I'm Gay and You're Not: Understanding Homosexuality Fears


OCD Takes Many Forms

Continued from Part 1...

Homosexual OCD is a demon, and it knows how to deceive sufferers, but if you know what to look for you cannot be deceived. Part of the problem is that HOCD masks sufferers' body signals. The other part is that people wrongly think they can suddenly turn gay, and that, of course, is an impossibility. You cannot suddenly turn gay any more than you can sprout wings. It does not get any more basic than that. HOCD will try to rewrite your past and say that you did not actually feel this or that, but whatever you remember feeling at the time is, well, what you really did feel at the time. You cannot change a past truth, and HOCD always lies.

Don't Be Confused by Propaganda

There are many people who, for political or religious reasons, will tell you otherwise. Can you say... propaganda?!! Do they want you to vote for them? Do they want you to disregard your spiritual or non-spiritual truths and accept only theirs? In other words, what are the secret agendas of such political and religious spokespersons? Even my community--the gay community I will defend with my dying breath--is guilty of ridiculous propaganda spread thick among what is otherwise true. That is part of being human. You don't have to believe what someone else says or writes simply because he or she is respectable and learned. If your HOCD clings to someone's propaganda, disbelieve it. More importantly, if your gut feeling (not your OCD feeling!) says something is not so, trust yourself.

There are also people who don't know any better and say what they believe because it is all they have ever heard. Such people mean you no harm, but their incorrect words are what we OCD folks latch onto. Those words get stuck in our brains and become our illogical false truths.

So now we know something about how HOCD thrives on propaganda and human error. We also know how an HOCD rant differs from an in-the-closet rant. Is there any similarity between HOCD fear and in-the-closet fear? Yes and no.

Look Deep Inside

Because society pounds gays with stereotypes--and because many gays fear being rejected, tossed into the streets by parents, ejected from houses of worship and jobs, or being beaten to a pulp--many try to trick themselves into denying their sexual identity. Even I did when I was in the closet. But deep down, gays like me know who we really are. We are simply scared of what people will do to us, and we are scared of losing everyone we love. When, however, we separate our gay thoughts from all of the value judgments and fear with which society brainwashes us, we take great pleasure in our gay identities.

On the other hand, straight HOCD folks will never be happy with gay thoughts. Because they know that they are straight; they fight against the gay lies HOCD puts into their heads. Their gay thoughts cause them pain by trying to trick them into thinking they are gay. They never accept that they are gay because, quite frankly, they are not. For this reason, they have never been in the closet.

Allow me to rephrase. As you can see, although straight HOCD folks and closeted gay folks both suffer because of fear in their minds, they are nothing alike. Gays in the closet try to trick themselves into thinking they can be straight; straight HOCD folks are tricked by their thoughts (not by themselves!) into fearing they are gay. On a primal level, however, gay people always know that they are gay no matter what tricks society employs. Straight people always know that they are straight no matter what tricks HOCD employs.

HOCD's favorite means of trickery is the spike, seeing or hearing something that, in a heartbeat, makes all the HOCD fears escalate. Let me make this clear by giving you an example of my own (non-HOCD) spiking. I used to see a crack in the sidewalk and think about how earthquakes could cause such cracks, how an earthquake could cause cracks in buildings, how an earthquake was coming this very day to crack sidewalks and buildings, how an earthquake would make a building fall on me, how I would be crushed to death, how everyone I cared about would be killed... And all this snowballing from a crack in the sidewalk. That is the way all OCD works; HOCD is no different. Thus, a sufferer sees a man with an earring, and everything snowballs from there. Yet, most men who wear earrings are heterosexual since most men are heterosexual; in addition, male earrings have been fashionable since the 80s. Those last bits of logic are never factored in, though, as HOCD depends on illogic and high anxiety.

OCD is an Illness

Remember: OCD is an illness with set symptoms. No matter how smart, how well read, or how emotionally controlled you are, it can still get under your skin and make you act in ways you normally would not. The interesting thing about HOCD is that people who get it act the same way regardless of how comfortable they were with gay friends or how outright homophobic they were before onset.

Similarly, no matter how comfortable they were with their sexual orientation before onset, HOCD folks get into a lot of nonsense about what this or that means, and they assume that the most innocent of actions--a pat on the back, perhaps--has cataclysmic repercussions. Something I always say to the straight HOCD folks who write to me: If you want to know what acceptable heterosexual behavior is, observe the heterosexuals without HOCD around you. They pat each other on the back, sometimes put their arms around each other, and are often non-sexually physical in other ways. They are drawn to each other as friends, and the close friends among them have deep but non-sexual emotional bonds. All that falls within the realm of heterosexuality.

Let's push it a little further.

Does my lack of sexual desire for women mean I hate them? Not at all. I love my female friends and hug them and hold hands--but I cannot imagine ever having sex with them. I feel actual warmth when I am with them, but it is friendship, not something sexual. It is the same thing when straight guys pat each other on the back, hug, wrestle, or bond in other ways. There is nothing sexual there, but they do feel warmth in friendship and seek each other's company. If these activities were gay, homophobic guys across America would not be doing them.

Pushing further...

A straight thirtysomething friend of mine is an actor, and he had to play a gay guy in a show. In one scene, he had to French kiss another actor--night after night after night. Did that make him gay? Absolutely not. He derived no pleasure from it; he just did it mechanically, and, as an actor, he used body language to make the audience think he was enjoying it. How did he know what body language to simulate? He asked his gay friends. (Hello!) I had no doubt that he really wanted to be doing that to his wife, not another guy. His wife was in the audience for many performances, and I am sure she knew that her husband was not gay.

In another show, my friend played a murderer who enjoyed killing. We all knew that he was simulating his enjoyment, and that he was no killer. Same thing as when he played a gay guy.

On Friends, there is an episode where Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Ross (David Schwimmer) French kiss because of a misunderstanding. I am sure those straight actors simply played their roles and did not feel anything. We the audience got to laugh hysterically at the moment, and no one thought the characters had turned gay.

In addition, a number of guys who do gay porn are straight. They do not enjoy having sex with other men at all; rather, they do it for money.

Why am I writing all this? Anyone can function biologically. Even I could have vaginal sex with a woman: I would not like it, and I would probably be thinking of a guy the whole time... But, if I had to, I could carry out the motions. Does that make me straight? No way.

Do you see what I am going at great lengths to explain?

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Deriving pleasure from being intimate with a member of the same sex determines whether or not one is gay. Nothing else does. And clearly, all the hyper-anxiety associated with HOCD is not pleasure.

Of course, deriving pleasure from being intimate with a member of the opposite sex determines whether or not one is straight. Some folks think they have to prove the pleasure factor and their heterosexuality as young as possible; they say that if you are a virgin at a certain age, you must be gay. WRONG! People should never associate virginity with any particular sexual orientation. I know gay and straight guys who lost their virginity very late and others who lost it while in their early teens. There are also folks who die straight virgins or gay virgins. Note: they are straight virgins or gay virgins because of what biology made them, not because of sex acts. A person is already heterosexual before he or she has sex for the first time--or even if he or she is a virgin. If you don't believe me, just ask heterosexuals without HOCD.

What, then, is the right age for sex? I don't know that there is one. If you want to wait for marriage, you are normal. If you want to wait for the right person or time but not wait for marriage, you are normal. If you cannot wait at all and have it as soon as you can, you are normal. Each of us is different.

Now let's push it further still.

A different friend who is too straight for words knows that he would never want to have sex with a man and does not find men sexually interesting. However, he has a major foot fetish. In fact, a sexy pair of feet turns him on regardless of whether they belong to men or women. That one raised even my eyebrows at first. But, if you think about it, feet really have no gender. So is he gay or bi if he finds a guy's feet attractive? I'd say no since it is about feet--and he does not like anything on men above the ankles.

What of straight bodybuilders who admire other men's bodies? I'd say they are straight if the admiration is non-sexual (which I am sure it is).

How Do Gay Men See Women?

I know that I am gay and not bisexual or straight. No question there. Have I ever found women hot? Yes. Have I ever had thoughts about what it would be like with a woman? Yes. Has a woman ever given me an erection? No. Do I want to have sex with a woman I find hot? No.

So why do I think Jennifer Anniston is hot? Why can I talk about her with yet another straight friend of mine? For the same reason he can tell me that he thinks Matt Damon is hot. We are human. Our sexual orientations are clear, but that does not mean we cannot look at or even think about the other sex. My friend would never actually do anything with Matt Damon or a picture of him, but he is comfortable enough with his sexuality to talk to me about him. A lot of--not all!--straight guys have had such thoughts, but few will admit to them. It is the same with gays. Believe me, most of us queers would rather cut off our arms than admit that we have had very occasional thoughts about women. However, secure people of all sexual orientations can talk honestly with no fear.

Sadly, if the same thought that strikes obviously straight non-HOCD guys like my friend passes through the mind of an obviously straight HOCD guy, that HOCD guy will spike. And there, I believe, lies the origin or all the OH-NO-I-saw-a-guy-and-I-thought-he-was-good-looking-and-I-must-be-gay HOCD fears. If you let the thought freak you out, HOCD will grab hold with vicious glee. So you had a rare thought about someone of the same sex. So what? It does not mean you are gay.

Do you see how complicated it gets? For an OCD person, it can be nightmarish. We are full of what ifs and illogical reasoning, and we want absolute truth in a universe where limited humans can never attain it. Fortunately, sexual orientation is fairly clear cut even if an occasional thought runs counter to one's orientation. If, apart from such an occasional thought, the idea of being intimate with the same sex turns you off and fills you with anxiety, there is no way that you could be gay. Period. Go back to rule one if need be.

The Bottom Line

I'm gay. I love my same-sex attraction.

I'm gay--and you're not.

Connect with Others

Need to talk to others who understand? Visit the OCD Discussion Forum.

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