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Homosexuality Anxiety

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Takes Many Forms

Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves intrusive thoughts that are unwanted and distressing to the individual. Sometimes these thoughts take the form of persistent notions about having a different sexual orientation. For example, a person who has had many years of satisfied, opposite sex relationships might suddenly start to worry that he or she is actually homosexual. Some people who have this manifestation of OCD have taken to calling this "HOCD" or "Homosexual OCD." HOCD is not a scientific term, but has evolved out of the OCD community as a way to describe the distress caused by anxieties over unwanted thoughts about being gay.

Clinicians, educators, and people with HOCD can use the table below to better understand differences between the experience of someone with HOCD and the experience of someone with a homosexual sexual identity. Note that this is not a clinical screening instrument as it has not been validated for use in this manner, and not all items will apply to every person. Furthermore, the second column applies to a relatively well-adjusted gay person. A homosexual person with severe internalized homophobia may not be well represented in either category.

Homosexuality Anxiety OCD Homosexual Orientation

You feel more sexually aroused by people of the opposite sex.

You feel more sexually aroused by people of the same sex.

Your thoughts about engaging in same-sex relationships are unappealing to you.

Your thoughts about engaging in same-sex relationships are arousing to you.

You feel anxious about romantic relationships with people of the same sex.

You look forward to romantic relationships with people of the same sex.

You have most enjoyed sexual experiences with a person of the opposite sex.

You have most enjoyed sexual experiences with a person of the same sex.

You worry about your same-sex thoughts mainly because you don't want to give up being with people of the opposite sex.

You worry about your same-sex thoughts mainly because of what others might think or because of religious concerns.

You are not able to stop thinking about same-sex relationships, and the thoughts are a severe distraction.

Even though you often think about same-sex relationships, you are able to stop thinking about it when you need to.

You feel emotional intimacy with a partner of the opposite sex.

You feel emotional intimacy with a partner of the same sex.

You are worried that people of the same sex might find you attractive.

You like when people of the same sex find you attractive.

You fantasize about being in physical relationships with people of the opposite sex (including dreams).

You fantasize about being in physical relationships with people of the same sex (including dreams).

You try to learn more about sexual identity issues to reassure yourself that you are not gay.

You try to learn more about sexual identity issues to better understand yourself and others like you.

Read more in the BrainPhysics featured article I'm Gay and You're Not, written by a member of the NeuroticPlanet discussion forum. Also see the HOCD PowerPoint slide show from a talk by psychologist M. Williams, Ph.D. at the New Jersey OCF Meeting. Also see, Sexual and Homosexual Obsessions in OCD.


Source: M Williams (2008). Homosexuality Anxiety: A Misunderstood Form of OCD, In L. V. Sebeki (ed), Leading-Edge Health Education Issues, Nova Publishers, 2008. [pdf]


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