by Monnica Williams
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious condition that afflicts approximately 2% of the population. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, impulses, or images that cause distress and anxiety. Compulsions are behaviors intended to decrease the distress and anxiety caused by the obsessions, although relief is only temporary. Obsessions return, resulting in more compulsions as the OCD cycle repeats itself.
Obsessions and compulsions come in many different forms therefore each individual’s OCD may be different. It is possible for two people with OCD to have no overlapping symptoms at all. Because of the wide variety of symptoms, many studies have been conducted to classify OCD into discrete subtypes or symptom dimensions. These include contamination/cleaning, doubt about harming/checking, unacceptable/taboo thoughts, symmetry/arranging, and hoarding symptoms.
Much research has been conducted on doubt /checking and contamination/cleaning dimensions, but one area that has seen less attention is in the area of sexual obsessions — a large part of the unacceptable/taboo thoughts dimension. Sexual obsessions can take many different forms. For example, sexual obsessions may include fears of being attracted to children, fears of engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or intrusive sexual images. Unwanted sexual thoughts are common, and most people are able to dismiss an occasional bothersome thought. However, people with OCD cannot rid themselves of unwanted thoughts, and when the content is sexual in nature, the obsessions can be especially upsetting. Over ten percent of patients seeking treatment for OCD have some type of sexual obsession as their main concern.
About Sexual Orientation Obsessions
Sexual orientation obsessions in OCD (SO-OCD) are a specific type of sexual obsession. These symptoms continue to cause a great deal of concern and confusion among OCD sufferers and the professional community alike. SO-OCD is sometimes called HOCD — a name coined by the online community for “homosexual OCD.” So perplexing is SO-OCD, that many OCD online forums forbid its discussion. People with SO-OCD typically feel ashamed of the thoughts, and encountering non-acceptance in forums of fellow OCD suffers makes those with SO-OCD feel even more alienated. Continue Reading →