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Gender & Sexuality Obsessions

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OCD Around Sexuality:

  • Obsessions:

  • Homosexual OCD (HOCD): Fear of being gay, even when there is no evidence or desire to be so.

  • Intrusive Sexual Thoughts: Distressing and unwanted sexual thoughts about taboo or inappropriate topics.

  • Relationship-Oriented OCD: Doubts about the authenticity or quality of one's relationship.

  • Compulsions:

  • Reassurance-Seeking: Seeking reassurance from partners or others about one's sexual orientation.

  • Avoidance: Avoiding situations that trigger distressing sexual thoughts.

  • Compulsive Checking: Checking one's reactions or feelings repeatedly.

Sexual Orientation OCD (SO-OCD), also known as Homosexual Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) where individuals experience distressing and intrusive thoughts related to their sexual orientation. It's important to note that sexual orientation in itself is not a mental health disorder, but SO-OCD involves obsessive thoughts that create significant distress for the individual.

Characteristics of Sexual Orientation OCD:

  1. Intrusive Thoughts:

  • Unwanted Doubts: Individuals with SO-OCD may experience intrusive and unwanted doubts about their sexual orientation, leading to distress.

  • Questioning Identity: The obsessions often involve questioning one's sexual orientation or having fears of being attracted to a gender that is inconsistent with one's self-identified orientation.

  1. Compulsions:

  • Mental Rituals: Compulsions in SO-OCD often involve mental rituals, such as repetitive questioning or seeking reassurance in the mind about one's sexual orientation.

  • Checking Behaviours: Individuals may engage in checking behaviours, such as observing others or seeking evidence to confirm or disprove their sexual orientation fears.

  1. Avoidance:

  • Avoidance of Triggers: Individuals may avoid situations or people they fear might trigger thoughts about their sexual orientation.

  • Avoidance of Labels: Some individuals may avoid identifying with any sexual orientation label due to fears or doubts associated with their obsessions.

  1. Distress and Anxiety:

  • Intense Anxiety: SO-OCD often causes significant distress and anxiety, as individuals grapple with unwanted thoughts and fears about their sexual identity.

  • Impact on Daily Life: The distress may interfere with daily functioning, work, relationships, and overall well-being.

  1. Sexual Compulsions:

  • Excessive Analysis: Individuals may engage in excessive analysis of their past and present experiences, looking for any evidence that supports or contradicts their sexual orientation fears.

  • Compulsive Testing: Some individuals might engage in compulsive testing behaviors, such as watching explicit content or seeking sexual experiences to reassure themselves about their sexual orientation.

It's important to emphasise that sexual orientation is a natural and diverse aspect of human identity. SO-OCD is not a reflection of an individual's true sexual orientation but rather a manifestation of distressing and intrusive thoughts. Seeking professional help from a mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, is crucial for a proper assessment and the development of an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs. With appropriate treatment, individuals with SO-OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.



  1. Treatment Approaches:

  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): ERP, a component of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), involves exposing individuals to situations that trigger their obsessions about sexual orientation while preventing them from engaging in compulsive behaviours. This helps break the cycle of obsessions and compulsions.

  • Cognitive Restructuring: Addressing and challenging irrational beliefs and distorted thought patterns related to sexual orientation fears.

  • Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Techniques such as mindfulness meditation can help individuals observe their thoughts without judgment and reduce the urge to engage in compulsive behaviours.

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