Accepting Uncertainty: My Fight Against HOCD


This three-part article was written exclusively for by Aaron on He discusses his struggle with HOCD, how it all started for him, his rocky journey towards recovery and what finally helped him find relief.

You're probably reading this to get some of that reassurance we OCD sufferers seek. How do I know? Well, because I used to do the same exact thing. I remember looking things up and reading things like: "Groin responses are not valid indicators of sexual orientation" and then feeling an extreme and gratifying relief.

For a moment I felt reassured. I thought that maybe my inner intuition and feelings were right, that I still strongly preferred women, but the very next moment I would feel the need to double check, just to be sure. This pattern would repeat itself again and again.

How It All Began

HOCD for me started when on my way home on the bus I sat next to a gay man. As I sat there I started to wonder: “Maybe, at this moment I feel strange towards my girlfriend because, maybe, I'm secretly gay and just haven't realized it yet.” I remember freaking out and thinking back to other similar thoughts I had had in the past. I remembered that the thought had crossed my mind before a couple of months prior and that freaked me out even more. It was then I became a giant tangle of fear and anxiety.

I researched, checked, researched, and checked. I looked up things like: "Do my thoughts mean I’m gay? Could I find out if I'm gay by watching gay porn? What if that gives me an absolute answer?” I was scared of going to a therapist because I thought that they would simply confirm my fears and tell me that I was secretly gay.

Fighting Off Fears

I was afraid that the therapist would take one look at me and know that really I was gay, or that they would know that what I felt was the initial step to an identity crisis. I started to worry about what life would be like after they diagnosed me, if I would eventually have to live a life in which I was attracted to men and would have to live with one.

I worried about not ever having sex with women and about never being able to have a normal family, a wife and kids. I knew that these thoughts couldn't and shouldn't stop me from having the life I wanted, so I forced myself to seek out a therapist.

Finding the Courage

The first couple of therapists I visited really didn't have much insight or useful information on my condition. One of them pretty much said I should continue visiting to just talk with him, while another said that maybe there was some repressed childhood crisis that was now seeping into my adult life as some free-floating anxiety. I knew that I had no childhood traumas, I knew this couldn't be true, I had lead a pretty good life as a child.

In Part II of this article, Aaron discusses the roadblocks he encountered in trying to find the right treatment for his HOCD.

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