Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pornography and Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

On Jan 1 I posted a TED talk of Your Brain on Porn

As I went through their website I found some great information about HOCD (Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I get many calls from men suffering from this and I have always believed it had something to do with internet pornography addiction attaching itself to OCD. These researchers think similarly:

Below is from the Your Brain on Porn Website:

Fear of Being Gay (Homosexual OCD / HOCD)

Emerging sexuality can be confusing for any teen or young adult, and gay teens face a variety of unique challenges over the course of adolescence.
In addition to learning to understand their own sexuality, gay teens must navigate complex situations and pressures that may not be relevant for straight teens. They must also deal with opinionated parents, friends, and others who sometimes hold differing views about sexuality. Anxiety, distress, and confusion are often part of this process.
This post is not about the anxiety associated with being gay or with “coming out” but instead discusses homosexual OCD (“HOCD”), an anxiety disorder that affects a small number of individuals. HOCD is not unique to teens but can occur at any age.
What is HOCD?
Homosexual OCD (“HOCD”) is a specific subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that involves recurrent sexual obsessions and intrusive doubts about one’s sexual orientation.
Straight individuals with homosexual OCD experience obsessive fears about the possibility of being gay. Their HOCD obsessions often consist of unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that uncontrollably pop into consciousness. To reduce the anxiety brought on by their obsessions, individuals with HOCD engage in a variety of rituals that focus on “proving their true sexuality” or reducing their perceived “vulnerability” to becoming gay.
Sexual obsessions can also affect gay men, lesbians, or bisexual individuals with OCD, who may become fearful about the possibility of becoming straight (“Straight OCD”). The common element that unites these seemingly opposite sexual obsessions is the fear of being attracted to something unwanted, taboo, or “unacceptable” based on one’s particular worldview. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be using HOCD-centric language in this post. However, the same basic elements are directly applicable to all people with obsessive doubts about their sexual orientation.
People with HOCD worry that they might secretly be gay or might become gay, despite not questioning their sexuality in the past. Prior to the onset of HOCD, they might have had few doubts about their sexual orientation. Many people with homosexual OCD also have a history of having enjoyed heterosexual relationships in the past.  It was only after the first unwanted thought “popped” that they became overly concerned about the prospect of being gay. The occurrence of this unwanted thought then causes them to question their sexual identity and reanalyze previous experiences, in light of the possibility that they might possibly be gay.
Individuals with homosexual OCD want to know “for sure” that they are not gay and often go to great lengths to prove to themselves that they are straight.  However, due to the way OCD is strengthened and reinforced by rituals, these attempts ultimately backfire.  The result is that some people with HOCD become extremely disabled.  In order to avoid symptom triggers, it’s not uncommon for people with homosexual OCD to become depressed and drop out of school, quit their jobs, end relationships, or make other life-altering decisions that paradoxically make their symptoms worse.
In some cases, individuals with HOCD experiment with homosexual relationships or adopt gay lifestyles because of doubt about their heterosexuality. This doubt causes them to leave their current spouses/partners, “come out,” and begin to date same sex individuals. However, in contrast to lesbians and gay men who “come out” and find happiness, individuals with HOCD find their new lives distressing, confusing, and dissatisfying. Moreover, they continue to experience doubt and uncertainty about their sexuality.

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