HOCD is one of the most common kinds of OCD. However there has been written very little about it. It is oftentimes diagnoses erroneously as a repressed homosexuality, which causes an even higher level of angst in the people who suffer from it. Many clients are surprised to hear that there are more people who suffer from homosexual OCD and they are especially surprised when we tell them that for the majority of our clients it is the main reason for their visit. In this article we will explain what HOCD or Gay OCD is, what causes it, how it affects the lives of those who suffer from it, and how it can be treated.
- What is HOCD?
- How does HOCD affect the lives of those who suffer from it?
- What causes HOCD?
- How is HOCD treated?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How can we help?
What is HOCD?
People who suffer from HOCD have thoughts and obsessions about the possibility of being homosexual whether in reality they are not. They don’t suffer from a repressed homosexuality.
HOCD is a fear that normally arises suddenly, normally around the age of 20-25. The thoughts and images the people who suffer from HOCD perceive, terrorize them and lead them to avoid a great amount of situations.
People who suffer from HOCD question themselves about everything they do, think or feel. With anything they do they ask themselves if this makes them gay or if this could be seen as “gay” by others. They also check if they are homosexual by looking at images or videos that feature people of the same sex to see if they become excited. In the same way they monitor their genitals to see if they feel any special sensation when they are in contact with people of the same sex.
There are also many people who imagine themselves in situations in which they are in a homosexual relationship or in which they have gay sex. To them these thoughts or images are intrusive, that is they don’t feel egosyntonic.
It is important to know that the majority of the people who suffer from HOCD are not homophobe. They are able to think, on a rational level, that they wouldn’t mind being homosexual if that would free them of their suffering. The thought or obsessions doesn’t come after a repressed homosexuality but is caused by an excessive level of internal anxiety. When this anxiety is not attended or resolved, it keeps on rising until there is no other way of manifesting itself than in the form of obsessions or intrusive thoughts.
How does HOCD affect the lives of those who suffer from it?
HOCD can affect the lives of those who suffer from it in many ways. In what follows we will explain some of the most common ones:
People who suffer from HOCD can stop seeing their same sex friends because of the fear that they might get excited the moment they see them, talk to them or hug them. They can stop exercising or going to the gym for the same reason. This fear of getting excited can also cause them problems when they start to avoid figures of authority of the same sex, for example at work.
It is also possible that they stop seeing certain series or movies because they are afraid of seeing homosexual content, or of feeling attracted by the protagonist of the same sex. A great deal of this fear is further installed because people who suffer from HOCD usually confuse internal anxiety, and the generalized anxiety caused by the avoidance with sexual arousal. This in turn causes them to avoid even more situations.
Furthermore they can start to avoid sex because they are afraid that they might get interrupted by intrusive images or thoughts. Sometimes they feel that they are cheating on their partner when these images appear. In the case they do have sex, they can get fixated on whether they are enjoying it or not, or if any obsessive thoughts will appear. This in turn causes them not to be able to enjoy sex, which generates even more doubts about if this means they are actually homosexual or not.
“Because if I’m not able to enjoy sex with people of the other sex, this could mean that I would actually prefer to have sex with someone of the same sex, or not?”
As you can see, suffering from HOCD can make your life one big terrifying doubt.
There are many people who suffer from HOCD who are afraid of ruining their relationship or cheating on their partner because of their possible homosexuality. They think that if they all of a sudden have obsessions about being homosexual this might mean that they are also capable of leaving their partner all of a sudden in order to live with someone of the same sex. This causes them a severe anxiety, because they are already anticipating the hypothetical suffering that they could cause their partner.
What causes HOCD?
It is important to know that the content of the obsessions of someone who has OCD ought never to be translated directly to their cause. That’s why it is essential to repeat that people who suffer from HOCD do not have a repressed homosexuality and therefore we can firmly say: they are not homosexuals. HOCD is caused by a highly elevated level of internal anxiety. This anxiety is usually caused by the fact that the person has repressed part(s) of his personality.
The majority of the people who suffer from HOCD are not living in a way that is congruent with their nature. People who suffer from HOCD are usually highly sensitive, creative and/or assertive people which due to certain circumstances or because of their fear haven’t expressed this part of themselves. This sensitiveness has been named the anima of the person by Carl Gustav Jung. Jung said that everyone has an anima (female part of the psyche) and an animus (male part of the psyche) and that both parts have to be developed in order to have a healthy psyche.
What causes someone not to develop their anima? It could be that the person has grown up in an environment in which showing your sensibility was not seen as something positive or in which it simply was not expressed at all. It is also possible that the person has always been fearful of what other people might think of him/her if they would show their more feminine, sensitive or creative side.
On the other hand, people who suffer from OCD oftentimes have been through traumatic experiences or prolonged periods of stress in their infancy, youth, or adolescence. When they’re adults they usually suffer from a repressing element in their life. For example at work (a boss who doesn’t treat them right, or doesn’t respect the personal limits of the person), or when they have an intrusive family, or in a relationship in which they are manipulated or maltreated.
Also, they are usually not involved in things that they truly passionate about, or they might not even know what they’re passionate about in the first place.
How is HOCD treated?
In order to treat OCD you have to reconnect the person to life. You have to free them in order to be able to stop living inside their mind. How is this done? By helping them to recuperate their instinct and by unblocking their central nerve system. In the specific case of HOCD it is also very important to develop the anima, the feminine part of the psyche, by helping them to allow themselves to express this part of themselves that has been repressed for such a long time. It is a treatment which involves a gradual liberation which ends with the person being able to express themselves with true liberty, and in consequence the disappearance of the obsessive symptomatology.
If you would like to learn more about the treatment we use at IPITIA to treat HOCD, the Analytical – Experiential method.
If you would like to learn more about HOCD or if you would like to schedule a first session you can call us at: + 34 935 282 353 or write us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between being homosexual and suffering from HOCD?
The biggest difference between a person who suffers from HOCD and a person who is homosexual and doesn’t have OCD is that the person who is homosexual experiences his sexuality as normal and innate. He is not worried about the fact that he is attracted by people from the same sex, for him this is natural. HOCD is actually a bit unfortunate name, since there are actually homosexual people who suffer from heterosexual OCD, although there are not as many. They suffer from the fear of becoming straight all of a sudden. It is also possible that someone who is homosexual suffers from OCD with suffering from heterosexual OCD.
Can HOCD be cured?
Yes! Many of our clients who suffer from HOCD either get cured completely or reduce their symptoms in a significant way after finishing their treatment.
What does it mean if feel attracted by someone of the same sex at times? Does this mean that I’m gay?
Not necessarily, it is very normal that people who have a certain level of sensibility are at times attracted by people of the same sex. You have to think that we humans, have a great level of appreciation for beauty, even from a very young age (babies already feel more attracted by more symmetrical faces). If we have the ability to detect and appreciate beauty, we will observe it anywhere in our environment: in art, music, nature, food, and yes, also in people, both of the same sex as well as the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean or imply that we’d like to have sex with this other person, but that we have the capacity to admire and enjoy beauty in our environment.
In the same way we can feel attracted by someone not because of the way he/she looks, but because we consider he has an interesting personality. It is possible that this person represents a part of our personality that we would like to develop in ourselves. As we said before, HOCD is caused by the fact that person has (voluntarily or involuntarily) suppressed part of their personality. The central nerve system is wise and makes us feel attracted to people who possess certain characteristics that we should foment in ourselves.
If you’d like to learn more about feeling attracted to someone of the same sex I would like to recommend you the following article: Is it possible to fall in love with someone of the same sex without feeling sexual attraction?