SEXUAL ABUSE AND OBSESSIVE CONTENTS

The connection between sexual abuse and obsessive content related to sexuality deserves further study. I will consider two different situations, the first concerning a gay guy who has been abused in childhood and who presents a gay sexuality deeply conditioned by the experience of the abuse, the second concerning a straight guy who has been abused in adolescence and has developed a gay-themed OCD (I will only deal with the case of a OCD that had already manifested before the abuse). The situations, despite their substantial differences, have a fundamental aspect in common: the identification of the victim with the abuser. Let’s start with the first situation.

1) A gay guy, who has been sexually abused in childhood, has a gay sexuality that in the first meetings with his partners does not present particular problems but, if the relationship deepens, the guy gets to confess to his partner that he has been sexually abused, nevertheless he does not tend to feel as the victim but almost as the co-responsible if not as the promoter of the abuse, he tries anyhow to involve his partner in his obsessive fantasies concerning the abuse with insistently (obsessively) repeated questions about the circumstances of the abuse, asking him what he would do if he found himself in similar situations; faced with evasive or patently disinterested responses, the guy seems incredulous and attributes the lack of interest in sharing that particular sexual fantasies on the part of his partner to an alleged moralism of the partner himself, however the insistence does not cease even in the face of an obvious lack of interest but becomes even more pressing, as if the guy wanted to obtain a confession analogous to his own. The obsessive insistence on the partner goes as far as to induce him, in more or less long time, to distance himself and interrupt the relationship.

It is evident that the memory of the abuse has become a sexual archetype from which it is difficult to get free, and here a mechanism characteristic of the abuse is triggered: the victim imagines himself in the role of the abuser, situations of discomfort even very strong are created this way, because the victim sees himself as a potential pedophile and develops pedophile fantasies in which he assumes, in an oscillating manner, both the role of victim and abuser.

Basically the projective identification with the abuser and his behaviors favors guilt feelings and strongly weakens the possibility of rationalizing the memory of the abuse and of living a sexuality not deeply conditioned by the abuse itself.

2) In the case of the straight guy with a pre-existing gay themed OCD, the abuse in adolescence creates objective complications that cannot be ignored because it does nothing but feed the OCD, even though it cannot actually destroy the guy’s straight sexuality. The mechanism of identification with the abuser, in this case, cannot lead to true gay sexual fantasies (because the guy is a straight guy) but only to obsessions and gay compulsions which, as is usually the case in the OCD, remain, at most, at the level of masturbation and, in almost all cases, never materialize in real sexual relationships. The gay-themed compulsions and obsessions are perceived as deeply disturbing compared to the true sexuality that is and anyway remains straight.

The identification with the abuser can however be more complex when the abuser is not really a gay man but he is a married man or a man who has children, that is when the abuser is or appears to be a straight adult, with whom the straight guy with OCD can easily identify on the basis of the following projective mechanism: ”He is straight because he is married and has children, but if he abused me it means he also had gay fantasies and could not refrain from putting them into practice, but I am straight too, because I have a girlfriend and I have sex with her, but I also have gay fantasies, so in the end I won’t be able to stop myself and I’ll end up needing to have sex with a man. How can I be with a girl if I already desire men and know that sooner or later I will betray her with a man? I am fooling my girlfriend into believing that I am straight, but it is not so!”

In this case the identification mechanism acts through different paths but it is no less disruptive than in the case of the gay guy and creates the risk, sometimes lived obsessively, but objectively not very concrete, to lead to the breakdown the relationship with the girl.

The deeper identification with the abuser leads to two closely related consequences:

1) the responsibility of the abuser appears to be much lighter;

2) even if in such situations it’s evident that in any case no responsibility can be charged on the victim, the victim himself overestimates his own presumed responsibility up to the point to consider his own behavior decisive, and consequently to experience guilt feelings objectively unjustified.

In the two cases presented, the most suitable conditions to overcome obsessive thinking are realized when the guys have their ”real” emotional life, that is:

1) in the first case, when the gay guy lives not a unilateral falling in love but an authentic love story with a guy with whom a relationship is created that is completely independent of the fantasies related to abuse, fantasies which can also remain but marginalized and spontaneously not shared, fantasies that are not considered as a taboo but are very rarely argument of conversation. In essence the stories that materialize or tend to materialize only or mainly in terms of more or less spontaneous sharing of fantasies linked to abuse are not true love stories and therefore do not contribute to the overcoming of obsessive thinking;

2) in the second case, when the straight guy lives a love story in which the girl knows that the guy has been abused and realizes that the obsessive thought linked to the OCD can cause the guy to question his heterosexuality. The OCD has a strong conditioning capacity in two cases:

a) when the girl tries to ignore obsessive contents, pretending that they do not exist;
b) when the girl emphasizes the obsessive contents and offers them a sound box that amplifies their effect.

OCD must be tackled with awareness but without dramatization.

_____________

If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum:  http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-sexual-abuse-and-obsessive-contents

Advertisements

GAY THEMED OCD AND NAKEDNESS AT THE GYM

The following email is a particularly important document, it is not about a gay guy, but about a straight guy with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) characterized by the obsessive fear of being gay. Guys with gay-themed OCD submit compulsively to tests of erection in environments or situations of gay interest, and/or to tests of masturbation with gay fantasies, in order to determine their sexual orientation. Obviously for these guys the climate of the locker room of a gym is generally strongly anxiety-inducing. The hetero guy who wrote the email, very well followed at a psychological level and now about to exit OCD, has begun to attend the gym and the relative locker room and has managed to have, even in that environment, an excellent control of anxiety.

“Hello everyone! I have not written for some time, lately I’m quite absent from the forum, even if I’m in chat almost every night. Many times, in recent years, I happened to feel bad and I came to the forum to open a topic and ask for help and some advice on how to get out of the black moments. This time, however, the situation is opposite, I’m writing to you because I’m finally beginning to understand and accept myself for what I’m, a straight guy, without asking myself too many questions, without making too many problems. My self-esteem has greatly increased, both thanks to psychotherapy, where I put into practice with all my will the therapeutic strategies of my psychologist (I must thank him too, because without him I would never understood the mechanisms and automatisms of thought that had almost taken control of my mind, settling themselves within me), and thanks to my openness to experiences, where I also made many mistakes, but I learned from them.

Unfortunately, today I still suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and I don’t deny that when I’m anxious, negative thoughts start to burst and this sometimes makes me very nervous. But the positive thing is that I finally recognized this automatism, and when the thoughts arrive I try to accept them for what they are, that is “thoughts”, as the word just says, which are images, words that are not real in that moment. The fact is that the thoughts provoke emotions, positive, if the thought concerns a beautiful thing and obviously, they cause negative emotions if the thought is negative. I now try to tolerate them, because I’m aware that a thought is a just a thought, and cannot represent reality. I take my life as it comes, with the positive and negative sides, and I try not to make a drama if someone tells me something rude. The negative thoughts are for me (but I think for everyone) a wake-up call, for example if I’m doing something and I start to fell anxious and I negative thoughts appear it means that I don’t really want to do it. I must thank these thoughts, I must thank the anxiety, which on one hand made me suffer like a dog, but on the other made me understand that the life I did until a few months ago, didn’t belong to me, I acted a character that I was not, and I did things I didn’t really want to do.

My life is changing, and positively, of course I have my black moments (like everyone) but I’m beginning to manage them effectively, and above all I try not to emphasize certain situations, which in reality are nonsense. I‘m becoming more elastic mentally, I accept my parents for what they are, I don’t judge them, even if they have judged me in the past, but in my heart I have forgiven them.

I am beginning to listen to myself, my real needs, my body, my sexual drives, I accept all this as normal things. When I’m among the people, I feel like them, neither superior nor inferior. In the past I tended to feel inferior, I judged myself as an incapable, a clumsy. Today when I talk to a person I look at that person straight in the eyes, sure of myself, I pronounce the words well when I speak, I feel at the same level. I don’t judge myself negatively if I don’t have any real friend yet, with whom I could go out on Saturday night.

I always say to myself that everything has its own time and that I must not be in a hurry. Already the fact that I can interact with people and especially with my peers (before I was afraid of my peers), is a big step forward for me and I’m happy for it. I’m sure that if I keep going on this way, showing myself for what I am (and I’m not just talking about my sexual orientation, but I mean everything), I’ll finally be able to find people who have the same sensitivity and with whom I can share good moments. I can finally see the positive aspects of life and I dwell on them, and when I can overcome my fears, I congratulate myself.

A month ago I joined the gym to improve my body and my mood. When I’m there I feel at home, it’s a beautiful environment, there are many quiet guys (and also very nice!) And sometimes I exchange a few words with them. The first few times, I didn’t want to take a shower there, I preferred to do it at home, because I was afraid of having an erection watching other naked guys, then a few weeks ago I decided to overcome this other fear of mine. This morning after the training I took a shower there, before entering the locker room I had a little anxiety, then I took courage and I entered. I started to undress, I took the bathrobe and the bubble bath and went in the shower. After the shower I went to put the underwear clean, to dress, dry my hair etc. etc., in short, all things that normally people do after physical exercises. But all this (apart from the initial anxiety) was accompanied by a sense of absolute freedom, I saw other naked guys and I felt a bit of sexual excitement, but only psychological, in the sense that physically I didn’t have erections.

But if I had had an erection, of course, I would have felt embarrassed, but just because I’m accepting sexuality for what it is, I would not have made many problems. While I was taking a shower and soaping my body and hair, I felt free from all fear, I felt the warm water on my body sliding slowly, the perfume of the bubble bath, the steam that surrounded me. I really relaxed and felt so natural, I was naked along with other naked guys, doing normal things, free from any negative thinking and from any worries. I was so at ease that I was a lot of time in the locker room, I did everything calmly, because there were a few guys, sometimes with the corner of the eye I looked at some penises but I’m very prudent and no one noticed it!

Then, when I was almost completely dressed, a gentleman of about 40 (maybe even less) entered, a sculpted and attractive physique. Even before, when I was doing the exercises in the gym, he had glanced at me and I had returned the glance, then in the locker room he started chatting: “and even today we trained…” and so we talked for a couple of minutes. Then, I finished dressing, I put the jacket on, we said goodbye and went away. When I got into the car, before starting the engine, I said to myself “very good, it went very well!!” and I came back home happy! Often, many of our fears are completely unfounded. The human mind is often a double-edged sword because (as said before) we listen to our thoughts and the famous “anxiety” arrives.

For example, this morning I was very worried about the shower in the gym, I even imagined scenes in which I had an erection in the locker room and someone made fun of me. Instead I experienced the exact opposite, but then again, an erection could happen in the future, but I will not make a problem because it is not. Living well with oneself and with one’s own sexuality is a wonderful thing, feeling one’s own instincts and having one’s own erotic imagery as a sort of private garden where we can only access ourselves with our imagination (this applies to everyone, gay or not) means to know yourself and feel good about yourself. I conclude with two thoughts that I wrote these days in moments of serenity:

1) “I feel good, but not because I’m all right, but because I accept the things that don’t go well without making a drama.”

2) “The charm of life is characterized by the mystery and uncertainty of every day, which are scary to each of us, but at the same time make life more beautiful and intriguing. I am convinced that if each of us knew his own future at the start, he would not even taste every little moment of life. Doubt and uncertainty are and MUST ABSOLUTELY BE PART of life, without them we couldn’t open ourselves to experiences and we couldn’t afford to make mistakes. In my opinion, a man who is not wrong, or doesn’t admit to having made a mistake at least once in his life, cannot be called a man.”

I wish all of you a good evening and happy Christmas holidays! A hug!”

____________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-themed-ocd-and-nakedness-at-the-gym

BISEXUALITY

GENERAL OVERVIEW
This chapter is dedicated to clarifying some basic concepts related to bisexuality. It is known that Kinsey, in his studies on sexuality, stressed that sexual orientation cannot be reduced within a schematic dualistic distinction between heterosexuals and gays. Kinsey postulates that between exclusive homosexuality and exclusive heterosexuality there is a continuous distribution of intermediate sexual orientations in which homosexuality and heterosexuality mingle in various ways. This idea finds ample evidence also in the experience gained in Gay Project.
 
DICHOTOMY BETWEEN AFFECTIVITY AND SEXUALITY
Of course, on a statistical level, to define bisexuality, analogously to what happens for homosexuality, we can take as a basis or objective sexual behaviors, that is, couple sexuality, in practice the fact of having relationships with both guys and girls, or memberships, that is “feeling bisexual”, concept , this one, with very uncertain contours, as we will see soon, assuming however that to talk of bisexuality it is necessary to have the presence of both emotional and sexual interest towards people of both sexes. This means, for example, that when a guy’s sexual interest is addressed exclusively to guys and his emotional interest is exclusively addressed to girls, that is when we face the “dichotomy between affectivity and sexuality”, it is improper to talk of bisexuality.
I emphasize that the sexual dichotomy, among the guys, almost always presents the orientation of sexuality in the gay direction and the orientation of affectivity in the straight direction, the opposite is absolutely exceptional. Generally, in these cases, in order to identify sexual orientation, sexual component is more indicative then the affective one, which often is not even a true affective component but is the product of a confusion of plans for which it is considered love with sublimated sexuality what is actually just a sympathy based more on a commonality of interests than on a deep emotional involvement. In essence, the sexual dichotomy with gay-oriented sexuality should be interpreted rather as a form of homosexuality that has not yet reached true affective maturity. 
 
HETERO-CURIOUS AND SEXUALITY OF ESCAPE
Very different is the case of the so-called “Hetero-Curious”, that is of people, generally not young, with a clearly heterosexual history behind them, who, at a certain point of their individual journey, feel a clear “exclusively sexual” interest in men. Even this may seem like a case of sexual dichotomy, but the situation is, as we shall see, quite different, a guy who lives a form of sexual dichotomy evolving towards forms of homosexuality that integrates affectivity and sexuality has a typical “gay sexuality”, that is he considers the partner or the possible partner as a guy whom one can fall in love with, and in no way as a substitute for a girl, which instead is the rule for a hetero-curious who is and remains heterosexual, even in his search for a sexuality with another man, because that sexuality, from his point of view, can only have a hetero type setting: fixed roles, in which the hetero-curious takes always and only the active role, constant presence of anal penetration that for gays, on the other hand, is a decidedly minoritarian practice, with minimal or no interest for the partner’s penis. Basically a guy who has a dichotomy affectivity-sexuality, with sexuality oriented towards guys and affectivity oriented towards girls, is a person who is gradually becoming aware of his homosexuality, his sexuality is already typically homosexual, while his affectivity is not yet. A “hetero-curious ” adult man is instead a deeply frustrated heterosexual who seeks a “fleeing sexuality” with another man, but interprets the relationship with that man with the categories of a typically heterosexual relationship.
 
BISEXUALITY AND MASTURBATION
A bisexual lives or can experience both emotional and sexual involvement both towards guys and girls and in both cases such involvements are true forms of love, that is, of love, both emotional and sexual. The most typical index of bisexuality is the presence, in the absence of conditioning, of a masturbation that is neither exclusively in a hetero key nor exclusively in a gay key. It should be emphasized that it is not uncommon for guys who live moments of uncertainty about their sexual orientation to be forced to masturbate with straight fantasies to confirm the idea of not being gay, these guys, despite having a masturbation that is partly in hetero kay, and that even when it is in a hetero key can be at least partially satisfactory, certainly are not heterosexual but they are not even bisexual because sexual spontaneity is lacking and the mechanisms that lead them to masturbation with hetero fantasies are heavily influenced by psychological factors of social and cultural origin.
 
FALSE BISEXUALITY IN THE OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
It also happens that guys who have been always spontaneously straight, from a certain moment on, try, sometimes compulsively, to masturbate with gay fantasies to evaluate their eventual homosexuality. In these cases the guys themselves don’t use to say that they masturbate but that they “test” themselves, just to underline that it is essentially a test, sometimes repeated obsessively and compulsively. The results of this self-imposed masturbation may also appear not completely disappointing, but obviously, even in this case, despite the presence of a masturbation not exclusively in a straight key, we are not facing homosexual or even bisexual guys. The described behaviors lead to forms of spontaneous masturbation that don’t have the characteristics of freedom typical of the true expression of profound sexuality and therefore not only are not indicative of bisexuality but are instead indicative of discomfort related to sexuality.
 
DEGREE OF GAY PROPENSITY OF BISEXUALS
The placement of a bisexual on a grading system that goes from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality can be operated on the basis of subjective perception, asking the subject himself to classify, but the classifications of this kind are precisely subjective and not very significant. More useful, even if schematic, is an objective criterion based on the frequency of gay oriented masturbation compared to the total, using this criterion, for example, if a guy spontaneously masturbates 90% of the time with gay fantasies and 10% with hetero fantasies, he can be said to be bisexual with a 90% gay propensity.
 
BISEXUALITY AS A TRANSITORY CATEGORY
It is well known that about 30% of guys who end up considering themselves as gay in an exclusive way have previously experienced hetero stories. In common language, especially in the period of emergence of homosexuality, these guys use to define themselves bisexual but in reality they are not bisexual, most of them, even when they lived a straight couple sexuality, they still maintained an exclusive gay masturbation, what excludes that they are bisexual, or had a partially heterosexual masturbation or even an exclusively hetero masturbation but still unsatisfactory and very conditioned from the outside and from preconceptions of various nature, which prevents to attribute to it a meaning as an indicator of sexual orientation.
 
HOW MANY ARE BISEXUALS?
If we ask how many bisexuals are, we are faced with great difficulty in giving a clear answer, above all because the percentage of gay people who come from hetero experiences is high and these gays tend, even for quite long periods, to consider themselves bisexual. Then there is another difficulty deriving from the fact that heterosexuals deeply frustrated by their heterosexual life (marriages lived as a trap, incompatibility of heterosexual couple, etc.), the so-called “hetero-curious”, who take refuge in some form of homosexuality, exclusively sexual, are quite frequent. They are generally men with a typically hetero story who “consider themselves bisexual” but they are not because they don’t fall in love with guys and live relationships with guys only on a sexual level. In these relationships, sometimes, rather rarely, we can find logics that have little to do with sexuality, as forms of domination/subordination, which highlight more complex relational problems. In some cases, even this time rather rarely, with the passage of time there is evidence of the so-called Mentor complex, that is the tendency to become a guardian and protector of another gay, generally younger. In this last case a true emotional relationship can develop within a stable homosexual couple, and in this case it could also make sense to speak of bisexuality that has emerged late. 
A final element of uncertainty is given by the fact that true bisexuals, in general, are not at ease neither in typically hetero environments nor in typically gay environments. The reasons for the discomfort of bisexuals in the gay environment can be found in two different types of prejudices that gays and bisexuals claim, each of them towards the other group. In general, gays consider the existence of bisexuals to be dubious and tend to consider bisexuals as gay men who have not yet reached full awareness of themselves, that is they consider bisexuality as a transitory, evolutionary phase which leads in any case to homosexuality, for their part the bisexuals are lead to think that everyone is radically bisexual and that orientation towards gay or straight direction is only the result of cultural pressures. After all, both gays and bisexuals, endorsing these prejudices, tend to absolutize their sexuality and make it a general rule. In both cases, however, it is only a matter of prejudices because bisexuals really exist and it is not at all true that all of us carry a basic bisexuality. 
Based on what I noticed through Gay Project and his statistics, I am led to estimate that the true bisexuals, in the objective sense, are not really many and are more or less 2% of the general population, that is, there is on average about a bisexual every 4 gays. The estimate derives from the fact that even though there were not a few people who turned to Gay Project as bisexual, in fact, in many cases it could be found that they were not really bisexual. The estimate, again on the basis of the Gay Project statistics, obviously goes up a lot, up to about 8%, if the bisexual feeling, that is a subjective criterion, is adopted as a classification criterion. But while those who consider themselves gay go against the mainstream and if they consider themselves gay, certainly don’t do so because of social pressure, those who consider themselves bisexuals often do so because they consider the bisexual category more acceptable than the gay one.
 
POLARIZATION OF BISEXUALITY
If we now consider the objective distribution of the entire bisexual population on a grading system between hetero and gay, we observe that the distribution is strongly polarized towards the extremes and assumes a U shape, this means that they are decidedly more numerous bisexuals strongly oriented towards heterosexuality i.e. the so-called nearly heterosexual bisexuals, which is foreseeable given that the great majority of the population is heterosexual, then there is a less consistent group of bisexuals strongly oriented towards homosexuality, the so-called nearly gay bisexuals, while bisexuals with unclearly polarized sexuality, the so-called 50/50 homosexuals, are much rarer.
 
BISEXUALITY AND PROBLEMS ARISING FROM EXCLUSIVITY
We now come to the typical problems of bisexuals. It must be said right away that these problems vary greatly depending on the weight that the individual components of sexuality (gay and hetero) have in the specific case. A nearly heterosexual bisexual guy, that is, with a heterosexual masturbation at 95% and above, could very well adapt to a married life by limiting its gay sexual component to sporadic masturbation only. Here, in essence, the discomfort of limiting the couple sexuality to the heterosexual dimension is in fact very limited. In a similar way a nearly gay bisexual guy, i.e. with a gay masturbation at 95% and above, could very well adapt to a gay couple’s life. However, as we move away from nearly heterosexual or nearly gay situations and move towards really intermediate positions, the discomfort increases, because, for example, for a bisexual with a 50% gay propensity both the idea of the exclusive hetero couple and the idea of the exclusive gay couple are in fact a clear forcing.
  
DEVALUATION OF BISEXUALITY BY PARTNERS
Partners of bisexual men, in general, are either straight women or gay men. A heterosexual woman towards her bisexual partner very frequently commits the mistake of thinking that her bisexual partner is not bisexual but heterosexual because he has sex with a woman; a gay guy, on the other hand, is led to think that his bisexual partner is not bisexual but gay because he has sex with a guy. Both of these limitative ways of interpreting the behavior of a bisexual guy are wrong and produce expectations destined to remain disappointed and this fact often fuels misunderstanding and mutual distrust. For a bisexual 50/50 adapt to an exclusive sexuality, be it heterosexual or gay, is a restrictive limitation and in these cases, they realize a half of their sexuality in the couple relationship, but it is difficult to reduce the other half to masturbation alone and he actually feels the need also for a couple relationship of the other kind.
 
PROBLEMS OF THE HETEROSEXUAL MODELING OF BISEXUAL SEXUALITY
Generally a bisexual with a 50% gay propensity, given the social environment in which he lives, will tends to orient himself more to form a heterosexual fixed couple than a gay fixed couple, that would be against the current. In general, for a bisexual, precisely because it is much easier to live a straight couple sexuality, the typical models of the straight couple end up being dominant. A woman who marries a bisexual with a 50% gay propensity may not notice her husband’s bisexuality at all and, precisely for this reason, when she discovers it she is suffering a not indifferent trauma. A gay man, on the other hand, when he lives a relationship with a bisexual, generally, realizes that his partner is not really gay because he keeps in his homosexual contacts characteristics and ways of doing that are not those common to those who are exclusively gay. A bisexual generally maintains the idea of sexual roles even when he lives a couple sexuality with a gay man, tends to always keep the active role and above all doesn’t understand that the assumption of roles is not a spontaneous thing for a gay. 
A bisexual, despite having a true gay component, tends to overlap over it his heterosexual component in which he has generally experienced most of his sexual relationships. This fact makes gay-bisexual sexual relationships very problematic and causes bisexuals to be even more limited to hetero field. A bisexual, in a sexual contact with a gay man, also feels that something is not really symmetrical and this leads to objective situations of unease. A further complicating factor is that when a bisexual attempts a sexual approach, heterosexual or gay, he generally avoids saying he is bisexual and introduces himself to women as a heterosexual and to gays as a gay, such a behavior, compared with the real sexual behaviors of bisexuals, induces in the partners a lot of perplexities. Objectively, the problems of a bisexual, at least those of a bisexual who is not nearly gay nor nearly straight, are more complex than those of a gay guy; correspondingly, even the discomfort experienced by a bisexual is generally more deep than that experienced by a gay.
 
PERIODIC BISEXUALITY
There is also another form of bisexuality, of which I have found only one case with certainty and perhaps a second, in ten years of activity, it is the so-called periodic bisexuality. To clarify the concept, I quote below the story of a man about 50 years old: free youth with clearly gay behavior, at 20 he discovers heterosexuality, he marries with enthusiasm at 22, he has a son, at 29 he meets a guy of 26, he separates from his wife, from whom he will divorce after a few years, and goes to live with the 26-year-old guy,  he feels totally gay, becomes an activist of gay associations, after 7 years of gay domestic partnership, which he defines marvelous, at the age of 36, he meets a 30-year-old girl, falls madly in love with her, leaves his male lover, and marries the thirty-year-old girl, he is convinced that it will be his definitive choice, he has a daughter from this second marriage, feels fulfilled, but at 44 years, meets a handsome 29 year old guy and falls in love, according to what he tells himself, mad love, he separates from the second wife, from whom he divorces after a few years and goes to live with the beautiful twenty-nine old guy. At 50 he feels lost, the love of the beautiful now thirty-five is not enough for him … he meets a girl who is also very beautiful, 24 years old. This is actually a limit case but it serves to clarify the concept. A periodic bisexual alternates long periods  of clearly hetero sexuality and hetero affectivity (hetero phase), with long periods of affection and sexuality clearly gay (gay phase).
The real moments of crisis correspond to the transition from one phase to the next and in those moments bisexuals are dealing with terrible crises in which family relationships that seemed to be very strong are destroyed and they feel a kind of loss and disappointment that is very deep and difficult to manage. A periodic bisexual, especially if he has a family and goes through the first transition, can experience situations of extreme loss and discomfort. The periodic bisexuality, which is objectively very rare in its extreme forms, can present itself with a certain frequency in much more nuanced forms, together with other elements that complicate the overall picture quite a lot. An example can be found in the first of the attached documents.
___________
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-bisexuality

GAY-THEMED OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER

I have been dealing with homosexuality for many years and, through Project Gay, who has been online for more than 10 years, I often had the opportunity to exchange e-mails with gay guys of all ages and to chat with them many times also in person, however It should be emphasized that a substantial proportion of the mails I receive, about 30%, do not come from gay guys, but from guys with gay-themed obsessive compulsive disease (gay-themed OCD).
 
I must point out that I am neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist but only a person who has met many gays and who full-time looks after gays, often for many hours a day and even on holidays. The guys with gay-themed OCD who contact me are looking for my knowledge of the gay world because they feel obsessive doubts about their sexual orientation and compulsions that push them to test themselves to verify their sexual orientation and therefore want to have a comparison on these elements.
 
With some of these guys I have been exchanging literally hundreds of mails, even ten on the same day, when the OCD became more aggressive.
 
It is certainly not my task to talk about diagnoses and diseases and, obviously, when the problems become serious, it is useful and appropriate to contact specialists, but the fact remains that, in general, in situations of gay-themed OCD, an objective comparison with people who know well the homosexual reality is very useful because this way, guys with OCD are able to know of the weak aspects of their obsessive thinking. I will avoid any general discourse on the OCD and I will immediately and specifically deal with of the gay-themed OCD.
 
I start from some statistical observations.
 
In the experience of all (or almost all) guys with gay-themed OCD there is a heterosexual past free from OCD, often it is a non-linear past but still objectively and strictly heterosexual. Let me explain better, the guys who present a gay-themed OCD have lived the emotional, effective and even sexual experiences typical of heterosexual guys, that is they have been attracted in a clear way by girls, they have fell in love with girls, without ever questioning the fact of being heterosexuals, they have masturbated thinking about girls, very often they have had a girl and have had sexual intercourses with her, sometimes they have had more than one girl and a more complex sexual life but always heterosexual.
 
In the vast majority of cases sexual relationships of these guys were very strong and very engaging but the emotional dimension, in many cases, was marginalized, the dialogue with the girl was considered secondary compared to having sex with her. Sometimes and not rarely, performance anxiety phenomena are found. The absence of dialogue with the girl often led to the end of the relationship, followed by a sense of frustration.
 
It should be emphasized that for younger guys, who have never had sexual experiences, the picture, although essentially projective, often repeats models similar to the one just seen: I fall in love with the girl but in the end I’m afraid she doesn’t want me, doesn’t understand me. In this case, however, the dynamics are all internal.
 
In the experience of many straight guys there are sometimes memories of childhood or early adolescence linked to exploratory games with sexual background made with their mates, memories that generally don’t create any embarrassment and that are often completely archived because clearly not significant, when heterosexual attraction develops as adolescence progresses. Boys with a gay-themed OCD tend to improperly give those memories the value of an indicator of sexual orientation.
 
The gay-themed OCD emerges almost always in a sudden and totally unexpected way, very often because the guys, in the use of pornography, let themselves go to watch gay-themed videos and on that occasion they feel like they are experiencing some curiosity, some interest, or even at least a partial erection. It is common to hear phrases like: “If I had not gone to see that gay porn, all this disaster would not have happened!”
 
The gay-themed OCD as all the forms of OCD can present at different levels and the mails of the guys reflect the degree of obsessiveness of their thinking. Some mails are very articulate, deal with several issues and then address the topic of the OCD, others are clearly monothematic, in the sense that from the beginning to the end they speak only of OCD or better of the belief of being gay, others show signs of panic at the limit of loss of control. But one thing should be emphasized: guys with gay-themed OCD, in practice, never undertake homosexual experiences and don’t even have casual homosexual intercourses, all of their speech is independent of real relationships with real boys, both sexually and on an emotional level.
 
I try to clarify the concept: a gay guy falls in love with a real guy, a friend of his, a colleague of studies, in other words, his sexual interest is directed towards a well identified person, so it is a fact, not a mere hypothesis. A guy with a gay-themed OCD fears he can get excited about homosexual content, the concern is only about the technically sexual aspect. There is the fear of reacting sexually with “a guy” who is never a concrete guy but a generic male person. So these are abstract fears, which at most can be connected to a gay video, but never to a real person. In gay-themed OCD we find both obsessive, intrusive, recurring thought, and the compulsion to test to get a definitive answer about sexual orientation. Testing means practically verifying one’s sexual reaction (partial erection, hard erection, ejaculatory stimulation and more or less complete voluntary masturbation in the face of gay sexual content).
 
Obviously, as is typical of the OCD, the test “never” provides a satisfactory answer and this leads to the endless repetition of the tests itself. The tests tend to reproduce the situations that characterized the first manifestations of the OCD. In practice, during masturbation dedicated to a girl, or in front of a hetero porn, there is an intrusion of disturbing contents of homosexual type. I emphasize that these contents are not conceived as pleasing but as intrusive and capable of destroying the pleasure of heterosexual sexuality.
 
In the mails of the guys with gay-themed OCD there is almost always a loving attitude towards the girls who are described with tenderness, though often the real emotional relationships with those girls have been problematic, despite the intensity of sexual relations, in other words there is an involvement towards the girls well beyond the sexuality elementarily understood, these guys feel the emotional need of the girls, even if often they struggle to build truly gratifying emotional relationships with girls. These are problems typical of hetero sexuality but they are interpreted on the basis of a scheme suggested by the OCD: I cannot build an emotional relationship with a girl because maybe I’am gay! 99% of the problems of heterosexual couples have nothing to do with homosexuality and the difficulties of certain guys to create emotional relationships with girls does not depend at all on a hypothetical homosexuality but probably depend on the obsessiveness itself (which also manifests in heterosexual relationships), which the girl feels and pushes her to distance. A classic mechanism of “substitution” is realized, the true motivation of the problems of heterosexual couple is replaced by the idea that the motivation is just one: the homosexuality. It is very significant that guys with gay-themed OCD tend not to ask themselves questions about their unsatisfactory hetero affective relationships and shift their focus exclusively to the hypothetical homosexuality.
 
It has happened to me several times to have the impression that for these guys it is extremely difficult to accept the idea that their emotional relationships with girls can be problematic for reasons completely alien to homosexuality, it is as if the gay hypothesis were the only possible motivation of the difficult emotional relationship with girls.
 
I also often thought that these guys tended to give sexuality without affectivity (both hetero and gay) an excessive meaning, as if a couple’s relationship were just the sum of two single sexual entanglements, or rather the sum of two sexualities in which each of the two partners finds in the other the realization of his/her sexual fantasies, without the creation of a couple unity that goes beyond sex.
 
Another fundamental question is linked to the fact that the guys suffering from gay-themed OCD are brought to consider themselves gay repressed, or latent gays, or bisexuals. All this is significant because in practice they never identify themselves as strictly gay, but as guys who have “even” gay interests. For a guy strictly gay being gay is a value, a characterizing element that does not conflict with anything, except with the ignorance of families and of the social environment. A gay guy does not in any case tend to safeguard his more or less hypothetical heterosexual dimension, simply because that dimension is completely absent. Obviously the categories of repressed gays, latent gays or bisexuals have nothing to do with OCD. Let us now try to understand why.
 
A gay repressed is a gay to all effects who tends to repress his homosexuality almost always for environmental and educational reasons, but he is a 100% gay, he can practice gay masturbation with the sense of sin and transgression, but certainly does not feel it as something alien and disturbing, does not certainly feel it in conflict with a hypothetical hetero sexuality, which does not exist at all for him. A repressed gay guy can also come to “want” to experience heterosexual sexuality, either in masturbation with hetero fantasies or with videos of girls, or even with heterosexual relationships, but these things constitute a forcing, absolutely not spontaneous and certainly not gratifying, it is obvious that these forced attempts at hetero sexuality are self-imposed and have nothing to do with the true sexuality.
 
The concept of latent gay deserves a separate discussion. Latent gay means a guy whose homosexual interests are hidden, but not in the sense that they are hidden from others but well present to that guy, but in the sense that they are unconscious, that is, that boy has no awareness of them. A latent gay does not consider himself gay, he feels heterosexual and does not even consider the hypothesis of being homosexual. Latent homosexuality becomes concrete, beyond the hypotheses, when the guy leaves the latency period, which can last many years, and there is a real homosexuality, but these are rare cases. I add that one can “suspect” a latent homosexuality through symptomatic elements of a discomfort in heterosexual relationships, that may be not always fully satisfactory. Obviously those elements of discomfort can be interpreted also in quite different ways and it makes sense to refer to latent homosexuality only when, after the latency phase, a true homosexuality has occurred.
 
As for the bisexual category it must be said immediately that a bisexual guy experiences both heterosexual and homosexual interests, often in different degrees, with the prevalence or of the heterosexuality or of the homosexuality, but the guy experiences both considering each the two forms as a positive experience, none of the two forms of sexuality is seen by bisexual guys as a disturbing element of  the other neither is accompanied by anxious manifestations or compulsions.
 
In practice, the totality of guys affected by gay-themed OCD tend to identify themselves with “a gay who does not accept himself” and the ambiguity of this concept favors this identification. A gay man may have a big grip on declaring himself publicly gay, given the widespread ignorance about sexuality, that can cause unpleasant reactions in the family or in the social environment, but the prudence in external behavior has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A gay guy who is not publicly declared and does not behave externally in ways that allow him to be identified as gay, is just a wise gay guy, he’s not a gay guy who doesn’t accept homosexuality, he’s not a gay guy fighting against his gay identity. There may be times when a gay guy tries to suppress his sexuality to adapt to what the society and the family expect him to be, and in some cases gays also get married, but they remain gay guys that have forced themselves to a hetero life, they are not hetero at all, because they, also as married guys,  maintain an exclusively gay masturbation, that is, they have sexual intercourses with their wives, but when they experience sexuality freely in masturbation they clearly manifest their true sexual orientation.
 
Guys affected by gay-themed OCD, for what I can see, never show forms of homophobia, have or have had gay friends, they recognize to gay people the same rights of heterosexuals and also have a deep respect for homosexuality that disturbs them not as such, but only as an element that manifests in an intrusive and obsessive way in their hetero sexuality and in this sense conditions them, proposing them obsessive models of behavior that are alien to them, are unnatural, not against nature in the abstract, but against their individual heterosexual nature.
 
It must be clearly underlined that guys with gay-themed OCD have a decidedly unrealistic picture of the gay world, which does not come from their personal experience, because they are not gay, but from mass media and so it is built on stereotypes often very far from reality. I try to list some of these stereotypes: gays think only or especially about sex, they are sexually interested in all men and all guys, or at least in all gay men and all gay guys, gays are naturally effeminate, they dress so flamboyant, they only practice anal sex and tend to put it into practice with anyone, gays do not like team sports, have no friends, are melancholic, etc. etc..
 
Guys with gay-themed OCD tend to identify themselves as gay on the basis of their presumed conformity to these stereotypes and when, talking with me, they know that homosexuality is something quite different from what they have imagined, they experience moments of perplexity.
 
An important reflection must be made on the different frequency of gay-themed OCD cases in the various countries. It should be kept in mind that the OCD tends to polarize obsessive thoughts on a content that is particularly anxiogenic for the person affected by the OCD itself. The gay-themed doc is very rare among mature men or among the elderly who experience other types of obsessive content, while it is common in young people, this is certainly not surprising because for young people sexuality is a fundamental theme. We are instead struck by the fact that the gay-themed OCD is widespread especially in southern European countries (Italy and Spain), where the integration of homosexuals is still problematic, it is much less common in Germany, in the North of France and in England, where the culture of integration is much more widespread (especially in large cities) and is practically absent in the Scandinavian countries, where a precocious and well-managed sexual education allows a real integration of homosexuals who are no longer considered as a human category to watch with suspicion or concern.
 
From this reasoning it turns out that the real problem of gay-themed OCD is not being or not being gay, because the obsessive doubt about one’s sexual identity is substantially inspired by social intolerant attitudes towards homosexuality, the real problem is represented by obsessiveness in itself and by compulsiveness in itself.
 
In the experience of guys affected by gay-themed OCD very often obsessive elements, ritualisms of various kinds and unmotivated fears appear from childhood or early adolescence. In the approach with Gay Project the guys read that the fantasies that accompany masturbation are the first indicator of sexual orientation and as they experience in their masturbation the intrusion of gay elements are induced to think that those elements are true symptomatic elements of homosexuality. If it is true that masturbation fantasies are the first indicator of sexual orientation, it is not true, however, that all the homosexual contents that can come to mind during masturbation are really masturbatory fantasies. It should be noted that masturbation fantasies should not be confused with two other typical categories of homosexual content, that is, with abstract thoughts and phobic-obsessive contents. Let’s try to characterize these categories in order to make them easy to identify.
 
1) A sexual fantasy is a fantasy, usually associated with sexual arousal, that is to erection, or which would lead to erection if there was no rational control to repress it. Sexual fantasies are experienced as gratifying, both on a physiological (erection) and on a psychological level. The sexual fantasies are induced by concrete situations experienced as sexually involving or by the memory of similar situations or by episodes that make the memory resurface. Sexual fantasies are cultivated by the subject who spontaneously and voluntarily dwells on it, precisely because he experiences them as gratifying.
 
2) A masturbatory fantasies are sexual fantasies that accompany masturbation. These are therefore particularly exciting sexual fantasies, in relation to which the erection during masturbation is maintained for a long time. Gay guys who “do not accept themselves”, in spite of everything, perceive their gay sexual fantasies as pleasing on a sexual, physiological and psychological level, see them as fantasies against which they “must morally” resist but towards which there is no feeling of deep repulsion or of spontaneous rejection, I mean that a guy who does not accept or struggle to accept himself not only does not feel repulsion for gay sexuality but is attracted to it. In a sense, he is led to resist “rationally” to the temptation of gay fantasies, which for him have a considerable attraction. The emergence of gay sexuality is experienced by the guy as the realization of something new with which he must deal, but never as a repellent or disgusting reality, much less as a foreign reality that has become invasive and pervasive.
 
3) An abstract fantasy is a representation of a situation that “theoretically” could result in sexual involvement, i.e. that for other subjects would constitute a sexual fantasy or even a masturbatory fantasy, but that in the present case is not accompanied by any form of sexual excitement. Abstract fantasies are the manifestation of non-repellence towards certain sexual contents, but they do not at all constitute indicators of involvement or sexual orientation. Abstract fantasies are not produced by sexually engaging episodes or by their memory, they are a purely rational birth and do not involve physiological sexuality. It often happens that gay guys who “do not accept themselves” try to validate their hypothetical hetero identity based on abstract fantasies. It should always be kept in mind that abstract fantasies, even if they concern situations potentially involving sex, do not have any specific sexual value for the subject that feeds them. It is evident that abstract fantasies are not experienced by the subject neither as gratifying nor as disturbing, they can at most be reassuring but only at the rational level, generally on an emotional level they do not serve to resolve anxiety.
 
4) Sexual contents of a phobic or obsessive type are, in fact, contents that occur automatically and uncontrollably in situations or sexual fantasies with which they are not immediately correlated. They are contents that the subject fears, of which, wrongly or rightly, is afraid and which tends to recur in an obsessive and deeply disturbing way. Contents of phobic-obsessive type are not object of sexual fantasies, in the sense that the subject does not deliberately cultivate them searching for gratification, rather sees them as a foreign disturbing element whose presence tends to slowly invade all the sectors of affective and relational life. While sexual fantasies have a deep root in previous experience, the phobic-obsessive contents emerge unexpectedly and tend to stabilize creating states of considerable psychic suffering. The negativity of the obsessive phobic content is often linked not to individual experience but to educational archetypes that have consolidated over time as deeply assimilated prejudices. It should be emphasized that the negativity of such contents when the subject refers them to himself, does not mean at all intolerance or rejection of analogous situations not referred to himself. For example, a straight guy, very open to gays and with gay friends, who therefore does not present any kind of homophobia or social intolerance towards gays, can very well develop phobic-obsessive contents related to fear / conviction of being gay. To clarify the situation let’s examine two examples:
 
Situation n.1
A 25-year-old guy, who has a clearly heterosexual affective and sexual history behind him, writes: “I’m afraid of being gay because for some time I have gay sexual fantasies, I imagine that a man takes me with violence but for me the idea of being with a man is really repellent. Maybe I’m repressing my homosexuality, but when I’m starting to think about a girl that I like, inevitably the idea that someone is there who takes me by force comes back to me and I cannot even masturbate thinking about the girl because the idea of being gay is taking hold of me, but I never thought of a man as a sexual interest, at any level.”
 
Analysis of the Situation n. 1
a) The guy is afraid of being gay.
b) What he calls sexual fantasies are actually phobic-obsessive contents, absolutely non-gratifying and deeply disturbing, experienced as extraneous elements that invade the field.
c) In conclusion, the picture seems to exclude that the guy is a gay who struggles to accept himself.
 
Situation n.2
A guy 21-year-old writes: “I’ve always been hetero, but it’s a bit of time that I watch the guys with another eye and such a situation is becoming almost an obsession, if I think I get excited, I try to repress myself in every way but sometimes I cannot do it and I masturbate thinking of a guy and then I feel terrible, because I don’t feel gay and when I think  of my future I see it in my family. And then thinking about my life with a girl makes me feel good, that’s exactly what I want.”
 
Analysis of the Situation n. 2
a) Although the guy talks about an obsession or something similar, the thoughts to which he refers are true masturbatory fantasies against which one tries to resist rationally in the name of an alleged heterosexuality.
b) Heterosexuality is present only through abstract fantasies such as seeing oneself in a family in the future or feeling comforted by the abstract thought of the life with a girl.  
c) In conclusion, the picture seems to indicate that the guy is really a gay guy who “does not accept himself”.
 
Among the most frequent causes of the presence of gay phobic-obsessive content in the sexuality of heterosexual guys can be mentioned:
a) The prevalence of the sexual dimension over the affective one in the context of a heterosexual relationship, which makes the relationship unsatisfactory and fuels performance anxiety.
b) The rejection encountered by girls from whom the heterosexual guy was strongly attracted. Rejection depresses self-esteem.
c) Having spent childhood and adolescence experiencing the discomfort of being held up as gay in a way totally unrelated to reality.
 
Both in case a) and in case b) the suspicion insinuates that the failure may derive from some form of latent homosexuality emerging. The guy before go to a sexual contact with a girl or before masturbating, feels that the phobic-obsessive contents are there lurking and this fact implies that the sexual experience is heavily conditioned by anxiety with outcomes of failed or unsatisfactory erection and weak emotional participation that contribute to consolidate phobic-obsessive contents.
 
Sexual tests are also frequent in these situations. The guy tries to test the response of his sexuality in both heterosexual situations and in similar gay situations, tries for example to masturbate with similar fantasies both in the gay field and in the straight one. Since it is not a question of true sexuality because it lacks the spontaneity that is the backbone of sexuality, these tests are also disappointing and sometimes lead to a real rejection of both gay and straight sexuality. In such situations it is counterproductive to push the guy to go deep into the search for causes. It often happens that sexuality is the target but not the cause of phobic-obsessive contents.
 
If the phobic-obsessive disorders are reactive, that is, they are born by reaction to very anxiety-provoking and stressful situations, they will disappear when the cause that produced them ceases to exist. Classic examples are those of guys who have such disorders when they live in the family and who overcome them when they are for example in a university college. Often causes are to be sought in areas not related to sexuality: loss of work, fear of losing girlfriends, difficult family relationships.
 
As in many situations of psychological distress, it is advisable to encourage socialization in order to leave as little space as possible to obsessive thinking so that it is not perceived as conditioning for the entire relational sphere. Basically the way to deal with phobic-obsessive content can be summarized in one example: many are afraid of ghosts and because of this they don’t  leave their home, ghosts don’t exist, but the fear of ghosts can be paralyzing. How to cure the obsessive fear of ghosts? The answer is only one: “Experiencing that the ghosts don’t exist!” Bringing back the reasoning to the obsessive idea of being gay that haunts some hetero guys, how is it possible to overcome it? There is only one way to go, that is to say that sexual contents against which guys are fighting are not sexual fantasies, sign of homosexuality, but just phobic-obsessive contents in which homosexuality is present not as such, but as fear of homosexuality. And where homosexuality does not exist in objective terms, it makes no sense to be afraid of it.
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-themed-obsessive-compulsive-disorder