Come again?

Psychologists: “Gay Acceptance Making It Harder To Treat Homosexual OCD”

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 8.52.36 AMApparently “homosexual OCD” is a thing. And it’s not something Kathy Griffin or Fred Phelps has.

Steven Brodsky, director of the OCD and Panic Center of N.Y. and N.J, recently told ABC News that at any one time, he treats a “handful” of clients with the affliction — straight people who are consumed with obsessive thoughts that they are gay. One of his adult patients was “so crippled by [it] that he was unable to live independently and had to move back in with his parents to cope.”

Jeff Szymanski, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the International OCD Foundation, has also seen his fair share of homOCD. “These individuals suffer from pathological doubt. Even though they know that they are 100 percent straight, not gay, they second guess it. For example, they might think, ‘Wait a minute I spent too much time looking at that guy in the locker room. What does that mean?’ They get lost in the need to know – the need to be sure.”

And heres the kicker: as acceptance of gays becomes more mainstream, homOCD is getting harder to treat. Many therapists misdiagnose the obsessive complex and try and help clients out of the closet. Instead of focusing on the anxiety, clients are encouraged to “get out there and try it.”

Which we can only assume would cause even more confusion and anxiety. It would also make a good movie. We’re thinking Bradley Cooper as the homOCD patient and as his well-meaning but misguided therapist Meryl Streep.

It does raise an interesting question though: if you’re convinced you’re gay…at what point does that make you gay? 


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  • Fitz

    And I am afraid of developing a prolapsed uterus.

    Pick up a DSM. There is no such thing.

  • Sebizzar

    So, basically homophobia?

  • tada-no

    A good psychologist would recommend these clients try gay-for-pay porn. Many of these HomoOCDs get rammed in the butt and still like to carry the straight label.

  • yaph

    there are 2 treatments for intrusive thoughts: medication or exposure therapy. maybe incompetent mental health professionals are making it harder to treat.

  • ED49

    This article makes me feel i didn’t read an article.

    To spice it up, we , the homos love to make the straight guys gay. Tom cruise, Richard G, and who else? until this day Joan Rivers makes fun of Richard Gere wanting a rat in his butt. If the guy is too hot ,he’s got to be gay ,it’s a vicious cycle. If the hot guy comes out of the closet people dont go to see his movies thinking that probably he gets it in the butt.

  • hyhybt

    I can sort of understand this, because I get the reverse sometimes. “What if I’m really straight, deep down, after all? What if I’ve totally misunderstood that whole aspect of my life; what if it’s all just…”

    It’s completely absurd, and seeing a hot guy ) dispels the doubts pretty quickly, but nothing stops them from coming back.

  • queerbec

    Have these mental health professionals not ever heard of bisexuality? Couldn’t the client be having genuine thoughts or feelings about a same sex individual, even though their previous experience had been with an opposite sex partner. Yes,I know from experience that OCD thoughts can frequently have no relation to reality (but are frequently symptomatic of other stuff going on in an individual’s life that trigger over-active chemicals). This article is also written as though “here’s another thing to blame on openly gay people or to LGBT folk gaining further acceptance. I guess these psycho pros would be happier if we stayed in the closet so they could have an easier time treating their clients. Suggestion to the psych pros: just tell your clients to lean back and enjoy it!

  • viveutvivas

    So maybe they should just try it every time they have a doubt just to make sure. And try it… And try it… And try it…

    If they’re hot, that it. Otherwise just give them Prozac.

  • viveutvivas

    “If they’re hot, that iS.”

  • robirob

    A shrink’s job is to get to the bottom of things. Why does his patient have a thought pattern that keeps him from enjoying life and / or taking care of what he needs to do in life?

    I’d bet that it’s all about a childhood trauma where parents go ‘you better not be gay!’ all the time and the kid – while straight – gets curious and confused about what’s the big fuss about being gay and yet has that fear to allow himself to do some research on that matter because his parents’ ‘you better not be gay’ put this fear in him about this topic.

  • jmi2

    wouldn’t the test of “‘Wait a minute I spent too much time looking at that guy in the locker room.” be if you get an erection looking at him?

    seems simple, really…..

  • Ken

    If you don’t know whether or not you’re gay, just ask your boyfriend over a quiet dinner at home.

  • viveutvivas

    George from Seinfeld had this.

  • Stevenw

    So creating an environment of intolerance – making sexuality a negative – will actually result a larger number of gay men?

    Someone should tell Mr Phelps et al – his bigotry just creates more of what he hates.

  • Alan down in Florida

    @Stevenw: The way I read this is that the more tolerated homosexuality becomes these OCD “sufferers” will decide that being gay is not such a terrible thing and will stop worrying about the compulsive thoughts and quit therapy. And they can’t charge you $200 for 50 minutes if you stop going to the therapist.

  • Mezaien

    They get lost in the need to know, different psychologist.

  • MCHG

    I’m always amazed by people who think they know more than professional scientists or medical practitioners. actually being gay and having OCD in regards to your sexuality are two completely different things. for the love of God, telling someone who’s NOT gay that they have a psychological disorder that makes them obsess over a part of their life is not homophobic. I do not understand, and probably never will, people who cry foul on this site when anyone’s heterosexuality is announced, whether it be a celebrity that’s rumoured to be gay or a patient with a mental disorder. everything is not intended to offend you.

  • Bellamy

    I KNOW I’m White, I KNOW I’m White, I KNOW I’m White… but OMG could I really be Siamese?!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! WHAT DO I DO?! But wait, I KNOW I’m White; I’m Scottish and German! I KNOW IT I KNOW IT I KNOW IT!!!! But I looked at photos of Siamese twins, and I don’t know what I kept looking at them! What if I might be Siamese too!!!? Why do I look at those pictures?!

    That isn’t OCD, that’s lunacy.

  • hyhybt

    @Bellamy: How is it different than “I know I turned the stove off,” “I know I locked that door,” “I know my hands are already clean,” etc.?

  • Bellamy

    I laugh at people who think that “professional” scientists/medical practitioners always know more. *One hundred thousand patients are killed by medical professionals EVERY YEAR. They themselves tell you it is no an exact science; they are always rewriting “right & wrong”. They can’t even agree on the correct way to brush your teeth!

    You say that being gay and having sexual orientation OCD isn’t the same thing, but who are you to say that? What if the person DIAGNOSED as having OCD is REALLY a homosexual who (because of social/parental/religious indoctrination) is brainwashed to think that he is heterosexual, and his homo-sexual obsession is actually his Inner Being (mind/soul/what have you) screaming that it can’t play the charade any more! What if he really IS gay. If he is not really gay, then he is a lunatic. An that is my PROFESSIONAL opinion. But SHAME on ANY doctor who would tell a patient to go out and fornicate to find out if they are gay or straight. That is total ignorance of what sexual orientation is! EVERYONE is either heterosexual or homosexual – even if you are a virgin your entire life. You don’t BECOME straight and you don’t BECOME gay by having sex!

    *reference: Dr. Joel Wallack, Nobel Prize nominee in medicine

  • coltonblack

    Sorry but OCD in an equal opportunity DSM diagnosis. It does not care if you are gay or straight. LOL.

  • hyhybt

    @Bellamy: Not true. Many people are bisexual, to varying degrees, and some are even asexual. Also, misdiagnosis does not mean the condition doesn’t exist, and so on. And “rewriting ‘right & wrong'” is the right thing to do when information is incomplete, which it always is, and when new data comes along, which it does on a fairly regular basis.

  • yaletownman

    I can see that this might happen. It happens with a lot of things. People obsessing about the fear they might be an alcoholic because they got drunk once and did something they wish they hadn’t. I think a lot of people who had puritanical backgrounds diagnose themselves as sex addicts just because they enjoy sex or look at other people when they are in a relationship with someone. It”s just obsessive self doubt and the sufferer doesn’t always get to choose the doubt they are obsessing about.

  • Matticus


    “That isn’t OCD, that’s lunacy.”

    You should do some reading about OCD in general. Depending on the severity, it can be a horrible, debilitating disorder. Your words clearly indicate that you have no understanding of the subject.

  • hyhybt

    @yaletownman: Exactly. If it were reasonable, it wouldn’t be OCD. Generally people with that *know* it’s unreasonable, but can’t stop.

  • Tad

    Frankly, if someone is that obsessed with it, they should get off their asses and fool around a little and learn like we all did. Either it turns them on or it doesn’t. If they like it, they probably need help dealing with it. If they don’t like, they’ve answered their own question.

  • Paulie

    This almost sounds like a fictional, “made up”, disorder, as exampled by the fact that when I was younger, I thought of myself as straight, later, bisexual, and now since I only want to be with men, I identify myself as 100% gay.
    So where does the OCD aspect of this come in? It sounds like some ridiculous “macho” sexual identity panic, because if one believes that strongly that he might/possibly/could be gay,then isn’t he?
    Get a life already!

  • queenrosered

    Given that 3% (on the low end) to 10% (high end) of the population is homosexual, what percentage of THAT number have THIS very specific form of OCD? I mean,seriously?? Really? Methinks this is much ado about almost nothing. I could go into the whole psychobabble craziness but whyyyy? It’s sooo not worth that kind of energy. Build an illness and they will come…

  • hyhybt

    @queenrosered: By definition, those with this condition would be among the 90-97% of the population that is straight.

  • jayfree

    Shame on most of the commentators here. No-one who hasn’t experience OCD in any form should brush it off lightly — it is a debilitating, sometimes devastating mental illness.

    Obsessions in OCD can take many forms, but all involve unwanted/intrusive/highly repetitive thoughts. Without treatment, the sufferer has no control over the obsessive thoughts or their frequency. Compulsive behavior (like hoarding or repetitive washing) often accompanies the obsessions. Sufferers try to use the compulsions to attempt to nullify the obsessions (futily so, because the obsessions don’t disappear by themselves).

    OCD centered around sexual orientation is pretty common (one of many types of sex-related OCD). This is not ‘classic internalized homophobia’, because there is an intrusive (uncontrolled) nature to the obsessive thoughts. Also, sufferers may be gay or straight.

    OCD is often accompanied by incredible shame, because the sufferer knows that the thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational, but they can feel powerless to stop the obsessions or associated compulsions. Sufferes are at increased risk of suicide and other medical and social problems. OCD focused around sexual orientation can be especially difficult to discuss with doctors, because of how f**ked up our society is in dealing with different sexual orientations, in general (hello residents of Arizona, Idaho, Texas, etc).

    If anyone is reading this and wants to know more about this or other types of OCD (the unwanted obsession can be about anything), and treatments for this mental illness, read this article:

  • Respect4all

    It’s utterly amazing how may psychologists and experts on OCD there are commenting on this site.

  • Respect4all

    OOPS. “…how many…”

  • MCHG

    @Bellamy: I never proposed that scientists are always right. and deaths in the field of medicine have a host of causes, human error is always a factor in the sciences. one cannot, however, compare a doctor performing surgery where equipment can backfire or patients can have undiagnosed medical conditions that complicate medical procedures ( as was the case with kanye west’s mother) and someone diagnosing a mental disorder where there are a plethora of symptoms that have to be thoroughly examined. psychologists deal with closeted patients all the time, the idea that a psychologist wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between suppressed homosexuality and a mainstream mental disorder like ocd is laughable. telling patients to get out and experiment is not shameful, it’s now a viable way of treating the patient because cultural shifts ( led by those that again, think that the minute someone gets an inkling that they might be gay that they’re obligated to shout out from the heavens) have complicated the conventional way of treating homosexual ocd.

  • iMort

    @jayfree: Wow, that was a well written comment. I sometimes wonder what an open minded, curious straight person might think after wandering to this site and reading some of our comments. Comments on conservative sights are mighty disturbing to me.

  • queenrosered

    @hyhybt: I know, right? And for me, the real kicker is the statement “as acceptance of gays becomes more mainstream, homOCD is getting harder to treat”
    Ahhhh…wut? *scratching head* So because a “handful” (what a scientific sampling, lol) of people MAY be exhibiting a specific sexual OCD that is somehow harder to treat because of actual positive strides toward true equality, those strides are somehow….what? Not so positive?? I am totally lost here! Crap like this causes my brain to melt! WTF is the POINT of this article? Aside from @jayfree not many seem to identify with OCD, much less this VERY SPECIFIC form of it! Wait…Perhaps he has OCD about comments and must reiterate himself over and over? smh….. Have a great day everyone.

  • tricky ricky

    this is the stupidest damn thing I’ve seen in awhile. I call bullsh*t.

Comments are closed.