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HOCD and retaining mental images

I've nver done this before.
I'm 53 and have been experiencing HOCD for 15 years. I've seen counsellors but am in a bit of a hole and need help.
Recently I've tried defusion, working on Schwartz's 4 steps but feel in a big mess.
The problem I'm writing about has been going on for two months and doesn't seem to go away.
I've been retaining mental images of other men in my mind with the feeling that they are strong images and that the problem is that I find the men attractive or handsome.
THe most recent happened the other day (this is the usual scenario). I was at the gym. I noticed other men there. All younger, fitter, more muscular (I'm a little overweight and not that muscular). I noticed one guy who was very fit muscular, very little body fat. I had a thought that he was handsome.
The image of the man has stayed with me. It has been obsessive. I haven't been able to sleep for two days.
I think the driver for this is the belief that if I find someone attractive it must mean I want them or am gay.
I've never been interested in a sexual relationship with men.
I know logically that it is normal to see attractive features in others and that everyone does it but I haven't been able to shake the image. It isn't sexual just a picture of the person the way they were on the day.
To cap things off my wife and myself are trying for a child and yesterday and the next two days are critical days for conception but I'm really anxious and can't perform.
Please help.
I've tried to tell myself that this is just my OCD brain and that it is normal to see good in others but it has been just overwhelming.

Hi Alan, Please accept my

Hi Alan,

Please accept my sincere apologies for not responding sooner.

You mention you've seen counselors before, but have any of the counselors used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to treat your OCD? CBT challenges the irrational thoughts, such as the one you are talking about - that if you find someone attractive it must mean you want them or that you are gay.

Unfortunately, although I can tell you that both straight men and women can admire other individuals of the same sex without being gay, it probably won't help you.

You already know this is your "OCD brain" playing tricks on you. But there is a disconnect, and that knowledge alone isn't enough.

It sounds like you've been working hard on your issues, but if these thoughts persist, I think one of the best things you can do is work with a therapist that uses CBT and has experience treating OCD. If you've already done that then I encourage you to enlist the techniques you've already learned when these types of thoughts arise.

I wish I had a quick and simple answer for you to "fix this" but I don't. OCD is complex and these thoughts can be very persistent without working through them using the appropriate techniques, and even that can take quite a bit of time. But CBT is known to be one of the most effective types of therapy for OCD.

Dr. Lane


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