This article contains stories from previous clients with HOCD. Publishing these was worthwhile to let you see that everyday people, possibly a lot like you, suffer from HOCD. Each personal account gives an insight into how it affected their life and how they recovered.
What is HOCD?
HOCD is a subtype of OCD where people are obsessed with doubt over their sexual identity. They may obsess that they are gay, although they do not desire a same-sex relationship. If you are unfamiliar with this type of OCD, I suggest you read my primary guide to HOCD.
HOCD, like all forms of OCD, can severely impact your life and your ability to function. With HOCD, your day can be spent with various self-designed checks on your sexuality. You might check if you are aroused and almost police your thought processes to see what has changed. The distress caused by this condition can be overwhelming, and I hope by sharing other people’s stories. you can understand your condition better and seek help if needed.
If you would like my help
Structured self-help course for HOCD from the privacy of your home
Dr Ryan: Psychologist and Founder of MoodSmith
Case Example No1 of HOCD stories
all personal details changed and anonymised
Mark is a heterosexual man in his mid to late 30s and has had OCD since his early 20s. At first, he was concerned with contamination and hand washing. After recovering from this and a break of a few years where he felt okay, he needed to feel that everything was just right; sometimes, for example, if he brushed his left hand against something, he had to balance it up by doing the same with his right hand.
Lately, Mark, seemingly out of nowhere, can’t get thoughts he might be gay out of his head. He stated
‘I keep getting all these sexual images of men having sex, and it is freaking me out.’
‘I’m married now and love my wife, but I’m afraid of what is going on in my head, and I can’t tell anyone about it as I feel ashamed and baffled as I know I don’t want to be with men if I did I wouldn’t have been with my wife, nor married her.’
When I asked Mark if anything had changed since he started having these thoughts and images, specifically if he was doing things differently or avoiding the things he said.
Yes, I play football and haven’t gone to the last few games as I was worried that they (his teammates) might know something or I would look at them wrong while changing.
During therapy with me, Mark learned about obsessions and compulsions and could identify the following.
|Obsession – thoughts and images||Compulsions – what made you feel better?|
|either don’t go to football or make an excuse and come already in my kit||either don’t go to football or make excuse and come already in my kit|
|these thoughts have to mean something about me||avoid places where I might get these thoughts|
Mark’s way of dealing with his obsessions was avoidance. He avoided all places where he was afraid the thoughts and images would start again.
Example 2 David’s story of living with HOCD
I’ve had HOCD for a few years. It sort of crept up on me. I remember watching something on TV where a same-sex couple was making out, and I was very uncomfortable. Later I started questioning myself and asking how I know I am straight. How do I know for sure? Was I so upset at the TV show because I am attracted to men?
Then I started all these tests for myself. I’d look at guys on purpose to see if I felt anything. When it got really bad, I would watch gay porn. Not the way I would have watched porn before. Before, I would watch to get aroused and maybe have sex with my girlfriend or masturbate, but it was something I wanted to do; I liked it.
This is an entirely different thing with gay porn. It is not for fun. I’m trying to figure out what is going on with me.
I kept this all to myself for a few years, and it came up when I went to see a psychologist for anxiety; thank God it came up, as I understand now that I have a form of OCD and know what to do with the obsessions, as that is what they are; obsessions.
|Am I attracted to men?||Watch gay porn to check this out|
|How do I know I’m really straight?||Look at women, watch straight porn to check this out|
For me, the biggest thing was accepting and believing that all the thoughts were just part of OCD; in the same way, someone with contamination OCD might obsess about germs and keep washing; I was obsessed with my sexual identity and kept checking it out. They are both the same when it boils down to obsessions and compulsions. This gave me so much relief.
I would encourage anyone who reads this and going through something similar to get help, even if that is reading about OCD in books or on the internet, as it does help.
If you want more information on HOCD, I recommend the following articles on my site.
External resources – Manhattan CBT