes sense to you (and you indicate that it does), and you are distressed by these unwanted thoughts (which you clearly are), then maybe it is time to look at this situation as being evidence that you have HOCD, not that you are secretly gay.

      Reply
  • Hello, for the past 2 months I’ve been in great denial about my sexuality. I had a dream about sleeping with a girl and woke up feeling uncomfortable but later I felt aroused. I then decided to masturbate and watch lesbian porn. After that I got freaked out because I was so aroused with lesbian porn. I’ve never been attracted to women that way. I’m currently in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend and I am doubting if the love I have for him is real. After this situation I’ve been in great distress trying to figure out if I’m bi, or lesbian. And I’ve been trying to figure out if I really do love my boyfriend. I’ve been constantly checking out girls and sometimes picturing myself having sex with them. I do get aroused because I think of porn at the moment. The feelings bother me because they make me think this whole time I’ve been with my boyfriend I’ve been in denial and that what I’ve felg hasn’t been real. A few months ago I did not feel like this. I was sure I wanted to marry him and have a whole life with him. It was until I had these thoughts and doubts that those feelings started to go away or I became unsure. I’ve been diagnosed with ocd and anxiety. I’ve alao taken the HOCD test from this website and scored 20. How do I know I have HOCD and I’m not in denial about my sexuality? The thoughts feel extremely real.

    Reply
    • Emmeline,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Having a lesbian dream does not mean you are a lesbian – it means you had a dream.

      2) Dreams do not contain some secret deep meaning. They are just weird thoughts we have when we are sleeping.

      3) Having a lesbian dream has absolutely nothing to do whether you love your boyfriend.

      4) Checking to see if you get aroused by thinking about sex with women is a compulsion that will ALWAYS make things worse for your HOCD in the long-run.

      5) You scored a 20 on our online HOCD test, which strongly suggests that you have HOCD.

      6) There is no way for you or anyone else on the planet Earth to get 100% certainty about their sexual orientation. But you don’t need certainty. In fact, your quest for certainty is the core issue at the heart of HOCD. Accept uncertainty and you will be far happier.

      Reply
  • Hi. Im a 57 year old female. I am married and have always thought of myself as a straight woman. In school i always had crushes on boys but because of low self esteem i always felt somewhat intimidated by them. I have been in several heterosexual relationships before i met my husband. Sex with these men was always exciting but i was never able to orgasm through intercourse. Only oral. One night i masturbated and orgasmed to the thought of being with a woman. This happened over 20 years ago and i have from time to time get frightened and panic that i still depend on that particular fantasy to get to an orgasm. Incidently the female is rather butch. I love my husband so much but i am contstantly guessing if im secretly a lesbian. It has wreaked havoc on my libido because i dont want to have to rely on those fantasies. I feel like im not being honest with my husband. I have shared this with him and he says hes ok with it but is this normal for women to rely on same sex fantasy in order to achieve orgasm with men? BTW i have always suffered from some type of ocd since i was in the first grade

    Reply
    • Kathy,

      Lots of women report being unable to achieve orgasm via intercourse with men.

      Lots of women also report being able to achieve orgasm through oral sex.

      Lots of women also report being able to achieve orgasm though masturbation.

      Lots of people, including many straight women, enjoy and achieve orgasm while having lesbian fantasies.

      My suggestion is that you accept that you love your husband, and that you also enjoy certain fantasies about women.

      Reply
  • Hey, I am an 18 year old male. For the past 6-8 months I started questioning if others think I am gay. That escalated to me questioning my sexuality but it wasn’t this severe in the beginning. However, in December I started getting 24/7 non-stop doubt of my sexuality that has lasted till now and it will still continue. I have always been interested in girls and gotten aroused by them and I’ve had a crush to almost all the girls in my school just few years back. I have problems with anxiety, possible OCD before (not diagnosed so I just cant believe I have it) and I’ve been homeschooled for two years now and haven’t seen much people (spend most time alone almost 24/7). I have PMO’d since the age of 11 almost daily 2-3 times. Recently I noticed I cant get aroused that easily, but if I see a penis in porn I feel this annoying tingle (groinal response) and somehow I think I can orgasm easier after that. It’s breaking me so bad, I consider suicide because of this and actually have a date planned if this doesn’t go away. I don’t want anything else more than to find a nice girl and spend my life with her. Am I in denial, turning homosexual/bi or what this is? Cant even watch TV…

    Reply
    • Nick,

      A few thoughts…

      1) This all sounds like classic HOCD

      2) Other people’s thoughts about your possible sexual orientation are 100% unimportant.

      3) What is commonly called “groinal response” by those with HOCD is almost always the result of over-attending to one’s genitalia and over-valuing any sensations one experiences in their genitalia.

      4) Suicide would be an over-reaction to something as unimportant as sexual orientation. Think about it – you are suggesting that being dead would be preferable to being gay. That’s ridiculous.

      5) That said, if you are seriously considering suicide, please take yourself to your local emergency room IMMEDIATELY.

      Reply
      • It probably is ridiculous but there is no way I would live as a gay man. I don’t have anything against them and I know few people who are gay and I am completely alright with it. I have always been straight and always will be but my finger ratio drives me crazy. My right hand has the “gay” finger ratio and my left hand has longer ring finger than my index finger. To me this is the concrete evidence that I am gay and I cant sleep properly with these thoughts goin on in my head. I scored high on your HOCD test (almost full score) and I do believe that I have HOCD but I always keep thinking that what if I am really in denial. I can’t even meet my friends anymore, I haven’t contacted anyone in a year (except my internet friends). I’ve started wearing hoods to cover myself because I think my face/eyes look feminine and I hate it. I’ve asked my parents if I look feminine but they always say that I don’t. I’ve told about this to my mother and she understands me and told that I’ve always been interested in girls (since young age) but it doesn’t really help my anxiety. What should I do? Meds, therapy? I am not planning to leave this world right now but if it doesn’t get better…

        Reply
        • Nick,

          Again, the idea that being dead is preferable to being gay is ridiculous. Besides, the fact that you are so horrified by the idea of being gay is pretty good evidence that you are not gay. Gay guys LIKE being gay, and LIKE the idea of being sexual with other men.

          Again, the finger ratio thing is beyond ridiculous. And the fact that you describe this theory as “concrete evidence” tells me that you are misunderstanding the research. A statistical correlation between two things does not mean that every person with either of those things automatically has both. There are plenty of gay and straight men who do not match the findings of the limited research done on this theory.

          Analyzing your face for signs of looking feminine is a compulsion, as is wearing hoodies to hide your allegedly feminine features.

          BTW, there are lots of gay guys who are not even close to being feminine. If you doubt this, go to the following:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_(gay_culture)

          https://www.google.com/search?q=gay+bears&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir14j1xrraAhUCqFQKHeHQBcMQsAQIJg&biw=1280&bih=555

          What you should do is simple – find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

          Reply
      • Sorry for writing many messages but for the past few days I have been 100% myself again, I don’t exactly know how I managed to calm down but I don’t feel anything again if I see penises in porn. Its just like old times, I had this earlier but got a “backdoor spike” and started obsessing again. I really like this feeling, I feel like all the girls are again interesting to me, I might get slightly anxious from time to time but again its not that bad as few days ago. I really hope this feeling lasts, I wrote a small text to myself in my phone notebook of how I feel now and I will read it again if I start obsessing in the future. Its a weird thing how I can go from feeling the worst to feeling pretty good, and the best thing is I don’t have any groinal response or intrusive thoughts now. It will possibly come back but I am certain now that its all HOCD. Any tips how to keep this mindset up because OCD can backfire again, I had the same thing with me obsessing about my health (This was just months before I got HOCD, my stomach issues got better but I started obsessing about my sexuality without any good reason after).

        Reply
        • Nick,

          Trying to maintain a certain mindset is not likely to work. Instead, I encourage you to accept whatever thoughts appear in your mind, without evaluating them, and without assuming that they automatically mean something important. Thoughts are just thoughts.

          Reply
          • Sorry to post so many comments here, I am still struggling with this and I think its only getting worse again. Every moment I am awake is pain and every male is a trigger for me. I feel this intense anxiety in my lower stomach and head when I analyze if I feel anything. Everything I do seems gay to me, me being bad with girls = gay, me being shy = gay, me being depressed = gay, my finger ratio = gay. It hurts me really bad to think I couldn’t be with a girl. Even thinking about sex makes me anxious now, I’d enjoy it with a girl for sure but I am not sure if I could get everything working right because I always think everything will go wrong etc. I also think me being anxious about sex only means I am gay. It wasn’t this way before, I had fantasies of all the girls in my school. I have no idea what happened to me but I am pretty sure I can’t live much longer if everything is so hard for me. I feel like everybody thinks I am gay even though I am not. (Or then I am in denial, classic HOCD thought). I want my old self back, two year isolation from friends hasn’t been healthy it seems. This is pain and theres no OCD therapy where I live. I guess theres no help for me

          • Nick,

            Actually there is something you could do – you could see a therapist who specialist in treating OCD.

            Therapists who don’t specialize in OCD tend to be ridiculously uninformed about HOCD, and may actually do more harm than good. And posting multiple comments on this blog article is not going to provide you with relief. In fact, posting multiple comments is essentially a compulsion that is backfiring for you. So my suggestion is that you seek help – the proper kind of help – asap.

  • Hi Tom,
    I am worried after seeing your reply to a previous person that I may be gay. I too had exclusively homosexual fantasies growing up, up until the age of 14/15 where I found I started having fantasies about men. Despite only every having crushes and real life attractions to boys and also having a boyfriend who I feel completely in love with, I can’t stop the nagging doubt every day that I am a lesbian. I scored in the 20’s on the HOCD test but do you think these fantasies reveal I am actually a lesbian in denial?

    Reply
    • Sarah,

      Maybe you are straight, or gay, or bi, or whatever. And maybe you just like fantasies of women. Lots of people have gay fantasies without really wanting to act on them in their “real life”. I encourage you to accept the fact that you love your boyfriend and you also have lesbian fantasies. These are not mutually exclusive.

      Reply
      • I understand what you are saying and I know I need to learn to live in the present and not obsess every minute of the day over having a label but even seeing you say ‘maybe you are gay’ has put me into a massive panic as the idea of not being with my boyfriend is so devaststing to me. I also think if I was to try and become a lesbian I would continue liking boys in my day to day life and not become any happier. I am waiting to go back to therapy but do you have any tips on managing OCD in day to day life? Thanks

        Reply
        • Sarah,

          You reply here is a perfect example of how the OCD brain likes to over-attend to certain things, while ignoring other things. I did not write “maybe you are gay”. I wrote “Maybe you are straight, or gay, or bi, or whatever”. I suggested four possibilities, but your brain ignored everything except the one that suggested being gay.

          Your comment indicates that you will be going back to therapy. My advice is to do so now. HOCD is clearly causing you pain, so there is no reason to wait.

          Reply
  • Hi Tom,
    I am positive that I have HOCD looking at the symtoms that all match up with mine. I am always worried I am a lesbian because of my past experiences when I was younger. I have never been in a relationship with a guy (but I want to) but I am still pretty young. I have only had male crushes, but I do find the female body attractive. I get turned on more when I think of women and this makes me think I truly am a lesbian which causes me more anxiety. I am worried that I won’t enjoy sex with a guy. I always get anxious when I watch LGBT shows not because I am against them, because I am always worried I am. What are ways to cure HOCD and accept you are straight without thinking you are in denial?

    Reply
    • Elli,

      Looking for a “cure” for unwanted thoughts about anything (including HOCD) is a mistake. After all, there is no “cure” for thinking. Everybody has unwanted thoughts – the key is to not take these thoughts seriously.

      You don’t need to “accept you are straight” any more than you need to “accept” you are gay. You need to accept that humans experience unexpected and unwanted thoughts.

      Reply
  • Hi doc. Im 37 years old male. I had hocd between 19/23. After that i forgot all about these and was ver happy. I have fell in love whit four women in my life and in my childhood i always was mad about girls. I never looked at guys until my hocd started. When i was in hocd i started to look at guys constantly and whent it finished i didnt look anymore. Then i was four year very good but at 27 i started again with HOCD until now, eleven years. I allways enjoy sex with women and i have been able to love hers but now i’m all day looking at males in the street. Before i had intense anxiety but now, after 11 years sin HOCD started again, i have only hypervigilance and i can look at 30 guys per day. Its crazy. I heard things in my head like “he’s hot constantly’ but i love the sex with girls and allways was happy with girls. I cant understand that. Its like i have to look at guys all the day.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Josh,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me. When you say that you are looking at guys all day, it sounds to me like what you are doing is LOTS of compulsive checking of guys to see if you are experiencing unwanted thoughts/feelings.

      I encourage you to go through your day, and if you see guys that are attractive, acknowledge to yourself that they are attractive, without valuing that though as being “important” or “meaningful”. It doesn’t matter what you hear in your head – it only matters what you do.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the your article. I have an score of 21 on the test. I have a question about intrusive thoughts during masturbation. Sometimes a thought like the name of a specific guy will pop up during masturbation. Sometime during these instances I just keep going while the name of the person is in my head. Eventually I think of girls again but then after I panic (although lately the anxieties been lessened by new meds, however then I panic about not panicking) and spend a lot of time ruminating on whether the fact that I didn’t have much anxiety or that I kept going having these thoughts or maybe even thinking about them means that this isn’t OCD, that I wanted to masturbate to them and that the fact that I’m not immediately disgusted anymore must mean at the very least be bi. I follow this usually by masturbating again to see what thoughts come naturally. It’s pretty much women although the intrusive thought in worried about sometimes pops up as well.. I also worry because I’ve read in other places that masturbating to the thoughts or even continuing to masturbate when you have them is a sign you don’t have OCD. The more I think about it the more confused and anxious I get.

    Reply
    • LA,

      This all sounds like classic HOCD, especially the fact that you are repeating your masturbation in an effort to check and analyze the thoughts that pop up when you masturbate.

      Analyzing your thoughts while masturbating is clearly a compulsion. How about instead allowing your brain to go wherever it wants to go, without trying to figure out what it means when your brain goes someplace unexpected or unwanted.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom,
    Im not sure if I have HOCD or im just in denial. Ive been on medication for 2 years now. My Psychatrist told me to just accept that maybe im gay or bisexual. She also told me to expose myself from my fear like gay date and gay sex. I’ve been sexually and romantically attracted to woman since I was a child. Then all of a sudden, there comes this homosexual thoughts that really bothered me with a groinal response. And my sexual and romantic attraction to girls just dissapeared. So this really convinved me that Im gay or bisexual. I want my attraction to girls back. I never dreamed of having a relationship, sex and married with the same gender. Its not because i found it disgusting but I just dont wanna be. I only want to be with girls. How do I get back my sexual and romantic attraction to girls? Is it my anti-psychotic and anti-depressants causing my loss of attraction or is it the doubts? I see a lot of beautiful girls but i dont see them attractive now. I want to fall in love with a girl! Please Help!

    Reply
    • Claude,

      I may be misreading this, but I am guessing that your psychiatrist is pretty much clueless about OCD. There is nothing here that suggests that you are actually gay or bi. In fact just the opposite. So if your psychiatrist says you should date and have sex with men (which is what it sounds like she is suggesting), then she is suggesting the exact wrong thing to do.

      My primary suggestion is that you seek counseling with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. Psychiatrists generally specialize in prescribing medication, and the great majority of them have absolutely no idea how to effectively treat OCD with CBT.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom!
    Thanks for the response. Once you realize you have HOCD, what are some ways to deal with it?
    Elli

    Reply
    • Elli,

      As items 17 through 21 in the article above note, the best way to deal with HOCD is with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hello,this is a desperate attempt for help. 2 years of non stop questioning and everyone tells me I am in denial and that I am a bisexual/more likely a lesbian. I’ve lost my job because of this mental stress. I am a 30 year old woman who is a virgin (never dated/ intimate or kissed anyone) because I do not really desire it. When around actual and real flesh and bone people, I recognize a romantic attraction to actual men and no such attraction to actual and real women.
    What is the conflicting issue: When around my early-mid teens I was having an innocent chat with a girl my age in a teen chat room. She then asked randomly if I wanted to engage in a sexual chat (just text, no videos or pictures) I agreed and whilst it did turn me on, it lasted a few minutes and then it ended. I never did that again. For one and off roughly 15 years I have watched lesbian porn/erotic videos and thought about being with women. I would watch the porn and then switch it off to start fantasizing about women. Last year I orgasmed to such thoughts and became addicted. I have always fantasized about men, got aroused but have never reached orgasm to such thoughts. What do I base my sexual orientation on?

    Reply
    • Dream,

      There is no requirement that you “base your sexual orientation on” anything. In other words, you don’t need to have some clearly defined sexual orientation. Just accept that you are “sexual”. Full stop. And don’t try to figure out if you are gay or bi or straight or whatever.

      Reply
  • Hi
    I’m a 25-y-o bisexual man and have never had an issue with my orientation, so I don’t think I can be considered to have HOCD. However, since (at least) when I was 14, I’ve on several occasions developed an intensive fear I might be thought to have a crush on sb I know (teacher, friend, another pupil/student, nurse, distant relative, person working at a café, etc.), but whom I know I’m not attracted to. This has often become a considerable nuisance to me, since the fear of appearing attracted to sb tends to make me behave in a way I would if I actually had a genuine crush (over-consciousness about my thoughts, posture, movements; blushing; difficulty speaking or acting in a “natural”, relaxed way; shaky hands and legs). This behaviour can be triggered by the presence of the person in question or merely the mention of his/her name, and I tend to worry about it a lot even when alone. Earlier I sometimes had difficulty telling if I actually had a crush on the person I obsessed about or not while the obsession was ongoing, but afterwards I’ve been able to tell this was usually not the case. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD, so I’m wondering if this could be part of it?…

    Reply
    • Ben,

      HOCD is just a slang term for OCD obsessions focusing on sexual orientation. I agree this term does not fit your symptoms. But you are experiencing unwanted thoughts related to sex, and not all sexual obsessions are HOCD. Many people with with OCD have other, non-HOCD sexual obsessions focusing on things such as:

      ~ pedophilia
      ~ incest
      ~ rape
      ~ bestiality

      In your case, it sounds like you are over-concerned with the possibility that others might perceive you to have an “inappropriate” crush, to which I say the following:

      1) What other people think of you is unimportant.
      2) Thoughts about having “inappropriate” crushes are no less or more important than other unwanted thoughts.

      So my suggestion is simple – treat this the same way one would treat any other form of OCD. Accept the presence of the thoughts, without responding to them with compulsions.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom,
    The last barrier to accepting HOCD is the fact that I believe I have had it since I was 8. While undergoing what I now know was a different OCD theme, I watched a movie that said the character felt “free” when he finally said the words I’m gay so I repeated them to desperately relieve the unrelated anxiety and the most intense fear came over me. I threw up/wouldn’t eat for days. I got over it quickly, but over my middle school years I would get the extreme momentary anxiety every time I thought I was paying too much attention to someone of the same sex or if I got “aroused” (Idk if it was but I definitely didn’t enjoy it) by some form of gay sex on TV. Ruminated to the point of nausea for abt 3 months at 13. In high school, I developed romantic relationships with the opposite sex and the anxiety faded immensely. I would still get anxiety when watching gay acts on TV and maybe a groinal but knew it was not something I wanted and did not ruminate. After going to college and leaving my bf HOCD hit me worse than ever bc of my “maturity”. Things that didn’t cause me anxiety before are now signs that I have always been this way! BC of the long timeline, could it even…

    Reply
    • Sam,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      That said, you say two things things here that stand out as examples of compulsive over-analysis leading to unfounded conclusions (which is common in all forms of OCD):

      1) You say “The last barrier to accepting HOCD is the fact that I believe I have had it since I was 8.” When you developed HOCD is not a barrier to accepting HOCD. It doesn’t matter if you developed it 20 years ago or last week.

      2) You say “HOCD hit me worse than ever bc of my “maturity”.” I don’t have clue what you are talking about. HOCD does not worsen because one is mature.

      Instead of continuing to compulsively analyze your thoughts, I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • Hello Tom
    What if you experimented a lot with your sister and your best friend when you were younger and in teenage years? I think this is what has worried me the most.

    Reply
  • Hi
    I’ve been suffering from sexuality doubts for 10 years I’m a 27 year old, it all started all of a sudden, I’ve always liked boys but I was not as crazy after them like the others and I was a shy depressed teen, I always used lesbian fantasies while masturbating but never thought that was important till that day, I did not look at women nor loved anyone I still don’t like women, I’ve been in love with men and felt the butterflies wanted to br all the time with them hugging and everything and thinking I’ll have to be with a woman saddens me I really don’t want to! but if that’s what excites me I’ll have to do it, everyone will think I was lying to them even boys I liked. I get anxious all the time when I meet a new girl because I think maybe I’ll like her, when I meet a new boy because I think wait why am i not liking him? I can’t even have sex anymore because even if I lubricate my vagina closes because I’m so scared of being a lesbian, I was already feeling so much better and gain back my boy attraction but I’ve lost it again, I don’t wanna be a lesbian, I want a man but do I want it because I want it? or because it’s the norm? you think this can be hocd or…

    Reply
  • Hello,
    I have been dealing with issues on this topic for a while. Before this I never questioned and knew I was straight and loved women. I even went to all male military school where the showers were public and never had any feelings towards men. It all started when I attended an all male college my freshman year. I got hit on by multiple gay men and it made me extremely uncomfortable. I was flattered when I got hit on by them and I enjoyed the attention but I never ever wanted to do anything with men. I also had a friend who started experimenting with men so I cut off my friendship with him. He told me that the reason I cut him off was only because I was not firm in my own sexuality. I transferred schools because of the gay culture to a new school that was coed with women. I recently got in a relationship with the most wonderful girl in the world. But lately I have been experiencing the following
    1. Loss of attraction to my girlfriend and other women
    2. Worries about being gay or becoming gay and leaving my girlfriend
    3. Anxiety around males and thinking I have a “crush on them”
    4. Constantly reading forums and watching gay porn to make sure that I’m not gay.

    Reply
    • Nazareth,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Cutting off a friendship with a guy because he is gay is a compulsive avoidance behavior, and it will make your OCD worse.

      2) When your friend suggested that the reason you cut him off was only because you were not firm in your own sexuality, he was just speaking from his frustration and disappointment. In other words, he is wrong. That said, you don’t need to listen to what he or anyone else says about your sexuality, and what they say is not important.

      3) Transferring schools also sounds like a compulsive avoidance behavior. That said, I think it is quite reasonable for you to prefer going to a school with girls.

      4) Constantly reading forums and watching gay porn to make sure that you’re not gay are definitely compulsive behaviors that will NEVER work. Stop doing both and you will likely see improvement in your symptoms.

      5) I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
  • Hi Doc
    I’m 37 years old male. I had hocd between 19 and 23; then, i was normal again and when i had 27 i started again with these hocd. My first sintom was look at guys constantly on the street. When i was free of hocd i never looked at guys. I have been in four relationship and i have fell in love with several girls. But i am allways looking at guys, thinking “he’s hot” constantly and i have a great lack of desire with women. When i was free of hocd i never thought “he’s hot” or looked at guys. Only girls for sure. Its very distresing. I have been 12 years with that. When i have had sex with woman allways was amazing. Where is my old self? I cant undestarnd nothing.
    Thanks for all

    Reply
    • Josh,

      This is the 5th comment you have posted on our articles on HOCD, and all of them say pretty much the same thing. It seems pretty evident that you are using this forum compulsively in a misguided effort to get some sort of resolution to your HOCD obsessions. If that worked, it would have worked with each of your previous four comments. I encourage to to stop posting comments here, as it is simply making your OCD worse.

      Reply
  • hi, I’m a 21 years old girls.
    I always had and still have crushes on boy, and I want to have a relationship with a man. In middle school I’ve been to a few of psychiatric and I was diagnosed with social axienty disorder. A few months agoa schoolmate asked me if I was lesbian.
    I don’t have a lot of friends, I don’t go out and spend everyday of my life alone, there is this girl that has everything I want, a lot of friends and boys and relationship, I’m scared I could be attracted to her, but I don’t want to.
    I have intrusive thoughts, also about her. I cry ever time. When I masturbate I have straight fantasies and then the intrusive thoughts start. I check on Google every symptoms I have, I Google “HOCD”, “HOCD intrusive thoughts”.
    I check myself to see if I’m aroused or have some physical reaction due to attractions: pupils dilation, blushing. I’ve read about the digit ratio and I spent a week checking my hands. I can’t afford a psychiatric and I cry everyday. I look at other girls but I don’t feel attracted to them, I just look at them to see why they have a boyfriend and I don’t, what could make them more special then me.
    I did your test and I scored 23 items.

    Reply
    • Faith,

      A few thoughts.

      1) Checking your symptoms on Google is a compulsion that is making your symptoms worse.

      2) Checking your self to see if you are aroused by women is a compulsion that is making your symptoms worse.

      3) The “digit ratio” theory is nonsense.

      4) If you checked 23 items on our online HOCD test, you almost certainly have HOCD.

      5) I encourage you to find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
      • What about the feeling I have towards my friend? It could be because I envy her because she has everything I want (boys and friends]. I don’t want to be attracted to her, I don’t want to kiss her or anything, I don’t like the idea of kissing a woman, it’s driving me crazy, I’m always depressed.

        Reply
        • Faith,

          Analyzing your feelings for your friend is a compulsion that will accomplish nothing but to make you miserable…and to worsen your HOCD. Your feelings need no analysis.

          Reply
  • I started out by only thinking about women since early childhood. I never had a crush on a boy or anything… so my hocd started and i am aware of that. I havent and still dont like gay sex but i know how ocd works… ive always liked woman and sexual fantasies about woman are so good for me… ive never wanted to have sex with or kiss a guy. But some time ago i wanted to try to mastrubate to a guy… it dis a bit for me in terms of erection put it coulld not get me fully erect. It just swelled when i was thinking of the thoungts, and honestly i didnt enjoy the thoungts i was just thinking about secual thing with man just for the sake of the experiment… as soon as i think of a girl i instantly become fully errect and excited… can you tell me what does this mean… pkus throungout the years i have experienced grounal responses

    Reply
    • John,

      I cannot tell you with certainty what your thoughts, feelings and sensations mean for one simple reason, which is this: I cannot tell ANYONE what their thoughts feelings and sensations mean with 100% certainty. That said, everything you write suggests that you prefer the idea of sex with women, and that you have HOCD.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m a 19 year old girl and it seems like I’ve been dealing with hocd (or what I hope that it is) for 2-3 months now. I’ve only had crushes on boys, never ever questioned my sexuality before, and have only been with boys. It was up until recently where I’ve been dealing with a lot more stress in school and I chanced upon a picture of a relatively attractive picture of a female and had a possible groinal response. Ever since that encounter, I kept getting sexually intrusive thoughts of women. Now I can’t stop noticing women that are attractive, and thinking that I am a lesbian. I don’t even want to have these thoughts but they keep replaying in my head. When I think of how much I love my boyfriend & not having those lesbian thoughts, I get anxious for not being anxious, and worry that this reduced anxiety is just evidence that I’m a lesbian. I’ve been with my boyfriend for close to two years now and I love him so much. I’ve always wanted to marry him, have kids with him even till now but these thoughts are making me doubt my sexuality and even my love for him. Is this purely hocd or have I been living in denial my entire life?

    Reply
    • Lise,

      Noticing attractive girls/women is not a sign of being a lesbian – it is a sign that your eyeballs are working properly. There are a lot of attractive people in the world, many of whom are women. I encourage you to accept this fact, and stop beating yourself up for noticing beauty.

      Your reduced anxiety about this issue is also not a sign that you are a lesbian. This is addressed in number 27 in the article above.

      Reply
  • I believe my symptoms started around 7th grade when someone made a comment about me liking someone of the same sex just because I was friends with him. I was truly taken back and disgusted and couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew deep down it wasn’t true yet my mind wouldn’t let it go and it has remained ever since. I should of gotten help earlier because it has only gotten worse. It has gotten to the point were I can’t even watch TV because everytime I see someone of the same sex who would be considered attractive, my mind goes off on a tangent about it saying I love them and so forth. Everytime there would be an attractive person of the same sex at school my mind would tell me I had feelings for them. It is still like two sides of my head fighting in a war. It did it particularly with one person and I was so scared to see them everyday I would literally find ways to avoid them and anyone associated with them even though they never even did anything to me because I knew what my mind would say and I got the gronial response every time making it worse. I couldn’t even say their name or anything associated with their name or anything that I knew they liked.

    Reply
    • Garrett,

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • I believe my symptoms started around 7th grade when when someone made a comment about me liking someone of the same sex just because I was friends with him. I was truly taken back and disgusted and couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew deep down it wasn’t true yet my mind wouldn’t let it go and it has remained ever since.It has gotten to the point were I can’t even watch TV because everytime I see someone of the same sex who would be considered attractive, my mind goes off on a tangent about it saying I love them and so forth. Everytime there would be an attractive person of the same sex at school my mind would tell me I had feelings for them.It is still like two sides of my head fighting in a war.It did it particularly with one person and I was so scared to see them everyday I would literally find ways to avoid them and anyone associated with them even though they never even did anything to me because I knew what my mind would say and I got the groinial response every time making it worse.I couldn’t even say their name or anything associated with their name or anything that I knew they liked. I have tried everything except for going to an actual doctor, what would you suggest.

    Reply
    • G.,

      What someone says to another person in 7th grade is the definition of “unimportant”.

      There is no reason to overvalue what a 12 year old says about another person’s sexual orientation.

      Likewise, there is no reason to overvalue the unwanted thoughts about your sexual orientation that arise in your mind.

      You say you have not been to a doctor and ask for a suggestion, so here goes…

      Get into treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

      Reply
  • Thanks so much for these points, immensely beneficial, much appreciated.

    I have a question, I have Religious OCD (mainly blasphemous thoughts about God and Religion in general) but I also have OCD that is causing me an incredible amount distress regarding my sexuality, see I know that I am Homosexual and I am attracted to the same sex, I have always been this way and I have accepted this fact years ago, however, I do not desire to act upon these attractions due to religious and personal reasons (not out of homophobia).

    However, the last 6 months or so, I am getting an enormous amount of obbessive thoughts regarding my sexuality:

    Mainly constant thoughts such as:

    “you are gay” over and over again, Hundreds of times a day

    Persistent thoughts which are making believe that I HAVE to come out and act upon my homosexuality or else I will live “a miserable life”

    “You need to accept you are gay” 

    “You will be miserable for the rest of your life”

    “You are repressing yourself that’s why you are so much pain”

    “You are lying to yourself”

    When I am in a rational state, I accept I am gay and happy not to act upon it, but is this HOCD even though I…

    Reply
    • David,

      A few thoughts…

      You say you have accepted that you are gay, but it sure doesn’t sound like you have. If you had truly accepted your sexual orientation as being “gay”, you would not be distraught about having thoughts such as “I am gay”.

      While I personally think that suppressing your sexual orientation is a recipe for misery, I understand that you view your religious beliefs to be so important that you are willing to suppress your sexuality. That is a choice, and it may have unintended consequences for you, such as unwanted thoughts about being gay.

      You do not “have to come out” as gay. That too is a choice. But there is no obligation to come out.

      HOCD by definition is when a person has obsessive doubts about their sexual orientation. You don’t appear to have doubts – you say that you know you are gay and have accepted that you are gay. So this doesn’t sound to me like HOCD. It sounds like you know you are gay, and are trying to convince yourself that you have really accepted all that this fact would mean, but that you really haven’t.

      Reply
  • A lot of people on the internet say HOCD is fake, and they are just a bunch of people in denial of being gay, and straight people don’t think about being gay because they have always been straight and don’t question it. Is this true?This really worries me because I question my sexuality a lot.

    Reply
    • EM,

      People who say that HOCD does not exist are idiots who don’t understand OCD.

      People who say that those who claim to have HOCD are really gay people in denial are idiots who don’t understand OCD.

      Reply
  • I am diagnosed with ocd I’m a girl that fantasies romantically about men loves when they touch me hug me I’d love to have a partner and I like sex with men but It turns me on more a woman tho I’ve never liked one, I recently read about a lesbian who preferred men’s bodies and a therapist said, well maybe you are not a lesbian because your sexual orientation is straight, I panicked am I a lesbian then? I don’t lie yes I think women are hot but I have many friends and I have never wanted to touch them, I’m having a huge panick attack I feel that noone wants me to be a lesbian that’s why they say it cannot be I really want a man but I just don’t feel attracted to anyone right now, it’s already been 10 years, should I accept I’m a lesbian it makes me so fucking sad but also the fact that I don’t wanna be different but maybe I am, God this is a nightmare I need help please.

    Reply
    • Maca,

      You note the following:

      1) You fantasize romantically about men.
      2) You love when men touch you and hug you.
      3) You like sex with men.
      4) You have never desired women or wanted to touch them.

      I fail to see how these facts indicate that you should accept you are a lesbian.

      Instead, I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focusing on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hello, I have came to this website in need of help. My whole life I have been in love with woman since I was a little kid having crushes at school I have had done stuff with woman too and let me tell you I loved it it was great and 2 months before my HOCD started I was in love with a girl. i guess you can call me a porn addict but my whole life as I said I’ve been attracted to woman without a doubt and what caused all of this is that one day which I regret I woke up from a transgender dream and decided to watch some gay porn to madturbate but I caught myself and asked my self what I was doing and quickly left and continued to ejaculate to some woman. But that’s what caused it and ever since life has been terrible I lived being the pimp I always was at school and not to brag or anything but all my friend honored me because I was so good at getting girls and things I’ve done I would avoid going to hang out with my closest friends because I was scared and I thought I liked them I would constantly over think all the HOCD symptoms match me but sometimes I feel like I over think to the point where I actually believe I am but it’s always for the shortest of time until I tell myself NOO

    Reply
    • Kevin,

      This all sounds like HOCD. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • The problem is that I’ve always masturbated to the thought of women and I find that weird when I want a man! even if I don’t think about it during the day it comes in my dreams, people ask me if I’m gay or straight in those dreams and I can’t answer. I go to gay bars in my dreams to check what I feel, my therapist has told me it really looks like ocd and it does not matter if I’m gay or straight. Therapy scares me like these thoughts.

    Reply
    • Maca,

      As noted in #2 above, “the core obsession in this variant of OCD is the fear that one is secretly not living in accordance with what they see as their their ‘true’ sexuality.”

      As noted in #3 above, “people can and do obsess about almost anything, especially when it comes to their sexuality”.

      As noted in #8 above, “having sexual fantasies about the same gender does not automatically mean you are gay. Everybody has sexual fantasies, and everybody has sexual fantasies about things they are unlikely to actually do.”

      Reply
      • thank you for your patience, I know it’s your job but it means a lot. I just wish I would fall in love again so this would go away at least for some months, best wishes.

        Reply
  • I scored 16 on your hocd test and i know i have ocd for many years, for example making sure the door of the fridge is closed by checking it 3 or more times, sometimes when i sit on a bench my legs have to be at a certain position or else it doesnt feel right for me, etc…
    Anyway what i fear the most is that i am living in denial and that i am somehow “forcing” myself to believe that it’s hocd and not actually being gay for real, even though all my life i’ve only been attracted to girls and only have fallen inlove with girls and only have fantasied about girls. I had a tough breakup last year and ever since that happened i simply cannot imagine myself being with another woman. I sometimes notice nice things about guys, like “that guy has nice hair” or “that guy is fit”, but i never fantasied about being in a relationship with a man and if i imagine having sex with a man i just feel sick to my stomach, but it’s still causing me so much doubt. Anxiety and stress are present in my life everyday now. Sorry if my english is not the best, greetings from Portugal

    Reply
    • Hi Luis,

      What you are describing is sometimes called “The Denial Obsession”, and it is quite common in all types of OCD, especially the more obsessional variants such as HOCD.

      Reply
  • Hey Tom. Sadly I am posting again, I had a good summer ocd wise (still depressed though :/) but somehow it all hit me again. I just can’t get over this finger ratio thing. My left hand ring finger is longer than my index but my right had index is longer than my ring finger. I also have two big brothers (both over 10 years older). I just can’t stop looking at other peoples hands and noticing how their fingers are normal. I feel like an abomination or something. I have always liked girls so much and want to find myself a girlfriend but so far I haven’t had any luck. Somehow this is also proof in my head that I am gay because girls don’t have feels for me. Also I am slightly anxious bout having sex now thanks to hocd but I know I always have wanted it with a girl. Can guys be anxious of it or is this again some “proof”?. I just really want to be my old self, I used to have a strong sex drive but this depression/hocd combo kills it for me sometimes. Sometimes I get aroused easily and it feels like what it used to be before I read an article of finger ratio. I just feel like my ratio must mean something and its really bothering me.

    Reply
    • Nick,

      You are experiencing an uptick in your OCD because that is what OCD does – it waxes and wanes, sometimes increasing for no apparent reason.

      I strongly encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Trying to effectively address OCD on your own is not likely to work.

      Reply
  • I don’t know if my comment was posted, so I apologize if this is a duplicate. I’ve had OCD ever since one of my parents died (various types).

    As far back as I can remember I was always interested in women. I remember getting erections to girls from when I was 8. I sought them out because that’s what felt right and that’s what I wanted. I always felt like I wanted girls and would always fall in love with girls.

    In middle school I was brutally bullied. One of the things my peers said was that I was gay. I was frustrated because I knew it wasn’t true. At one point I gave in and “tested” myself. Of course it didn’t take much for me to get hard and for a period of about a year I would masturbate to mixed gay and straight sex thoughts. The gay ones were always just to get me off, but they didn’t feel right; it felt alien to who I felt I was. So I stopped & resumed my regular fantasies. After that I’d usually get OCD (HOCD) during depression. I’ve had an adult life of straight experiences, but now, after a lot went wrong in my life, this OCD resurfaced and it’s killing me. I can’t even get hard. I have no desire to be gay or even bi. I just like women.

    Reply
    • Rich,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      As you note, “of course, it didn’t take much” to get hard – teenage boys get hard as a result of just about anything! And of course you got off when masturbating to gay thoughts – you were masturbating!

      I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

      Reply
  • Hi, I have thoughts about my sexuality since 11, i was seeing pictures of cats on internet onde day then i see a Guy whitout shirt and Said to myself ” i wanna be handsome like that” só my brain started to ask me do You find him atractive? Do You find him handsome ? Are You gay? I remember everyday seeing Guy whitout shirt to see If i was atracted to them until one day i Said that i wasnt having só i was not gay But a feel seconds later i felt somenthing. Then i started to monitoring my body seeing gay porn to check for arousal.I Also get urges to masturbate to gay porn and i do sometimes i feel temporaly relieve since i dont feel pleasure or get conected to the porn but minutes later the voice comeback and ask But then why did You get a erection? I You really didnt wanna see gay porn why did You see It is like a ritual so i pray to god take the gay thoughts away after the pray i get relieve.i dont wanna bê with a Guy date have or Fell in love with them .But sometimes i feel that im denial because of my religion the problem is that i dont have a issue with homossexuality i Just dont Desire Guys so i dont understand these thoughts im really tired of them i Just wanna a answer .

    Reply
    • Antonio,

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD to me.

      Watching gay porn and monitoring your bodily sensations to see if you are aroused is a compulsion that will make your OCD worse. Stop watching gay porn and stop monitoring your body for arousal in any and all situations.

      Ditto for praying to God to make your unwanted gay thoughts go away.

      Stop wasting your time trying to understand these thoughts and trying to make them go away. Your goal should be to accept the presence of these unwanted thoughts without taking them seriously, and without reacting to them by trying to understand them and without trying to get rid of them. They are just thoughts. That is the answer.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply! I have one more question do people with Hocd or ocd in general act on their urges? Today i had an urge to watch gay porn i dind’t enjoy like always But i always get this urge and i act upon It i dont enjoy It or find atractive and this Give me relieve But i Saw on a fórum that people with ocd dont act on urges. i said this on the previous post about the urge . because now i keep ruminating over the past to see If i enjoy It watching gay porn in the past só i can prove If i have ocd or not since 11 i Deal with these thoughts and doubts so is linda hard to construct a timeline and the anxiety doesn’t help either Sorry If It doesn’t make só muche Sense os that im Very confused and anxious because of the thoughts.

        Reply
        • Antonio,

          Ruminating about your past and about your urges in a an effort to see if you enjoy the thoughts or urges is a COMPULSION. It will never get you anything except more OCD.

          Ditto for constructing a “timeline” of you OCD. I cannot imagine a bigger waste of time, nor a more perfect example of a COMPULSION.

          Reply
  • Hi,

    I posted on your site on Oct 26, 2017. How it was good to finally figure out what was wrong me back in the early 1970s When I was having all the same sex thoughts and all the anxiety they were causing me. I mentioned in my Post about Cross dressings experiences also at a younger age. it started around age 10. These feelings have come back very strong in the last few years. my under standing is this is not an uncommon thing. My under standing is there is nothing wrong with what i do. so I try to just accept it as a part of me. of course my brain trys to tell me I am transgender. my Question is can I use the same things that i use for Hocd to help me. Maybe I am transgender may be i am not. I try to live in the Not knowing Area. with my Lifestyle. As I know i am suppose to do but you know Ocd. it is a Beast.. I have a Mediation practice that i use among other things. And I am thinking Your mindfulness book could be some thing i need to look at also.

    Reply
    • Martin,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Many cross dressers are straight.

      2) Over the past few years, the term “trans” has become somewhat of an umbrella term to cover transsexuality and transvestitism (i.e., cross-dressing). While I understand the political value of this movement, it leads some to think these conditions are the same. They are not.

      3) I do not believe you should treat your cross dressing with the same tools that are used to treat HOCD. I think you should seek counseling (not “treatment”) for your cross-dressing with a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with their cross-dressing. And yes, there are therapists who specialize in this.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I think I have hocd for 6 months and it affects my routine and my mental health lately. I’m a girl and I know I’m straight but these intrusive thoughts keeps saying otherwise. Whenever I see a model I do find her pretty or hot but these intrusive thoughts keep saying I have a crush on her or I’m bisexual because I like her that way when in reality I just admire her for her looks. I try testing myself by looking at pictures but the thoughts tell me you have a crush on her a bit and that made me panic honestly. I wouldn’t really want to self diagnose myself with ocd but these are my experiences

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Of course you find models attractive. People are selected to be models precisely because they are gorgeous. That doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them. It means you are capable of noticing that these people are beautiful.

      2) Testing yourself by looking at pictures to see how you respond is a compulsion that will only make your OCD worse.

      Reply
  • Hi, so I have a few questions
    1) When I was in 5th grade I actively looked up sexual pictures and videos of women. I remember being sexually aroused and liking the feeling. After a month or two of doing this, I stopped because I no longer felt pleasure from doing this. This never made me doubt my sexuality though, I have and had always had crushes on boys from a young age. I have had OCD since I was little and have been diagnosed and now suffer from Sexual orientation OCD. And my OCD latches onto these memories and takes it as a sign that I am a Lesbian and in denial. Is this normal for HOCD?

    2) I have never been attracted or wanted to be with a women. As a young kid I had always had crushes on boys and felt good about the thought of being with men. And it wasn’t even feelings for a women that brought up this OCD subject it was a movie. So because I have never had feelings for a women and only for men, why do these thoughts feel real?

    3) usually when I have these distressing thoughts I become physically affected with nausea and such. But now sometimes when I have the same thoughts, the physical nausea doesn’t occur as bad. This worries me.

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      And I have a few answers…

      1) Kids are naturally curious about sex. Looking at sexual pictures in fifth grade is not evidence that you are secretly a lesbian, but rather is evidence that you were a naturally curious young kid.

      2) These thoughts “feel real” because you are spending an inordinate amount of time over-attending to these thoughts and over-valuing them. They are just thoughts that deserve no special attention.

      3) It is common for people with HOCD to worry that they are not anxious enough. This is called a “back door spike”. I encourage you to re-read item #27 in the article above, which specifically addresses this issue.

      Reply
  • Hi, i think i have had hocd for the past few months now and then thought i was doing better until a few days ago i suddenly had the thought of “what if i am transgender.” with my (what i hope is) hocd, i would always test by ask myself “would i rather be with the guy or the girl” but then one day it turned into “would i rather BE the guy or the girl” i tried to ignore it at first but the thought just kept coming back. what scared me the most was that when i was younger, i had a tomboy phase although i wasn’t complete tomboy and still liked doing some girly things. i am 13 now and have been out of that phase for about 2 years (pretty much after puberty) and love doing girly things despite not being a complete girly girl. the thought of me secretly being a boy had me really panicked,anxious, trapped as i like being a girl. i began researching and found people actually have had hocd turn into tocd -this reassured me for a bit but then suddenly had this feeling of “what if i dont like my body and really am a guy trapped in a girls body” and began feeling a loss of control and panic. i am now sad/scared that i dont feel like myself anymore but know that i dont want to be a boy…

    Reply
    • P.Anon,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Unwanted obsessions about being trans are common in OCD, and are no more important than any other obsessive thought that pops into your mind…which means not important at all.

      2) I am not surprised that your HOCD has morphed to include TOCD. This too is common.

      3) Anytime that you experience “what if…” thoughts related to your sexuality or gender, I encourage you to accept the existence of the thoughts without buying into the idea that the thought has meaning or importance. These are just thoughts.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    So I’ve been struggling with anxiety about being gay/bi for a a little bit now. I’m a women and I’ve always been boy crazy and had crushes on my boys and I’ve only ever had sexual relations with boys and enjoyed it. I was raised to be open minded and free spirited so I always thought that yes, one day I’m sure I’ll experiment with girls. But recently I’m not sure what spiked it but I’ve been getting so much anxiety when I think about possibly being gay or bi. I look back at my childhood and think about times where I may have looked at girls more as friendship but it never used to phase me. Now it’s like every girl I see I think “would I like being with her?” And worst of all, bi or gay girls seem to trigger the most and I’m
    Taking a bi friend of mine on vacation with me and now I’m worried I could have a crush on her because I think about what it’d be like if I was with her and I’m starting to get less and less opposed to it but in all of this I feel like I lost a sense of who I really am. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Anna,

      You ask for my thoughts, so here goes.

      This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      Whether you act on your thoughts is irrelevant. It is especially irrelevant in that you appear to be open-minded about the possibility that you some day experiment with a woman. What defines this as OCD is the fact that you are obsessing about this possibility.

      Reply
  • Hi, it’s been since the end of December that I’m feeling all of these intrusive thoughts. I keep looking on the internet to check and see if I feel a groinal response, at times I feel I do, I don’t want too. I know it’s not good to check. I’m opened minded, I love all people, but I personally don’t want to be gay or bisexual. I’m a girl, I’m 16 almost 17, my therapist doesn’t know about HOCD, I’ve tried talking about it with her, she doesn’t seem to get it, she thinks it’s not practical? I dunno. It’s been to the point where I’m settled and slumping and just accepting to be happy with the idea of being a lesbian, but I don’t want to be. It’s so stressful and I hate it. I’ve had crushes on boys all my life, but recently I’ve felt nothing. The last boy I felt for said he only wanted to be with me to have sex with me and I feel as if that’s where it all started. I’m so frustrated and I’d like to be with a man not a woman. The ideas of women pleasuring me or myself pleasuring them, these mental images, I don’t like them, I want them out. My brain keeps saying, “you want a girlfriend” “you want to have sex with women.” I want my life back. I don’t feel like me. My brain has taken over.

    Reply
    • Nikk,

      A few thoughts…

      1) This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      2) Checking on the internet in an effort to discern if you have HOCD or are gay is a compulsion that will make your OCD worse.

      3) Obsessing about “groinal response” is classic HOCD. People without HOCD pay no attention whatsoever to whether or not they are experiencing unwanted groinal sensations. I encourage you to re-read number 13 in the article above which addresses this issue.

      4) If your therapist is not an OCD specialist, then you are wasting your time and money. Find a therapist who knows what they are doing with OCD.

      5) Resisting your thoughts (i.e., “I want them out”) is a surefire way to make them worse. Accept whatever thought arises in your mind without taking it seriously. Thoughts are just thoughts.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    Thank you so much for this article. I finally feel like I’m not alone and I’m not crazy.
    I’m a female married to a man and think I may have HOCD?
    About 8 months ago I was watched a movie and a nude sex scene came on, I found myself attracted to the woman. My mind latched onto the thought and I started freaking out and thinking ‘am i gay?’ I then couldn’t go anywhere without checking if I was attracted to the same sex and would check myself for arousal. Every day all day it’s all I could think about. I was so terrified because I love my husband so much and really didn’t want to leave him but was afraid I was living in denial and living a lie. I felt I needed to know for sure and be certain but I never could be. I check articles for reassurance I wasn’t gay or bi and would feel better for maybe a day then would start obsessing about it all over again.
    I started seeing a therapist and she encouraged me to experiment with girls but I only wanted to be with my husband. And the thought of experimenting terrified me. I started second guessing my whole life and childhood for “signs.”
    Going through your list I realized THAT’S ME. And then my mind said, “or are you…

    Reply
    • Melody,

      A few thoughts…

      1) You are not alone and you are not crazy. This all sounds like HOCD, which is a very common variant of OCD.

      2) Your checking and analyzing and reassurance seeking are compulsions and are making your HOCD worse, not better.

      3) The fear of being “in denial” is extremely common in HOCD.

      4) Your therapist is an idiot who knows nothing about OCD. Her advice was the exact wrong thing to suggest. Find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • I am a 17 years old girl.. I was perfectly fine before 2 or 3 months.. One day suddenly a thought popped that i am a lesbian and it is haunting me. First i was very scared.. Then my sister told me that she is sure that i am not a lesbian because of her i was able to control myself.. If i am busy these thoughts doesn’t haunt me.. But when i sit free these thoughts just pops up.. Now also i have a male crush a kpop celebrity he is my wallpaper and i find all the excuses to prove that i am not gay.. I think its better to die than being lesbian. And i think if i am a lesbian then what ill just marry a guy and adjust because i am very much excited when i think about having sex with men or kissing men.. I know that i am straight.. Before i had hocd i had a ideal guy in my mind after having hocd i think that i dont want to live if i can’t live like that i am a girl and i prefer men over women but i think i like women and i am lying to my self. I dont want to be lesbian .. I jzt want to live like others.. I jzt want to live like before when i didn’t have hocd.. I feel like i feel something when I see women especially when they are naked or when a girl touches me..

    Reply
    • Anu,

      A few thoughts…

      1) This all sounds like HOCD.

      2) Lesbians are not “very much excited when (they) think about having sex with men”.

      3) No, it would not be “better to die than being lesbian”.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m a girl and I’ve been really frustrated. My thoughts keep going back and fourth. It started in early to mid January. I’ve thought about it before but it was never a big deal and then I was fine, but now, it’s been plaguing my mind for months. I know it’s not good to check, but, I’ve been and after I’m done looking at it, it makes me extremely pissed off that I looked it up, I don’t like looking at it but I feel obligated to at times. I don’t want to be a lesbian but at times I feel this spike in my mind that keeps telling me I am or that I want it but I don’t. I feel like I’ve turned in to one. As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved boys, I loved them. I feel as though I’ve lost attraction for men but haven’t gained it for women. I feel as if I’ve lost who I am. I over analyze everything. My weight, my face, my voice, the way I move, the way I scratch my neck, the way I swallow when I tell myself I’m not gay. I hate this. What are your thoughts? I need some insight.

    Reply
    • Renee,

      You asked for my thoughts so here goes…

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), focusing on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hi, Tom!

    Is it safe to assume that the more attention you pay to subject matter or thing that triggers a groinal response, or the more attention you are paying to the groinal response itself, the stronger and more intense the groinal response will be?

    Reply
    • Brad,

      Yes, the more you focus your attention on a groinal sensation (or any OCD thought, feeling or sensation), the more intense it will seem.

      Reply
      • Tom! Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. If you don’t mind, I have another question for you.

        I’ve been debating and struggling with this for a while, but does a penis twinge while erect, be considered a type groinal response?

        If it bobs up and down when an intrusive thought pops into your head, is it still considered a groinal response to said intrusive thought?

        I’d appreciate any help. Many thanks in advance.

        Reply
        • Brad,

          You are paying entirely too much attention to your penis.

          If I were to attempt to provide you with a definitive answer about just how much penis-bobbing constitutes a groinal response, you would undoubtedly want more more reassurance about your penis-bobbing.

          My prescription is simple – stop paying attention to your penis, and stop evaluating its movements.

          Reply
  • Hi,
    I’m a girl and I’ve been raised in a close-minded family, I never had any doubts about my sexual orientation even though I always masturbated to lesbian thoughts, I’ve always liked men but when I turned 18 I had my first panic attack and my mind kept telling me, if a woman’s body arouses me then I must be a lesbian, my difference with other people is that in this period I don’t know what I am anymore, I still want a man but lately this has affected my sexual life as I’m always analyzing this, I’ve never wanted to do a woman but maybe it’s because I was raised to think being gay was a sin? I don’t feel love for girls and I’ve never liked a woman, however I’ve liked many men am I denying myself? I’d love to have a boyfriend but I have to be sure I’m straight I don’t want to lie to a man, I’m so lost, ERP therapy doesn’t help to answer my question I want a man so badly but I can’t hurt them why would a shirtless woman excite me more if I was straight? why would I want a man if I was gay? I know many girls who tell me naked men don’t excite them, they get excited by what they do but this is driving me crazy.

    Reply
    • Hope,

      A few thoughts.

      1) You write that you are different from people with HOCD because “I don’t know what I am anymore”. Well, that pretty much applies to every person with HOCD.

      2) Analyzing your thoughts and feelings about your sexual orientation is a compulsion that will make things worse.

      3) Masturbating to thoughts or images that are “forbidden” is quite common, and does not automatically indicate anything about your sexual orientation.

      4) Nothing you write sounds like “denial”.

      5) You do not need to be “sure” that you are straight in order to have a boyfriend.

      6) You say Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) doesn’t help, but you don’t say anything about actually having had ERP with anyone. I encourage you to have a course of ERP with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. The said, the goal of ERP is not to “answer the question” about your sexual orientation, but rather to help you more effectively respond to that question when it arises in your mind.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m a girl and I’ve been straight my entire life and I feel like sometimes I am a lesbian. I don’t know where or when it started. Sometimes I get calm and I do these checks and say, “I am a lesbian” and put on a fake smile, but feel calm and as if what I’m saying is truth. I over analyze everything. I don’t want to be gay, I have no problem with the LGBTQ community, I love them, I’m an advocate for them, but, I don’t want to have sex with women or kiss them. I find them attractive which means I have functioning eyes, yes. Sometimes I feel so calm and say, yeah, maybe I am, it’s okay and it’s what you want, but then I say no no no. It’s frustrating. What are your thoughts? Am I denying it?

    Reply
    • Anon,

      You asked for my thoughts, so here they are.

      1) This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      2) Based on what you have written, I don’t believe that you are in denial. I think you have HOCD.

      3) You would likely benefit from getting treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hi, I’ve written too many times here but I don’t seem to be getting any better, my therapist has told me to accept the thoughts but my mind goes oh my god you are! you really are! and then I get a huge pannick attack, plus I can’t find reassurance anymore, I always feel like a lesbian, is this normal? maybe I wad misdiagnosed and I’m really a lesbian? can you obsess for years about your sexuality have other obsessions and be a lesbian in the end? I don’t seem to get anything done these days, I’m so tired of living likr this.

    Reply
    • Maca,

      A few thoughts…

      1) Just because your therapist tells you to accept your thoughts doesn’t mean you have done so. True acceptance of your thoughts would mean that when you say to yourself, “Oh my god I am a lesbian! I really am!”, your response would be to shrug with indifference, rather than to have a panic attack.

      2) I doubt you were misdiagnosed with OCD. Worries about being misdiagnosed are common in HOCD.

      Reply
  • I’ve had hocd since August last year. If started with sexual images of myself and a female actress. I just had this idea that I was gay in my head and it wouldn’t go away. It didn’t make any sense as I’ve always crushed on boys and dreamed about being with a boy romantically and sexually. I had a false memory that I Aid thought sexually about my friend in high school and I spent so long trying to work out if it had happened. I then had the idea that I was in denial and that stuck in my head for a long time. One of the problems I’m having is that I can’t remember the other intrusive ideas that I’ve had and now I’m worried that means I don’t have hocd. I feel as though I do get false attractions but I also feel like I’m doubting all my symptoms. I’m also getting confused becuse I read things like “my mind keeps telling me I’m gay” or “I keep thinking what if I’m gay?” . But I don’t get questions or statements in my mind- the only way I can describe it is ideas. I get the idea that I’m in denial but it’s not a question or a statement and it doesnt contain words. Is this still an intrusive thought?. Can you please help with this?

    Reply
    • Keeley,

      This is the sixth time you have posted a comment here, all saying basically the same thing. It seems to me that posting comments is a compulsion for you.

      If you really want help, you are going to need to do more than seeking short-term reassurance via commenting on blog articles. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that focuses on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I’m a girl, about to be 17 and I have been dealing with what I believe is HOCD for 5 months. It’s nice knowing that other people feel the same. I have been previously diagnosed with anxiety but never OCD, I have though always felt a little obsessive when it comes to certain subject matters. I pay attention to my groin all the time, I say certain things like, “I’m a lesbian, who cares?” and then I feel my groin kick in, but, I don’t like saying that because it doesn’t feel like me. I have been more calm lately, which makes me think I am just okay with being a lesbian now. I have looked at lesbian porn, I have googled so many images, I try masturbating and showing the things I have seen in my brain to see if I get a reaction and I feel as though I get off to my lesbian thoughts, but, they don’t make me happy. But, since I’ve been calm lately, I keep getting the questions, “It’s fine, you are, it’ll be difficult, but, you’ll adjust.” But, I JUST DON’T WANT TO BE! And then I think, what if you’re trans? I anyalyze my voice, the way I move, etc. I see a therapist, I have seen a physiatrist. I just keep crying.

    Reply
    • Nikk,

      Your comment essentially repeats what you wrote here last month. My reply is the same now as it was then.

      Reply
  • I haven’t been gay my entire life. I love boys. Always had huge crushes on them. Always interested in knowing what it feels like to have sex with them, dreaming of the love I could share with a boy and how my heart flutters thinking of it being like a romance movie, like the ones I love. However, it’s like a routine now that I am looking at sexual lesbian things on the internet and trying to masturbate to it. I don’t like it and now I feel as if I’m a lesbian. My voice feels gay. Like.. it’s too deep for a female. I feel this sensation coming over me and it’s just like, gay gay gay. I don’t like it. I wanna feel like me and in my element again, like myself, not feeling this way. What do you think? It’s been this way for months. My groin gets too much attention. My mind says too many things. I hate it. It’s pissing me off. I even broke my phone getting so angry looking at sexual lesbian things. Ugh. 🙁

    Reply
    • Hi Pa,

      You asked to know what I think, so here goes…

      1) The “routine” you describe if the perfect example of a compulsion. You are attempting to get proof that you are straight, but your attempt actually makes your OCD worse, not better. I encourage you to stop looking at “lesbian things” on the internet, and to stop masturbating to those things in an effort to get proof that you are not turned on by those things.

      2) If your groin is getting too much attention, that attention is coming from you. Stop giving your groin attention. Whatever your groin happens to be doing does not merit attention.

      3) You are also over-attending to your voice. Just as with your groin, there is no benefit from over-attending to your voice. You are also over-valuing your voice. Simply put, voice tone is not a marker for sexuality. Women with deep voices are not automatically gay.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    I have an extreme case of HOCD, to the point that I can’t leave my house. I’m 16 years old and have been straight all my life, I have never been attracted to men in the slightest. But when I was younger I watched a lot of porn, to the point where I got desensitized to the women. I started getting of to the idea of a penis, and being the girl. After a while, I got extremely upset and stressed about this and I had my first bout of HOCD. I stopped watching all porn, and my tastes reverted back to what they once were. Fast forward today, I’ve had a few girlfriends, been attracted to only women and never even had a thought of anything gay. Then out of nowhere about a month ago, the thought “What if I’m gay?” Popped into my head. Then I remember that from when I was 11 or 12 years old and I see it as obvious proof that I’m gay. The thought of being gay and anything to do with that drives me to wretch. But I get awful groinal responses and my attraction for women completely diminished. I am completely lost, I feel as if I’ve been a latent homosexual or a repressed homosexual. I literally can’t stop worrying about this.

    Reply
    • Connor,

      You may think you are a repressed homosexual, but everything you write suggests that it is more likely that you have HOCD. And the fact that you are now housebound due to your anxiety tells me two things:

      1) Your OCD is severe.

      2) You will almost certainly need the assistance of a professional therapist who specializes in treating OCD in order to make any significant gains in your struggle with HOCD.

      Reply
  • I’m pretty much a lesbian now. I’ve been dealing with this for six months and it doesn’t stop. I keep looking and looking at girls on Instagram and lesbian couples and I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to be with women, I don’t want to kiss women, I don’t want a girlfriend, but, this has what it’s come down too. I can’t love boys anymore, I haven’t been able too. I miss the old me, I miss being heart eyes for boys. I’m not heart eyes for girls. I feel so awful, depressed, anxious, thoughts of death. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?! I DON’T WANT TO BE GAY BUT I AM NOW!! Why does it feel natural to say yep, I want girls, I wanna kiss them etc. WHY?!?!?! I’ve been saying this in the mirror to myself even though I don’t like it, now it feels normal!! 🙁 WHY?!?!?! WHERE AM I?!?! WILL I EVER LOVE BOYS AGAIN?!?!?! 🙁

    Reply
    • Anon,

      Everything you write sounds like HOCD, not like you are gay. Lesbians don’t think “I don’t want to be with women, I don’t want to kiss women, I don’t want a girlfriend”, but people with HOCD do. And when you write, “I’m pretty much a lesbian now”, you are completely buying into your HOCD thoughts.

      You ask “WHY?!?!?!”, and the answer is simple – you have HOCD. My suggestion is that you seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating HOCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focusing on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      I also encourage you to stop checking your response to lesbians and girls on Instagram, and to stop saying “yep, I want girls, I wanna kiss them” while looking in the mirror. These are compulsions that are making your OCD worse, not better.

      Reply
      • I don’t understand. I’m seventeen now and I have never had a crush on a woman. I feel as if I’ve become lesbian and I don’t want to be, but, I feel as if I’m just really gay now and it’s what is. Pride month is this month and I see it everywhere and it’s not helping. My best friend, I’ve been her friend for eleven years now, I question, what if I want to kiss her to see? It makes me upset that I even think about this, but I almost feel like my body turns on. I feel so lost. I don’t want to be gay. I watch coming out videos and I can’t relate to what these gay girls say, that’s a compulsion and a check that is unnecessary, however, that’s their story, maybe I’m just becoming gay and subconsciously I know it but I don’t know it myself. I don’t know who I am anymore. I can’t get away from this. I feel ashamed because it’s a touchy subject, I’ve talked to my family, but, they just think I’m being ridiculous. I don’t want to be gay, but, I keep saying I’m really gay now and I like gay things and I’m living my new life as a gay woman. I don’t want that. It’s giving me anxiety. This is hopeless.

        Reply
        • Anon,

          My advice remains the same as it was when you first posted here last week (see above).

          Reply
  • Hi,

    I had my first appointment with my CBT therapist today. It went really well and I was very open with her about the distressing thoughts I have been having regarding my sexuality. She seemed to understand and has drawn up a programme for me, which includes keeping a diary every day about my thoughts, my reactions to them and what I do to try and alleviate the anxiety. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes and getting to the bottom of my condition.

    There is something bothering me though. She said ‘you are definitely not gay’ to me which felt nice at the time but now I’m starting to doubt her and question her. It is normal to feel scared that your therapist is going to uncover your deepest fears as being true, and make you admit them? Is it normal to think that your therapist thinks you’re gay?

    Also, my mum said to me just now, ‘if you were gay you would know it.’ Well I have had this for so long I actually do not know anymore. On the train back home I was getting so anxious to every male I saw. Is this a normal feeling to have? I’m pretty sure I’m still straight deep down but I am just doubting everything.

    Reply
    • Henry,

      Your comment perfectly demonstrates how tricky HOCD is.

      You go to see a therapist because you have unwanted thoughts about being gay and you think you may have HOCD. Your therapist listens to you and says “you are definitely not gay”. You then respond by thinking “does she think I’m gay”.

      You were initially happy to get reassurance from your therapist that you are straight. But that reassurance backfired, and now you are struggling with even more doubt.

      All of this is par for the course with HOCD.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    I have had OCD on sexuality for 6 years now. I had it for 4 years before I began masturbating to the thoughts. In my mind it was a way to get rid of any potential for sexual sensations the next day, like a big off switch. There was like a voice in my head telling me there was no point stopping ‘you’re already gay because you do this’ etc.. even though it also made me feel bad. I had to change the thought every night and they got very graphic. I hate myself for masturbating to thoughts that had been bothering me and I can’t get over how guilty I feel. I also hardly hear of anyone else who did this. It wasn’t checking so much as trying to make any physical sensations stop because I didn’t like feeling anything in my groin, so it doesn’t fit normal HOCD actions. I saw a therapist about this and she didn’t bat an eyelid at my behaviour but I still feel awful. Is this proof I don’t have OCD? Does it mean I am a lesbian? because I replay the thoughts I used over and over in my head, it feels awful and I feel dirty.

    Reply
    • Bry,

      There is more to OCD than checking, and there is nothing particularly unique about what you report. When you masturbate in an effort to control your unwanted sexual sensations, you are doing a compulsion. Or as you put it, you are trying to access “a big off switch” in your body that turns off the unwanted sensations you are experiencing. This is not proof that you don’t have OCD – on the contrary, it sounds exactly like OCD, and nothing like lesbianism.

      Reply
      • Thankyou for your comment, it only helped for a little while though which is the nature of OCD, I realize that much. It has just been a very long time on the same theme and affording treatment here is extremely difficult. Medication did help in my case but part of me thinks taking it is somehow covering up the truth, which is irrational but I can’t stop thinking this way. I continue thinking about the masturbation I used to do and the fact that many of the thoughts involved me and another woman- oral sex etc, or fears I had about lesbian sex things I hated thinking about. why did I was purposefully involve myself in these thoughts? I worry about why I continued doing it for so long when it made me feel worse, at the time I was off my medication and in a bad relapse, but I still can’t get over it. I also think about one occasion when I did masturbate twice- usually I stop at orgasm but one time I did it again, I keep thinking I wouldn’t do that if I truly hated the thoughts etc. Anyway I realise therapy is the ideal option, but for someone who genuinely cannot afford it, are there any other options?

        Reply
        • Bry,

          A few thoughts…

          1) Of course my words “only helped for a little while” – my words are not a panacea that is going to make OCD disappear.

          2) The reason you continued to masturbate is simple – it felt good. Masturbation is not complicated. People do it because it feels good.

          3) As noted in number 8 in the article above, people often have sexual fantasies about things that are taboo to them, and/or things they would not choose to do in their life.

          4) Having multiple orgasms in response to masturbating while having a lesbian fantasy is not evidence that you are a lesbian. It is evidence that you were masturbating and enjoying it.

          5) You don’t need to hate your thoughts, nor do you need to get rid of them. A better option would be to accept them as normal.

          6) If you cannot afford therapy, there are many books about OCD that can be of help you. I encourage you to check out the booklist on our website at https://ocdla.com/ocdreadings/.

          Reply
          • Hello,
            Thankyou for replying again. It’s hard to explain the thought process behind the masturbation but it was really just to try and control my symptoms. The reasoning I had was that if I just masturbated to thoughts that had been bothering me that somehow it would fix the problems I had during the day. I had thoughts like ‘you need to concentrate tomorrow’ etc. and my sexual intrusive thoughts were out of control and coupled with groin sensations I hated. It wasn’t really a sexual fantasy as in I went in for the purpose of just enjoying them, it was always to try and stop something from bothering me, or interfering with my day the next day, which I realise is a compulsion. I hadn’t had lesbian fantasies up until that point at all and thinking about people having sexual fantasies about things they wouldn’t do doesn’t really help my thought process much. The fact is I am afraid I will go back to this behaviour and there is a voice saying ‘you have already done it once you will do it again’ or ‘there is no point abstaining since you are a lesbian’ etc, or ‘this proves you are a lesbian’ etc. Anyway, sorry for the multiple posts I will definitely look into the books…

          • Bry,

            All of the sounds like compulsive analysis. I encourage you to read more about OCD, and to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

  • Hello, good article.

    I sometimes masturbate to sexual fantasies involving other men, or while looking at gay pornography because I sometimes think about it and find it appealing. If I recall correctly, this has been going on since 2013-2014 where I was 13-14.

    Despite this, I don’t recall ever feeling a romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to a guy I have ever known well in person; all of my past crushes that I can remember right now were female. In fact, I am quite uncomfortable with the thought of having sex with men that I know; with my fantasies, it’s always men that I have made up in my head. In the past I have stared at other men’s crotches and still felt uncomfortable.

    I have felt discomfort over this stuff in the past, but it isn’t a level of distress that haunts my every waking hour. And I often don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it whenever I do masturbate to the thought of having sex with men.

    Is this HOCD, or is it just me being mostly straight and a little bit gay?

    Reply
    • Weston,

      I don’t know if this HOCD, or if you are “a little bit gay” or bi, or whatever. I also don’t think these sorts of labels matter or help. We don’t need to put ourselves into boxes that define us according to our sexual proclivities. Just live your life without worrying about what label best defines your sexuality.

      Reply
  • Hi, i’m 18 years old male,i’m very afraid of being gay my all life and didn t realise it,the thing that kills me is that groinal response or arousal;i dont know what it is,i have never been attracted to a guy,i have never ever been even curios to whatch same sex porn,one time,a gay tried to approach,i just stand up and leave,never felt even 1 gram of attraction for them,now everything seems weird and feels like i fooled myself all the time,i don t understand what going on with me.

    Reply
    • Daniel,

      I encourage you to re-read the article above, specifically item 13, which addresses the issue of “groinal response” and perceived arousal.

      Reply
      • My real problem is that i know almost everything about hocd,the symptoms,groinal,false attraction,i have friends with who i stay almost everyday,never ever thought something sexual about them,never,but the very next day my problem started,sometimez i feel like i m in love with them,is so strange,and sometimes it looks so real

        Reply
  • So I have been struggling with what I hope is HOCD for about 2 months now. It started when I was scrolling past something on twitter and it was of girls together. I found it to be arrousing and watched the video. Then on a way home from studying for an exam, I had this thought that I was gay and that I have known it my whole life. I got home and was immediately nauseous. I went straight to the bathroom to throw up and tried to get my thoughts together because I did not understand what was happening to me. I have always been straight and any time a thought came up about being gay I was never conflicted about my identity. My bestfriend is a gay male and I have always supported him no matter what. I also have a boyfriend that I love so much. I keep looking up things about HOCD and symptoms, this vs denial, and when I looked it up, one website said denial means you have always known it. I have convinced myself that I have always known it and since the video was arrousing, I have not gotten this thought out of my head. My goal in life has always been to grow up and get married to a man and have the cutest kids. I just want to go back to loving my boyfriend but this thought wont let me.

    Reply
    • Allison,

      Nothing here sounds like you are gay. All of this sounds like HOCD.

      Reply
      • Is it normal to be arroused by same sex videos? I feel as though because that was real for me that now I have “always known” and that now something in my head says that I want to take part in all of that. I look to my past and for some reason disregard any relationship I’ve been in with a male and choose to focus on anytime i’ve ever thought about women. I feel like I’ve completely lost myself, and when my mom asks me to remember who I am, I feel as though I have completely forgotten. This thought consumes me 24/7. I just really don’t want to be gay, I don’t want a relationship with a woman, but this is just so overwhelming that sometimes it feels like I would. Is it normal to have your whole mindset change after reading certain websites? Or to constantly check websites to see if this is normal or not?

        Reply
        • Allison,

          A few thoughts…

          1) Humans are generally aroused by pornography. That is why pornography exists. So I am not at all surprised that you found it arousing to watch two women going at it in a porn video.

          2) Being aroused by lesbian porn does not mean that you are a lesbian. It means you are a human.

          3) Ignoring your significant real-life history with men, and over-valuing the unwanted lesbian thoughts that you have been experiencing is a perfect example of “confirmation bias”. I encourage you to read our article that discusses confirmation bias as it relates to variants of Pure O such as HOCD.

          4) Checking websites in an effort to figure out your sexual orientation is a compulsion that will only make your obsessions worse.

          Reply
          • Sorry for all the comments but I am in a very very dark place. One last question just before I go back into my dark thoughts, I read something about “internalized homophobia” and I am terrified that this is the truth for me. It stated that sometimes gay people do not like sharing their thoughts because it ruins what they’ve always wanted for themselves, like marriage and kids. I watched one video and liked the idea one time, and now it seems to have changed my whole self. If I am crying every night about wanting to love my boyfriend and go back to normal, get nauseous at the idea of coming out, find the idea of a relationship with a woman very unappealing, but have somehow convinced myself that I would want to be in that video, does this make the website right? Or does it just make my OCD worse? I feel like before I read that website I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that situation, but now that I have, I do. I also keep telling myself that I have “known this my whole life” and look back to situations in my best to prove that I am or something. I really need help because I feel like I can’t leave my house anymore.

          • Allison,

            Everything you write sounds like HOCD. Just because someone writes that some people who are gay have internalized homophobia does not mean that you are a gay person with internalized homophobia.

            I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), emphasizing a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

  • I’ve been going through what I hope is HOCD for seven months. I have unwanted thoughts and images and I even get them about children and that is just disgusting. I would never have sex with a child. I’m a girl, 17 and I’ve always loved boys. They’re wonderful, adorable, when they have a good attitude it makes me smile. However, I’ll do these rituals when touching myself and saying, “Yes girl, touch me.” But then i get very frustrated and upset that I’m doing this but I almost feel turned on in a sense. I have fake nails on so when I touch myself my brain thinks because I have these nails on, I want a girl with those kinds of nails to be rubbing me. However, there is this boy and I do enjoy his company and when we talk I just adore him, but, I’m afraid I won’t be able to emotionally or sexually attach and that scares me, I want to emotionally and sexually attach to him, just thinking about it makes me wanna jump on him and give him love. I take medication, it makes me feel like I’m trying to cover up the gay. It truly feels like I’m hiding it, it truly feels like I’m a lesbian. I want to feel normal and in love with boys again. Not worry about being gay. I want to be me. Boy crazy.

    Reply
    • Paige,

      This all sounds like classic HOCD to me. I encourage you to seek treatment with an OCD specialist.

      Reply
  • In school and stuff I’ve always had female crushes, but from what I recall my HOCD started at the age of ten. A YouTuber I had been watching for a while made a coming out video, where he explained that in high school he asked himself if he was gay and he figured out he was. Ever since then I’ve had worries about being gay, but they really got bad this past year (I just turned 15). I’ve always had large issues with groinal responses and there was a time I masturbated to gay porn and sometimes men. However 99% it was just ideas of men and not the act of gay sex bc I find that repulsive. It doesn’t help that I’m slightly feminine, and I’m trying not to be. When I now look at gay porn it disgusts me. However when I masturnated to men I usually did it to put an end to the groinal response and I’d orgasm in a few seconds but feel guilty and depressed afterwards. When I have full blown fantasies it’s always of women but it takes me longer to orgasm. This past year I’ve had really bad intrusive thoughts, childhood analysations, ruminations, checking etc and I’ve accepted I could be mostly straight but my hocd won’t stop. I need therapy but can’t afford it, what should I do?

    Reply
    • Josh,

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD.

      The answer to “What should I do” is simple – ask your parents to find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply. Therapy seems to be expensive and I’d feel way too guilty about asking my parents to pay for it so is there any way I can fix this myself?? A huge issue I have is that I’m kind of effeminate and I worry I’ll never find a female partner because people will assume I’m gay. It also makes me stressed and worried a lot that I am secretly actually gay. When people ask if I am gay it makes me hocd 2000x worse because it’s like hocd doubts are happening inside and outside. I’ve been having really bad breakdowns this summer and I really am not sure what to do. I don’t even care if I’m bisexual I just want to be with a woman and live that way but now im scared that that might change and Ill want to be with a man after puberty. Overall im just super stressed and worried. If there’s anything I can do on my own that’s inexpensive please tell me because I’m super desperate and I don’t want this to ruin my teenage life before I’m old enough to buy therapy myself. Also I’ve had really bad depression lately and I hate that I sometimes act effeminately. Sorry that this is a mess but im super lost and I would appreciate any advice

        Reply
        • Joshua,

          My advice is simple.

          Tell your parents that you think you have OCD and ask them to help you find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Simply put, you have no training or experience in treating OCD, and the chances that you could effectively treat yourself are virtually non-existent.

          Reply
  • Please help. It feels like I’m a lesbian now. When I masturbate, I feel like I can only get off to the lesbian thoughts, but I don’t like that, I feel so panicked. I should just accept it, right? But accepting it, I feel panicked and odd. I know it doesn’t matter your sexual orientation, I don’t care, but I don’t want to be lesbian specifically. I’m on Prozac right now, I thought it was helping, it’s not. My period is in a couple days, it feels so awful around this time. Maybe I’m making excuses. I’m so tired of living like this. What is happening? Please give me some insight.

    Reply
    • Bara,

      No, you should not accept that you are a lesbian, as you have no real evidence that you are. If you were a lesbian, you would be happy about having sexual fantasies with women.

      Lots of people masturbate to fantasies that they have no desire or intention to act on in real life. Additionally, many people with HOCD over-attend to their sexuality in such a way that they convince themselves that they are gay, despite the fact that they are not.

      What you should do instead is simple – find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a specific CBT technique called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • I’ve always loved boys but I’ve been crippled with what I hope is HOCD, I have always had crushes on them, felt fluttery etc. I kissed a boy tonight. It was my first kiss from last summer and we had recently kissed again. I didn’t like the feelings this time. I was uncomfortable with him and I just didn’t like the way he kissed. I’m so so afraid I will never like kissing a boy again. My parents and I are an open family, we accept all, we have talked about private things, we’re just tightly knit. My parents said they would’ve told me if they had an clue as to if I was gay and other family members have said this as well. It truly feels like I’m hiding it, like when I do my checks, I truly enjoy it but I don’t know it. Then I asked, “What if we’re all afraid to admit it?” It feels all so real and I want to fall in love with boys again. Sex seems scary and oral sex seems scary. I watched a scene in a show and didn’t get turned on by the sex scene, it was straight and then my head went to, “What if it was two girls?” I feel so lost and I just want this to go away! What do I do?! Who am I?!

    Reply
    • Jasey,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me. Just because one boy’s kiss did not turn you on doesn’t mean you are a lesbian. A far more likely explanation is that this guy just doesn’t thrill you, or that his kissing style didn’t meet your expectations. Regardless, I see no reason to jump to the conclusion that you “will never like kissing a boy again.”

      You ask what to do, and the answer is simple – get into treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hi, I’ve written too many times so I’ll understand if you don’t answer anymore, it’s already been 12 years living like this and I still want to be with a man but I’m lost, I keep on having lesbian wet dreams, I still don’t love women but maybe compulsory heterosexuality and internalised homophobia is the reason? I can’t take this any longer, I don’t have much money for therapy she just says vto right I’m a lesbian over and over again and let the anxiety increase and decrease but this only helps when I’m with someone, why would women turn me on more if I’m straight? I should know what I am, like when I close the door and check and check and check I know it’s closed why is this different, I feel so angry and envious of people in relationships, I just wanna hide at home I wish in my next life I don’t feel like this I’m kind of cute I know mrn like me I’m not stunning but still I would have had so many men in my life if it wasn’t for this damn obsession. Sometimes I feel like I realize I’m a lesbian like when you remember you forgot something, it hits me so fast and then I panick, how can I know it’s hocd?

    Reply
      • Yes, you are right and the healthy side of my brain knows I won’t get better for writing here, I’m so sorry it’s just that I’m already in therapy but sometimes I feel if I had more money I would be able to find a therapist that would help me more but reality is I don’t even do the exercises she teaches me because I’m scared, thank you again, hope I’ll never write again, best wishes.

        Reply
        • Maca,

          So you don’t do the assignments you are given, and you wonder why you are not getting better???

          If you were trying to learn algebra or piano or Italian, and you never did the assignments, how would that go for you?

          I encourage you to actually do the assignments, and to see what happens.

          Reply
  • Hey Tom
    Love how helpful you are on here. I’ll try to make this short and sweet. I’m 35 dealt with this off and on for a bit. I’ve had a girlfriend the last 5 years and very recently out of literally nowhere I said oh god I’m not too excited to see her today, do i not love her? My world started to spiral. I basically had a mental breakdown and when we were together I felt better but as soon as I left her I’d freak out. She had met my mom a few weeks earlier my doctor said that could have triggered some commitment issue. Anyways. I couldn’t talk about the “future” if she wanted to hang out a couple days from now I would just freak out. If she texted me I would literally be scared. Free i tried explaining I want to be with her I just need it to slow down for a few she understood. And literally a day later I got hocd. I started wondering if the whole reason for this was because am I secretly gay? I went through a brief period of this years ago and had forgotten all about it. But now it’s weird cause when I’m feeling normal and good I know how ridiculous the notion of me being gay is. I have no attraction to men what so ever.

    Reply
    • John,

      While I cannot provide a diagnosis via a blog comment, I can say that the symptoms you are describing sound very much like a combination of two sub-types of OCD – namely HOCD and ROCD. It is extremely common for people with ROCD to also have HOCD. I encourage you to read our article about ROCD at https://ocdla.com/rocd-relationship-ocd-myth-of-the-one-3665.

      These thoughts that are causing you so much suffering are just thoughts, and do not need to be taken seriously. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD to help you learn how to more effectively respond to these thoughts.

      Reply
  • God please, please help me, I feel insane. I think I’m truly denying it at this point but can’t accept it. I just don’t want to be with girls, but the words, girls, chicks, lesbians, gay, sexy, pu**y, hot, they’re all triggering me. How am I to know I’m really enjoying lesbian porn?? How?!?! How do I know if I’m covering it up?!?! Anywhere I go, I feel gay. All my clothes, I feel gay. I feel attracted to my own boobs. I like them, they look nice. Being around my favorite little girl, she’s 6, I feel gay. I’m in therapy. I just wish this never happened, I want to be normal again. Is this new me opening up that I didn’t know about before? Am I bi? Am I really trans? Am I just all out gay? I don’t know what to do!! It feels so real!!

    Reply
    • Bara,

      You mention that you are in therapy, but the real question is whether you are in the correct type of therapy. Traditional talk therapy is at best a waste of time for OCD, and at worst can actually worsen OCD. I strongly encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD using a specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • Hello Tom,. I’m currently at the lowest point in my life. I am so lost and do not really know what’s happening. I don’t know if I have OCD, but I have obsessively questioned my sexuality since I was 24, because I had a dream where I told someone “but I’m not gay” prior to this, I had a few intrusive thoughts, but had girlfriends, fell in love, wanted women, fooled around, loved it. Since this dream I have constantly been afraid I’m not actually straight. Recently I started seeing a new girl who I really like and want to be with. Almost instantly I started getting statements in my head of “I don’t love her” and “I’m gay”. The second being the worst. Essentially, I’m at the point where I’m so sad, scared and anxious I can barely function. I get anxious thinking about sex her (which I had and enjoyed, although a few times I was bombarded by intrusive images and thoughts) and I fear it’s because I’m actually gay. I don’t believe I am and I don’t want to be. For years, I have put myself in imagined scenarios both gay and straight to see my reaction. Have been scared I’ve been so deep in the closet even I don’t know. Am I obsessive? I just want to grow with and love…

    Reply
    • Nick,

      Two things…

      1) Dreams are unimportant. They carry no special or hidden messages about your sexual orientation.

      2) You don’t get “bombarded by intrusive images” because you are gay – you get bombarded by intrusive images because you have OCD.

      Reply
  • Hello, I have a bad case Transgender OCD and would like advice.

    Growing up, I was the most masculine boy there was. I would play with dinosaurs, transformers, cars, Godzilla, LEGOs, and play a ton of video games. This continued up until I was in 4th grade. Which I wanted to be a lizard man, an alien, a crocodile man, snake man, a naga, and etc etc I could go on for ages. But in 4th grade I also thought about being a girl for a few days. I remember I would play pretend and pretend to be a girl but I always stopped because it didn’t feel “like me”. It felt alien to who I was as a person. So I always pretended to be male characters. It’s also worth noting I never acted in any way feminine during this time. I got older and completely forgot about that until now. In the span of time between then and now I still wanted to be a lizard man, a snake man, and yadda yadda, never even had a passing thought of being a girl. I’m 16 now and I feel like me thinking about it in 4th grade is obvious proof I’m a transgender. Even though my mom says it’s normal for kids to think these things. I think it outweighs all of the other things I wanted to be. I do have a long history of OCD.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Connor,

      This is your third time posting on our blog, so I am guessing you are compulsively searching for reassurance. This is not helpful, and will in fact make your OCD worse. I encourage you to read our article on the problem with seeking reassurance related to unwanted OCD thoughts at https://ocdla.com/reassurance-seeking-ocd-anxiety-1952/.

      Other than that, the best thing I can say is that Trans OCD is not much different from HOCD, and your analysis of your thoughts is grossly inaccurate. Having thoughts about being a girl in 4th grade is not “obvious proof” that you are transgender. It is proof that you have a functioning brain that does what all functioning brains do, which is to come up with lots and lots of thoughts, many of which are meaningless and unimportant. And no, this thought does not “outweigh” all your other thoughts.

      Reply
  • Hello Tom!
    I would like to thank you for making this such a wonderful post! 🙂 I’m a sensitive 15 year old girl and I’ve never had doubts of my sexual orientation. I always had fantasies of kissing, hugging men, and I even have a boyfriend, but then one thought popped out of my head, saying that I’m bisexual, which of course has made feel panic and think that maybe I’ve been in denial this whole time. Then I felt the stress, anxiety, and depression. I’ve never experimented and I was comfortable the way I was. I was a hopeless romantic who enjoyed romance, but when the HOCD kicked in, I couldn’t enjoy this kind of stuff anymore. I even joined a support group site, where people can share their personal lives. Now the thoughts have calmed down and reduced anxiety, I’m still not feeling the attraction. I remember that I had thoughts telling that I’m a bad person and wouldn’t stop like 2 years ago. Then I had another thought telling me whether I want to go to Hell or Heaven because of the sins I made and that was last year! HOCD is SO much worse that it has ruined my life. 🙁 I don’t dislike women and I’ve always admired their bodies, but I DON’T want to have sex with them.

    Reply
    • Simona,

      This all sounds like HOCD to me. Also, considering the fact that you have previously struggled with other unwanted thoughts about being a bead person and going to hell, it seems pretty likely that you have OCD, and that HOCD is just the latest theme to present itself to you. Keep in mind that it is extremely common for the theme of an OCD sufferer’s obsessions to change. There is nothing unusual about this.

      Reply
  • I am 18, I took your Hocd test it 22/29 and Yale-Brown it was 30/40. Its been haunting me from Sep 2018. It still is. Before that I didn’t even think of gay or bi, yeah, there were some instances when my friends(like all of us) use to tease each other and I didn’t even thought of it, but after it actually triggered, my life is like hell. I have always liked girls, always wanted to get married with a girl, but these thoughts are always killing me, whenever I think of normal sex the question of gay or bi always come and are like “you will enjoy gsex”(gross actually),I can’t even study. Before I studied because had motivation of a good college(about job, friends, girls, college life),
    but after this all my “what if in college or in job or afterwards I became gay or bi” questions and doubts have destroyed my mind and motivation.Whenever I see a cute girl my mind is like “yeah, maybe she is, now time to test a boy if he looks good or not and compare with her.I don’t want to consult a therapist,I want to self-cure this so that I can get back into my life like before and also next year I will be joining a college which means 100% new faces which will increase my anxiety even more.

    Reply
    • Andrew,

      You say these unwanted thoughts have been “haunting” you for 18 months, yet you don’t want to seek treatment, and instead want to “self-cure”. But you have no idea how to treat HOCD. If you had a broken arm or cancer, would you want to self-cure?

      You do not know how to “self-cure”. Ditch your pride and seek treatment with a therapist who actually knows how to treat OCD.

      Reply
  • I’ve had Hocd for a while now it tends to fade in and out. This started when I had too much too drink and brought a girl back and couldn’t perform sexually. The whole next morning I was googling was could be wrong and something came up as unrecognized homosexuality as a result. This immediately freaked me out and then I started to ruminate about it and visualize men sexually and felt some Sensation of arousal and
    continued to be freaked out. I went to a therapist and she gave me reassurance telling me I’m straight due the strong attraction I had towards women since I was young/puberty but when the thoughts kept coming back she told me to test how I feel by watching gay porn. I have been a frequent porn viewer since I was about 13 years old and started to feel desensitized to it in a way. When I tested the gay porn I immediately got a strong erection and got freaked out. I told my therapist about it and she says that it wasn’t surprising and the fact I couldn’t see myself doing those things with men should be reassuring that I am straight. But the images and testing never went away and the distress continues.

    Reply
    • Mike,

      The fact that your therapist told you to watch gay porn in an effort to test for how it made you feel is all the evidence I need to know that your therapist has no clue how to treat OCD. The advice she gave you was 100% the wrong thing. Testing and checking are never the correct approach.

      I strongly encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who actually knows how to treat OCD appropriately.

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I started experiencing HOCD sx’s 4 months ago but before I had never questioned my orientation of being heterosexual. I’m currently in a relationship with the woman of my dreams (2 years strong) and suddenly the HOCD latched onto my relationship causing me to doubt my feelings, love, attraction, and wanting to be with her. My HOCD started to tell me “I don’t feel like I want a girlfriend” or “I don’t feel like my girlfriend is my girlfriend anymore” which is causing major suffering. I yearn for the spark that I use to have when looking at her, but sucks to not have it. I am currently in ERP , but get stuck because I don’t ever want to turn gay because that just isn’t the life I’d want but my thoughts say or make it feel as if nothing is wrong with turning gay. I am sure for individuals who are gay that is wonderful but for me I dislike that and I dislike the feeling of being with a guy or wanting to be with one. I currently obsess over not feeling “straight” or not feeling like “I enjoy sex with my woman” but in fact I do a lot but I cant shake the sadness and depression I feel alongside everything.
    I want to know if that feeling for my woman can return.

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      Everything you write suggests HOCD combined with ROCD. This is an extremely common combination of OCD themes.

      Reply
  • I was just wondering, what if I know what I am but I think that I don’t know, I’m a girl and I’ve never been in love with a woman but I think women are more attractive, I cant discern real thoughts anymore, your article says if you like the idea of sex with the same gender, I just don’t know anymore, I like sex with men but what if I should like it more, what I mean is can a gay person obsess like this about their identity, it’s already been years and my anxiety keeps increasing. Sometimes I wish people would stop asking if I have a boyfriend I feel if people were more open minded I wouldn’t have this anxiety, what if I discover I’ve been gay all along? Maybe I know I am. Do gay people feel like this when they are in the closet?

    Reply
    • Benjamina,

      This all sounds like HOCD. I encourage you to address your questions with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • Hii
    I had once seen a video which mentioned the word Lesbian and though I had an idea what it meant I googled it and then I started feeling insecure, it went away…but then again came back…I didn’t wanted to see girls anymore and now I don’t want to see girls as well as boys anymore.. I even tried seeing pictures of good looking men, etc but my mind was in not a state to accept them…this is just devastating…I feel like crying all the day…and when people say that there’s no need to be afraid if you are lesbian I just break down….I have had crush on boys always, I have liked them always and never even observed girls…and now suddenly whenever I saw girls I had disturbing thoughts, I now even avoid watching TV shows cause there are female characters and if I watch I feel extremely uncomfortable…is this HOCD?

    Reply
  • Hi so i my hocd started when i wtached serie and there were 2 lesbians , after that serie i start questioning what if i am lesbian or bisexual and i dont know about it? I am girl and i never had a boyfirend (i would love to) i alway had crushes on boys atm i have like 4 boy crushes and never on girl! But still i dont know if i am beisexual or lesbian because when i was 12 i was masturbating to woman but it wasnt like i was imagining that i have sex with her nononono it was like i dont know like i am her? And i am having sex right now i dont know if that makes sense 😀 . Well also i dont really feel something when i am looking or boys body on picture i prefer face not body am i weird??!!!!?? I i dont really feek something to woman only when i am like “ok im going to check if i am attracted to that girl” and when i look at picture of half naked woman my heart start beating hard not always but it isnt like beating beacuse of attraction but beacuse of fear? Always when i see half naked woman i feel this fear and im scared what it actaully is attraction!? I dont want to date kiss or do anything with woman! Every day when i wake up i wake up with word “i dont want to be lesbian”…

    Reply
  • I have been with my boyfriend for a little over two years, and throughout my life I always had thoughts regarding my sexuality but usually brushed them off, because I knew then I was straight. But about a year ago, I started to doubt my relationship with my boyfriend. Even though I love him to pieces. And recently, I have been thinking that I am attracted to girls. For the past month every time I see a girl, I automatically think “I’m attracted to her, I’m gay.” or something like that. I have always been labeled “boy crazy” and I have always been attracted to guys. But recently, the thought of being with a girl makes me so uncomfortable and upset. However, my mind is telling me that’s what I want. I never knew HOCD was a thing and now that I know it is a disorder which I likely have, my mind is now telling me, “you’re not uncomfortable thinking about being with a girl. You’re not upset when you think about kissing or having sex with a girl.” I don’t know what’s happening. Also, I am still a virgin. I am really nervous/afraid to have sex with my boyfriend, yet he’s waited. I now think I’m nervous to have sex because I might be gay. Also since I am 18, does age matter with HOCD?

    Reply
    • Melissa,

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD, possibly combined with some ROCD. And as for your age, OCD can strike at any age.

      Reply
  • Hi doctor,
    So i want to ask you, i am female, i have hocd for around 11 months. I have really big aniexity because of it but my worst aniexity is giving me one thing… When i was arouns 12 i was masturbating to half naked woman i feel disgusted for what i was doing , i remember that i had big depression because of masturbating so i stopped. But now when i have me hocd my memories came back and i just dont know what to do with it :(. I really dont want to date or do anything with woman. I always had crushes on guys but that thing that i was doing in my past is giving me reallg big aniexity. Do you thing that i am lesbian or bisexual? I dont want to be! I want my hocd to just stop.

    Reply
    • Caroline,

      Kids do all sorts of sexual experimenting when they are young, and nothing you have written here suggests that your childhood experimentation is evidence that you are gay.

      You don’t need to do anything with your memories of masturbating to images of women other than to accept that you were a normal kid doing normal experimentation. I encourage you to be more accepting and compassionate towards your self, as beating yourself up for normal childhood experimentation will never lead to anything but misery.

      Reply
  • Please help me. I have been struggling with hocd for the past one and a half years. As far as I can remember I have always been attracted to girls since I was five or six! My crushes and primary sexual fantasies have been with girls. I remember masturbating to pictures of girls in high school and college, and I have masturbated to straight porn countless times. But during high school I masturbated to gay porn too, though never had a crush on a boy and never had the burning desire to engage sexually with one. My problem started I masturbated to femboy porn in the summer of 2018, and had intrusive thoughts and a wet dream about a feminine boy also in the summer of 2018. My doctors told me that fantasies are different from reality, and porn has little to no meaning. But I feel I am becoming gay recently because of inability to get aroused by straight porn and women, though in the recent past I was able to get aroused by women to great degree, especially when a girl showed interest in me. Worse, I feel like I ejaculate to gay porn much faster with no satisfaction recently due to testing myself to gay porn. I also get frightened whenever I see an attractive male regardless of age. Help.

    Reply
    • K.T.,

      This all sounds like classic HOCD to me.

      You ask for help, but exchanging comments on a blog forum is hardly the best way to get help for HOCD. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply. I am in CBT and its has been going well for the moment. I’m ok but I usually get urges to masturbate to straight porn to prove my sexual orientation. As you noted in the articles chronicling HOCD, this is a compulsive behavior. But I still do it, and I no longer feel the same amount of arousal I used to feel due to repeating this behavior almost every day! My therapist also says the same thing and she also said that I shouldn’t evaluate the content of my orgasms or arousal. I was 15-16 when I masturbated to gay porn for the first time, though I never felt anything for the same sex at that time, only the opposite. I also had a fantasy involving an extremely feminine anime character that happened to be boy, in college, but again I never felt anything for the same sex. My heart would explode whenever a girl complemented me, hugged me, and stroked my cheeks. I never had a girlfriend but always desired one, and would be jealous of my friends who had girlfriends. I also had sex with only girls on more than one occasion. Though I enjoyed my last experience, I couldn’t ejaculate.

        Reply
        • K.T.,

          Your therapist is correct – orgasms require exactly zero evaluation.

          Reply
  • Please help me,
    For the last several months,I’ve been cycling around this question, when I found myself attracted to a man of the same sex.That made me feel very anxious and upset.
    And my nightmare began.Nervousness made me feel like I am done.I did something to check myself.
    I saw gay videos to check myself if I was aroused by those kinds of scenes.Finally it turns out that I am not interested in homosexual behaviors at all, but the distressing thoughts of being a gay are still on.
    And I saw porn video to compare the feelings and reactions when watching them.
    I can be aroused by women, and I am interested in it.
    But I still feel like there is something going wrong in me.
    Then I found I was afraid of being with men.
    I am afraid of making eye contact with men, which always makes me feel shy and nervous.And the doubt about my sexual orientation.
    One day I even dreamt of having sex with a man, while I was sleeping in the early morning, and I found I was aroused when I wake up to check myself.
    Ahh, it makes me upset.
    I have dreamt about having sex with a man, and am I a gay now?Or if it means I am turning to be a gay?
    But I don’t want it…

    Reply
    • Rui,

      Having thoughts about being gay is not even remotely the same as being gay. From everything you wrote, it is clear that these thoughts are unpleasant to you. Conversely, gay guys like the idea of sex with men. I see nothing here that indicates that you are are experiencing anything other than HOCD.

      Reply
      • Hi Dr.Corboy
        thanks so much for replying,and sorry for bothering and my grammar again.
        Maybe 5 months passed,now I’m not that upset and nervous about the doubts and intrusive thoughts on my sexual orentation.
        I have read almost all your replys on this web page during months when I was caught by the deep depresion.
        You said that “If one thinks gay sex awful,then he is probably not gay.”But what is annoying is that my answer is I FEEL NOTHING,I don’t know whether I would like it.
        Even worse, sometimes I think maybe I would like it,when I’m trying thinking that kissing a man.Though I always consider it a terrible thing
        When I was in primary school,one night I slept with my friend in the same bed,
        I can recall clearly that I got sexual feeling on him,I even hope he can touch me.This freaked me out now when I think about it.
        I only had crushes on girls before.Now I’m sitting in my chair and can recall many things when I was young(now I’m 18)
        I found that maybe I can sexual feelings on both boys&girls.
        I got 25 items checked on your HOCD test.

        Reply
        • Rui,

          There is nothing in your most recent comment that makes me think anything different from what I wrote in my reply to your prior comment.

          Reply
  • Hi, I said I would never write again yet here I am…..I just need to ask, over the last months I left therapy because it was not working for me and my lesbian dreams have changed, they are really explicit and even with people that I know which was never the case before, this mortifies me because I even orgasm during those dreams, what I want to ask is should I change my therapist to get another point of view or go back to the one I had before? I feel so sad this was not the life that I envisioned but I feel everyone is lying to me and I must really be a lesbian.

    Reply
    • Maca,

      I have responded to four previous comments you have made on this article. It seems to me that you are seeking reassurance that you are not a lesbian.

      I know nothing about your current or past therapists, so I cannot provide guidance about whether you should change therapists. That said, I think the best option for you is to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
      • I don’t know if I’m waiting for someone to tell me “you are a lesbian”! Because saying I’m not is not helping as I think they are lying. Quarantine is definitely not helping my anxiety either, anyway thanks again for your time I know karma doesn’t exist but if it did you would get lots of good one.

        Reply
  • Hi there…I am terrified I am gay. I know for sure I have OCD from my past, but I am so scared. I watched gay porn a while back. I grew up always having crushes on boys and loving doing anything to get their attention. I have a lovely boyfriend, who comforts me and loves me. I have never loved someone like I love him. But since I watched the videos of girls, I cannot get it out of my head bc it aroused me so much. I guess I have always been a more sexual person, growing up I would read all these books about relationships and wait for the sex parts and loved watching those intense romance movies. I knew for sure I was straight because I never watched anything other than straight stuff and loved the attention I got from boys, looking for it everywhere. but, because I always analyze girls bodies and got aroused by gay porn,I cant get it out of my head. i guess its natural for teen girls to find basically anything arousing and analyze other girls to compare themselves, but i have completely convinced myself i am gay. for a year it has been nonstop, and has intruded on my everyday life. I finally found a boy that i am comfortable around, but this is ruining it for me. I miss the old me

    Reply
    • Gianna,

      Of course you were aroused when you watched porn of two women – you were watching porn. The entire point of porn is to turn on people who watch it or read it. That is why it exists. Humans throughout history have consumed porn for one reason – it turns them on. Don’t assume that there is some special importance or meaning to the fact that the porn you happened to be watching at that time was lesbian porn. If you watch people having sex, it is quite possible that you will get turned on, regardless of their gender.

      Reply
  • Hi doctor
    Is it possible that i have had hocd for a long time but i never knew?cause i knew nothing about the existence of hocd? I feel like i felt it before and i didn’t know what it was and I didn’t pay attention so it went away but since yesterday im getting crazy i cant think about anything else
    Whenever i see a girl (it doesnt matter who is it) i get really scared and i start to panic
    It just seems like that i cant decide if they’re beautiful or they turn me on ? For example i see a pic of a girl and i like the way that she is dressed and i get so scared
    I cant do anything every movie that i watch, makes me feel bad
    Im uncomfortable around women now and i cant look at their breast cause im scared i think i always was like that and i didnt notice and now i know
    I read the signs and it made sense to me and i checked 24 of those items
    But im still feeling so bad cause i dont want to be lesbian
    I have always got attached to boys and never thought about girls but it just seems like that im seeing everything so different these days
    I can imagine myself kissing girls And it scares me so much that i cant undrestand my feelings and thoughts
    I don’t know what to do

    Reply
    • Aa,

      This all sounds like textbook HOCD.

      Your goal should be to accept your unwanted thoughts about women, without assuming the thoughts are meaningful or important, and without responding to them in any way. Just accept them as existing in your mind. When you try to decide if women are beautiful or turn you on, you are doing a compulsion that will only make things worse. Accept the presence of the thoughts just as you would accept the presence of a rainy sky on a day that you had planned to go to the beach. These thoughts are less than ideal, but hardly catastrophic.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom, thanks for your guide. Sorry for the poor english level. I’m 27. I’m so stressed and i’m too scared for being probably gay. I really don’t wanna be gay. The idea scares me. Since i was young, i played man sports, but for the size of my penis i was embarrassed about staying on a dressroom with mans. I always had sex and fantasys with womans, i had girlfriends, i like womans but lately i have some problems to have an erection with the girls i try to be because all of this. I’m really shy and insecure, i never was the “tipical though guy” who has a lot of womans, i don’t match with all of them, i mean in the way that i need a little chemistry, more like the “romantic style”. Some girls that i really liked rejected me. Is it possible to be confused and insecure because all of this? What if i always have been gay but now i’m realizing? Also, I’ve experiencied some old family issues trauma (parents fights) that i think don’t help with all of i’m getting through. I’m not homophobic, i have lesbian and gay friends, but gay thoughts come around and they don’t go away.

    Reply
  • i’m a 16 year old girl & i’ve always liked boys. my hocd started when my ex bff told me she was bi. At the begging i tested myself and always seeked for reassurance to see if i ever acted lesbian. i had problems with ocd before tho, and once i came upon the term ‘hocd’, i kinda felt better. this has been going on since last October, now the thing is that i have a crush on this boy, & whenever i think about these things, the attraction just seems to fade, which scares me even more. i only ever had my first kiss with one boy. i really didn’t enjoy it the way i expected i would and that just added to my list of overthinking. when all of this started, i could see the change of behavior towards girls, now i’m always so anxious to be close to one

    Reply
    • Lena,

      Everything you write here sounds like HOCD to me.

      Reply
  • I can actually imagine being with a women and i don’t want to like it, but I do
    I always like lesbian fantasies more! I like man but my mind always tells me I like women more I want to have sex with them and so on..
    I have a bf for 5 yrs, my biggest fear is that I m in denial and just stay with him because I want to be „normal“ and I can’t accept my sexuality.
    I had crushes on Women and there were 2 girls who I thought were so cute and wanted to kiss them! That’s not normal for a heterosexual woman 🙁
    I have for 10 years now, It goes but It always comes back, I feel like I have to try it with women so that I don’t have excuses any more and must accept that I’m gay 🙁
    I know that I have ocd but i could be gay still!

    Reply
    • Kate,

      I have never met you, so there is no way for me to determine if you are gay or bi or straight or whatever. That said, I think there is a pretty good clue about your feelings in the first sentence of your comment when you wrote:

      “I can actually imagine being with a women and i don’t want to like it, but I do

      So you like the idea of being with women.

      Then later you note that you have had crushes on women and have wanted to kiss some of them.

      It sounds to me like you may benefit from some therapy to help you become more comfortable with whatever sexual interests you have.

      Reply
  • Hi,

    I do have groinal responses, but there are times where in place of these groinal responses I feel an instant sensation in my head when I sometimes look at a guy, I’m not sure if it’s anxiety or I’m feeling attraction. This scares me and I feel the need to stare at the images to make sure I’m not attracted. I’ve never felt the desire to be with a guy romantically or sexually. I’ve pictured my self kissing, holding hands with or dating guys…it doesn’t feel right at all. I notice that idea of being romantic and sexual with a woman is very pleasing, and I’ve only gotten fully erect when looking at/thinking about sleeping with women.

    Reply
    • Justin,

      There is no reason to differentiate between unwanted sensations in your head or groin. In both cases, you are over-attending to something that deserves no attention whatsoever.

      When you over-attend to these sensations, you are more likely to find them, and to then over-value them as somehow being important (they’re not). Other than that, all I can say here is that everything you write sounds like textbook HOCD.

      Reply
  • I’m 20 & I’ve always liked boys. 3 months ago, I started having intense panic attacks regarding my sexuality after watching a show where a character who acted similar to me came out as a closeted woman. I didn’t think much of it until I was drunk & had this thought that I might be gay. Got my panic attacks under control but spend my entire day questioning who I am/what I am really feeling. I’m seeing a therapist & she is helpful, but I’m still distressed all the time. I can’t tell if I am discovering my sexuality or if I have HOCD. I feel like I will never be able to find someone I love & be happy bc of this

    Reply
    • Hannah,

      A few thoughts…

      1) This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      2) It is quite common for people with HOCD to report that they had a sudden onset of concerns about their sexuality after watching a tv show, or seeing a movie, or reading a book, etc.

      3) Thoughts that arise while drunk should not be assumed to be accurate.

      4) If your therapist specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), stick with her. If not, find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. Therapists who do not specialize in treating OCD often have no idea whatsoever how to treat OCD.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    I have a question… When i see body of same sex i feel something in my heart maybe it is aniexity or it kind of feels like when in scared but i am really scared that it is attraction. Do you ever heard about others who had hocd had this , is it attraction or just aniexity? I hope you will answer and thank you. Maybe it is that i am checking the sane sex the most of time (if i am attracted) and in past i have never had these feelings in heart (i think because i dont remember having them). Thank you

    Reply
    • Nina,

      It is fairly common for people with HOCD to question whether the anxiety they feel is actually attraction.

      Reply
  • I am 14.I have HOCD for 4 months. I started Porn in a very young age I also watched womans twerking.I don’t know why i did it but now it causes me a lot of anxiety. I always fell into Boys and never into Girls.I knew i was straight.At the first 2 Months of HOCD.I was fearing,that i could turn Lesbian.I got alot Intrusive thougts.Deep down I knew i wasn’t atracted to womans.Now I fear of possibly being Bi,and It feels like i am.Because of my past.I tried to accept it,i am not, but i still question everything.I had similar Teen story like Gianna..I doubt, and doubt and doubt.My head pushes me to say i am bi.But i am not.Sometimes i even can’t say that i’m not because my head makes me feel its fake

    Reply
    • NoName1,

      This all sounds like HOCD. I encourage you to ask your parents to help you find therapist who specializes in treating OCD.

      Reply
  • Hi!

    I used to have HOCD really bad when I was 13, but now I am 18. I got myself out of it, but suddenly it came back. I was watching tv and two girls kissed and it made me feel weird down there. I have no idea why and I was repulsed quickly. I From that moment, I have been freaking out that I might be bi. Even though I have never in my 18 years been attracted to women and have no desire to be with one. I keep checking every girl I see on social media if I am attracted to them and every single time it is a no. I am having a relapse and for some reason, I am freaking out that it might not be ocd and I’m actually bi even though I have never ever been attracted to women? I am just confused bc of the clip I saw, tho I was freaked out fast

    Reply
    • Ashley,

      A few thoughts…

      1) It is quite common for people with HOCD to experience what is commonly called a “groinal response” in situations where their obsession with sexual orientation is triggered.

      2) It is also common for OCD symptoms to wax and wane over time. Symptoms often increase at times of stress.

      3) Checking out girls on social media to see if you find them attractive is a compulsion. It will make your OCD worse, not better.

      Reply
  • Hello
    I hope this is all HOCD but I’ve been dealing with it for only a month so far. Before I had small thoughts of what if I’m lesbian but I was able to brush them away. I watched a tv show with a lesbian main character and I clicked off. In the beginning I would get me so worked up I would panic and cry. I suffer from GAD. I’ve been worrying if what I wear makes me seem lesbian. I am worried now that I actually am lesbian because I don’t feel the butterflies in my stomach like I normally do when I’m anxious anymore. I don’t want to think about having a relationship with a girl as I don’t want to realize anything. I am really worried that I might just be in denial. Could quarantine just be leaving me to much time to think about things

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      The coronavirus quarantine has given lots of people too much unstructured time to think. That said, everything you write here sounds like typical HOCD. As for being in denial, I encourage you to read our article on this very topic at https://ocdla.com/doubt-denial-ocd-5342/.

      Reply
      • Thanks for responding. Does the fact that I thought about it a little bit when I was younger mean I am lesbian or bi? I am worried that the girls I find pretty are crushes even though I would never want to actually date them. Is it true that if you have HOCD that mean you are NOT gay or bi?

        Reply
        • Anonymous,

          Three things:

          1) Having thought about being gay “a little bit” does not mean you are gay. It means you have a functioning brain that thinks about things. I have thought about thousands (millions?) of things “a little bit” in my life. Thinking about lots of things is a normal part of life.

          2) Lots of girls are pretty. Being able recognize beauty does not mean you are a lesbian.

          3) There is no innate connection between HOCD and any specific sexual orientation. I encourage you re-read the article above, specifically item #2.

          Reply
  • Hi Tom, Thanks for writing up some really useful information, this has been very helpful for me. Do you think it’s possible for someone to become gay over time and lose attraction to the opposite sex?

    Reply
    • George,

      It is very common for people with HOCD to wonder if: a) they will lose (or already have lost) their attraction to the opposite sex; and b) if they will somehow magically become gay over time. As such, I am going to go out on a very short limb here and suggest that your question is actually an attempt to get reassurance that you are not gay. I encourage you to read our article about the futility of seeking reassurance at https://ocdla.com/reassurance-seeking-ocd-anxiety-1952.

      Reply
  • Hi I’am 28 and didn´t questioned my sexuality and thinked i’m straight. But since 2 years i get the questition suddenly what if I’am gay/bi. It was the worst time in my life, until my therapist diagnosed my hocd (and harm ocd e.g.) I only had crushes on and relationship with girls. The worst thoughts are my experience in my childh./teens, when I somet. was aroused by nudism (by naked men too). I’ve never seen gay porn before hocd, but now i use it for check that I’am not aroused. I have always groinal repsonse, the whole day. I did your test, have about 20 p.. My therapist say i have ocd, but i have fear that i’m in denial. I have a girlfr. and i love her so a. want to marry her but the things as teen destroy my brain, hocd or denial?

    Reply
      • Hello again,
        thanks for your answer and your big help e.g. by your books. But I hope it is okay to ask another question. So many people said here that they are disgusted by gay thoughts or when they check same sex porn. I’m not disgusted like I’m disgusted when I see a spider or mold… There is an indefinable worry or a resistance against what I watch or think but no disgust… There are groinal responses but no erection… I have anxiety that this means that I am in denial because the most who write here are so disgusted… Sorry for my second message but it is all so terrible..

        Reply
        • ScareD,

          Lots of people who have commented on this article do not use the word disgust. In fact I would estimate that more the 50% do not mention that word.

          Do not get hung up on whether or not you are having the right emotional or physical response to unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc. That sort of demand for a certain response is typical of HOCD.

          Reply
  • hello.
    im a 19 year old female who has always considered myself straight, all my life I had crushes on boys and I currently have a boyfriend who I love to pieces. a month ago I had a weird dream where him and I broke up and I was dating someone of the same sex, I woke up super anxious and disgusted, I was too afraid to go back to sleep. ever since then I’ve been super anxious and afraid that my dream meant something so I began googling about dreams and sudden change of sexuality until I discovered this article. I didn’t know hocd was a real thing. everyone in my family has ocd.I don’t know if this quarantine has given me too much time to overthink things or if something is wrong with me I am extremely worried and anxious.

    Reply
    • Anonymous,

      Two things:

      1) This all sounds like HOCD to me.

      2) There is no secret meaning hidden in your dreams. Dreams are just thoughts that occur while you are asleep, and they have no special import.

      Reply
  • Hi. I can resonate with all 5 articles. I was recently diagnosed with OCD. I stumbled upon the term HOCD while trying to find my place on the LGBTQ spectrum. With further investigation I realized I’ve been suffering from nearly all OCD themes since childhood. But is it possible to identify as heterosexual my entire life then one day realizing that perhaps I’m living a lie because I overlooked signs of homosexuality? My meds were considerably reduced and I had just recovered from another obsession but what worries me is that I had just started meditating around the same time. Could it be possible that through meditation I uncovered repressed homosexuality, and due to the meds adjustment began suffering from OCD, which then morphed into HOCD?

    Reply
    • Marco,

      That’s quite a story your brain has concocted there – that through meditation, you have somehow uncovered a secret repressed sexual orientation that you never knew was there before, and that your OCD about this secret hidden sexual orientation is a function of changes in the medication you are taking…

      I suppose that’s all possible, just as it is possible that I will someday be the President or that I will live to be 130 years old. But I think a far more realistic explanation is that you have HOCD.

      Reply
  • I am scared. My reactions to both sexes seems to have swapped. I am in my late 30’s and have had HOCD or turned gay age 25. I grew up masturbating to women only but as you say at that age you could masturbate to anything. I never was turned on by men growing up but never occurred to me to try. I did find women arousing if I saw a sexy photo or topless etc. Now I dont feel turned on by women if I see them naked on tv and get groinals/feel unwanted arousal to every topless man but its mixed with terror when it occurs. I saty flaccid but feel ‘turned on’. I was told it was ocd at the start but I have lost faith in the diagnosis. Help

    Reply
    • Dave,

      Feeling “terror” in the face of unwanted thoughts is not the same as feeling “turned on”. this sounds like HOCD to me, and the best option for addressing this issue is treatment with a specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • I am 25 year old male in relationship with girlfriend. My girlfriend never minded me watching porn, but she has no idea that I’ve masturbated to gay porn, pics and videos to test myself because she doesn’t know I have HOCD. 1) Have I been unfaithful in my relationship by viewing gay porn to test myself? 2) Should I tell my girlfriend I have OCD but not disclose it’s HOCD, or not tell her at all? I fear that if I have to ultimately accept the uncertainty of my sexuality to overcome HOCD then I’ll have to tell her.

    Reply
    • Bob,

      To answer your questions…

      1) “Have I been unfaithful in my relationship by viewing gay porn to test myself?”

      I cannot tell you how you should value watching watching porn. That said, it sounds to me like you have been watching porn in an effort to gain certainty about whether or not you are gay. This is an extremely common HOCD compulsion, and does not sound to me to be the same as being unfaithful.

      2) Should I tell my girlfriend I have OCD but not disclose it’s HOCD, or not tell her at all?

      I don’t know your girlfriend, so there is no way for me know how she will react to any disclosure about OCD.

      Reply
  • Hi Tom
    My Hocd is getting very bad in terms of thinking about gay sex 24/7 .I’ve lost all dislike/disgust feeling,ruminate all day everyday trying to chase. What is confusing me at the moment is I’ve been diagnosed with Ocd by 5 therapists and been told by OCD thoughts aren’t true but then I also get feedback from Ocd therapists saying it’s about treating the aniexty/thoughts, then will say about you will know what your sexuality is after therapy. So if you get diagnosed with Ocd and they say the thoughts aren’t true how can someone realise they are Gay after therapy. I’m struggling to understand what Hocd actually means? I get told I’m not Gay and it’s Ocd but then people say you can realise you’re gay after therapy which confuses me

    Reply
    • Alan,

      I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if five therapists have heard your symptoms and have come to the conclusion that you have OCD, then you probably have OCD. As for the possibility of discovering that you are gay after treatment, it sounds to me like you are hoping I can provide you with reassurance that won’t happen. I encourage you to read our article that explores the futility of reassurance seeking at https://ocdla.com/reassurance-seeking-ocd-anxiety-1952.

      Reply
  • Hello, my HOCD realy disapeared.the anxiety disapeared over the homosexual thoughts because it got replaced by health anxiety.However whenever i see a woman,i get a groinal response and it feels like i am attracted to them.Its not nice but i just accept it. When i get HOCD thoughts they get me confused,because i ahve no anxiety and it feels like i like these thougts or girls.It confuses me a lot.I feel no anxiety and i dont ruminate like in the past but i still have the HOCD mind but with confusion about my sexuality.I dont want to date a woman or kiss one but i cant tell this my mind anymore.I just accept it but it comes back.I know this post is realy bizzar but i worry i will date a women or have a crush on one! Can HOCD recovery do this?

    Reply
    • NoName1,

      You say that your HOCD has “disappeared”. But then you go on to provide multiple examples of how your HOCD is still impacting you. So let me make this simple for you…

      Your HOCD has not “disappeared”, and you are not “recovered”.

      I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating OCD with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focused on a specific type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

      Reply
  • I have always been attracted to girls since I was a child. Always been girl crazy. Also I’m only 16. Nothing bad was happening until this year when quarntaine hit. I really loved this girl and I told her during quarantine and she felt the same way. From there we started to date and things started to get bad. I started having rocd symptoms which were horrible. Then it led to me getting gay mental images of my own friends. It’s been like 3 months since and nothing has gotten better. I keep getting these gay thoughts about my friends and even though my anxiety is gone it still causes confusion and my head constantly hurts from it. My rocd is also bad I feel like I’m not in love with my girlfriend and I don’t ever feel like talking to her.

    Reply
    • Cameron,

      Three things…

      1) You say your anxiety is “gone”, but it sure doesn’t sound that way to me. All of what you write sounds like you are quite anxious about your unwanted thoughts.

      2) All of this sounds like HOCD mixed with ROCD, which is a very common combination of OCD symptoms.

      3) Lots of people are experiencing an increase in anxiety and OCD during this pandemic. This is a stressful time that is resulting in many people having a spike in their mental health issues.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    Is it possible for OCD to start at 33? I‘ve always been an anxious, sensitive and overthinking person but this is the first time my thoughts feel stuck and I seem to be doing compulsions to reduce the anxiety. I started to question my sexuality when I had a reaction to lesbians on a tv show. I don’t feel like I’d enjoy being with a women but my mind says that just because I’ve never tried. Anytime I read a story about someone coming out later in life my anxiety goes way up. Which my brain says because you are so anxious this must mean something about you. Also because I’m older and never seemed to have OCD I’m doubting this could be OCD.

    Reply
  • Hi tom,
    Thanks for this article man, u really helped me calm down, this article is literally the summary of what I was going through ranging from groinal response to mental images, I had this hocd for 6 months and it was killing me, ur article gave me the courage I needed to tackle this problem and it was nice to find that I was not alone in this journey

    Reply
  • It feels like I used to have this wall that made it impossible for me to even consider these ideas but over time I started tearing down this wall brick by brick and now I have no protection or control over these thoughts. These thoughts come to me in my dreams and I’ll wake up with an erection that will go down right after I wake up and realize. I can still say it doesn’t feel right though, not the same way as it does with girls. I just want to go back to being secure with my sexuality. I don’t want to get uncomfortable around gay people, or my guy friends, or with having conversations about gay people. I’m just so confused. Please help.

    Reply
    • Perc,

      A few thoughts…

      1) NOBODY has “control” over, or “protection” from their thoughts.

      2) The content of your dreams is unimportant.

      3) Men who have functions penises always have erections when they dream. You could be dreaming about brushing your teeth or playing checkers and you would still awaken from the dream with an erection.

      4) If you want help, I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).