Fact vs. Fiction Around Sexual Orientation OCD
Myth: Sexual Arousal and Sexual Orientation Are the Same Thing
Sexual arousal in any sexual situation is normal. Straight people can become aroused by gay imagery, real or imagined. Gay people may find straight sex appealing in idea if not in practice. It is not true that becoming aroused at a thought of being gay means you are gay, or vice versa.
Myth: Anxiety and Sexual Arousal Are the Same Thing
As discussed above, anxiety and sexual arousal share some common features. Intrusive thoughts can cause nearly the same physical reaction as erotic ones. They are not the same thing, though.
Just because both types of thoughts make it challenging for you to think about anything else does not mean you are aroused by triggering material or circumstances. It may simply mean you are anxious about it as a result of intrusive thoughts.
The same goes for increased pulse, heavy breathing, or the inability to look away.
Myth: You Definitely ARE the Orientation You Fear
No. You can fear you are gay and be straight, and vice versa.
Myth: You Definitely ARE NOT the Orientation You Fear
This is also not true. You may fear being gay and it may turn out to be true, and vice versa. If this is the case, these thoughts may not be SO-OCD, which means a fear unrelated to your actual sexuality. However, you will need to discuss this with a mental health care provider to find out where that fear is coming from and how you can openly live as who you are.
There Is Help and Hope for Sexual Orientation Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
SO-OCD is a serious and distressing mental health problem, but it is treatable. It can be confusing to constantly doubt your sexual identity—and exhausting to try to relieve that doubt. You are not alone, though. There are others who understand what you’re going through and who can help you obtain freedom from your OCD.
If you think you may be struggling with SO-OCD, reach out to a mental health professional who specializes in OCD. With the right help, you can find relief from your obsessions, and engage more fully with life.
Want More Information?
Looking for even more information on sexual orientation OCD, OCD, or LGBTQ+ support resources? You may find these resources helpful:
International OCD Foundation
The mission of the International OCD Foundation is to help people affected by obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders live full and productive lives. The IOCDF aims to increase access to effective treatment through research and training, foster a hopeful and supportive community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them, and fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
As a non-profit affiliate of the IOCDF, OCD Massachusetts aims to provide public and professional education about OCD to raise awareness and improve the quality of treatment provided in Massachusetts. They also work to improve access to resources for those with OCD and their families and advocate and lobby for the OCD community in Massachusetts.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project’s main goal is to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. They do this through crisis services for those in need, and public advocacy and education to spread useful information for allies, friends, and family. The Trevor Project also offers a national hotline via phone, text, and online chat. Counselors are trained to help LGBTQ young people with a variety of problems they may be facing.
PFLAG is an organization founded in 1973 “dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families.” The organization focuses on how important family support and acceptance are for the well-being of an LGBTQ individual.
GLAAD was founded in 1985 in response to media coverage of the AIDS epidemic. Their mission continues to be fighting for the acceptance of LGBT individuals. They do a lot of work to spread messages of acceptance and hold those who stand in the way of their mission accountable, but they also do work to support and uplift the LGBTQ community.
LGBT National Hotline
This is a hotline for peer support for the LGBTQ community. The trained volunteers identify somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum, and they can help listen or advise a caller on issues from coming out to bullying to relationship problems and more.