HOCD- loss of interest in guys?

Hi, I am a 18 year old girl and lately I have just lost my interest in guys. Ever since October of this school year (my first year in university) I have no more interest in guys. This isnt like me because Ive always liked guys/had crushes on them. My lack of interest caused me to research and then the question popped into my head "am i gay?". After that I avoided girls, I had a huge anxiety attack sitting next to the attractive girl in my class. A girl I've noticied and was fine with before this whole thing started. The thing that scares me is that I just dont find boys attractive anymore...and now my brain is basically conditioning me to find girls attractive. I see girls everywhere, and it just reconfirms that im gay. I know its irrational. But not finding guys attractive anymore is what's driving me crazy.

One thing that scares me even more is that in September I had my first kiss, and it did not feel like anything. No butterflies, nothing. I pulled away from the guy, disappointed. Now i think I didnt feel anything because im lesbian. I keep trying to think who I would enjoy kissing in my mind, and i trick myself into feeling that i would feel great kissing a girl and not a guy. I dont have any sexual fantasies with girls though, I never have. But this HOCD makes me try to imagine how it owuld be like- it doesnt really gross me out but I just cant agree with ever doing that.

This is a really bad time, can someone please help me...

I should also add that, that

I should also add that, that guy i kissed...i found him really attractive but we didnt know eachother for more than 2 days and I felt like he was using me hence why I backed away. But I just cant imagine ever liking kissing a guy now...Thank you so much!

Too make this simpler for any input you would have..
1) Can stress/depression cause a lack of interest in the opposite sex? I keep having scenarios in my mind where I feel like "I just dont want to talk to a guy" and "Id probably like talking to a girl more" but I dont even think it through, it is my immediate response. Im thinking a bit of depression can cause a lack of enjoyment in this you previously liked, and socializing?

2)This whole year has started off really bad for me. Last summer I was convinced my mom caught rabies from a scratch from a sick squirrel, in January I thought I had a brain tumor, regardless of evaulation from a few doctors and a neurologist, and then I would not take this medicine because of the *possibility* of getting SJS. A part of me laughs when I think about all my worries, but another part of me worries all over again. Could my questioning sexuality be another one of these worries? It just feels so real...

3) Is it normal to get indifferent to these HOCD thoughts... Ive never had a crush on a girl and never fantasized about one. But since I lost interest in guys, and started thinking of scenarios, i dont get scared of them. I feel like i'll never emotionally connect to a guy anymore.

4) Everytime I see a girl now, my mind goes all wonky and I start feeling like im physically attracted to her, and that i can ,per say, see my future with that person. but another part of me hates these thoughts as well. I can tell this is me being anxious but the intensity of the thoughts of me just being with a girl, emotionally connected not even sexually, makes me feel that this in
no way can be hocd..

Im taking a first year psych course, and learning all about disorders and therapy, so it seems really funny to me that im going through this. Needless to say after this course i am really aware of all the possible therapies, and will be getting help soon :)

Hi TheOverThinker, You sound

Hi TheOverThinker,

You sound like a very insightful, and highly analytical young woman. Reading through your post, I think this is VERY likely another manifestation of OCD (currently HOCD), but you've had other "types" (for lack of a better word) as well. All of your obsessions, however, seem to focus on illness and disorders, so there is a distinctive theme here. I say that to, hopefully, help you see the pattern as well - which supports the idea that this is very likely HOCD.

For someone who is truly gay, the thought "am I gay" doesn't usually just suddenly "pop" into their head. However, that is very typically how HOCD is triggered.

You made the statement that your mind is "conditioning" you to be attracted to girls, yet, no where in your post did you say anything to suggest that you are genuinely attracted to girls - sexually or romantically (which you would be if you were a lesbian). Does that make sense?

To answer your other questions. Both anxiety and depression can have a negative impact on your sex drive (which is what underlies your attraction to potential sexual partners).

It's not uncommon to become indifferent to (or less anxious in response to) the obsessive thoughts. However, if you were truly indifferent to them I don't think you'd be posting here, would you? Think back...it sounds like you eventually became indifferent to the thoughts about your mom having rabies and you having a brain tumor - so, the same may be happening with the thoughts that you might be gay. The indifference doesn't MEAN that you ARE gay (but that is a common misinterpretation when it occurs).

As for feeling no butterflies when you had your first kiss. Trust me, you are not alone - regardless of your sexual orientation. Sometimes a kiss is just a bad kiss - even if the guy is attractive. It just didn't "do it" for you. You also said you'd known each other for only 2 days and you thought maybe he was using you - that doesn't bode well for a first kiss either. But, in retrospect you are looking at that experience through the "filter" of your current fear of being gay - so that is also coming into play. HOCD tends to make you question everything.

I encourage you to not avoid girls. Avoiding the very thing that makes you anxious is the worst thing you can do - because it reinforces your anxiety (that's true of all types of anxiety, including OCD).

I doubt you are gay (based on everything you've described). It's one thing to lose your attraction to guys (and I suspect this is temporary). But it's entirely another if, in it's place, you were attracted to girls - and it just doesn't sound like that is the case. It does sound, though, like your mind is trying to convince you that you are - and real attraction involves a lot more than our minds (I hope that makes sense). Not to mention, it seems that uneventful kiss in September played a significant role in your losing interest in guys...which makes sense based on your history as well.

I'll be honest, psychology may not be a good thing for you to be studying right now, because you will be vulnerable to thinking you have all sorts of disorders (based on your history).

As for therapy, I highly recommend it for OCD. Most experts agree that CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is one of the best types of therapy for people with OCD. I encourage you to find a psychologist who not only uses CBT as part of his or her treatment protocol, but who also has a LOT of experience in treating OCD, as it is a complex and challenging disorder.

I hope this helps and I hope you are able to work with a therapist soon.

Dr. Lane

Hello Dr.Lane, I really

Hello Dr.Lane, I really appreciate how you take your time to reply to everyone's post on here! I have definitely seen a pattern in most of my obsessions, the illness and sexuality questioning, caused me to analyze what exactly I have been "afraid" of. I have, for now, come to a conclusion that subconsciously I believe I am afraid of not having a future. All these illnesses and obsessions are there because I have a 'feeling' that something is going to turn out wrong in my life. That my life is going nowhere! I often think about the future and find that I see nothing, if that makes sense. I really have no reason to feel this way, I have a good life compared to a lot of people, for which I am very grateful for. After all this ruminating for 18 years, I am definitely in need for some therapy!

As for the HOCD, it definitely does make me feel like I am sexually and or romantically attracted to girls.I keep getting these strong urges to kiss girls, like i almost could. And then i get this fake arousal... it is very distressing. It feels like I will do it. Everytime a friend/any girl comes close to me, i bite my lips in fear to stop the urge and a strange arousal that I will end up kissing them because my mind makes me think I will be aroused. This is with any girl though, not one. So i think that is where the difference between HOCD and being attracted to the same sex lies. As much as my mind wants to believe it, i know it doesn't coincide with me, so I guess it just cant be true. HOCD has almost made me accept that I am, but in a weird way,when I analyze it I dont know why i think that because even when i accept it, the obsession doesn't stop. It's almost as if im numb to all these feelings now! And that im starting to accept I am, but I do know that sexuality cannot be changed randomly. You get what you're born with.

So my question is that, in your opinion, do you think someone can possibly repress their homosexuality for 18 years? People say that you're homosexual if you're afraid of what society would say, and to some degree I am afraid of that. That caused me some anxiety for awhile although I realized almost anyone would be worried about coming out, and how it would affect their lives, that doesn't really make me one! I have talked about this fear with my parents and my dad said "So what if you're homosexual, im sure they live fulfilling lives and as far as I can see they are very happy with their lives", a response I didn't expect at all. It still didn't make me feel better because I kept saying "But i'm not!" and my dad said "OK so why are you worrying then?" I really had no answer! That was a couple of weeks ago and now I dont even resist the thought of being gay. I have always looked at girls and thought they were pretty but never in a sexual way. At first I used to find it weird that I would be willing to call a girl pretty/good looking when I saw her and other girls didn't, but I always thought i did so because I wasn't insecure about myself. I can say though, that I have never even THOUGHT about doing sexual things, or even being emotionally attracted to girls in this way before this, hopefully, HOCD phase.

I wrote out a whole list of guys I have liked, ever since kindergarten and not one has been a girl. I've talked about being lesbian with my friends before this phase and never thought of being one myself even once. My mom even jokingly asked me one day a couple of months ago, and my immediate response was NO! I guess HOCD really does murk up your past feelings. Another thing that bothers me is that I've been really conscious with guys all my life, liking a guy and if he returned the feelings I would be immediately disinterested. I still have this problem but I do think that it may be because I am a very critical person, and I would not get into a relationship/ anything physical if I wasn't 100% into the person. But now I keep thinking i never thought of girls that way because I never let myself think of them in that way. Do you think that's how it works, or being attracted to the same-sex comes naturally at a young age? At this point I feel like I don't even want a relationship with a guy anymore. Im just really hoping that cliche quote about meeting someone right will apply to me someday soon!

I am definitely taking a break from psychology, and avoiding the whole intern syndrome thing i get going on when i read about disorders!In the end, I know that not you or anyone but me can determine my sexuality but I'ts nice to talk to someone about it. I'll be sure to look for a suitable psychologist for me!
Thank you for your time! and if you got this far, reading the long reply!

The strong urges you have to

The strong urges you have to kiss girls is not uncommon with HOCD. With OCD, undesirable urges and impulses are part of the "obsession" aspect of the disorder - it's not just limited to obsessive thoughts. People with various types of OCD often experience very strong urges to do something that is repulsive to them or completely against their integrity. And, with OCD, it's actually rare for people to act on these urges. But, they are still very distressing because they are so strong. So, I think that is what you are likely experiencing as well.

You mentioned that "people say that you're homosexual if you're afraid of what society would say". What "people" are saying that? That is an erroneous statement. Many people with HOCD feel an internal pressure to "come out", and fear what others (family, friends, etc.) would say, particularly if their family, cultural, or religious values are against homosexuality. But that doesn't mean they are gay.

As for whether or not it's possible to repress your homosexuality for 18 years. Let me start by pointing out (assuming you are referring to yourself, being just 18) that that would mean you've been repressing it since birth. Although not everyone agrees, the general consensus of most experts is that sexual orientation is formed somewhere around middle childhood to early adolescence (as opposed to being "born" a certain way). A variety of factors likely play a role in determining a person's sexual orientation.

So, could someone repress his or her homosexuality up until the age of 18? Theoretically that's possible, but nothing you have stated suggests that is the case with YOU, so please don't get hung up on the "theoretical possibility", okay?!!! (That's one of those questions I hate to answer because I know my response will triggers all sorts of doubts.)

Dr. Lane

Thanks for your reply

Thanks for your reply again!
A question that I have after reading your response,

Do you think this is a possible scenario.
I have never really been a sexual person. I have always liked guys, used to get butterflies around them, etc. but I dont think I thought of them in a sexual way. Not that I found it repulsing, but just because that wasn't the first thing on my mind. I never thought about girls that way either. This HOCD phase makes me have intrusive thoughts about girls, not enjoyable so at first I would make myself think about guys and compare. Although, I've stopped checking now. So do you think, at 18, a more sexual side is coming out, if that makes sense at all? This ocd makes me feel i only had crushes on guys because i was taught that and now my true "homosexual" side is coming out. Or do you think that there's more to liking someone than just sexually, and i probably would have had crushes on girls when i was younger. Im sorry if this question makes it impossible for you to answer.

TheOverThinker :)

Hey Dr.Lane,

Hey Dr.Lane, just an update from the post i made awhile ago! I've been doing a bit better and can seem to reason things out (as much as a person with OCD can reason at least). Although I still have these thoughts daily, I seem to not react to them majorly. One thing I have noticed is that I have been rather depressed lately; I even start upsetting myself with the fact of being lesbian while randomly walking somewhere and frustrate myself without even really thinking of an intrusive thought, it's almost as if my brain says "Hey you're not worrying about that lesbian thing, let me just throw you back into it". I can get over hocd for about 10 minutes then the cycle starts again. Kind of like my mind is just used to it now.I've reached out to my parents and even a good 5 of my friends but no one seems to understand how I feel. Some of my friends say "that's silly youre definitely not lesbian, how weird would it be if you were one though!" while others say "maybe youre just in denial" while another said "I think you're going to think yourself into it so much, that you'll become one" I know the statements aren't true but it just really sucks when I try to reach out and no one can hear me out me without the judgement. I think i am depressed about the uncertainty of HOCD, i even avoid things that have to do with heterosexual couples because I just want to avoid this whole topic all together. I tried thinking about it, and I think I am afraid of not having emotional attraction to guys, I worry about the emotional aspect way more than the sexual aspect. I spend a lot of time with friends that are girls, and well it makes me feel like the emotional and mental attraction is something more than a friendship. When I have intrusive thoughts 2/10 times it's sexual while the other 8 is about me being in a relationship with a girl and having fun doing normal things, like the emotional aspect. I think HOCD is making me confuse friendship with someone I would want a relationship with. Being cautious with guys and not getting involved unless I am 100% sure is what fueled this obsession I feel. Currently, I am easily irritable with my family,have been getting intense periods of extreme frustration for months now (even before the HOCD phase), pulling away from talking to friends (especially my female friends because of the HOCD)and have just lost interest in everything. I actually think this slight depression hit me before HOCD, made me lose interest in guys which in turn gave rise to HOCD. For some reason I don't want to take medication, but if it is absolutely necessary i will. I am looking into therapy but is there any self-help advice you have for me regarding the depression?
Thank you, TheOverThinker

My apologies for missing your

My apologies for missing your earlier post. I try to respond to most posts here but do miss one from time to time.

I'll respond to a few of your comments: "Hey you're not worrying about that lesbian thing, let me just throw you back into it". It's very common for people with HOCD to become anxious as soon as the thoughts themselves (the original "You're gay / a lesbian" obessions start to fade or don't bother them as much. That's one of the catch22's of this disorder. Progress is quickly misinterpreted as a sign that you must be gay because the thoughts aren't causing you as much anxiety. (A therapist can help you deal with this issue.)

As for your friend's statement that you might become a lesbian because "you're going to think yourself into it so much" - it doesn't work that way (and it sounds like you inow that on an intellectual level).

It is very difficult for someone who's never had OCD or has no training in treating it to really grasp how it works and how powerful the obsessions and compulsive urges can be. One option (although I suggest this with a lot of caution) would be to find an online HOCD support group (there may be a link on this site or you can Google it). On the one hand, you'll find a group of people who do understand what you're experiencing. On the other hand, you risk getting a lot of opinions and responses that are very subjective and make you feel even more confused.

You mentioned not getting involved with guys "unless I'm 100% sure" (I assume you mean 100% sure of being liked? Or, perhaps, 100% sure you like the guy...?) That's a type of avoidant behavior and is counterproductive. Romantic relationships are ALWAYS risky to some degree. Even if a guy was head-over-heels about you at first, he could eventually lose interest. Dating and taking the risk to get involved and allow ourselves to be vulnerable is how we grow and learn about ourselves. There are no 100% guarantees. I think this is an issue you should definitely consider addressing with a therapist as well (and contributing to your doubts about your sexual orientation).

It also does sound like you are experiencing some symptoms of depression as well. This may be secondary to your battle with the OCD symptoms.

As for medication for OCD - I think therapy should be your first choice of treatment, and medication as an adjunct treatment ONLY if your symptoms are truly severe enough to warrant it.

I hope this helps and I hope you are able to find a therapist who is very experienced in treating OCD very soon!

Dr. Lane

Hey Dr.Lane, I've been doing

Hey Dr.Lane,
I've been doing somewhat better, I have come to a realization that my HOCD fuels off the fact of the recent lack of interest to guys than the attraction to girls, if that makes sense. I do have some intrusive thoughts but am able to ignore them. As I've mentioned before my HOCD has to do with the emotional aspect rather than the sexual; I now fear not being able to love a guy, which then makes me mentally test with girls. I am constantly ruminating and mentally testing. I guess I am going through the backdoor spike phase where I am getting upset and angry about not being anxious. I havent ever been anxious about this whole thing just depressed and angry, people experience anxiety in different ways right? This doesnt mean that I am in fact lesbian? I guess my way of coping with this is becoming emotionally numb. I accepted that I am lesbian and didn't react in a bad way at all which made me a bit worried; it's all a really weird cycle. I think I have been depressed lately which hopefully is the cause of my lack of interest, i talk to guys and have to question why i am not enjoying it enough, if i am just trying to hide the fact that i am lesbian. Just questioning myself about why I am not enjoying it as much as I should be makes me more angry.

Im going to be spending a weekend with my female friends, and now im spiking that im not being worried about me being attracted to them. One part of me is worried that I'll enjoy myself too much with them and become happy with being lesbian, and the rational part of my brain is spiking because i am not worried about spending time with them. It's crazy, I wish I could just enjoy time with my friends because I tend to seclude myself from everyone lately.

I went to a psychologist who unfortunately charged me a lot of money to just listen to my background, and then not be experienced with this type of OCD, he was rather taken back by it. For now I do not have the funding or the right psychologist to consult to so the search continues!

I think one of the things

I think one of the things that you are confusing is that "enjoying someone's company = love / attraction to that person". And that isn't accurate at all. You mentioned your fear of "enjoying yourself too much" when you spend an upcoming weekend with your female friends. It would be perfectly normal to really enjoy your time with your female friends - that has NOTHING to do with your sexuality - that's just being human. We can really enjoy time with both sexes, irregardless of our sexual orientation. I hope that makes sense.

I also disagree with your statement: "I haven't ever been anxious about this whole thing". Your anxiety is evident in all of your posts here - the fact that you are worrying about things, fearing things, etc - worry and fear are forms of anxiety.

It's also not uncommon for people with HOCD who start to do better to then become anxious that they no longer feel anxious about the thought of being gay. Due to the very nature of the disorder, they are quick to assume that the lack of anxiety means they must be gay, but that's very flawed logic. So, I encourage you to not jump to that conclusion and to challenge those thoughts (e.g."Since I no longer feel anxious, I must be gay") whenever they appear and remind yourself that that's another trick your mind is trying to play on you.

Many people with HOCD find that their interest in the opposite sex (or their libido) starts to diminish for awhile - especially when their symptoms are the most prominent. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your lack of enjoyment in talking to guys is because you are secretly gay. Again, that's an irrational assumption. It may be because you are feeling confused, anxious, and depressed - and it may also be that the guys you are talking to just aren't that interesting to you.

I don't ever encourage anyone who's struggling with HOCD symptoms to "accept that they are gay" (as you said you have done. However, I DO encourage them to accept the POSSIBILITY of being gay (and there's a huge different between those two things). Accepting the possibility is merely a way of diffusing the power of the obsessive thoughts. You see, the more you fight or resist the idea of being gay, the more it fuels the anxiety. By responding with something like, "Well, if I'm gay, it's no big deal" ("if" reflects the possibility - which is different than trying to accept that you're gay when you're not - I hope that makes sense (this is why I always recommend working with a CBT therapist who can help you with this process).

As for your experience with the psychologist - let me clarify a few things. The first session or two is often used to get a clear picture of what's going on (i.e., your background and the history of your "presenting problem" - in your case, HOCD symptoms). That's essential. Any psychologist (or other type of therapist) who is experienced in treating OCD should have no problem treating HOCD - they don't have to be familiar with HOCD per se (HOCD is not a formal clinical diagnosis - it's just a term used to describe OCD in which the primary obsession is a fear of being a homosexual).

OCD is OCD. The underlying aspects of the disorder (and it's treatment) are the same whether or not you are obsessing about having HIV, committing a violent act, being in contact with germs, or being gay. In the future, I suggest not saying "I have HOCD", but rather saying "I constantly worry I might be gay", and go from there. And be sure, if possible, to find someone who truly is experienced in treating OCD - if they're successfully treated other types of OCD, they can treat this. The principles are all the same.

Do keep in mind, also, that treatment is not going to involve just a couple of sessions. OCD is a complex disorder and effective treatment can take quite a while, unfortunately. But I do commend you for talking to a psychologist - it just seems you may have found someone who was a bit too inexperienced to recognize that HOCD is just another form of OCD.

Dr. Lane

Hey Dr. Lane, thanks so much

Hey Dr. Lane, thanks so much for your last reply! It was very helpful and made me realize the irrationality of my assumptions. Just 2 last things, and i can hopefully be on my way to recovery!

1)Is this a symptom of HOCD? I got a new job today, and i started questioning if I was being to crush on this coworker. It was stupid because i wasn't even genuinely attracted to her, she was just being nice. In the past I know I would have found her as just that-nice. But now Im afraid I'll liker her in that way! Working at a restaurant doesn't help at all, I see the all families and keep thinking "Oh I don't want that, do I? no i don't" but i know i did 4 months ago haha. I looked at this married women and found her pretty and thought "oh i could see why he married her, shes pretty attractive" and then i hated myself for thinking that thought. I guess this is also a form of mental testing?

2) My most important question, I keep thinking my past numerous crushes on guys weren't "sexual enough" , that i just liked them because that was what i was taught. Although, having numerous crushes on guys since kindergarten and none on girls until these hopefully false attraction to girls recently has got to say something. So do crushes have more to than thinking of them sexually? I never really thought of them sexually i dont think, but i really liked them.

I actually remember having this day dream as a child of me kissing a celebrity crush and i remember i would always dress up hoping to impress guys, and used to cry when guys would be mean to be, and had this fight with my friend over a guy in the past and would get upset at the fact that she would talk to the guys i would, like that's got to say something about how i felt about guys my first 18 years old life?

It seems simple to decide when i look at my past, but my interests have just been flipped around completely and i can't tell what i want anymore!

Yes, I think this is more

Yes, I think this is more compulsive mental testing, which is very common with HOCD.

As for your crushes not being "sexual enough" - that partly comes with experience. Most young girls aren't thinking about sex when they have crushes on boys; they're just thinking how cute they are, or how much they enjoy being around them in a "butterflies in the stomach" fun sort of way - that's different than just enjoying being with friends. So, again, I wouldn't put too much weight on those past crushes. I think you are over-analyzing every aspect of your past - and again, that's very common with HOCD.

I hope that helps!

Dr. Lane

Hey Dr.Lane, Quick question,

Hey Dr.Lane,
Quick question, I feel as if I am starting to enjoy the sexual thoughts with women regardless of the fact that at first i found it repulsive. Could enjoying the thoughts and feeling like you want it, be another symptom of HOCD? The anxiety and distress is signficantly less and the mental testing i do with guys (with a lack of excitement) is what makes me question.

I find no excitement or want to be straight anymore? Even reassurances that it is hocd does not bring any relief. Although I do feel, that if i avoided google that one day (that started this obsession) i may not have been having these lesbian thoughts, which isnt typical of being lesbian.

Sometimes I am certain that I am straight (for a couple of minutes), and then get hit with a new thought that's 10 times worse everytime!

Usually, someone who is

Usually, someone who is straight and struggling with HOCD does not enjoy the sexual thoughts at all. Their "mind" may "tell them" that they enjoy them, but there's no genuine sexual or emotional enjoyment (I hope that distinction makes sense). So, no, this is not a typical symptom of HOCD. I wish I could say it is, but I can't. However, I don't want to jump to any conclusions (nor should you), based on just that.

As for reassurances that this is HOCD (and you are straight) not bringing any relief - reassurances rarely bring anything more than fleeting relief for someone with any type of OCD or anxiety in general. So, that is not unusual at all.

Dr. Lane

I guess I worded that

I guess I worded that wrongly... I don't genuinely enjoy it, actually I never even think of it that often. I just get worried that I am not letting myself enjoy it because I'm repressing it. And I worry that one day I will want too. I've never enjoyed the thought, rather my mind keeps saying "I know you like it, you're just repressing it/hiding it/not allowing yourself to feel it" but I've never felt okay or happy with it.

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