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#434000 - 05/08/13 07:15 AM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 300
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Yeah, the real killer for me is that since OCD is so doubt centered, I either find myself going back and analyzing every experience I've ever had that could have been even remotely "gay", or wondering if I'm somehow closeted.

What's difficult about this is that some times, this can apparently be how people who are coming out of the closet can think. Apparently the differences are that they find those thoughts pleasurable, not alarming. I don't know, because the only gay friend I have told me he knew when he was about 4 and only tried dating girls to throw people off.

Me, on the other hand, I just believed that because of what happened I must have been gay. After being sexualized by the experiences from my cousin, that was really the only reference I had to anything sexual. I didn't know what a vagina looked like or how it worked, I just new that sex, as it was defined in the encyclopedia at the time, involved a penis and a vagina.

So as time went on, I held this belief that I must be gay or bisexual because of what went down and because of how I was acting at puberty whenever I got turned on (which was of course to re-enact what happened between me and my cousin). This makes it all the more confusing for me, because I don't remember seeing a girl and thinking "wow, she's attractive!" until I was 14. Even then, I did nothing about it because I thought it was something I couldn't have - she wouldn't take it seriously, I'd bother her, thoughts like that.

Throughout high school I would sometimes try and watch gay porn that resembled what happened with my cousin. I hated that I would react to it. This continued every now and then through high school and a little into college before I finally went in to therapy. I felt like I was innately not gay, but I had all this other stuff going on that seemed contrary.

I still have not found a SINGLE mental health professional who thinks I'm gay, and my trauma specialist who I really spilled my guts too and told EVERYTHING to didn't think I was either, and she regularly works with gay people frequently. After doing therapy with her, any compulsions I had to watch gay porn disappeared and I stopped feeling a need to sit there and check out other guys "just to make sure". I spoke with both my parents and some close family members, and they all said the same thing. "It doesn't make a damned bit of difference what you are, as long as you're happy". So I asked my mom, because sometimes mothers have an intuitive sense of whether their kids are gay or not gay. Told her about the gay porn, everything. She basically said "If you feel like you were victimized, none of what you told me is uncommon. For the record, I have never once thought that you were gay". She also told me "have you ever noticed that this thought never enters your head or bothers you until you get majorly stressed or are on the verge of a major life decision?" Again, she and several of my therapists believe I use this thought pattern to distract myself from other problems, as it is time consuming and essentially not a question that can easily be answered.

Last time this started, I at least had a solid reason to be questioning things. I was at that time watching gay porn often to "test" myself. Now, about 3.5 years later, I've gone back to the same thought pattern, only this time I arrived at it because I'm 26, totally inept with women, and in contrast to my other male friends appear to have little to no sex drive, leading me to believe that something must be wrong. I think of past experiences I've had with women, I get an erection quickly. I think of past experiences with my cousin or things of that nature, and although I get an odd sensation in my groin, I do not get turned on. But now I am wondering if the only way I'll ever really settle this is to try experimenting with another guy. Given my OCD nature about things though, that strikes me as a terrible and potentially dangerous thing to do. If I didn't like it, would I keep going "are you sure? What if you did? The fact that you did it in the first place must mean something."

Naturally, this comes at a time when I am leaving a stable, but miserable job, moving to a relatively isolated area, and hearing about how my friends are starting to get married. It seems like all my other friends have their lives together with girlfriends/fiances, careers,and a defined plan for the future, and I am just drifting.

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#434992 - 05/17/13 05:30 PM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
Life's A Dream Offline


Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island
I'm a bit surprised so few of you know anything about OCD. I had very severe OCD and HOCD as a child. I thought it was lately en vogue to feature it on reality shows and crap like that. Hmmm. I guess word hasn't gotten out as much as I thought.

Anyway, it sucks, and the only way I could cure mine was to make a conscious decision to become self-destructive and to let my friends and family die, to not give a shit about my sexuality, and, well, really, that last part was the key. Just stop giving a shit about anything. Shut your emotions off. Embrace death. Then your OCD loses all of its power over you, because it has nothing to threaten you with if you don't do x, y, and z. That's how I dealt with it.

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#435827 - 05/26/13 12:00 AM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Andy:

Sorry to have missed seeing your last post for a while.

Other men on this site have talked about their sexuality in similar questioning ways. Overall, I think that on the deepest level, sexuality is just that, sexuality. It has on that level nothing to do with orientation. It is about an inner connection.

That being said, orientation is something to consider if one wants to understand oneself and be social. I went through a period of questioning in my twenties. It helped to try dating men. I had one date with somebody and one relationship with somebody. It was good to do at the time.

What I now see looking back is that there were many experiences in my childhood that stopped me from growing into a man. Does that mean I am straight and not gay, because it's about growing into a man? No. Does that mean it was difficult to find myself sexually? Yes.

Because I didn't deal with the issues of my childhood for many years, I think I worried about feeling safe around men. This would drive me to spend more time with gay men than straight men. I think when we have had difficult experiences growing up and being male, we can be driven to hide away from experiences of masculinity.

So that being said I think experimenting may be the only way to give yourself some concrete experience to help you understand yourself. This understanding might end up being the kind that will get you over the obsessive questioning that in male culture can be very stultifying.

Let me know if you see the post. Perhaps we can share more on the topic.

Focused
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#436171 - 05/29/13 08:51 AM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 300
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Hi focused,

I have seen your post.

What you suggest has been difficult for me precisely because of how my mind works. If I experiment and find that I like it, I will want to continuously question whether or not I really liked it, and that will make closure difficult. If I don't like it, the same thing will happen where I will have to repeat the experience multiple times to "make sure" I didn't like it.

The very idea of this is extremely unsettling to me though. I realize that with porn, you are looking at people and not pixels, but when I try to imagine myself doing anything with a man or think about watching gay porn, I feel terrible, like I am victimizing myself and re-living my trauma, but this time at my own hands instead of at my abusers. I am also disgusted and ashamed by what happened to me back then, and I have no desire to place myself in that situation again. It literally feels like my entire insides are on fire, and it hurts.

I am posting a paragraph from this website here that contains some potentially useful info: http://www.ocdla.com/blog/sexual-orientation-ocd-hocd-sub-types-treatment-1198

"(Really) Need-To-Know HOCD

These are people who identify as heterosexual but have been struggling with untreated (or mistreated) HOCD to such an extent that they have gone from mental checking, to physical checking, to actual experimental checking. This is somewhat rare and I would imagine some people might read this and say, “OK, let’s just call it gay then,” but that’s not what is happening here. People who suffer from OCD, regardless of the manifestation, are struggling against an intolerance for uncertainty. People without OCD largely tolerate uncertainty by not paying much attention to it.

For any reader who does not have OCD, try thinking really hard about the fact that you are not 100% certain what will happen when you die. Now imagine that all of the people you love will consider you hugely irresponsible for not attaining certainty on the issue. This is how an OCD sufferer often feels. Not only do they poorly estimate the risk posed by unwanted thoughts and feelings, but they have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for avoiding these risks.

Ultimately, for some HOCD sufferers, being gay may sound like a relief from not knowing for sure that they are straight. So they begin to build a case for gayness. This may involve seeking treatment from LGBT specialists, trying to train themselves to enjoy gay pornography and sometimes engaging in sexual experimentation. The goal is not necessarily to like gay sex, but to determine once and for all – “am I gay or straight?”.

Typically this backfires in one of two ways. Either the person finds the experience somewhat satisfactory but not preferential to straight sex, or they find the experience abhorrent and resent themselves for having done it. In either case, they are left with the same uncertainty they find intolerable, plus more ammunition for the OCD. Just as in the other forms of HOCD, the objective has to be tolerance for not-knowing rather than proof.

These are the various subtypes and angles on HOCD that we have treated thus far, but there are certainly others. In the next installment of this series, we will examine some additional nuances to HOCD and common impediments to effective treatment."


Edited by AndyS87 (05/29/13 09:16 AM)

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#436352 - 05/30/13 07:02 PM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Andy:

Thanks so much for the link to the article. All I can say is Wow! Yes! Uncertainty and mystery are very active in our sexual being and why should it not be so.

Now I can see why experimenting may not be a plan for closure. (Closure is in general overrated). What I liked about the article is that it suggests that all kinds of sensations and feelings may have something to do with our thoughts and also may have nothing to do with our thoughts. The goal is to be in a good place of and with uncertainty.

I also liked how the article considered the presence of bullying thoughts as problematic. I think this relates to a few different experiences I had growing up. For instance, I remember when a school friend of mine told me that a girl had said she would say yes if I asked her to a dance. I asked her and she didn't. Then I looked over to him on the playground and there he was grinning. This was an awful experience of feeling I had no place in the game of attraction.

On another note, last week I had an unexpected feeling of attraction in the groinal area at a particularly vulnerable but victorious moment when I was around a beefy guy. Go figure.

At this particular moment I am in a public place reading your post and the article and a pretty woman keeps shifting her legs next to me. I really feel like a man and it's fun. Go figure.

Keep posting, sharing and talking, especially when it's hard to deal with. I hope you can find your way to some peace in the mix of uncertainty.

Take good care of yourself too along the way. We didn't ask for our mistreatments and deserve some space to find ourselves amidst the pain.

Focused
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#436773 - 06/04/13 12:26 AM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: AndyS87]
Czaesar72 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 210
Loc: California, USA
Quote:
My only experience was with EMDR, but that is more of a trauma therapy I think.


Andy,

How was your experience with EMDR? My T tried that approach with me, but it was rather triggering in such a way that it was having the opposite desired effect. My T explained, that the reason that this didn't work for me is because my history of trauma has so many layers.


Edited by Czaesar72 (06/04/13 12:28 AM)
_________________________
Alejandro
A very grateful Alumni of the Level I WoR Sequoia 2011, Ben Lohmond, CA, USA
and Advanced WoR Alta 2011, Alta, UT, USA.

The strength of a man isn't in the weight he can lift; it is the burdens he can understand and overcome.

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#437443 - 06/08/13 05:44 PM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 300
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
My EMDR experience was really helpful for me, but it was a process that took several years to get through. The last time I was molested I was around ten, and I didn't get therapy until I was 21. You figure that's 11 years of internalized actions, reactions, thoughts, feelings, etc. that had all been bottled up tight, and it was tough to get through. I had some good weeks and some awful weeks where I got out of a session and felt worse then when I had gone in. My therapist put it to me that "progress is not a line, but more like a roller coaster ride. It's full of twists, turns, and isn't predictable".

My standpoint was that it wasn't the molestation itself that was necessarily so traumatic for me. My cousin who initiated all of it was only a few years older then me, and while he was coercive and would pester me when I didn't act out with him, he was never violent or expressly forceful with me. At a certain point, I would even voluntarily hang out with him even though I knew something weird was going to happen. For example, we used to do the whole "show me yours and I'll show you mine" thing all the time. I don't think that's all that out of the ordinary for two boys under the age of ten (when this all started I was 6, so he would have been about 9). In contrast, when he first started requesting oral and anal sex from me and masturbating while having me watch, that I thought was a bit weird and didn't really want a part of.

The moment that I put two and two together and realized that I had, by definition, been engaging in "gay" experiences with him though, I flipped a shit. Even as a little kid, I thought of myself as a manly man (My nickname as a little kid was "The Hammer", I loved karate, and I LOVED to fight and rough house)and was very upset that I had been involved in what I had been involved in. Then I thought I could have contracted AIDS and that I was going to die, and so I told my parents. That was pretty traumatic for me.

Prior to that, I had seen my cousin as a very close friend and the closest thing I had to a brother. After that, we got really really distant, and that hurt a lot too, especially since I had changed schools a few years earlier and didn't have many friends of my own.

That was just my case, but even from out of that, the masturbation fantasies I used to have, my overall sexual behaviors, and a lot of the porn I watched never really sat well with me. I reasoned a lot during my adolescence that a lot of thing that I did sexually were probably linked to those experiences. For example, when I first started masturbating, I used to try and emulate what I had seen when my cousin made me watch him as closely as I could. I would go so far as to arrange the furniture exactly the way it had been when he had done it, and I would try to stand in the same exact spot in the room and do the same exact things he had done. Even with that, I never talked about it. I figured it probably had happened to lots of other people, and I figured eventually it'd just go away on its own. I first went to see a therapist when I was 15/16 because I had been having fits of explosive anger at home (parents had divorced, lived with my mother and sister) whenever I got into fights with my mom or sister. I almost ripped a dishwasher out of a wall once and nearly choked my sister on another account (she responded to our parents divorce by being spiteful towards me for no reason. I would do whatever I could to avoid her, but she would often openly confront me, and I'd usually end up doing the best I could not to beat the shit out of her).

I distinctly remember when I went to see the therapist, I was thinking to myself "I can't let him find out anything about what happened between me and my cousin". The Parents divorcing and my Mom and Sister constantly harassing me was a good cover as it was, so I never did go any further. I wish I had been smarter and started therapy then. Probably would have made the rest of high school and college a lot more enjoyable for me. Instead I spent most of those years undergoing major depressive episodes and panic attacks.


In any case, that kind of got away from me there, but like I said, I found EMDR to be helpful not only in relieving a lot of the issues I had from my initial experiences with my cousin, but also all the acting out that I did resulting from those experiences. It was tough though. I cried several times during those couple years, I think more than I had since I was ten and the family dog died (don't think I ever cried in between), but I was at the point where I honestly believed that if I didn't do something to get help, I would either end up in a psychiatric hospital or I would end up killing myself, so I got help. Although it's helped me to function and live my life somewhat normally now, there isn't a day in my life where I don't wish I could go back and stop those things from happening. Then again, I have grown to appreciate the struggles in life for the opportunities they give to grow as a person. Still, "nobody said it was easy, nobody said it would be so hard".

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#437749 - 06/11/13 12:22 AM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: AndyS87]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: AndyS87
Now, about 3.5 years later, I've gone back to the same thought pattern, only this time I arrived at it because I'm 26, totally inept with women, and in contrast to my other male friends appear to have little to no sex drive, leading me to believe that something must be wrong.


Andy:

For the record, sex drive is not necessarily a measurement of orientation. True and deeply felt attraction and desire come out of real moments. I have found that most of my success in relating to women comes from a place of directness and mutual interests.

Focused
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#437801 - 06/11/13 01:48 PM Re: OCD (and others) [Re: Bradley P]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 300
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
For me there's definitely 100% a trust component for me, and that's not just where sexual relationships are concerned. I am generally terrified of being emotionally vulnerable, especially to women, which is probably why the biggest crushes I've ever had have all been on girls that I had been friendly with first and knew or at least felt that I could trust. For example, there was a girl I used to work with who I got very close to. That started when I had commented to a friend and coworker outside of work that I thought this girl was "pretty much a smokeshow". He in turn ended up telling her, the two of us started flirting on and off, and we became pretty close friends. Only girl I've ever been around who could get me turned on just by holding my hand and looking at me a certain way. I never did end up sleeping with her - I felt that since we were living in the same dorm at school, had a lot of the same friends, and worked together, any potential falling out or awkwardness would be really really messy. Sadly after we graduated we kind of stopped talking to each other. That probably had a lot to do with me being an asshole and only sending text messages when I had been drinking and was looking to get laid.

The flip side of those instances would be the three one night stands I've had in college. I am not comfortable with those at all and often times feel guilty afterwards that I didn't try to get to know the girl better or spend more time with her. If I know the interest is there though and the woman is open to sleeping with me, I will take advantage. A common thing with all three was that I had friends tell me "So and so is interested in you, so if you want to make a move you're all clear". It's funny, now that I say that I feel like one of the reasons I don't have sex is because I feel like I need permission to approach women, otherwise I'd be bothering or creeping out the person I was trying to sleep with.

The first girl in that occasion was absolutely mind blowing, and we didn't even sleep together. I tried to see if she wanted to hang out the day after, but I think I was maybe too clingy and she told me she wasn't really interested and didn't "sleep around outside of relationships". I had a class with her the next semester, and found her personality to be extremely grating, so I guess that worked out in the long run.

The second girl used to hang out a lot with the same group of people I was friends with. My buddy had asked her one day if she'd ever hook up with me (sounds very middle school, no?) and she basically just said "Sure!". She was up for a party, and all I did was have casual conversation with her, just with more body contact, arm around the waist type stuff. Later that night we went out for a walk, fooled around a bit, and then kept fooling around back at my dorm. Afterwards it was a little weird between us, but we were still friendly. I felt like I didn't really perform all that well though, so I never tried to initiate that again.

Third time was a girl I had met that afternoon who literally said in front of like five people that she'd love to sleep with me. I thought she was joking until she leaned over and whispered "You should really consider taking me up on that". I did, and I regret to this day that I didn't stay in touch with her, but at the time I was staying at my parents house and my mom was freaking out wondering where I was at 4:30 AM, so right after the deed was done I left my friends house and went directly home. I really do regret not pursuing that one. She was a really sweet girl, but oh well.

Then I have my friends, who have been my absolute best friends since we were in Elementary school together. I have shared my entire life with them including everything that happened to me in the past. They're all supportive of my situation as much as they can be, though they all admit they can't really fully understand it because they have no context to compare.

I have questioned my sexual identity in the past, and even though everybody I know (including one of my gay friends), both of my therapists, and ultimately myself believe that I'm straight, the fact that I have such a hard time being sexual now, in addition to having been through what I went through in the past, makes me question. This most recent bout was two fold. I was out drinking one night and commented on how I hadn't had sex in three years. One of my friends off handedly said "I would have died by now. Are you sure you're not gay?" While he was just giving me shit, the thought kind of bothered me, but I let it slide. Then a few months later I had an opportunity to date a girl who was bartending at a restaurant I live near, but I didn't know how best to approach, totally flubbed the whole thing, and then started thinking "Maybe you didn't pursue that because you don't really care, which must mean that you like guys instead". That was literally it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the simple fact that I can't disprove that and then move on kind of keeps me stuck. I try some strategies, like a meteor hitting the earth. It's not likely to happen, but if it did, there wouldn't be anything I could do about it, so why worry? Using the same logic, I don't think I'm really gay, but if I suddenly fell in love with another guy one day, I don't suppose there's anything that I could do about that. You love who you love, right? So why worry? Still, the fact that I feel bothered by it decreases my sex drive even more because I'm so paranoid about it, and then I've found that even when I am having sex with girls I'm not present because I'm trying to think about if I'm really enjoying myself, am I performing well, am I making sure she gets off, etc.


To pare that down - I am afraid to approach women because I feel like I'm bothering them, I have major trust issues that effect how I relate to them (I can't just pull chicks at the bar), and I have TERRIBLE self esteem and confidence. EMDR for the most part did help me a lot, but now I am trying to pursue CBT to try to stop a lot of my negative thought processes and hopefully improve my self esteem and all that other stuff in the meantime.

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