I'm straight, but attracted to transgender or gay porn (or gay attracted to straight porn). What's up?
IF YOU HAVE OCD PLEASE NOTE:
- If you have OCD we strongly suggest you consult with a counselor or doctor who specializes in OCD. Some with HOCD have benefited greatly from medications and appropriate therapy.
- Those with obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD tendencies who abstain from masturbation may experience increased symptoms. Even temporary abstinence may not be for you.
- YBOP suggests those with OCD read the HOCD rebooting accounts below and take from them what works for you. There is no one way.
There are two main types of porn users who ask this question:
- Those who have developed sexual obsessive compulsive disorder (SOCD, HOCD).
- Those who do not have a form of OCD, but are still disturbed by their newly acquired tastes in porn.
Much of this FAQ is geared towards those with homosexual obsessive compulsive disorder (HOCD). That said, most of the suggestions could be applied to those with porn addiction or porn-induced fetishes.
The main article starts below the following group of links. The first section contains the success stories (rebooting accounts) of men with porn-induced HOCD or porn-induced fetishes. (The very last section on this page is advice and insights from recovering guys.) If you want to calm your anxiety and feel hopeful, I suggest reading our blog posts listed after the rebooting accounts, as they answer most of the questions one would have. Or maybe start with the experts section, such as this article - Am I Gay? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Takes Many Forms. This is an excerpt from it:
Hello there! My name is Mark, and I am a gay male with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I am writing for the benefit of heterosexual folks who hope to use this article to understand their fears about being gay (also known as gay OCD or HOCD). No worries, my friend: If you are trying to understand yourself or someone close to you who has HOCD, you are reading the right article.
- Rule one: If you say you are heterosexual, then you are. Period.
- Rule two: There are no other rules.
Thank you for taking the time to read and obey the rules. I am a teacher in my real life, and I always spell out the rules early on.
Now that we are coming at this from the same mindset, please bear with me as I walk you through HOCD.
Rebooting accounts of those who arrived with HOCD or porn-induced fetishes:
NOTE: Some guys with OCD have better luck just cutting out porn & fantasizing, without trying to eliminate masturbation. YBOP suggests you read the following rebooting accounts and take from them what works for you. There is no one way.
- Medical Doctor - HOCD: Extreme fetish porn and acting out (read what an MD has to say)
- Age 21 - Porn-induced ED, HOCD and Vagina Phobia finally cured after years
- Age 22 - I finally found a way to get rid of my porn addiction, PIED & OCD.
I probably started fapping at around 11-12 and now I am 22. For almost 2 years I thought I was gay because shemale & gay porns thrilled me the most, which of course was nonsense since my whole life I never felt aroused by a man, neither did I have a crush on one at any point in my life.
- Beating HOCD: Thread on YourBrainRebalanced
- Age 21 - Been free from shemale porn for two years now.
- 134 days in, [transwomen] now seem entirely unattractive...
I now notice much more of the bone structure, thicker skin, larger foreheads, squarer jaws, broader shoulders, more sturdy arms and details like that, which have actually become a turnoff. Seeing a penis attached to even the most feminine body is no longer something of interest, albeit slightly disgusting to me now, I guess I'm longer used to it...
- 177 days - ED & HOCD, with a girlfriends help
- Age 25 - I feel like a brand new man. (HOCD - ED)
- Unhooked from porn - Taste for transsexuals disappeared, women look good.
- ED, HOCD - Victory is closer than you think.
- Xanax helped
- Atention every one with HOCD or sexual anxiety!
- Good progress! (HOCD)
- Age 16 - (ED). Good news: Over HOCD; Bad news: I keep jumping back to porn
- Age 17 - HOCD & porn-induced ED, 100+ days
- Age 18 - Severe HOCD, first 8 months.
- Age 18 - ED cured, still battling HOCD
- Age 19 - HOCD is disappearing
- Age 19 - (ED), HOCD - both finally gone.
- Age 19 - (HOCD) Stopped porn and my girlfriend is now HOT, erections strong
- Age 20 - HOCD & extreme social anxiety: Now, I love life.
- Age 21 - Escalated into extreme fetish porn and thought I was bisexual. Cutting out porn changed everything.
- Age 21 - Day 79: Cured. First Sex EVER (HOCD)
- Age 21 - HOCD, anxiety, depression, brain fog, lethargy, pessemism
- Age 21 - ED, relapses, masturbation may have jumpstarted final healing
- Age 21 - Escalated into extreme fetish porn and thought I was bisexual.
- Age 22 - Porn screwed me up and quitting made my life better than ever
Without waffling, in a nut shell, porn robbed me off my social skills, it made me self-conscious, it took away my self confidence that I'd always had, it made me question everything, it gave me slight HOCD (questioning my fucking sexuality). I now look back, after being away from porn for so long, and everything is so clear, my mind is so sharp, and I'm now 100% comfortable with my sexuality (straight), like I was before I got hooked on porn. When you're feeding your brain with fucked up, twisted shit, how can you not expect thoughts to go in your head?
- Age 22 - ED, transexual porn
- Ex tranny finds freedom from fetish
- Age 22 - HOCD is also almost completely gone. I faced the fears.
- Age 23 - (ED), 3 months and carrying on
- Age 23 - HOCD: Reflecting on the past few years of NoFap and PornFree.
- Age 23 - Hooked on transexual porn, social anxiety
- Age 23 - ED cured: had escalated to femdom & transgender porn
- Age 23 - HOCD, ED
- Age 23 - HOCD: It took me 2.5 years to go from zero to hero.
- 1.5 years - I'm rebooted. This is amazing, strange, beautiful and scary
- Age 24 - No more delayed ejaculation, got GF & more happy than ever (transexual porn & escorts)
- Age 25 - HOCD & ED cured: Fantastic sex with my dream girl. I have never been this happy to be alive.
- Age 25 - from porn-induced ED to great sex life in 90 days
- Age 25 - After 1 year of nofap I am 100% cured of anxiety, HOCD and ED
- Age 26 - 90 days hardmode: spectacular results
- Age 27 - HOCD, OCD, Anxiety gone
- Age 28 - 90 days, Q&A - HOCD and social anxiety improved
- Age 30 - 32 days hard mode. Fighting HOCD.
- Age 30 - Escalated to transexual porn: my tips on beating porn addiction
- Age 32 - HOCD, ED: porn is not sex
- Age 42 - Married: Gave up porn; quit cross-dressing and dangerous masturbation
- My life has changed: ED cured, not confused about sexuality
- How I Recovered from HOCD
- Beating HOCD - Saving my life
- Help for HOCD thoughts
- I don't have strange unwanted fetishes anymore!
- HOCD - Stop looking for answers
- 90 day report - HOCD, many positive changes
- Another HOCD Post. Advice/Feedback Needed.
- One Man's Struggles With Transexual Porn
- "HOCD is in the past, but porn is still a problem"
- "How I tamed my HOCD
- From str8 to gay and back
- "Vagina arousal fear"
- An Attempt to Face Porn Addiction by Carrying Out Fantasies (Shemale)
- Short HOCD Recovery Stories
- Can SSRIs help?
- How I got rid of HOCD
- 90 days - I’m much more attracted to women these days. Also had symptoms of HOCD and these are totally gone
YBOP blog posts on porn-induced fetishes and HOCD (listed from earliest to most recent):
- "Losing at Porn Roulette" And see his recovery report - Our first post on morphing sexual tastes.
- ‘Straight Men, Gay Porn’ and Other Brain Map Mysteries - Our second post expands on what we discovered
- "Can You Trust Your Johnson?" - Our most complete post on morphing sexual tastes (many comments below it).
- Rethinking Ogas and Gaddam's 'A Billion Wicked Thoughts' - Our post which disagrees with A Billion Wicked Thoughts conclusion that porn tastes are static.
- Are Sexual Tastes Immutable? - Post explores morphing sexual tastes, and relevant animal research.
- Exposure Therapy for HOCD? Porn-related HOCD may call for its own treatment protocol - Our most recent post discussing therapy for HOCD
Materials by experts:
- Study: Who is attracted to 'shemales'? - Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women (2015)
- I'm Not Gay and You Aren't Either - the truth about HOCD
- The understanding and treatment of the obsessional doubt related to sexual orientation and relationship substantiation, by Steven Phillipson, Ph.D.
- HOCD: Homosexual OCD & Sexual Orientation OCD, by Steven J. Seay, Ph.D.
- Gay OCD / HOCD / Sexual Orientation OCD: Common Subtypes - OCD center of LA
- "You Are Not Your Brain", by Jeffrey Schwartz, a medical doctor who treats OCD
- Schwartz technique from The Brain That Changes Itself,
- HOCD Sub-Types: by Jon Hershfield MA
- What Is HOCD (Homosexual-Compulsive Disorder)? - by OCD Today
- Short video by 2 therapists: "Caught Him Looking At Gay Porn! Is He Gay?"
- Dr. Penzel on OCD vs. Porn Addiction
- Doctor Penzel Describes Desensitization Process for HOCD
- Gay OCD / HOCD Test - OCD center of LA
YBOP presentations that address how one develops porn-induced fetishes and porn-induced ED
- Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn - My latest video on porn use causing sexual conditioning and acquired tastes in porn.
- Your Brain on Porn - porn addiction - explains escalation into new porn genres and development of porn addiction
Gary's radio shows dealing with HOCD or porn-induced fetishes:
- HOCD: How does it develop? How does one recover? (radio show #23) - I interview a young man who recovered from HOCD
- Porn, escalation, tolerance and morphing sexual tastes (show #16)
- Porn, sexual conditioning and the adolescent brain (show #17)
Articles by journalists:
- Why Trans Porn Is Hugely Popular Among Hetero Men - Alternet (2016)
- Pure OCD: a rude awakening, The Guardian - everyone should read this! Female writes about personal struggle with SOCD.
- The nightmare of living with OCD, The Guardian - everyone should read this too.
- Why bathroom sex is hot - anxiety and "fear" can increase sexual excitement
- 'Homosexual OCD': Straight Men Who Suspect They Are Gay
Science related to porn-induced SOCD
- Homosexuality Anxiety: A Misunderstood Form of OCD, by Monica Williams PhD (2008)
- Google Talk by Neuroscientist: Why we like certain types of porn (including shemale)
- Study finds that OCD is a typical *result* of this addiction
- Study: Who is attracted to 'shemales'? - Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women (2015)
- Study: on male homosexual behavior - Indian researchers found that only 26% of men being treated for STIs acquired during sex with men appeared to be gay. The rest were trying it for other reasons.
- Study: Anxiety increases sexual arousal (1983) - Anxiety can heighten sexual arousal and excitation
- Study: Sexual anxiety and female sexual arousal: a comparison of arousal during sexual anxiety stimuli and sexual pleasure stimuli (1987) - Anxiety can heighten sexual arousal
- Study: The effect of emotional arousal on subsequent sexual arousal in men (1980) - Anxiety can heighten sexual arousal
- Research finds source of thrill from fear - anxiety/fear can increase dopamine
- Courting both ways and Drunken flies get hypersexual - Boosting dopamine has male flies courting males
- Enhanced D2-type receptor activity facilitates the development of conditioned same-sex partner preference in male rats (2012) - Boosting dopamine sexually conditions male rats to prefer males over females.
- Meds 'Made Him Gay' - Dopamine agonists cause hypersexuality in significant percentage of patients
- Dopamine agonist triggered pathological behaviors - hypersexuality caused by dopamine agonists
- Sexual orientation obsessions in obsessive compulsive disorder prevalence and correlates. (2011)
Tips on remedies:
NOTE: We are not doctors, and you need to check this information with a doctor before trying either of these ideas. But here are comments from two guys who wrestled with HOCD:
I ... started taking inositol and... FUCK ME it's helping a FUCKING LOT. I'm not sure if this isn't only placebo, but it's been over a month now and I feel much better. There are days where I don't have a single intrusive thought, literally, a single fucking one. You should check it out guys.
I second the inositol would also like to add N Acetyl Cysteine or NAC as a very helpful supplement inositol reduces the obsessisions NAC reduces the associated anxiety. Especially when combined with meditation and therapy.
Are you struggling with feelings like this?
I seriously thought I was turning gay. My HOCD was so strong at that time, I was contemplating taking a dive off the nearest high-rise. I felt so depressed. I knew I loved girls and I can't love another dude, but why did I have ED? Why did I need transexual/gay stuff to shock me into arousal? Now that I understand why I was suffering, I have gotten so much better. I am looking for girlfriend, while rebooting at the same time. I am so relieved to understand why it is, and what it is.
It's clear from a nofap survey that many porn users escalate to porn genres that do not match their innate sexuality. Almost 60% of nofap members who were polled said their tastes had become increasingly extreme or deviant. About half of them were disturbed by these changes, the other half - not so much. Moreover, when researchers finally asked porn users if their porn use had escalated to material they formerly found "uninteresting or disgusting," half of them said it had. And Cambridge researchers have begun to demonstrate that internet porn causes users to habituate more rapidly than controls, and to be more responsive to novelty.
It appears that desensitization of the reward circuitry is behind many porn users escalating to porn that doesn't match their original sexual tastes or orientation. HOCD may be a more unsettling version of what guys report all the time - escalation to new genres. Fear, anxiety, or shock all elevate dopamine and adrenaline (norepinephrine), which may amplify sexual excitation. This is exactly what a desensitized brain craves. And if your brain becomes desperate enough for stimulation (because you can't easily climax to earlier genres), you may even act out, as this visitor did:
For my part I've never been afraid of "turning gay" as I have WAY too much appreciation for the female form in all of its sparkling varieties. BUT I've been having fantasies about sexual relations with other men and I've even acted on these fantasies. Thing is, the male body does nothing for me in terms of getting turned on, but the "forbidden" aspect of it makes my dopamine-craving mind play with the idea anyway.
A key principle in understanding how we wire, or re-wire, our brains is, "neurons that fire together wire together." That is, if two things happen at the same time, our brains often associate them by means of actual neural connections. The more intense the associated events, or the more they are repeated, the stronger the wiring. Groups of nerve cells devoted to a behavior or function are sometimes called "brain maps."
Reproduction is our genes' number-one priority, and sexual stimulation produces our highest levels of dopamine, which helps cement memories and learning. Orgasm is a neurochemical blast so delicious that our brains readily wire it (and arousal) to associated events and circumstances. As psychiatrist Norman Doidge explained in The Brain That Changes Itself:
The men at their computers looking at porn were uncannily like the rats in the cages of the NIH, pressing the bar to get a shot of dopamine or its equivalent. Though they didn't know it, they had been seduced into pornographic training sessions that met all the conditions required for plastic change of brain maps. ... Each time they felt sexual excitement and had an orgasm when they masturbated, a "spritz of dopamine," the reward neurotransmitter, consolidated the connections made in the brain during the sessions. [From the chapter "Acquiring Tastes and Loves."]
This is not purely theoretical as recent animal research reveals that high levels of dopamine (a dopamine agonist) can alter sexual preferences in males. Norman Doidge counseled many men who had developed sexual tastes that did not match their innate sexuality:
The content of what [patients] found exciting changed as the Web sites introduced themes and scripts that altered their brains without their awareness. Because plasticity is competitive, the brain maps for new, exciting images increased at the expense of what had previously attracted them. (p.109)
In other words, it seems as though many men are now experiencing porn-induced alterations in sexual tastes. Is that surprising? Our ancesters didn't spend hours jacking off to images of ejaculating penises.
However, HOCD is more than simply getting off to new porn, or even using porn that doesn't match your true sexual orientation. Instead it is a recognized disorder that can be a living hell. From Pure OCD: a rude awakening, The Guardian, an excellent article by a female with SOCD:
A common manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder is one called homosexual OCD (HOCD), also called gay OCD or homophobic OCD. This arises as a fear and obsession with being gay - usually a person who believes him or herself to be straight will question that sexuality and begin obsessing on homosexuality.
Here's the one thing that a counselor will remind you as soon as you begin treatments for HOCD: if you believe yourself to be straight, then you are.
The instances of a straight person "finding out" they're gay through HOCD episodes are so statistically small as to be less than flukes. They're almost non-existent. Most of those who "convert" to homosexuality do so only temporarily as they begin to understand that their obsession was not about their own sexuality, but about other fears and anxieties that may not have even been related to homosexuality.
It seems as though there are two types of HOCD:
- OCD + homosexual fears (or event) = HOCD
- Years of porn use + distress about escalation to gay/transsexual porn = porn-related HOCD
Random events in life, such as unthinking comments by peers at vulnerable moments, can cause some people to start questioning their sexual orientation compulsively (HOCD).
However, today an emerging impetus for HOCD is chronic overstimulation, which leaves the brain less responsive to everyday pleasures and thus desperate for sensation. To some degree this is also happening to porn users who don't develop HOCD. See Studies linking porn use or porn/sex addiction to sexual dysfunctions, lower brain activation to sexual stimuli, and lower sexual satisfaction
Streaming online pornography makes chronic overconsumption easy. Compared with erotica of the past it's so stimulating that, in some users, it produces addiction-related brain changes. No wonder. Quite apart from nonstop sexual titillation, today's Internet porn activates the brain's reward system for all evolutionarily salient stimuli, augmenting memory formation (wiring):
- Strong emotions, such as surprise, fear, disgust, anxiety,
- Seeking and searching, and
- Anything that violates expectations, including danger.
Moreover, it's possible that those who develop HOCD may have brains that are particularly plastic for some reason. According to a Chinese study, those with OCD tendencies prior to exposure to the Internet face increased risk of addiction.
In any event, a porn addict's brain can grow numb to normal pleasure even as it becomes hyper-reactive to select cues. Here's a guy describing a common progression, which is often reported by those who slip into porn-related HOCD:
29 y/o with 17 years of MO (to softcore and imagination) and 12 years of masturbating, escalating to extreme/fetish porn. I started to lose interest in real sex. The build up and release from porn became stronger than it was from sex. Porn offers unlimited variety. I could choose what I want to see in the moment. My delayed ejaculation during sex became so bad that sometimes I couldn't orgasm at all. This killed my last desire to have sex.
Classic sexual conditioning
Once this degree of desensitization has set in, the stage is set for porn-related HOCD. Non-conforming porn violates expectations, releases more dopamine and norepinephrine than earlier porn genres, and furnishes the extra kick that fires up sluggish (addicted) reward circuitry. A user may begin to question why he can get off to fetish porn with transsexual/gay action yet not be attracted to real sex partners who aroused him in the past.
His brain, however, automatically begins to wire its sexual response to this novel, stimulating genre—in a classic case of sexual conditioning. As explained in an earlier post, sexuality can be conditioned to most anything, even the smell of death, so it's not surprising that many of today's porn users report that their porn tastes morph all over the place as their pleasure response declines.
Now, our user may find that he can only climax to his latest (and therefore most stimulating) genre. If it's one that he views as inconsistent with his underlying sexual orientation, the shock value is greater...and releases even more stimulating/anxiety-producing neurochemicals. His arousal is heightened, in part, by his own stress. These guys describe their experience:
First guy: The scary thing is that I've been seeing women as crazy attractive, and men or the idea of men pretty nonsexual. As a gay man who's pretty much exclusively had relations with other men since high school, this is kind of weird. Even when I see "ugly" ladies walking on the street, I can't help but picture what it'd be like to have crazy sex with them right there. Will it stop? Is it reversible?
Second guy: The first two days I had serious anxiety, almost wanting to kill myself because I lost all attraction towards any female. These thoughts make me think that I am gay, making me question what I do, what I say, making me sick. I can't eat. I think intrusive thoughts...making me feel like I'm gay, when I know I'm not.
The users' desperation to understand whether their sexual orientation has suddenly changed can lead to constant, compulsive "testing" and other reassurance rituals. As with other varieties of OCD (including non-porn-related HOCD), the testing and searches for reassurance offer temporary relief. Each "test" reinforces the unwanted arousal—either with rewarding relief, or electrifying distress if the test fails. In this way, tests reinforce the problematic triggers.
What's a therapist to do?
Keep in mind that behavioral addictions and compulsions run on reward. We know from addiction therapy that addictions gradually heal as those rewards are no longer forthcoming due to abstinence. Slowly, the brain weakens related pathways.
The therapist may best be able to help by correctly evaluating the rewards behind a particular client's HOCD. If his motivating reward is primarily relief from "testing" or from repeatedly declaring his orientation has changed (to get the temporary relief of certainty), then exposure and response prevention (no moretesting or anxiety-motivated declarations) may do the trick.
In the case of porn-related HOCD, however, the rewards of addiction may comprise the lion's share of the client's challenge. There could well be two addictive rewards in the mix: fear and sexual arousal.
Fear as reward
Distress may not sound rewarding but fear activates the reward circuitry and anxiety can be sexually arousing. Think roller coasters and horror films. To a brain desperate for sensation (due to the brain changes brought on by chronic overstimulation/addiction), fear-induced activation can register as especially compelling. It jacks up both dopamine and norepinephrine (a form of adrenaline). As one guy hooke on transexual porn described:
I've gone back to lesbian porn now, I found shemale porn really really arousing at first, but not really my cup of tea anymore. Once I stopped being afraid of what people would think, it lost that rush it gave me and became boring.
When I first found shemale porn it was new and exciting, but now I'd rather a woman. Fear is what drove my attraction to shemales, but once the fear was gone the attraction was gone. It don't look right seeing a woman with a dick anymore. It's not disgusting but just not right.
But there's more going on at a biological level. The stress neurochemical cortisol can also heighten rewarding effects by triggering the release of dopamine. Eventually, brain changes can make someone hyper-responsive to stressful cues. Research confirms that extreme stress and drugs of abuse both increase the strength of related (addiction) brain pathways. Researchers believe cortisol thus plays a pivotal role in reward-related behavioral pathologies.
The situation is akin to BDSM, where physical pain heightens a person's sexual buzz because of the effects on the brain. In HOCD sufferers, arousal and panic achieve a similar end. Bottom line: Despite intense emotional or physical discomfort, heightened arousal can make a behavior very hard to stop (addictive). Anxiety is anxiety, even though it sometimes feels like arousal in a brain desperate for stimulation.
My anxiety is misinterpreted as "deep feelings" for the guy I'm talking with because anxiety IS a kind of arousal.
The HOCD sufferer's brain has learned to obtain part of its reward from its own distress. Worse yet, when the sufferer tries to give up porn, his anxiety will naturally increase for an extended period. Withdrawal raises anxiety in all recovering addicts, fueling powerful cravings for more stimulation quite apart from HOCD concerns. Most eventually discover that "checking" is the real issue:
I used to google HOCD every single day, but it caused so much confusion I had to stop. DO NOT look up any definitions of homosexuality or or believe what you read about homosexuality. I literally did everything you're not supposed to do. In time, you'll be able to read coming out stories and realize that was never you. You're not there yet though. You're where I was 6 months ago or so. Yeah, it takes a really fucking long time to get over, I'm not going to lie to you.
For HOCD sufferers this predictable increase in anxiety tends to set off intense spikes (panics about orientation) and frantic "checking," often driving them back into addiction. Indeed, some report that their HOCD fears were trivial until they quit porn, and the added anxiety of porn withdrawal hit them. As the addicted brain targets the strongest "fix" it can think of: panic+checking+sexual arousal to HOCD-related stimuli, straight feelings seem to evaporate.
Sexual arousal as reward
An addiction to Internet porn is an addiction to an orgasm-aid. Sexual arousal is the most powerful natural reward the brain can produce. Yet arousal from porn's constant novelty (each scene offers another hit of stimulating neurochemicals) can produce a surprisingly potent reward. Sex, or even orgasm, may pale in intensity as porn addiction progresses and response to everyday pleasures declines. Some users end up hooked on the neurochemical buzz from edging to novel porn for hours, intentionally deferring, or avoiding, climax.
The brain evolved to assume that a source of intense sexual arousal is a potential fertilization opportunity. If someone arouses himself with something that releases maximum dopamine and norepinephrine, the brain will automatically wire it up as "valuable." It doesn't matter if it's not consistent with his innate sexuality—because the brain measures salience according to levels of reward circuitry activation, not orientation. (It just so happens that in a brain responding normally to pleasure, stimuli appropriate to one's orientation generally produce the most satisfying feelings.)
Not surprisingly, sensitized brain pathways for intense sexual cues are different from less stimulating cues (even sexual ones). We can unwire the latter with relative ease, but not the former. This has been demonstrated in research, as recounted by James G. Pfaus et al:
Lalumière and Quinsey (1998 ) reported significant conditioned genital arousal in heterosexual men to a picture of a moderately attractive, partially nude woman that was paired with a video depicting highly arousing sexual interaction. A control group that received access to the picture alone (without the video) showed habituation [instead]. (emphasis added)
As explained above, for porn-related HOCD sufferers sexual cues are especially intense because they are heightened by the neurochemical effects of fear.
Exposure therapy backfires when porn addiction is present
For the Internet porn addict using standard HOCD therapy, exposure to real gay men doesn't address the source of his HOCD conditioning—which is not to humans or sex with humans, but rather to pixels. Yet if he tries exposure therapy with gay porn, he is engaging in the precise behavior to which he is addicted. One can't cause an addict to habituate by providing the very cues he's hooked on!
This is why porn-based exposure therapy could well be all wrong for guys trying to unravel porn-related HOCD. It's like having an alcoholic drink more on the theory that she will get bored with drinking, or a gambler place more bets until he habituates. In an addict, continued use only deepens the addiction ruts in the brain. Exposure therapy may thus deliver an unproductive mixed message to a porn-addicted HOCD sufferer instead of promoting useful conditioning (habituation).
So where does one start? Porn addicts need to eliminate Internet porn use above all. As their brains return to balance many also notice that confusing sexual cues lose their power.
If porn addicts with HOCD try to use related cues for a therapeutic purpose instead of abstaining from them they're strengthening their
behavioral-addiction neural pathways. This is a Catch 22. The addict (and perhaps his therapist) may wrongly conclude that his persistent, powerful response to problematic cues is not HOCD, but rather "proof" that his sexual orientation has mysteriously transformed.
The point is that addiction presents an obstacle for standard OCD Exposure & Response Prevention therapy. Even if a porn addict stops seeking the reward of relief (from testing or analysis), exposure to porn still "rewards" him by activating his sensitized addiction pathways.
What does help?
We are not therapists. However, we have read self-reports by a number of former Internet porn users who describe themselves as suffering/recovering from HOCD (sample self-report). We'll summarize their experience in case it proves useful.
Guys report that giving up the reward of Internet porn and temporarily giving up the reward of sexual activity (other than relaxed, affectionate partner sex) both help resolve their HOCD. As they stop reinforcing their prime reward (porn use), their brains gradually look around for, and wire to, other sexual rewards. This can take months. In light of these guys' experience, therapists may want to invite clients to disconnect from Internet porn for a few months before introducing exposure therapy (if ever).
At first, guys may not respond normally to partners, although relaxed affection is soothing (perhaps because it releases oxytocin). Also, until the worst of the addiction withdrawal has passed, they also often experience more excruciating HOCD spikes. The anxiety produced by withdrawal or other stress is likely to push you to "test" yourself by looking at the anxiety-producing images. Testing only reinforces this condition.
Those recovering report that if they can accept the intrusive HOCD thoughts without distress, they sidestep the neurochemical reinforcement of fear. In addition, they find it helpful to learn to live with uncertainty about their sexual orientation and to avoid all testing and efforts to "figure out the truth." That way they also stop the rewarding reinforcement of fleeting relief and "certainty."
In other words, the HOCD sufferer needs to work on stopping stop three rewarding habits: Internet porn use, relief seeking and distress.
One man's self-report
This man's report is interesting because he began by weakening the porn reward, only to find that he hadn't dealt with the fear and relief (checking) rewards.
I'm now over 3 months without porn, but I had sunk into a stupor of constantly checking various HOCD message boards. I was spending hours every day on those sites, sometimes checking them as much as several times an hour: at work, while I was driving, in bed at night, etc. etc. etc. Really bad 'checking behavior.' My brain was being rewarded when I would read something that reassured me, and it would fire up and freak out when I read something that spiked my anxiety.
I had also expanded my checking onto other message boards, including gay and bisexual boards. This just perpetuated the spiral. I wasn't sleeping much on account of all my anxiety, and I wasn't really present in my life. I was either on these boards or worrying about what I read on them. Constantly. My relationship was suffering. Sometimes, alone at night, I would go on 2-3 hour binges of HOCD checking on internet message boards, and then feel awful afterward.
I decided I would stop. My mate deserves someone who is present, not totally distracted. Since then, I have only had one 15-minute session, checking for replies. I've had to struggle to resist temptation, but the result is that I feel SO much better.
It's really pretty remarkable. My HOCD has decreased significantly now that I am not constantly signaling to my brain "THESE HOCD THOUGHTS ARE IMPORTANT" by going on the boards and engaging in checking and reassurance. I hadn't read a book in months, but I'm now on my second one since I gave up the boards. My free time at night is now spent either with my girlfriend or reading by the fire. I'm sleeping a lot better.
Yes, I still get the occasional spike when I see an attractive guy. And then from the checking with thoughts of him. But it's gotten to be a lot less, and that thought fades a lot faster.
I now think that my HOCD may have been due to the fact that when I finally overdosed on PMO after years and years of it, I lost much of my attraction to real women. Without it women and men started to look the same to me, and BAM worries about being gay erupted.
Schwartz's non-exposure therapeutic approach
There is an existing therapeutic system for treating OCD that doesn't advocate exposure. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz developed it. (Read a description taken from Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself.)
Schwartz teaches his patients how neuroplasticity works so they understand that their compulsion is arising from an unwanted, overly active brain loop (not unlike addiction). He then explains that the brain's wiring can be changed with conscious effort.
In some ways, it's the very opposite of exposure therapy. Instead of attempting to habituate via exposure, one attempts to rewire the brain by shifting gears the instant a related cue pops up. Schwartz suggests switching to a pre-selected constructive activity.
The goal isn't to avoid discomfort by seeking relief, but rather to activate unrelated brain pathways in lieu of the problematic ones so the brain disconnects from its former "rewards," and perhaps even comes to associate anxiety with a productive task. In any case, accepting the uncomfortable thoughts without reacting emotionally helps a lot. Said one:
One thing I do that works well for me is to completely accept the fact I am having an unwanted thought. I do my best to relax and kind of ignore the thought, and refocus on a task or simply breathing and living in the moment I am in. This almost never works if I try to forcefully focus on something else. Just relax, realizing the thought is there and concentrate (relaxingly) on your task. Eventually I realise that I haven't been thinking the thought and was completely focused on my task. Of course, the thought comes back at this point because I remember I had it.
The very next thing I do is tell myself, "good job" and repeat above. Refocus. Reattribute. Revalue. as covered in Dr. Schwartz's OCD material. And yes, it didn't sound like it would work until I tried it.
You really need to treat yourself like a little kid. Every time you forget the thought, no matter how long, congratulate and pat yourself on the back mentally. Be nice to yourself. Violence toward the self, toward the body becomes outward violence, and vice versa. Be nice, patient with yourself. Force yourself to relax even if the thought you are having completely freaks you out. Whatever thought you are having is not as important as the will not to do it!
If you fall into a pattern where each new "test" just makes you worry more, your brain is using your fear as a sexual cue. In this case, you may find the Schwartz method of overcoming OCD the most useful technique. One HOCD sufferer said:
I have done exposure therapy for my HOCD, and I am currently using the Schwartz method. Exposure in my opinion works best when the obsessions and compulsions are weak, that is when HOCD issues are merely a question in the back of a person's mind.
Schwartz's technique is better suited in my opinion for a person in the late stages of HOCD. It takes discipline to conquer the delusions and anxiety to not reassure oneself. The Schwartz approach is a very difficult technique to start, but once a person is successful at stopping obsessing, it becomes easier, as they are able to go through the day without obsessions...until an intrusive thought hits them again.
Now, is the critical point for Schwartz's technique to kick in. One must shift to a different activity/thought/visualization immediately. Because once a person investigates the intrusive thought it becomes a runaway train as anxiety arises. So let it go! In effect, the person has to figure out a new reward system for himself. For me, the reward is being rid of anxiety as long as I ignore the thoughts.
Exposure therapy at this intense stage, where my anxiety is engulfing and delusional, is pointless. It only feeds my OCD. Exposure therapy works best when the person is still able to realize rational and irrational thinking, to realize that their fears are irrational. When rationality becomes replaced by anxiety delusions, IMO exposure therapy feeds OCD. Just my opinion.
This guy bites his lip:
I find that the biting the lip technique in the middle of class is working extremely well. I didn't have a gay thought all day except this morning I had one over a thought ever so small. But I am not worrying about it because that was 1 over the last 24 hours. It will take longer for this habit to be fully be gone but at least there is a sign that I'm almost there. I also have no urge to return to gay porn, which is a huge reliever.
As an aside, HOCD expert Fred Penzel also discourages exposure therapy for porn addicts, despite the fact that he recommends Exposure & Response Prevention therapy in classic HOCD cases.
Hopefully, researchers will soon determine which protocols work best for which HOCD sufferers. Many of those affected are desperate to resolve their anxiety. Indeed, of all the recovering porn addicts who visit our site, the HOCD guys suffer the worst and relapse the easiest.
At present, many are hesitant to seek help for fear that well meaning therapists will tell them they are gay (or straight) when they know they are not.
Porn-related HOCD sufferers generally have no idea how to rewire because the standard therapy doesn't work, and the most promising solutions feel so counter-intuitive (they have to walk away from relief, from analysis, and from sexual arousal for a time). Most won't figure it out without informed professional assistance. To progress, they may need to find a therapist well versed in both addiction and the role of abstinence in unhooking the brain from unwanted "rewards."
END OF ARTICLE
Thoughts on transexual porn
Peculiar as it is, a taste for transexual porn is common in straight men. Here's an excerpt from an article talking about a recent book on porn tastes:
The authors say, "if you categorize the sites on the Alexa Adult List by the names of the sites, then T-girl sites are the fourth most popular
category of adult Web site." Also, "'shemales' is the sixteenth most popular sexual search on Dogpile, more popular than 'butts,' 'threesomes,' and 'interracial sex.'" So who's doing the searching? Ogas and Gaddam quote Housekeeper, operator of several transsexual porn sites:
"My main audience, and the audience for most shemale porn, are straight dudes. That's how it's always been. I will say that all of the visitors to transsexual sites are straight."
So where does the appeal of transexual porn come from? Gay guys generally don't want to see it. Transexual isn't a "sexual orientation." It isn't found in nature, so humans wouldn't have evolved to want to see it. It's not a thing that most users would go looking for...unless they've strategically been manipulated by porn site makers.
What transexual porn is...is a way to combine powerful sexual cues that normally can't be combined. It's a strong message directly to the limbic system of the brain. It combines viewers' favorite sexual cues: breasts, erect penis, ejaculating penis, BJ, masturbation, etc., in one visual.
The limbic brain, which can't reason and doesn't know such a thing doesn't exist in nature, just says, "Oooh! Oooh! Our favorite cues for sexual arousal! This is extra HOT!" On top of that, like homosexual porn for a straight guy, or straight rape porn for a gay guy, it's shocking and therefore exciting. And, *cha-ching!* The porn makers pocket the advertising revenue from your visits.
It makes sense that daring, novel experiences "stick" in your mind and later continue to fire off all kinds of exciting neurochemical "DO IT!" messages - especially when your pleasure response is below par (perhaps due to excess). The real key is whether the experience really satisfies...or just leaves you hungry for more.
Here's another eye-opening experience:
With porn I had become addicted mainly to shemales. It caused serious question about my sexuality when I immersed myself in such fantasies. Well, I decided to try one shemale escort just to see.
NOT my thing! I could not get past even seeing/talking to "her" for more than a few minutes and politely ended the evening. Talk about bursting one's bubble, LOL. So that part is settled.
Stuart Bull - 01 October 2013
Three years ago I was part of a team of TV researchers who looked into many of the issues surrounding internet porn for a program that never aired. The main producer felt the scientific evidence involved (which was supposed to be the back bone of the program) was not strong enough.
During the research I spoke with a number of people with porn related problems, literally read thousands of comments from men on anti-porn sites and spoke with neuroscientists. Much of the scientific research is still in its infancy but there is no doubt in my mind that prolonged viewing of porn can have a seriously negative effect on some adults and children.
The most concerning thing I came across was adult & teenage males who began watching standard porn (if there is such thing) regularly and over the course of several years started to move to more and more extreme imagery as they became desensitized to the standard porn and looked for the newest 'fix.'
People who on the surface seemed perfectly normal human beings were worried that they could only get an erection to porn, no longer felt the urge to form a proper relationship with a woman as porn had become a substitute, heterosexual men who had become so desensitised to heterosexual porn they found themselves viewing homosexual porn, men who were concerned about their feelings for children because the line between what they found pretty or cute and what they found sexy was beginning to blur.
99% of these people were adults and had had time to form a proper sexuality and relationships prior to their issues. This meant, that as one neuroscientist suggested, with the right help their brains could be returned to their previous sexual identity, even if the images they had viewed cannot be completely forgotten.
For a boy aged 10-14, with no previous sexual experience, there is no reset button. We could have future generations of young men who objectify women and have totally unrealistic ideas of sex and in some cases men who will have their brains re-wired by extreme imagery to the extent that they could be a risk to the women and children around them. We shouldn't put our heads in the sand and await for some true scientific evidence. We need to do something now.
ADVICE & INSIGHTS FROM RECOVERING GUYS
Meds helped this guy:
I found nofap helped my OCD a lot as did doing new activities ie daily exercise. One thing I don't hear discussed on the forums is medication or therapy. For me, high doses of inositol a supplement that reboots dopamine receptors combined with valerian and NAC reduced my obsessions. But it still took all my effort not to give into compulsive checking [testing] and porn.
NOTE: Meds help some OCD sufferers, but not others according to Dr. Gottman:
Another guy was feeling philosophical as he put the pieces together:
(Day 13) I'm flatlined - so no hardness, and no sexual interest in women. I once abstained while in college. It lasted 3 weeks. But I relapsed because I thought I was turning gay - since I had no sexual feeling toward the girls walking by. I thought, "why don't I feel like banging them?" I got worried. I also noticed that I had no libido. I then had a long bout with HOCD, which is now fading as I don't think about it. It's absolutely fascinating how our minds work, both for the good and the bad.
It soon becomes clear HOCD is not denial:
Remember one thing, it isn't denial! THAT was the hardest thing for me to understand. If you've liked girls, been with girls, and only thought about girls. It's always going to be that way. Now here's why OCD IS TRICKY. You're brain is in a weird place and your signals aren't firing off correctly. You have to accept that you might be gay. That sounds fucking insane, I know, but it's not. The longer you wait to do something about it the worse it gets. Believe me. Pick up that book and explain to your therapist what's happening. If they tell you you're probably gay, ask yourself if that's what you want. If not, find a therapist who knows about OCD. Also don't get a therapist who constantly reassures you. That's not helpful either. Where I'm at right now, it's not 100% gone but it's pretty damn close. I can actually focus on life.
Explain to your therapist what's happening. If they tell you you're probably gay, ask yourself if that's what you want. If not, find a therapist who knows about OCD. Also don't get a therapist who constantly reassures you. That's not helpful either. Where I'm at right now, it's not 100% gone but it's pretty damn close. I can actually focus on life.
It has been a while since I made mine last update. Situation is following:
HOCD definitely gone for quite some time now, it is clear that it wasn't a part of "coming out" process, it was just a psychological illness caused by porn withdrawal. I wont write anything else about it, because honestly I dot even want to think about that part of mine life that I could describe as hell itself, and I wouldn't be exaggerating.
Erections are back at 100% (except for a few days after watching porn)... Damn I remember those times when I was hitting the rock bottom of porn addiction, there wasn't a thing in the world that would give me an erection.
Here's a discussion between some other guys:
"A friend and I were talking about confusions of sexual orientation. He said, 'I've been having trouble figuring it out. I go on the Internet and I see something that makes me think I'm heterosexual; then I see something that makes me think I'm homosexual; but then I see something else that makes me think I'm heterosexual. I've come to the conclusion that I'm pornosexual!'"
[Another guy] Then I started thinking it's definitely not about orientation but about functionality. Finally, I started researching things, and then I luckily ended up here.
[Another guy] It's almost as though the producers know what they're doing trying to turn guys on to transexual porn. I read somewhere that a guy with PMO issues would only get turned on with gay porn. Now I never got to that stage, but once on holiday I tried one of those flic booths. A transexual scene came on (screen flicked random channels every few mins/secs) and although I never had that "I wanna be there feeling", it was beginning to get arousing...in a strange, curious way.
There was a c*ck, some t!ts, a woman's face, kissing, w*nking, bl*w jobs. It was like a strange collage of independent cues all whizzing around that didn't make sense entirely to me as I'm not that way inclined. But there was a weak underlying link between all the pertinent cues that was making it arousing. I assume the associations were making my mind think more (about sex) to try to work it out subconsciously, so my mind was getting a new high without me realising. I never watched the stuff again, but it's amazing how this stuff can affect you. I know some people, for example, even get to the extreme of bestiality, but surely they don't walk around thinking "Wow check out the udders on that cow!"..do they?" In short, excessive PMO is a real mindf*ck.
Much porn is mind manipulation that "creates" tastes, not an appeal to existing sexual tastes. Said one guy:
I've dealt with HOCD since I was 15. It first occurred after watching female pee/scat porn and then reading an article stating that this fetish was popular in the gay community. It became an obsession from that point forward...especially after starting to view tranny porn. I'm fairly confident that I would have never developed HOCD if it wasn't for Internet porn. I think the two are linked.
Here's a tip from one who struggles with this anxiety:
My HOCD has always controlled my porn-related activities. It used to follow a simple pattern:
1. See porn image/something arousing
2. HOCD starts up, makes me begin to worry
3. HOCD gets stronger, starts to make me doubt my sexual orientation
4. HOCD convinces me to prove to myself I'm not gay by viewing porn
5. I finish to the porn, HOCD vanishes and feel like an idiot for falling for it.
I followed these steps:
- Ignorance: Don't research anything on HOCD. Don't learn about it. Don't study other cases. LEAVE IT ALONE. I know some therapists suggest challenging the HOCD. That's probably a good thing to do, but when you're a porn addict who has HOCD as, shall we say a side-symptom of it, or an integral part of the addiction, you CAN'T "challenge the thoughts" because it makes them worse, and you relapse on porn eventually. To be quite honest, you won't have a cat-in-hell's chance of beating this while you're addicted to porn. For you, because you escalated to gay [or whatever] porn, "gay" is connected to your porn use, so "embracing" the spike like many therapists suggest probably isn't a good idea! At least until you've kicked the porn, and by then the HOCD will have faded a lot.
- Time allocation: Study when you are most likely to spike with anxiety about HOCD, for me it was during the evening (because that's when I usually went on a 5-hour porn binge, coincidence? I doubt it.). During that time, make sure you have something planned. Sit talking to a family member away from the computer, or call a friend or relative, go for a long walk/exercise, etc.
- Spiking: If you are starting to spike, you need to apply some safety measures immediately. "OCCUPY MODE" is my main safety measure. I put it in capitals because when I spike, I say "OCCUPY MODE" in my head and imagine a big neon sign with it written. I then do something - ANYTHING - that requires physical and mental energy. Like doing sit-ups while solving a math problems, even counting while lifting weights would work. Enter OCCUPY MODE for around fifteen minutes. In the back of your head, imagine the "OCCUPY MODE" sign and do whatever you have to do. After a while, the spike will be over.
Avoiding transexual porn and fantasies has completely obliterated my arousal for it. Like literally, I feel nothing for it anymore. I remember the "feelings" I got from it, but they just aren't there anymore. It's hard to believe that two years ago, I had gotten to a stage where the main thing that got me off was transexual porn, but now it's hard to put into words how the change has occurred. Arousal for real women has boosted to a level I'd forgotten due to years of viewing porn.
I've found the HOCD curbs at around 4 weeks for me. The end of week 2/start of week 3 is ALWAYS the hardest. I'm 110% convinced that HOCD+Porn addiction is one and the same. As you kick the porn, the HOCD isn't as strong because the pull of porn isn't as strong, and with time it will more than likely fade completely.
By the way, this isn't just a one way street. It isn't uncommon for gay men to develop straight or even lesbian porn fetishes. I've seen them all over the web on various porn addiction websites. I think that is probably even worse than our situation. For us it's a tiny, annoying worry that makes us doubt our sexual orientation. For a gay man, who has never fancied women, who has hid his true feelings from society, and then had the courage to come out to find that he may be attracted to women after all (!!!). Well, that's got to be downright horrible.
But the truth is, the guys in question aren't turning straight. They aren't *really* attracted to women. They're just in the same boat as we are, but in reverse.
I had to deal with HOCD and am still dealing with it a little bit. It's something that you know isn't real but rather a stimulation from your brain because of random factors. The way I've learned to deal with it is either to ignore the thoughts, don't brood on them or try to analyze and justify and tell your self that your actually straight, just let them come and go. It's like if you would have a random thought of punching someone in the face, you wouldn't do it so just let the thought pass by. Another way is just make fun of it. Say you're with your friend and you randomly think of kissing him or something, just say to yourself, "Oh man I'm so gay I totally want to kiss my friend". Honestly, HOCD is something difficult I've had to deal with and made me look inside much more. I know I'm straight; ever since I started all I've thought about was the opposite sex. I'm positive it was just the over stimulation of porn that got to me. The farther in my reboot I go the more HOCD does not affect me at all, and when I am relaxed on days I don't even remember having it.
I drank too much one night and got the idea in my head that I needed to experiment with a trans to find out the truth about my sexuality/attraction. While still inebriated, I talked to one online and met up. I was somewhat aroused if I imagined trans porn, but the whole experience didn't feel right and I became disgusted. I couldn't go through with anything and had to eject.
After that occurred, I was around a few girls who were into me. I felt aroused and I enjoyed the entire experience of just flirting/talking with them. It felt right. So, while I shouldn't have needed any reinforcement, I think it further proves that the trans attraction is porn-derived and doesn't carry over well to real-life experiences. I should've known this from the last time I gave up porn and stopped feeling attraction to anything trans-related.
One man described his technique:
When you are going crazy with obsessive thoughts, find something to do that will lead to better thoughts. A walk in nature, or a puzzle, or something, art maybe. At first it feels like it is not working or is only distracting you from the thought, but it IS working. You will see over time, you are telling your brain to think of or do something else when these thoughts arise and it WILL sink in soon enough.
Think of it this way. Thoughts are a form of astral/etheric energy. Because they are made of energy anything you do with trying to fight them or change them only connects to them energetically and makes them stronger. Even your hate for them makes them stronger. Don't hate porn [and don't "test"], it will make any relapses you may have even harder.
Ever since I got heavy into porn, I've always noticed that I've had some minor symptoms of OCD. It was nothing serious, but if things weren't in a certain order around my room, it was hard for me to concentrate on my work. Now, it's like they've completely vanished. I'm still a generally organized person, but it's much lower on my list of priorities. I will get the important stuff out of the way, before I start organizing my shit.
Yep... although it's not quit OCD, my finger nail biting habit has vanished. I would compulsively chew them away, and they were always just a disgusting wasted nub at the end of my fingers.
It's the same with me too mate, when I'm away from porn and ain't binged or something they go away. I definitely see a correlation with PMOing and OCD. It developed from PMO addiction for me.
More helpful advice:
- If you have looked at Shemale porn/gay porn/bi-sexual porn accept it. This sounds hard as fuck trust me, but once you do, it's easier to see if you truly like it or not. Maybe you had a curiosity? Or had been treated poorly by the opposite sex, or you just have an open mind and want to explore, but you must accept what you have done, even if it goes against yourself.
- No one, not a psychologist, not a friend, not a website, can tell you who you are. This is important to understand fully. Your brain will make things up to scare you, to try and keep you from doing anything in your life. Realize this is anxiety and not true logic.
- DO NOT listen to someone who says you should go try out gay things. This may be controversial but I don't care. If you have been straight your whole life, you will always be straight. There is no need to go through an identity crisis. It will only hinder you, and same with people who are truly gay, who want to try and be straight. You will end up hating your partners and it's not for for someone who is truly straight or truly gay.
- Stop looking for answers on the internet. What does this mean? Don't go to forums, don't look up HOCD, don't ask anyone who is gay or straight about it. Leave it alone. You only make it worse by seeking answers. Trust me, I was scared that I was going to change forever. I was scared that, "OMG IM GOING TO BECOME GAY." Then one day, I literally stopped giving a fuck. I stopped reading, I stopped thinking about it and guess what, my attraction for women came back in full force and I was able to come to this realization. Which brings me to my last point.
- Anxiety is a beast. It can, however be tamed. It will make you believe things that aren't true, but you have to realize that it's all fueled by you. YOU are the one who causes it. Situations might make it come out more but you are in control. Let me just put it to you like this: My homophobia is gone, back to the way I used to think. Yes, there are perverts in every group of people, doesn't mean everyone is a pervert. I am wildly attracted to women and always have been. Now what's left? My pornography addiction. That is the last thing left. My advice to anyone going through this, stop the porn. It helps. Don't believe what some expert says about sex, trust yourself. That's appealing to authority anyway which happens WAY often on reddit. Stay away from reddit too. Give yourself a chance to think and heal. It it is possible guys. No one could tell me I was gay at this point because I'd laugh my ass off. If anything, this made me so much stronger than I was before. Realize that OCD and other anxiety related illnesses are actually more helpful than anything else.
More observations by those who have (or had) HOCD:
This is why threads like these make me sad.
Just because someone, who after years found he is gay has to try and convince everybody that HOCD doesn't exist, people have to relapse to porn, who actually DO have HOCD.
Don't worry syndaren, fellow HOCD sufferer here. I have suffered from OCD for years now, and it has manifested in many forms also outside of the HOCD spectrum. About a year ago, i was highly confused and i had panic attacks and deep depression because i was so convinced gay porn made me gay. And now that i've started my journey to quit porn for good, i have totally lost all feelings towards gay porn. It does not interest me sexually anymore and in fact, i have not had a single thought about being gay since that year. Now tell me OP, how do i classify as secretly gay?
In my experience, there's a difference between people who know they are gay because they have known since their teens, and hide behind HOCD, and people who know they are straight, get confused by compulsive watching of porn and worry night and day that their reality is a lie. Which it obviously isn't.
Gary Wilson gave you a lot of information but you don't seem to be responding to that OP. I would take a little more advice from him since he knows his stuff, you just take assumptions without giving it good thought. Just because you turned out gay (i'm sure you've known this, even in the HOCD phase), doesn't mean HOCD doesn't exist.
I've lived in a pure NIGHTMARE because of HOCD, and many others have. I have been in therapy for this, and I'm the living proof it exists, and that it's completely possible to have shifting porn interests without matching the real will and nature to do so in real life. Please don't tell me what i am OP, people don't take kindly to that.
Porn binges for 4-6 hours the last couple days. On the plus side, it did become more obvious that the transexual porn is unrelated to my sexuality. After spending 30+ hours over the past 5 days watching porn, transexual porn started to become boring! I began searching for other more disgusting and shocking stuff.
I have HOCD, though it isn't as prominent as it used to be when I first started getting sober from porn months ago and it doesn't cripple or control me anymore. At times I've felt like I was gay, or I might be through some faulty reason or my feelings. I used to watch transsexual porn, and while I haven't seen a gay porno I have seen random screenshots and pictures when searching for porn. Also, my friends talk and act like they're gay every time we hang out, and I don't like it/it makes me uncomfortable.
I know that growing up I've always been attracted to girls. I love being around them, :) the way they smell, to just simply holding a girl in my arms. Hell I first started watching porn to see girls... well yeah I know that my feelings and reactions to me being gay aren't something that I enjoy, something that makes me happy, something that I pine for everyday.
It's the classic fear and anxiety of OCD that makes me doubt myself, in a vicious circle. Of being something I'm not. But as I said I haven't felt that in a while and the anxiety doesn't accompany the thoughts anymore.
I think it all has to do with the pathways in the brain formed from years of porn use and abuse. 9ish years for me. From what I understand, for everytime I've MO'd to a MF scene my brain has created, and then strengthened that pathway, making the things in it, like a handsome, naked dude a sexual cue to good times and your brain can't tell the difference. You've rewired your brain to something new. Sometimes at the gym I'll see either a good looking or muscular guy and it'll draw my attention and I'll feel compelled to look. I think that I now know what a women feels like when she says that she's aroused but not in a sexual way, if that makes sense.
It used to worry and scare me but now I don't let it bother me most of the time.
It happened while watching some basketball game, I thought "this player is one good looking guy" and them suddenly HOCD thoughts emerged (Am I gay, WTF, hell break loose). I couldnt forget it, and that night I had a first and only panic attack in my life. I even tested myself, I watched gay porn but I was disgusted. It took me some time (a couple of months) first to learn about this disorder and how to beat it. I "accepted" gay thoughts cause you cant choose sexual orentation and I stopped obsessing. Soon I met and fell in love with one great girl, had first sex and after that HOCD is ancient history for me. I am not gay, never was, but there is nothing wrong with being gay, nobody forces you to do anything, if it gives you pleasure then do it, if not then dont obsess! We humans can recognize beauty, no matter what gender.
I used to get turned on by anything remotely feminine when I was 13, but that steadily changed as I watched more and more porn. I started to get anxious about my sexuality because I knew I was straight based on history, but at the same time I could not physically respond to the old cues. Sometimes when I was especially relaxed or drunk, I would respond like how I did when I was younger. It was very confusing because I never had any homosexual fantasies or desires.
I never would have attributed this to porn/decreased dopamine sensitivity if I hadn't stumbled upon this site, so thank you! [My reboot] has completely eliminated any doubt because now my libido is almost too much to handle. Even women I would not normally glance at, I would definitely be able to have sex with them. More responsive to women, and responded to more by women.
28 year old male. 90 days, 86 days no orgasm. Edged twice, briefly viewed porn twice (unrelated to edging). Social anxiety, HOCD, and stress immensely diminished. Confidence up, energy up, relationships strengthened, and limitless flirtation with girls. AMA.
I haven't been struggling with HOCD long, and it's definitely too early to say I'm "cured", but these sites seemed to help me out quite a bit:
I had searched for HOCD before and found some other people posting about it, but their accounts didn't really seem to help. It was reassuring that I wasn't the only one suffering from it, but it did not make the attacks any less severe.
For whatever reason, those two sites helped me out. Since I've read them, I haven't really had any HOCD thoughts, although I do get a little anxious when I think to myself "Oh hey, I'm not thinking HOCD thoughts anymore." LOL
The second site basically recommends p/m/o abstinence as well, so I'm sure with time the HOCD will clear up completely. Cognitive techniques and exposure are typically how obsessive compulsive disorders are treated. This is no exception, EXCEPT do not expose yourself to pornography (duh). I think it gets weaker and weaker until it's completely gone.
(A year later, to another forum member) I had serious HOCD. It's gone now, though. "Women are sexy, men are plain." As you said, that, my friend, is the KEY point to all of this. Men wouldn't be plain if you were bisexual or gay. You would want to cuddle up with them on the sofa, caress their body and have romantic walks with them, IF you were bisexual or gay.
Do you think people who escalate to bestiality worry that they are secretly a goat lover? Do you think they worry that now because they escalated to beastiality all can do is date is goats or something? Of course they don't, and this form of escalation (from excessive porn use) is NO different.
Since starting NoFap I have gone from bi to hetero. Porn can progam your brain.
(Describing recovery at Day 23) I had insane dreams again. Some definitely pornographic. But I'm not even aroused by it. So now with porn not guiding my hetero orientation anymore, I need to realize it in real life. I'm pretty sure I know what it is, but my brain is sorting junk out.
If anyone has ever panned for gold (we did it at a tourist gold-mine place in the middle of the country last summer), you know you have to get rid of a lot of dirt and junk and fake stones to even get a speck of gold. That's how my brain feels right now. It's totally filtering all this crap out, and the process can get nasty at times.
Here's what worked for me: I imagine other totally improbable scenarios (such as murdering my mother or running out into the highway in high traffic) and realized that *they* had no potential for becoming sources of compulsive worry. That way, I showed myself that thoughts about HOCD didn't have to either. Try it. Think about killing yourself by running out in the middle of the highway. Take a minute and imagine it in detail. You now just had that thought. (Just as you have a gay thought.) You gonna walk around scared as shit that you'll kill yourself from now on? Nope. You won’t. You’ll probably never imagine the scenario again. Even if you do, you’ll laugh at it. Same idea here.
Really, getting over HOCD is learning to not care. Anytime it starts to flare up, I imagine it as an annoying little dog. Maybe like a shih tzu, yapping away. The more attention you give it, the more it will yap. Gradually, it will lessen and lessen until it's very easy to ignore completely. Mine is at most times really under control now, but the libido flatline can really mess with me. It's the ultimate combo. I think once I get my libido back and build healthy sexual relationships with women, that will be when it gets truly eliminated.
[Age 22] I just want to mention how my pornography tastes have changed over the last few years. First it was very soft. Then lesbian porn did it for me, and then, a few years ago I stumbled into shemale pornography, and over time I realised I was turned on by this. Then it got worse, occasionally I would masturbate over gay pornography became more and more frequent. It turned me on but after it felt so wrong.
I know I'm straight, when I'm socialising, men is the last thing on my mind. I am very attracted to pretty girls, I notice them from a mile away, so this pornography has morphed my tastes to the extreme. I was confused whether or not I was bisexual, but now I look back and I realise I'm not bisexual, it's just that my brain has been re-wired by pornography. Then earlier this year I had erectile dysfunction. The girl was amazingly attractive and she was full on up for it. However it just didn't work! And then a few months ago it happened again, except this girl was even more attractive.
So I realised that something must be seriously wrong.
[A month into reboot] I had an awesome experience last night, I was at a party and made out with a girl at the end (she was not that pretty) and I had a massive erection pretty much instantly. I was like, "Oh my god," and it felt awesome.
I work as a software developer, spending many hours in front of my computer. This is why it's so easy for me to masturbate over pornography...but now I have been doing this I am tempted to give up computers all together. Facebook, BBC News, emails are all things that consume my time. I just want to meet girls!
Why have I spend the last 4 years of my life masturbating over porn and spending my time in front of a computer? I'm now going to focus on meeting new attractive girls, playing my favourite sport and keeping healthy.
HOCD is a BITCH. You have to understand that what you are feeling is related to the anxiety and not sexual orientation. I have had to deal with that shit during flatline and I know I am not gay. The bottom line is, if the HOCD feelings are disgusting to you and they make you feel anxious...they are lies and you are straight.
Worry and anxiety can cause the mind to play tricks on you. It took me some time to realize that when I experienced HOCD, the sensations were produced by the fear, not the actual presence of another dude.
You have to just ignore it. It is anxiety-related.
As you get better at ignoring it and going about your business, you will find that you will FORGET about it. It's important to realize that it is an OCD - its like you are standing on the edge of a cliff and your mind says jump.
You know you don't want to but you cant stop thinking about it. Trust in yourself and persevere. You and I both know that you don't want to have gay relations any more than you would want to jump off a cliff!
Luckily I never diverged into gay or tranny porn or I do not know where emotionally I would be right now. It was more like OCD when some dude would pop up on the TV, and my brain would be like, "Well since you can't get it up to girls, check that out." Of course I was never aroused by the male body but the anxiety it produced made it an addictive thought process in my head thus leading to a nasty bout of HOCD, which my porn-induced inability to perform fueled just splendidly. Was an awful time for me, but I found this site, stopped acknowledging those thoughts, stopped watching porn, and poof they literally disappeared.
Don't feed your OCD. If you are trying to CONVINCE yourself of the truth through analysis or other people's opinion, you are playing the OCD game. You are what you say you are, period. If something disgusts you, it doesn't matter if it causes arousal or not, it is not your true taste. I say forget about questioning and get your mind off of it entirely.
If you are having pleasant heterosexual thoughts and HOCD rears its ugly head, I say at that moment stop fantasizing all together and put it away until a more healthy fantasy comes around. You don't have to fight OCD to win, all you have to do is be aware that it is a liar.
When I first began worrying about HOCD, it seemed like the intense worry almost felt like I was turned on sexually, when I was not aroused physically in the least, actually quite the opposite. I have done well ignoring my cues to check and double check, which at first caused more anxiety, but now I am beginning to worry a little less each day.
For over 6 years I went hard and deep into different and varied porn genres, I ended up fapping like crazy to shemale porn... To the point of starting to really like them ( especially Asian shemales) and i even thought of travelling to Thailand or Japan just to meet some lol. Never had any social interaction n with shemales though... But my desire for them escalated rapidly... And i felt bisexual at least. Anyway... After 3 or 4 months of nofap I kinda forgot about shemales and any other bisexual behaviour. And now... After 8 months pornfree.. I don't even think about shemales.. Heck I think my brain rewired itself to the point of only liking girls about my age (25 to 30).
My advice to other people out there: Even when things are going rough and your mind is assuring you that your turning gay, it's wrong. I had times where I didn't believe this reboot technique and was already having thoughts of suicide, but it works, honestly. If you give it time, not hours or a few days, over a long period of time you will get better, the longer you go the longer you will see yourself coming back to your old self. You will get better, it's just a matter of time. Even if you relapse and you spiral into depression, you have to find that inner force to get you through the darkness and remind you that it's all a matter of getting back on track.
I highly suggest meditation for people rebooting with HOCD. Go to a local meditation center and do an evening or a retreat. It is so healthy to watch your thoughts without reacting to them.
I had ED back when i was still watching porn, i was also watching gay and tranny porn (more tranny porn though) and bisexual porn. But now i do not have any problems with ED and i have an excellent relationship with my girlfriend. http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=5914.msg91811#msg91811
Regular porn didn't do it anymore. I looked into all sorts of different women, different positions, different holes, it just didn't suffice anymore. Someone trolled me by sending a shemale porn video, and that did it. A woman that wasn't really a woman, the idea turned me on. This fetish stuck on me for many years (maybe five or six). It didn't go stale because I took pleasure in hunting for shemales that looked exactly like girls, with or without male genitalia. I knew it was hurting my sexuality, but I just continued. I pondered over whether or not I was gay, but I just didn't feel attracted to men as I did to women. Women are the most beautiful thing on earth and I was missing it.
After three months of nofap, if a girl so much as glances at my general direction it turns me on. Not only that, they feel like magnets to me. I'm extremely drawn to women and I want to interact and touch them. When I saw women before nofap, I would walk by thinking, "I don't care about you, bye". Today is the completely opposite, I'm drawn to most women in a primitive way. I absolutely love it. Porn doesn't exist for me anymore.
I have finally discovered the cause of my lack of libido. The biggest impact that porn has had on me is the death of sexual desire. The strange thing is the fact that i have been missing my libido for the past ten years, since age 13. I was addicted to porn for only 3 months, until I quit cold turkey. Why, then, has my libido been absent for ten years after quiting porn? My theory was just masturbation. I assumed that a regular masturbation regimine has prevented my mind from getting the rest that it needs, thus keeinng my brain in an overstimulated state. But recently I have discovered that my lack of sexual desire stems from a much deeper problem. The real, silent killer of my libido is anxiety that came from hocd. The sexual obsesssion that comes from hocd produces anxiety, and it is this anxiety that suppresses the libido. The reason for this is simple. Sexual desire and arousal are linked to relaxation. Anxiety is diametrically opposed to sexual desire. Libido is impacted from the sympathetic nervous system. When anxiety is in your mind and body, it attacks your symathetic nervous system, thus disrupting and supressing the libido.
When I first read about this a few days ago, it was as though lightbulbs went off in my head. It was the ultimate "AHA" moment. Years of sexual obsession that did not reflect my true sexual orientation produced a false sense of arousal. The false arousal was really the "shock" that addicts experience when our use escalates into novel genres that do not refect our orientation. But this "shock" produced an anxiety, most of which I wasn't even aware of consciencely. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, this was the real culprit behind my lack of libido.
Ever since I made this discovery, it has made a lot change for me. Not knowing for sure what really happened to me has been the biggest source of obsession and anxiety. But now I have discovered exactly why I have been affected the way I have. And now that I have found the missing piece of the puzzle, I feel so much more at peace and confident with myself. My depression is effectively gone, I am happier, more relaxed, and more calm now than ever. Its even made a difference on my body. I have a relieved feeling in my lower neck/upper back area. I guess its my upper spine. This area feels like a load has been lifted off, and it has a soothing feeling...kinda like the feeling you have after you step out of a hot shower. I dont know if this is just my imagination, but I certainly feel a difference. I need to be careful not to confuse this with the sense of uphoria that addicts experiece after they make a life changing decision for change. But its been several days now, and I am still enjoying a deeper inner calm that I haven't had since childhood. This is all just because of figuring out what was wrong wih me. I has taken away the mistique and unknown about my condition. It has therefore given me hope. Its also made me realize how emotioally numb Ive been living for many years now.
If you have hocd, or any form of sexual obseession or anxiety, this needs to be your main focus. If you can find a way to deal with your anxiety, you absolutely must do so in order to make a full recovery. Abstaining from anxiety is just as important as abstaining from PMO.
"Chances are you are just anxious because you, like most others, were raised in a household where being attracted to females is the only OK option."
I don't even know if that's the problem, although I can imagine it would add to the anxiety. My environment and my parents have never made a problem about being gay, and neither have I. I always just knew I wasn't.
Until the constant PMO'ing got to me and I started to have doubts: HOCD. Even without the fear of your environment condemning you.. it's really scary to feel like some you never even doubted in your life just got turned around.
My PMO triggered OCD doesn't confine itself to my sexuality either. My theory is that this anxiety caused by OCD* clings on everything you identify with. For example, I have a strong personal identification with my line of work. I see myself as a hard working person. OCD made me doubt if I even liked my work anymore, the same way it made me doubt if I was into women. I identify as someone who is faithful and longs for a steady relationship. But my OCD caused me to believe I didn't love my girlfriend at the time.. although there was no reason to believe so. Now you might say: You may have just fallen out of love. I know how that feels, though. And this did not feel like that. ( I could go on with a couple more strong identifications I have, which OCD tried to fuck with )
If I honestly believed I was gay, I would have no problem telling my parents and sucking all the cock in the world. If I truly believed my line of work wasn't the work I was into.. I'd stop. But I knew I didn't really feel that way. Something was trying to fuck with my head, by attacking the identifications I most valued. ( Now there's something to be said about me having those strong identifications to roles and material things, but that's a totally different discussion )
When OCD rears his ugly face, what it does is it makes you doubt about those identifications or those things you usually took for granted ( like your heterosexuality ). The natural response is to test this. Most people do, and so did I. We start constantly thinking about whether we truly enjoy our work, or truly love our girlfriend, or are truly still attracted to women. Once we start to try to 'argue' and convince the intrusive thoughts OCD throws at us: OCD starts argueing back. The next time you see a girl, you're so anxious that you probably can't even think about being attracted. You don't feel anything, so you start doubting again.. "Oh boy, I didn't even feel that *zing* when I saw that pretty girl.. AM I really gay?". Once a guy walks by and you think he is attractive.. your axiety flares up again: "Shit, that guy was hot.. I can feel it in my body."
The problem is that you constantly start looking at girls to convince you that you are still hetero, and start looking at guys to convince yourself that you are not gay. Every female you don't find attractive worries you, and every male you think is handsome ( which is not a sign of being gay ) worries you just the same. Equally bad: Everytime you do see a girl that attracts you, instead of just thinking "Hey, that girl looks good". You think: "Jesus.. maybe I'm not gay!". Everytime you see an ugly guy you think "Now I'm not attracted to THAT guy! Would I suck his dick? Fuck no."
You are CONSTANTLY looking for affirmation that you are not gay and still attracted to women. So obviously you CAN'T relax and just be attracted to women. You are caught in a spiral of negative thoughts. It consumes your whole day. Imagine walking around your work all day long thinking "Do I enjoy this work? Do I really enjoy this work?". Chances are: you won't be enjoying your work.
These are my thoughts about HOCD and PMO related OCD, I hope they help. They assure me when my doubts flare up.. although it can still be really hard on me sometimes. ( Only when I relapse, btw. )
OP. Stop looking at craigslist, stop looking at OKCupid, stop looking at dating sites, ads for gay meetups, ads for whatever. You are constantly testing your arousal, to see if gays and trannies still arouse you. Do you think that is ANY better than looking at porn? The arousal is still there. The dopamine is still there. The stimulation, the thrill.. is still there!
I would suggest you download the program ColdTurkey and put in craigslist and whatever site that makes you doubt your sexuality. EVERY FUCKING SITE THAT MAKES YOU DOUBT YOUR SEXUALITY.
Now. Go out. Take a walk, get some fresh air. Meet up with guys. ( Not in that way. ) Go have a drink ( go easy on alcohol, seriously ).
Try to see if staying away from all those websites helps you in anyway. Remember: Testing if you are still attracted to women by looking at tranny ads is very counterproductive. Give your mind at least 30 to 60 days to rest and I am sure you will see a difference.
You are not gay. You don't like trannies.
*I use OCD for a lack of a better word here. I don't believe I have fullblown OCD. Just the one related to PMO.
My hocd paranoia is gone. I noticed a week into nofap that my hocd thoughts were disappearing. That was one of the biggest reasons I haven't quit nofap since then. I'm now 6 days from 90 days, and won't stop even when I hit that mark. I'll keep going. Why? Because it literally is changing my life. How I view it: Now that I have more control over my sexuality, I will conquer my smaller addictions. In the end of the day, we are all going home. Good luck man and just know hocd WILL fade away. Nofap is something else. It's life changing for sure. http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/2uw8q3/do_you_have_any_questions_...