Social Question

Ruki's avatar

Does HOCD exist or could it be one of those "ex-gay" tricks?

Asked by Ruki (75points) December 14th, 2009

Having intrusive thoughts about homosexuality and doubting one’s own sexuality are symptoms that characterize a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, sometimes called Homosexual OCD or “H”-OCD. Most sufferers are actually heterosexual.

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36 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

I have not heard of this.

Sonnerr's avatar

I have never heard of this either, TO THE INTERNET!

Response moderated
Ruki's avatar

@johnpowell I am not pushing any agenda. Feel free to ignore my questions.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Gosh, who knows? The mind is a strange and mysterious place. But it seems odd that a straight person would be pestered with thoughts about homosexuality.

jrpowell's avatar

“Most sufferers are actually heterosexual.” Sufferers. Being gay isn’t like needing a new liver.

tinyfaery's avatar

It is not in the DSM IV, therefore it is not a diagnosis.

The American Psych Association does not equate being gay with having a mental disorder in any way, shape, or form.


mrentropy's avatar

I don’t think the question is about being gay, I think it’s about people who obsess over thinking they’re gay or might be gay.

Like guys who won’t use a public shower because they’re secretly afraid they’ll get aroused even though they’re straight. Or something.

YCLYHO's avatar

i dont think hocd is any different from ocd is it

gememers's avatar

Why does this only apply to so called heterosexuals who have anxiety about being homosexual? Isn’t it the same “disorder” if some one who identifies as homosexual has anxiety about being heterosexual? Why isn’t it called sexuality ocd…or something

aprilsimnel's avatar

Right? Isn’t this just plain old sexual panic? That I’ve heard of.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

This is an actual symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder—H-OCD is simply a classification. It is a neurological reaction to a cultural construct. What’s your problem with it?

Arisztid's avatar

From the article:

” Typical symptoms of HOCD:

* Recurrent doubts about one’s own sexuality
* Unwanted or intrusive thoughts about being gay
* Inability to get rid of unwanted worries or intrusive thoughts about being gay
* Seeing a member of the same sex causes anxiety and triggers unwanted thoughts about being gay
* Avoidance of members of the same sex for fear of unwanted thoughts or anxiety
* Thoughts or worries about giving off signals that one may be homosexual”


I have known people like that. I feel sorry for them. It certainly sounds like a type of OCD which is what I thought when I spoke with people who have this fear. You can be OCD about all sorts of things. However, at this time, it is not part of the DSM-IV so would not be used as a diagnosis. It just sounds like a type of OCD.

It does not sound like it is, actually, related to sexuality. OCD has nothing to do with sexuality and there is a large variety of what obsessions focus on.

The article distinguishes between someone who is gay vs someone with this disorder.

tinyfaery's avatar


I’ll say more once I read it.

syz's avatar

This seems a bit contrived to me. Some people will obsess over anything – why not add sexuality to the list? Obsessive is obsessive – does the topic really matter?

ubersiren's avatar

Removed by me because I decided I didn’t understand the question.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I call bullshit.

answerjill's avatar

HOCD is not an official diagnosis. Really, there is only OCD, but it can manifest itself in many forms. The actual topic that one obsesses about or the triggers for one’s compulsions are just secondary. Because obsessions about sexual topics are so common for folks with ocd, a short-hand term (“hocd”) has arisen on ocd chatboards, etc. It is not a separate illness, however. (Another example of such short-hand is “pocd”—fear that one might be a pedophile.) Interestingly, there are gay people with ocd who obsess that maybe they are straight! It is important to realize that most people with “hocd” are neither gay nor homophobic. (I have a strong background in ocd treatment and literature, fwiw.)

BhacSsylan's avatar

Just to say, I realize this is a sore subject, but those of you getting angry should read the article. It’s definitely not saying “What if homosexuality is a mental condition?” I’ll grant you the title is… misleading. But it’s really trying to help those with anxiety over this subject to understand if they have a condition, or if they are really gay.

A random segment i scrolled to: “Gay people may experience anxiety associated with their sexual orientation. However, these anxieties usually stem more from the social stigma attached to homosexuality and the additional difficulties that homosexuals may encounter in finding dating partners. Gay people may experience enough anxiety about making their sexual preferences known that they may keep their sexuality a secret or avoid dating altogether. However, this anxiety is different from the anxiety that a person with HOCD experiences.”

See? It’s not making any judgment, actually it seems rather supportive of homosexuals. This is just trying to be a helpful site for some stressed out people to understand what’s going on in their heads.

That being said, I don’t know what an “ex-gay” trick is, but I can say it definitely seems that HOCD is real. At the very least, I could see it leading to homophobia, since those people idiots tend to be insecure in their sexuality to an extreme. EDIT: as @answerjill just pointed out, this is not homophobia. To clarify what I said, I only mean it’s possible one may lead to the other.

You know, i never liked homophobia as a term. As a comic I liked once said, “homophobia? you know, i had a friend with arachnophobia. But when he saw a spider, he ran away. He didn’t run over and start punching it”

answerjill's avatar

@BhacSsylan – “Ex-gay” refers to a movement or organizations that endeavor to “change” gay peoples’ sexuality. Oftentimes, they are sponsored by right-wing Christian groups. I do not think that they are relevant to people dealing with ocd surrounding sexual issues.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@answerjill Ah. Never heard that term before, but I know the idea. Thanks.

RAWRxRandy's avatar

Fake, those people are just confused, they should deal with it themselves rather than naming it some disorder

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yeah it’s an official diagnosis – it’s called homophobia, internalized or otherwise
and by official I mean, you know, in my life
why, does that not count?

BhacSsylan's avatar

@RAWRxRandy… While, I admit that many people are confused and misdiagnosed, such as many (not all) ADD children, OCD is a perfectly legitimate mental disorder, and sexual anxiety is a very common symptom. While I’m sure people may be misdiagnosed, this doesn’t mean that some people don’t legitimately have a problem.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir As @answerjill said, this IS NOT homophobia. At the very least, this is anxiety over whether or not one is gay (or, as also said, a gay person’s anxiety over being straight). Anxiety, even strong anxiety, is not homophobia. Homophobia is specifically a strong reaction (a ‘ungrounded fear’) to the presence of a homosexual, and usually a violent one. While anxiety can lead to these actions, they are not the same thing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@BhacSsylan unclench…i know what anxiety is…but this disorder seems quite unfortunate to me.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@BhacSsylan Okay, sorry, there’s just enough high tempers about this topic I didn’t realize you were being less then serious. My apologies.

seafoamgreen31's avatar

you are all so ignorant, this is real I have it. I have extreme anxiety about it, and no I’m not simply “confused” looking for an answer, no. I’m not gay, I used to get hard hugging girls, I used to get hard HOLDING hands with a girl, and I used to masturbate every day to pamela anderson for years. SO if you don’t want to believe that its real, thats your choice but OCD is a chemical imbalance in the brain, and sexual obsessions and fears ARE well documented for OCD. Is it normal for someone who is just “confused” to have panic attacks, to obsess about your own sexuality every minute of every day for 5 months straight? To become hypersensative to all things gay? To fall into deep depression due to the constant anxiety, to not be able to focus on anything except GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY….to become so terrified that you withdrawl socially and sit in your room for hours every night researching homosexuality? Think what you want, but I don’t think someone who is “confused” would be living a happy heterosexual life…and then one day due to someone making a gay joke would have a MASSIVE panic attack, and then suddenly become gay…it just doesn’t happen. And no, this isn’t homophobia….I have a gay friend and a bisexual friend, and we get along great, no I don’t hate gays at all.

tinyfaery's avatar

Uh oh, I have a friend…

seafoamgreen31's avatar

ok I came off a little strong, I’m mostly angry because this is such a misunderstood form of OCD. My first therapist missed the diagnosis, and she spent some time trying to get me to “come to terms with my sexuality”, which just filled me with more anxiety and set my recovery back a couple months. Most people aren’t informed about this form of OCD, even in the medical community, but it’s more common than you would think in the OCD population. sorry again if I came off angry

Arisztid's avatar

@seafoamgreen31 Why are we all so ignorant when a large number of us, including myself, said it sounds like a form of OCD or is OCD? You are calling us ignorant for saying what you said.

It sounds miserable. I have mild OCD and it can be annoying. One like this sounds bloody awful.

seafoamgreen31's avatar

yeah sorry, I didn’t mean that, it was aimed at the people who commented saying it doesn’t exist or that its homophobia or that people are just confused…I was just trying to get my point across and give you an idea of what its like…it does seem pretty far out there, but its real….its like a thought gets stuck in my brain and replays over and over, and I can’t stop it.

Arisztid's avatar

@seafoamgreen31 Oh ok… thankyou for clarifying. :)

It does sound bloody awful. My mild OCD is a bit bothersome. I would rather not be in your shoes and I have no doubt that it is real. I do not know what kind of help there is for you but I hope there is some.

answerjill's avatar

If you want to seek treatment for OCD, you can get some provider referrals on the site for the Internationak OCD Foundation.

seafoamgreen31's avatar

thanks, I actually got diagnosed a few weeks ago and have started meds…hopefully therapy soon

answerjill's avatar

@seafoamgreen31 – Congrats on getting diagnosed. I know that it sounds funny to say that, but I do think that it helps somewhat to know that you have a diagnosable, biological condition.

seafoamgreen31's avatar

@answerjill thanks, yeah it really does help to know its an anxiety disorder that I’m dealing with. I still doubt that I have OCD, but I asked my doc about it and he said that OCD used to be called the “doubting disease” for a reason.

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