In simple terms, Homosexual OCD (HOCD) is where the person experiences worry about the nature of their true sexuality, which causes untold distress. This post will discuss who is affected; if you want to read a more detailed account of this type of OCD, please see my guide.
Similar to most mental health conditions, or indeed anything that affects us negatively, people want answers to questions. Often people wonder why something happened to them in particular. Was it something they did or did not do?
- Anyone can get HOCD
- It is not about sexuality
- People from particular backgrounds or belief systems may find this type of OCD more challenging to deal with as their obsessions go against deeply held beliefs.
- This does not mean that people from particular backgrounds are more likely to get HOCD; there is no causality.
Who gets HOCD?
Despite the title, having Homosexual OCD is not a condition that affects people of a particular sexual identity. HOCD is OCD, and the fact that the obsessions take the form of worry about your sexual preferences, it has little to do with sexuality. Rather it has everything to do with OCD.
Just as people with any sexual preference can have OCD; people with any sexual preference can have HOCD. It does not matter if you identify as
you are still capable of having intrusive thoughts about your sexuality.
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
I have received a few emails over the years from people from LGBTQ+ community asking if they can have HOCD, as they are struggling with intrusive thoughts about their sexuality.
I think the reasons for the emails is the confusion over the name applied to the condition; Homosexual OCD. You should note that we now refer to the condition as Sexual orientation OCD which is more fitting.
But back to the point in question, yes people from LGBTQ+ community can have HOCD as remember, this condition it not about your sexuality, it is OCD. It is about having obsessions and compulsions relating to sexual identity thoughts in your head.
Religious and cultural factors.
Having any form of OCD is difficult. If you come from a particular religious or cultural background that does not accept homosexuality, having HOCD may affect you differently, as not only are you dealing with OCD, but you are also dealing with your perceived slight against your religious values.
Take for example Mark; a devout Catholic, aged 18 who has just finished Catholic school. During his school years he would have heard teacher and priest condemn homosexuality, calling it a sin.
Mark previously struggled with OCD and lately his obsessions has turned to his sexual identity. Although he recognises this manifestaton of OCD as HOCD, he has the extra stress of belonging to a religion that doesn’t readily accept homosexuality.
It is not just the person with HOCD that is affected; loved ones, friends and particularly romantic partners can also be affected by HOCD.
In conclusion, if you have HOCD it has nothing to do with you as a person. If you have been questioning why me? Or wondering what you did or did not do, remind yourself that this is a from of OCD and it does not discriminate.
If you are from a particular religious or cultural background, you might find the obsessions more difficult. But there is nothing that you did or did not do to make this happen to you, but there are things that you can do to help stop it.
If you are interested in working on getting over HOCD, I recommend starting with the following articles on MoodSmith.