Do I have HOCD Or Am I In Denial?
A man can begin questioning his sexuality at any age and any stage of his life. A tiny curiosity during high school could creep back in during mid-life and cause a whole bunch of confusion in its wake. What if, though, this ‘curiosity’ isn’t the least bit pleasant. What if these thoughts of homosexuality cause anxiety and panic? Could it be that you are afraid of being gay or is there something else happening? How can you tell whether you are gay, in denial, or have HOCD? MANPLAY.COM has the gay test that will tell you whether it’s HOCD or denial, so read more!
A Brief Look At Human Sexuality
Let’s start with the basics about human sexuality. We as humans are a sexual race and sexuality is such a huge cornerstone of our identity that when we feel something might be threatening it... well, the results can sometimes be catastrophic. Our entire lives crumble into doubt and panic. We're not who we thought we were and we aren't who we've told people, so who are we? What will other people think of us? How will we tell our friends and family? There are so many questions that come up when someone is fearing they might be gay.
Thousands of questions can run through your mind. Take a deep breath and read on.
What is HOCD?
HOCD, fully known as Homosexual Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is a type of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that focuses on sexuality and the fear of becoming or secretly being gay. In a lesser known way, HOCD can also occur in homosexual individuals that start believing they might be straight. This article will be focusing on whether you are gay or have HOCD.
People who have HOCD exhibit several Obsessive-Compulsive behaviours including checking themselves for signs of arousal around other men, worrying being around gay men might be contagious, and several defunct belief systems that are strengthened by these (and more) behaviours and rituals.
Individuals can experience HOCD at any age and at any stage of their life. Healthy and happy individuals can suddenly start experiencing Homosexual OCD without having any previous history of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive problems. A person can be happily married or in a completely healthy relationship with the opposite sex when HOCD first comes into their lives. Men who have gone their entire life believing they are straight may experience unexplainable desires for sexual activity with another man or sexual attraction to a man. Some men who experience HOCD admit to having occasional curiosities in their past, but some men report that they have never experienced any curiosity or desire for other men until HOCD became a part of their lives.
Like other subtypes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, HOCD has several different elements and ways that it manifests in someone. The most common and easily identifiable aspect of any OCD disorder is compulsively checking something. In the way that someone might check to see if they actually locked their door several times before finally being satisfied, someone with HOCD might do something similar. Someone with HOCD might continually check their own bodies for signs of arousal. A man might duck out into the washroom to ensure they don't have an erection when they are around other men or they might frequently check themselves out in a mirror to ensure their skin isn't flushed.
HOCD also has a contamination component. Someone who is suffering the effects of Homosexual OCD might believe that being around other gay men will infect them with 'the gay' and ignite their dormant homosexuality. These people worry that if they are around gay men and homosexuality rubs off on them as a result, they will not only become gay but act on these desires. They also fear that if they are around other gay identifying people they will be overruled by gay desire and loose complete control over themselves with their sexual urge.
The last most common element of Homosexual OCD is avoidance. Due to the fear of compulsive homosexual urges, someone who is experiencing HOCD might avoid people who they believe are gay or men all together. They might avoid anywhere that other men inhabit in even the most remotely erotic way in fear that they would possibly become aroused. For example, men who often go to the gym might avoid the change rooms or stay in the furthest place from other men in the gym. They might even avoid it all together and build their own gym at home or opt for other ways to pursue their health avoidant of any possible interaction with another man.
While there is another element of Homosexual OCD, this particular element is more like a sub-type. Often, compulsive checking, fear of contamination, and avoidance are all experienced at various levels. However, the Pure-O sub-type is something that defines a specific set of behaviours and those who experience Pure-O do not experience other compulsive behaviours.
Pure-O is precisely how it sounds: purely obsessive. Those who experience Pure-O symptoms do not experience or very rarely experience intense compulsive behaviours but rather experience strong obsessive thoughts and analysis. You might find yourself constantly asking questions like, "do I find this person attractive?”
Men who are effected by Homosexual OCD are constantly trying to prove that they are not gay to themselves and often to others. Their compulsive behaviour is driven by a need to know "for sure” whether they are gay or not, and ultimately that they are not gay. In severe cases of HOCD, a man might become severely disabled by this need and end up making life decisions that ultimately worsen their situation. How can you know whether you do have HOCD or whether you are simply in denial about your sexuality?
The Signs and Symptoms of HOCD
As briefly mentioned above, many signs can be first identified by the overall elements of the disability itself: compulsive checking for signs that show arousal when around other men, finding physical ways to prove to oneself that one is not gay or not aroused by other men, mental and physical rituals to prove one's sexuality, fear of contamination when being around other gay men, obsessive mental energy and time put forward on how to prove 'straightness', and several avoidance behaviours.
Let's take a look at several of the behaviours in list format.
Mental Rituals of HOCD - Constantly asking yourself "do I find this person attractive?” - Questioning yourself as to whether you are appropriately disgusted by something that is homoerotic - Constantly analyzing whether you are aroused by gay men, gay activities, or men in general - reviewing previous heterosexual relationships and experiences to determine and ensure ones heterosexuality - Comparing oneself to gay men, i.e. 'gay men act _____ and I act _____ therefore I am straight' - Frequently telling oneself ‘I am not gay’ - Planning for the 'inevitable' coming out even though you do not want to come out or have gay relationships - Planning how to leave your significant other or spouse even though you do not want to leave them - Mentally picturing the opposite sex, particularly in an erotic fashion, when unwanted an intrusive 'gay thoughts' come into your mind - Always trying to determine who is gay in a crowd
Behavioural Rituals and Compulsions of HOCD - Constantly checking ones body for signs of arousal - Presenting oneself in an overly 'masculine' way to ensure the appearance of being straight - Only talking about 'straight men' things (commonly extreme stereotypes, like guns, fighting, sports, trucks, etc.) - Watching straight porn to ensure you are aroused by it - Watching gay porn to prove that you are not aroused by it - Asking people if they think you are gay or if they think you act gay - Obsessively asking your ex's about why your relationships ended to ensure that it wasn't because of sexuality - Excessive dating and/or engaging is sexual activity to prove sexuality
Avoidance Behaviours of HOCD - Avoiding identified gay men - Avoiding conversations with gay men, same sex individuals, or conversations about sexuality if not explicitly tied to the assurance of ones straightness - Avoiding things that have been touched by gay men - Avoiding being alone with gay men or same sex individuals - Avoiding physical contact with gay men or even with same sex individuals - Avoiding change rooms, public bathrooms, or anywhere else that may involve partial or full nudity of the same sex - Avoiding 'attractive' same sex individuals - Avoiding activities that aren't stereotypically masculine in nature - Avoiding masturbation in fear of gay thoughts becoming present - Avoiding sexual activity all together for fear of gay thoughts 'popping in' during engagement - Avoiding any form of exposure to 'gay culture' including movies, music, or plays performed by gay entertainers - Avoiding anything symbolically related to gay culture such as rainbows, purples and pinks, etc - Avoiding clothing and accessories that could be considered androgynous or 'gay looking'
In some cases, people with HOCD adopt a gay lifestyle or engage in gay activities and sexual activities as they either fear it is inevitable or they believe doing so will help them figure it out. In these cases, while the fear, doubt, and confusion is present with both exploring your sexuality and HOCD the HOCD person absolutely does not enjoy it at all.
What Does the HOCD Person Believe?
Like with other obsessive-compulsive disorders, the belief system in which the disability is founded on is fundamentally defunct.
- The core belief system of someone with HOCD includes thoughts such as: - If I am not 100% straight than I must be gay - If I have thoughts that conflict with the sexual orientation I identify with it must mean that I am no longer that sexual orientation - Sexuality can be contagious - If I continue to have doubts about my sexuality it must mean that I am gay - If my current partner found out I was having these thoughts they would leave me - If people found out I was gay or I became gay, my life would be over - I am eventually going to have to act on these thoughts
While a lot of these thoughts can happen when someone is just starting to realize they might be gay, and doubt and fear is natural for anyone who is beginning to understand their own sexuality, these thoughts and doubts are to the point of obsession that they become crippling.
What If I Am Actually Gay?
Here's the big question, the question everyone wants to know. How do I know if I have HOCD or if I'm actually gay? What if I am gay?
Alright, so let's start off with saying this: if it turns out that you actually are gay and find yourself – while at first nervous or even afraid – enjoying relationships and sexual activities with another man, that is COMPLETELY OKAY. In this day and age, "alternative” sexual orientation is becoming more and more acceptable. It doesn't mean you are dirty, or immorally wrong. It doesn't mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Forget what you've grown up to believe and what you've been told. Being gay is completely okay, and there are several places that can help you find the perfect man for you. Someone who is caring, understanding, and fun.
Take some time to think about your experiences and thoughts. Do you fear that if you are gay someone will think poor of you, or do you simply fear that you are somehow gay and otherwise do not actually experience emotional or romantic ties to other men? When you are around other men, when you see other men partially or fully nude, is your first thought 'he is attractive' and then 'does that make me gay?' or is your first reaction a fear that seeing this man will make you gay, and with no actual feelings of attraction do you find yourself finding ways to reassure yourself you are not attracted to him?
Someone who is just starting to discover their true sexuality will naturally feel uncertainty, doubt, confusion, fear. Depending on how they were brought up and the community they find themselves in they might have a lot of trouble accepting that being gay IS natural and IS okay. They might try and find a way to hide it or 'fix' themselves and many of these ways to 'fix' their orientation might align with several symptoms listed above for those affected by HOCD. What someone who is discovering their sexuality does not have in common with HOCD is the absolute crippling obsession with proving they are not gay.
When you discover that you might be gay, finding someone who you can trust is sometimes difficult. Are you curious? Do you find yourself actually aroused by men and are simply afraid of what that might to do your current relationships and public image? Don't worry. MANPLAY.COM has a man that's right for you.