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.

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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

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A REAL CASE OF GAY-THEMED OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER

We are going now to deal with homophobia in the OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), something that has nothing to do with attitudes of social homophobia, i.e. with the episodes of intolerance towards gays that we read in the press (phobia “against gays”) determined by the ignorance and the incitement to the aggression towards gays, we are properly going to deal with the phobia, but it would be better to say the obsessive idea “of being gay” that manifests itself in the OCD. It is a disorder that can create states of deep suffering and that must be acknowledged and dealt with by adequate means, sometimes and not rarely with the help of a specialist.

Recognizing an OCD with an obsessive idea of being gay is not easy because we are often brought to see all the homophobia, even the apparent homofobia that as “obsessive idea of being gay” characterizes the DOC, as it were a phenomenon of social or cultural origin neglecting the fact that it can be a real pathology that should not be underestimated and that has causes that are not only related to social and cultural environment. As part of the activity of Gay Project, I have often had discussions with young people affected by the OCD with the obsessive idea of being gay. In particular, I exchanged a series of e-mails with a 22-year-old guy, that I’ll call here Mark, which allowed me to clarify a lot of ideas about the gay-themed OCD because he showed me the situation from his point of view, that is from the inside.

What follows is a passage from one of his e-mails.

“If you want to transcribe or publish my story for the sake of other guys, feel free to do it without any problem, the more this evil is known by people, the more genuinely homosexual people understand that “I’m the sick” and not they, the better it will be, I think.”

I would say that this statement is the sign of the human and as well cultural maturity of this guy whom I thank heartily. I have explicitly requested and obtained permission from my interlocutor to publish the contents of our correspondence. In approaching the core of the problem step by step, always in full respect of privacy, I followed the same path that he followed in his emails. I apologize to the reader if the path will be long, but clarifying these things also requires the reader to pay a little attention.

Mark, a university student, begins his first email like this:

“I am writing to you with an anxiety and a terror on me that are almost indescribable but I need to have a confrontation”.

He then tells about his family situation, certainly not easy, strongly conflicting relationships with his parents, an early adolescence disbanded and without reference points, bad moments characterized by rebellion, school failures, dyed hair, fights, light drugs, vandalism, escapes, etc. , subsequently the contact with other people gives him confidence and puts him back in a livable environment.

He enters a path of very deep growth that leads him to build a “personality at least partially independent from everything and everyone” that anyhow summarizes, in his opinion, the best of all those who made him raise “in good faith and with love” and he feels himself in a good part the result of their commitment.

From the point of view of sexuality Mark’s adolescence was rather complex. From an early age he had a passion for the feet and didn’t make too much distinction between man and woman but the female foot for him remained the object of a special pleasure. Growing up, because of the unleashing of hormones, masturbation focused on all the women he knew, including teachers, “to bloom in the middle school with real opportunities to deep the subject” but before he experienced heterosexual intercourse, as sometimes happens, Mark with his friends discovers and experiences the group masturbation on straight porn, “logically doing each for himself”.

One day, however, a friend “a bit effeminate” wants to go further and Mark follows him “doing tests several times, even coming to penetration but always thinking of women, and especially wanting it to happen with a girl as quickly as possible.”

At about 12-13 years, both Mark and his partner of sexual explorations start to look for “a girlfriend” and the moments of experimentation and sexual curiosity between them become rarer but don’t stop.

“I and this effeminate friend had not yet found a woman and sometimes, not yet knowing how it was this intercourse with women, we were nevertheless very intrigued, dreamed of having it, and we continued those experiences without ever having emotional relationships that disgusted us, and indeed we avoided certain contacts because they were annoying and sometimes even caused real disturbances.”

It should be noted that Mark underlines the “effeminacy” of his friend. After these experiences, always considered pure curiosity, Mark and his friend find both a girlfriend. Mark emphasizes that, even during the experiences with his friend, the masturbation was 99% heterosexual and very desired and satisfying but sometimes, as a makeshift, not having the ability to have real girls, the fantasies “fell somehow on a male dimension, in practice we fantasized about what we could have done to women, but doing it among us, nothing more.”

“Returning to the girls, the experiences with them began, the blows of lightning (I always had even at kindergarten so much interest in girls that I was often was put in a punishment because surprised while touching my female peers or anyway I remember dreams about my female friends and the deep desire to have them and smell them), the desire was fierce and uncontrollable, up to make me feel bad, I started living in another world in a way so engaging that I thought with disgust to things done between friends and I had some personal problems.

To make it short, my adolescence broke out with an very strong addiction and hunger for the woman that led me to neglect the study and to fall in love often and always wanting to have a girl, smell her, touch her, lick her, and so on. I had the first serious 4-year history, previously various experiences but tortuous because I often changed targets because I was interested in several girls at the same time and with a continuous and almost uncontrollable masturbation because it was my maximum daily desire.”

I would say, Mark’s adolescence, however agitated, does not present objectively pathological elements, but he himself describes the first appearance of the obsessive idea.

“Among engagements, cuddles, kisses, the desire to be loved by a girl, to be his, to feel his jealousy, to feel myself as her property, to make love, etc. etc., I never noticed, however, one of my emerging behaviors: I tended to obsess me several times on various things, on touching things an precise number of times, on getting up the stairs running otherwise I would felt wrong, on putting in order, on cleaning, on talking saying well determined things, on apologizing to objects, on suffering from absurd things, etc. etc. and from here it began, at the age of 14, my obsessive identity, calm but present, which reached his maximum one day during a holiday in the mountains, while I was hearing a story of a family friend, who spoke of the coming out of an colleague of his beyond suspicion.

I was terrified and afraid that I could become gay and that I would be obliged to go with men and I immediately connected all this to the things I had done years ago, without fear and without any meaning, with my friends, and I began to ruminate: “but perhaps are you gay?”, ” are you sure?” Anyway, unpredictably, over years the thing became more aggressive in some periods and faded in others. In the meantime I started to meet new friends, to go to the gym and to attend people much more beautiful and mature than me for whom I felt envy and even submission because I was not able to compete with them.

My confident and strong personality almost bully went down until I felt myself practically only as a sheep that believes to be a lion, I realized that I was just an inflated balloon and that those qualities I saw as mine were just what I wanted to have but I didn’t have, so I had to “build” everything, brick by brick, physique, mind, sex appeal etc. etc.. So sometimes, I happened to admire some people for their beauty and I felt myself as a slave in front of them: “I’m inferior, they are beautiful, it is not that I’m gay?” And there I began to obsess myself more and more and my mind was playing switching things, all the things that (forgive the frankness) made me sick and bothered me, as the homosexual relationships, appeared as an “obligation” because they were or, at least, looked beautiful and if I was able to notice and appreciate their beauty (always with envy) I had to let myself go and enjoy them and so things went on until this fear became automatic, leading to a real panic, anxiety and almost an anorexic crisis.

Before getting to this I was full of fear but occasionally and in the meantime I kept falling easily in love with female friends and I wanted to find love, have sex, etc. etc. until I met my current girlfriend, whom I met through friends that we had in common. It did not snap like lightning but slowly so that we broke up and I, when she got engaged again, felt as if they had taken something away from me and I wrote to her that I needed her and that if she had broken up again with her new boyfriend, she would have found me there, ready to wait for her … in the meanwhile the obsession that at that time happened very few times and had almost faded was almost no longer present.”

I have to underline that when the obsessive idea recedes Mark lives a fully heterosexual sexuality. Mark continues.

“One day she writes me, she had really broken up with her boyfriend because she was not well with him and because my message had made her think, while I had made my own world and had began to feel good on my own but, as you know, the heart follows only his own way, and so we threw ourselves into this relationship that lasts even now and is very solid so much so that we strongly depend on each other, in the meantime I have continued to change, to grow, to become mentally independent: I understood that I don’t believe in God and I recognized myself as an atheist, I started to love science and to analyze many aspects of life from a logical point of view and no longer following mysterious or transcendent meanings, I put aside my homophobia and made friendships with homosexual people that still persist and are excellent.

In this last year I have made friends with a guy through a common friend of ours, immediately we were in tune as two brothers separated at birth, he was one of those friends who are counted on the fingers, one of the few I had, with whom to share profound topics of life, such as god, science, the meaning of life, etc. etc., a few months ago, however, this friend of mine beyond suspicion (in the meantime I became more obsessed about homosexuality, I was afraid that someone wanted to rape me or that a man forced me to do certain things, I feared and eschewed affectionate manifestations among male friends) reveals to me that he is gay, I calmly tell him that everything is ok and that he must be calm, must be what he is and that I hope I have not behaved badly with some typical joke about homosexuals, everything turns into an even more solid friendship so much so that he tells me his pains of love as if such a thing were obvious, but there in a few days my obsession mounts resulting in an attack of panic, anxiety and deep anorexia, I was not able to sleep and eat for weeks, and then I went on the internet looking “can you become gay?”, “fear of being gay?” etc. etc. and I found a forum that talked about a disorder called “Obsessive-compulsive disorder related to the fear of becoming homosexual” like those behaviors of washing your hands or always checking the gas and I fully recognized myself in the gay themed OCD.

I have been in drug therapy for two months, in psychoanalysis and a bit depressed, I have completely lost myself and the search for reassurance has led me to distort my natural attraction for women with intrusive images of sexual acts and fake feelings of pleasure, as if I had to follow that path, I was obliged, this makes me feel very bad, the drugs already take away my libido and therefore I struggle to make love with my girlfriend (while up to a month before it was hard to me to leave my house because the desire to have sex was uncontrollable) and the ideas in the head become more and more dense and reading on your site of repressed homosexuality, latent homosexuality and so on, I felt more and more terrified until to have real crises of identity; now I feel very down, I have a very strong crisis that doesn’t let me breath, so I wanted to ask you what you can draw from my story according to your opinion and your experience.

I add that I was diagnosed with a OCD, by both a psychiatrist and a psychologist and also by professional friends, the disease that I told you above, I suffer from anxiety and obsessiveness from an early age but the characteristic of this evil is that it tends to make you feel what you are not, to cover other problems, according to the psychologist about my father and / or very painful experiences of my life. I feel really bad because I losing myself and I feel like I can no longer love women and their sex that I need, but this obsession blocks me with thoughts and reasoning that lead me to believe that I became gay.

I conclude by saying that I have erased homophobia because I have understood that it is natural and normal to be gay, I have found interesting people and I’m pleased that they live their lives serenely and I deeply hate all those who condemn these things, so I don’t have according to the definition of my disease, any problems with homosexuality and even more I didn’t have problems with my sexual orientation, but all this has given me a thousand doubts about my whole life and I’m afraid of not being able to be myself.”

At his first email I answered Mark:

“I read your email very carefully. From all that you write it emerges quite clearly the picture of the OCD that manifests itself through the fear of being gay. It seems clear enough to me that this fear is unfounded, none of the things you say, neither pre-teen nor teenage experiences with other boys, nor recurring ideas related to the fear of being gay, are indicative of gay sexual orientation.

I see you very worried, and the OCD can do this, but I would like to say to you that it happened to me more than once to meet guys with this type of disorder connected to the obsessive idea of being gay, in some cases the disorder made those guys feel bad, however, those guys, followed by experienced people, both at the pharmacological level, when necessary, and at a psychological level of support, have seen things change very clearly, gradually and in not very short times, but the weight of obsessive ideas became progressively less, so much so that their relationship life has not really been conditioned.

These guys are not homosexuals and they live homosexuality only as a phobia and as a conditioning. Some observations should be kept in mind, even if I realize that for a guy with the OCD these are arguments that cannot be decisive, in the first place I don’t think you are gay, but admitted and not granted that you were gay, this would not really affect your life. I know a lot of guys who are happy to be gay and feel fulfilled like that. But, I stress it again, I don’t think you have anything to do with gays, and indeed I really enjoy the fact that you can have gay friends and that you give good judgments about them.

You can have obsessive ideas, of course, you can have them and you must try to realize that the situation of discomfort can be greatly alleviated by behavioral therapies that aim to prevent obsessive responses through a rational awareness. Until not many years ago these disorders in fact were not treated except with non-specific forms of psychotherapy, today there is the possibility of resorting to highly specific drugs that help a lot to contain the problem. Unfortunately, situations are complicated for those guys who are left to themselves up to 35/40 years and over, then an effective approach becomes more difficult, but at your age the combination of supportive therapy and drug therapy can really change things that is, it can allow you to live a normal life.

I add one thing, the guys with OCD are usually guys with IQs higher than normal. You are a student of a scientific faculty and the study can help you a lot to find a basic serenity, through the learning of a scientific method of analysis of reality. In the starting of the OCD certainly also counts the family atmosphere and in particular the emotional stress in relationships with parents and you certainly have not experienced from this point of view an ideal situation, you reacted, it is true, but you have also suffered. If I can be useful in something, I will do it willingly.”

Mark replies:

“Thanks, Project, for the email and especially for the afternoon’s chat that helped me to see things from the outside, if I can still steal you some time, I would like to talk with you because, even if you know that my disorder leads me to seek reassurance, information, self-test and so on until I get exhausted (and people who are worried about me say that it is like taking drugs and I should try to stop informing me, test me and reassure me but it’s really hard), I cannot study and my thinking is practically centered almost exclusively on this problem, I would like to remind you again that I have great respect for homosexual people and I don’t even consider them “homosexual” because I start from the concept of personal freedom and therefore, telling frankly, I don’t care what you do in bed, who you love or if you like red or blue, I’m interested in people for what they are and if they are “different” from me, it’s even better, we will have more to tell.

Already now, while I am writing you my mind is bringing me images and feelings that give me anxiety, fear and terror, all because I’m afraid of not being able to love my girlfriend anymore, of not being able to make love as I once did with her, because, I’m afraid that one day all this can end and that I can no longer fall in love with other women, enjoy painful loves or transitory affection (not to say escapades) with any girl who attracts me, and this for all these questions that I’m asking myself, for the crisis I have and for the consequences that day by day I pay”.

Then Mark focuses on drug therapy and it is clear that he has acquired a remarkable ability to interpret the therapeutic meaning of the drugs that have been prescribed to him.

“You have to know that my therapy has been changed, now I take an extra drug in addition to the two of the initial therapy: [omissis] a tranquillizer that “should” keep at bay the anxiety caused by the thoughts and intrusive images that does, poor thing, its meager effect, in the long run, I already notice it, [omissis] this is the novelty that should block the ideation or should help me not to fall into the traps of “asking questions” continuously with the consequent effect of self-conviction and feeling of being what is feared (homosexual, dirty, sick with AIDS, opened gas, not to love one’s own partner, etc., etc.), that is, it should limit the emergence of images and intrusive thoughts”.

Then Mark continues:

“Let’s come back to us, I wanted to expose to you my doubts given what I read on your site, I scanned it accurately, as a true OCDed, as they say in jargon, I read also on the Internet that often they talk about “acceptance”, “latent homosexuality”, to give you an example: from an excerpt of an interview with Tiziano Ferro [well known Italian singer] he declares that he liked women, before, that he was engaged, etc. etc. I have read sometimes of these stories … people who live “rewarding” hetero lives, who then “discover” that they are gays (this makes me feel an anxiety and a panic you don’t even imagine).

I see it a bit strange, let’s see it on the contrary: a heterosexual who is born in a homosexual society will feel “unfit” to the social context and the typical relationships that he likes and morally accepts will be different from those of his peers because he will not be able to do the same experiences that others do, or, perhaps, he will try but he will remain very discontented and scalded (not to say traumatized) so he will soon understand that his happiness depends on some factors very different from those on which depends the happiness of most of the others, that others may not like these things that therefore may not be accepted.

I think this is the path that a person with a certain sexual orientation accomplishes in “understanding who he is” in front of the society, I certainly don’t believe in respect to himself, I try to explain myself better: I never understood that I liked women since I was born until the first crush that gravitated around them, then the nocturnal emissions, the falling in love with girls, the first kiss desired so much (and soon arrives the intrusive image with attached thought “and if I had wanted a first kiss from a man?” .. pain, anxiety and panic), the sexual experiences (removing that small and short experience of self-knowledge in which there was curiosity and inability to resolve it with the other sex, as I told you) became uncontrollable, so much craved and wanted almost more than anything else.

My spontaneous behavior, for family reasons, had no brakes and / or feedback because my family “was not there” and therefore I didn’t have to be ashamed of anything, I went freely to wander up where the my natural tendency pushed me, and it pushed really strongly, and I believe it is the same even for those who have a different trend than mine, it is not that you look in the mirror and you notice a new “pimple” that you had not seen before “Wow, I ‘m gay!” or “Wow, I’m straight!” I think it is the fear of the label, as I read very often, that upsets people who know they have desires different from those of others, but not the relationship with their own pleasure, that I think is indisputable and not subject to doubt, something like this: “I know that I like guys, I’m happy with what I feel but I’m afraid to show myself” or for the most sensitive people: “I like to go with men, but society says it is a disorder, how disgusting I behave!” But the pleasure and desire remains, does not fall from the sky as a drop of rain or I’m wrong here too? In this period I’m studying a subject in which there is much talk about order and laws, about how living “things” don’t respond to chaos but to an order, that in reality, in my opinion, is a different form of chaos, chaos has the purpose of making an equation nonsensical, the order, the opposite, is a bit like the oracle and the matrix architect, do you agree?

Returning to the doubts, when the OCD attacks furious, as in these two days, I spend my time asking at each kiss of my girlfriend what I felt, what I wanted, what I was experiencing, why I did it, “but are you sure?”, “I don’t feel anything”, “if I close my eyes I don’t feel the pleasure I felt when I was in love with her or when I kissed her 4 evenings ago” and so on, until my brain breaks out.

I feel really that I’m sinking in the ground below, I want to be with her as I have done so far, I’ll tell you more, dear project (dear because you listen to me and I wonder how much stuff you have to read every day!) Yesterday evening at my dearest gay friend’s house while seeing a film among friends in addition to the obsessive thoughts and a bit of doc, but controlled enough, I got with my great pleasure even sexual thoughts with relative relentless desire for oral intercourse with a dear girl, friend of mine sitting next to my girlfriend (because of this I felt myself also a traitor, but this has encouraged me a lot) but it happened really with desire, while I felt that the rest was, always with the doubt that gripped the mind, a forced thing, mean, sadistic, intended only to the make me feel hurt.

I conclude this email with two other little things, I believe, project, that we all always know what really makes us happy and what pleases us, love is the undeniable testimony (if you can say) of such things, falling in love, adolescents or of adult age, it is something of which we aren’t usually fully aware but will anyhow in the future our guide, so as to allow us to define ourselves, to understand in which “group” we are, logically it should end there in a really free society, but this is another matter.

I do not think there are “calls” to gay sexuality, similar to the call for the religious vocation or other calls, that sprout from one day to the next, born after years and years of marriage or deep heterosexual relationships, amorous and with desire also painful, I allow myself, without quoting a precise source, to bring to your attention also the casuistry that no one has ever thought to draw but that I mentally did on how many homosexuals have ever discovered that they were instead heterosexuals, I don’t think there is anyone like that, a homosexual is very proud of his homosexuality he is born this way and will die this way, and for a heterosexual it is just the same, and so I believe my problem, my doubts like those of many others in my condition (project, you don’t imagine how many we are and how many suicides come from this evil) are based on a great misinformation made by the gay “partisans” and by the hunchbacked and secular homophobia of some “sophists” who have very personal and distorted beliefs about a very natural condition that they are unable to accept in their minds, they are the only example of those who don’t accept, who are a bit like Islamic fundamentalists, Nazis, etc. etc., the xenophobes par excellence, but speaking among us, between those who are not afraid neither of homo nor of hetero, acceptance means only finding the courage in “a world like this” to behave freely, but has nothing to do with “discovering” something that has always been there but has never been seen, but it is only what has always been there and that has never been seen, admitted and not granted that it exists, what makes me terrorize, what has destroyed in these two days the desire to kiss and make love with my girlfriend (in this the drugs give a deadly blow).

When I hear people saying “I used to go out looking for women and now I just realized I’m gay” I feel upset by the triviality of such a statement, as if they had said: “I just found out now that I had that mole there.” How can you find out that you like men, after having turned 50? And masturbation where do you put it? The falling in love? The erotic dreams? The fantasies in the classroom or at work? And there would be a lot to add to what has just been said, if you have time, desire and without any obligation I would like to compare myself with you. I thank you in advance and I ask you again if I can write you other times so as to have a good liberating and perhaps curative comparison for the problem I have now.”

This was my answer:

“You certainly can write to me whenever you want and I will try to read your e-mails with the utmost care and to answer without filters, step by step. Beyond the things that people tell and that are very little realistic, it is absolutely obvious that in the vast majority of cases when it is said that a guy “discovered that he was gay at age 25” it means only that that guy has accepted his homosexuality at 25.

Sexual orientation has very distant origins and its first manifestations are very precocious, then it matures slowly through masturbation during adolescence, but in substance it is clearly defined as early as 13/14 years. When it comes to latent homosexuality, the speech is a bit different, but I have to premise a very clear concept that certainly puts you out of this category. Latent homosexuality means that a person who ends up recognizing himself as gay can live for years as perfect hetero, but that person through all those years will not be “minimally touched by any doubt” about his sexual orientation. I would like to say that a guy with latent homosexuality lives the emergence of his gay orientation in a problematic way “only when he is fully aware of it”, something that can also be waited for life. I’m not even speaking about doubts on sexual orientation, that when emerges, comes out without oscillations, but essentially about social and behavioral disorientation, when it emerges.

Doubts are a feature that is substantially absent in cases of latent homosexuality both before and after (see “perhaps” by Tiziano Ferro).

The sensations that you feel, manifest, if ever, the awareness of a problem that objectively doesn’t exist, then the exact opposite of what happens to a latent gay for whom “there is no problem”. Put aside the idea of latent homosexuality, which is also something objectively rare (I think I met no more that a couple of such cases in last ten years), it remains that people improperly use the expression latent homosexuality as a synonym of repressed homosexuality, denied, but anyway objectively aware.

The orientation of masturbation is fundamental and a guy knows very well where his spontaneous sexual desires are oriented. The speeches that I hear very often by the repressed gay guys (because repressed guys are many) manifestly show their “effort” present and past to adapt to a straight sexuality that doesn’t belong to them, to force themselves to “love” a girl. The things you write are really different and frankly the idea that you can be gay doesn’t seem really credible.

I don’t tell you such things to give you a sop (which with the OCD couldn’t still reassure you) but because it is clearly what I think. You talk about your girlfriend as a guy deeply in love even if distressed by a thousand doubts, but those doubts basically you know that they have nothing to do with the sexual orientation but are coming from the OCD.

It happened to me years ago to talk with a guy then 19-year-old who had made a dangerously gay life, he lived with a 40-year-old man, he went around gay clubs and keeping also very risky behaviors,

then he met a girl and with this girl he began to feel good. He told me the story and asked me if it was strange that a gay guy could have a straight girl as a better friend. I replied: “A gay guy? But you are not gay!” He insisted that he was, but in fact what he told me about his 40-year-old companion and what he told about the girl were very different things, referring to the partner, he was only talking about sex without a real affective component, while referring to the girl, with whom he didn’t then have any sexual partnership, he used the language typical of true lovers.

After a few months he left the 40-year-old and went with the girl, with whom I also talked several times, and it went very well. I told you this story to emphasize that your talk about your girlfriend is just like that one of that guy. Yours are the typical speeches of a heterosexual guy in love, put in crisis by the OCD.

You have changed therapy and this will inevitably make you a little uncomfortable but in the medium term you will feel the benefits. Among other things some drugs [omissis] often have side effects on the sexual sphere. The typical problem of the use of these drugs is linked to the definition of the equilibrium dosage, because the side effects depend considerably on the doses and the individual variability are considerable. It certainly makes sense that you also have the support of a psychological therapy that can help you in the most problematic moments related to therapy and above all can give you some kind of quasi-affective certainty that will allow you to have firm points on which to count.

From what I understand by reading, your girlfriend really loves you and this is very important. You are not left to yourself, you have around people who love you. It is true that you have also lived under the familiar profile very difficult years but now you are fully aware of it, even if you cannot easily go further, with a bundle of memories like yours.

If you have doubts and you think I can tell you something useful about them, I’m here, for whatever I can do, but I’m here also, if you want, to exchange emails on other issues also not related to sexuality. For the moment I embrace you and send you this e-mail.”

Mark replies:

“Hello Project, Happy New Year first of all. I wanted to chat with you again, my obsession became more independent and I just “saw” it, I feel it coming to hit what is very important for me, but from this situation it takes a lot to get out of it, especially since they told me that it is based on a mental problem and that I must learn to live with it. If I can bore you another time, I wanted to update you on my current condition and have a little comparison with you.

I broke up with my girlfriend, under the impulse of a tremendous desire for new experiences, I wrote to new girls, all of them attract me and for the new year I fell in love with one that is a wonder, I could not take my eyes away off her!!! I had the hormones so much high that I tried to kiss all the girls, making also some stupid things, fortunately they know me, being my work colleagues and some of them are in faculty with me and so they know how I’m actually, I cannot hide anyway that I really would have liked to sex with all of them, but it’s obvious and natural, isn’t it? ha ha ha.

The fact is that I don’t know what to do with my (ex) girlfriend, who was so close to my heart, sometimes I think of her and I miss her, but I think that the desire for adventure and the fact of having felt these feelings can’t coexist with a really exclusive desire towards one single person, isn’t it? So I think it’s over but the idea of losing her forever is something I still struggle to accept. Perhaps the trouble had a bit gone, it was a little calmed or anyway it was controllable even if it hit hurting, today I returned to the routine, and I stalked going to do tests, self-tests, readings etc. etc., and, of course, I happened on your forum. I reread for the umpteenth time the article about guys who find themselves gay after a heterosexual life, who find it hard to accept: “For guys who have experienced a previous heterosexual phase, identifying themselves as gays doesn’t obviously coincide with sexual maturation but it follows puberty even for several years, the great majority of these guys get to identify themselves as gay between 20 and 25/26 years but for some the age is moved even further.” But then one can BECOME gay? I don’t say it with disdain, you know what I think, but are there really people who don’t realize their sexuality? I was clearly and sharply aware it until yesterday the other with tips of obsessiveness but are there really people who take “conscience” of it only at 20-25? I’m 22 years old and I’m a bit afraid of this thing, I don’t want to miss the opportunities with the girls who still attract me, I want the attention of a woman! You have to know that for me it’s a period a bit so, the drugs that I take have destroyed my sex life as I struggle to do everything … masturbation is very rare and I’m afraid of having a relationship with a girl because maybe I wouldn’t be able to get to the end.”

I answered in my turn:

“Hello Mark, reading your last email only confirms that you have nothing to do with gays and that the search for information on discovering themselves gay after adolescence is the result of disorders that unfortunately don’t allow you feel good. Not only in your email are missing gay elements but there are plenty of clearly hetero elements that don’t leave open glimpses to the idea that you can be gay. But here I would stop for a moment, because the ability to transform the possibility of being gay into an obsessive idea derives largely from the negative idea that you have assimilated from the environment about homosexuality.

The OCD induces fears always related to elements seen as negative and intrinsically disturbing, but while the fear of diseases is a fear of things that really scare, the fear of being gay is the fear of a condition (being gay) to which one can attribute a negative meaning only because it has been assimilated by the environment, in which we grew up, the idea that being gay is a calamity and a terrible thing, which objectively makes no sense.

It would not hurt to try to debunk the negative myth of being gay. know many gays and they are very respectable people and in many cases really good people and not at all obsessed or upset by the idea of being what they really are. They’re gay, and that’s it, they live their lives, they have their affections, they don’t even look like what people thinks gays to be, they’re ordinary people who fall in love with people of the same sex. Please note that if a gay is not afraid of being what he is and doesn’t feel upset at all, the simple fear of being gay shouldn’t even exist, in practice it is as if a blond was afraid to become brown, apart from the fact that it is not really possible, it is not clear what it would have to fear, it wouldn’t be an upheaval from any point of view except for the habit of being blond.

The only thing about your mail that gives me some perplexity is the fact that you are putting aside the relationship with your girlfriend, to which you seemed and probably were very close. On the one hand you say that the therapies limit your sex life even at the level of masturbation but for the other you talk about strong sexual involvement, I stress it, always and only towards girls. But you talk about this strong sexual desire in the straight direction just at a time when the disturbance due to the OCD had decreased significantly, which only confirms that, beyond the OCD, gay sexuality is not really part of your horizons. What you say about girls for a gay guy would be absolutely inconceivable.

The OCD conditions you at certain moments, but you know that you see the idea of looking for information on gays more as a temptation than as a really compulsive element. This fact, combined with the fact that you have spent periods substantially without the conditioning of the OCD bodes well because the OCD is controllable and is not violently intrusive to the point of canceling your spontaneous hetero drives, which are there and strongly show themselves. I can tell you that all this seems to me a step forward and even your email doesn’t taste at all like something written under heavy compulsive conditioning because you talk a lot about heterosexual sexuality, which if you were under a strong influence of the OCD would not happen because you would be totally dominated by intrusive ideas.

Basically it seems that the therapies have an effect and all this is very important. I’ll point out one last thing and then I’ll send you this email. You write me very freely and look for a comparison with me through a gay site and all this doesn’t terrify you at all, indeed, this manifests a form of deep respect for me and for what I represent, and all this would not happen if you had also just a thread of homophobia. You are not homophobic not even at minimal levels and yet you see homosexuality as something foreign that can attack you. The weight of the education received, in the deep, remains. These are issues that are in any case under control and it is to be believed that they will not ruin your life because you already have an attitude that doesn’t seem to be dominated by a really obsessive idea. The help of drugs is important, it is true, but becoming aware of the objective groundlessness of one’s own fears is certainly not a negligible element. A hug and still a sincere wish of a lot a serenity for this 2012 just begun.”

The next email from Mark is probably the most interesting because it points out and clarifies the fundamental aspects of the OCD.

“Hey Project, I’m glad you answered me, I was afraid that you could consider my email like the result of the usual “compulsion”, thank you !! You say: “Because the ability to transform the possibility of being gay into an obsessive idea derives largely from the negative idea that you have assimilated from the environment about homosexuality.” What you say certainly happened long time ago, but then I understood that homosexuality was a natural thing, obvious and even worthy of esteem because it’s love exactly as that one between man and woman, I understood all this long before my problem broke out.

I’m a bit obsessive from birth and this came out with the psychiatrist. I’m not afraid of homosexuality as of an evil, ugly and undesirable thing but as something I don’t want because I don’t like it and it doesn’t belong to me! It’s like the poor man who was born in a mountain village where homosexuality is considered as a crime and he feels obliged not to be what he feels, to have to be with a woman, to do things that make him sick, this I say, I’m becoming crazy because my brain speaks to me whispering these things, things that are not part of me, that I don’t like, offers me images about anyone, even about my loved ones, it distorts the feelings towards girls (the girl with whom I fell in love has a brother well quiet, can you believe that while I admired her and drooled, my brain told me “Is it not that you are undecided and you might like both?” And I felt bad for a moment and I tried not to think of what my brain had just suggested to me and concentrate on my heart and my feelings pleasantly satisfied by the girl); the problem is right here, it is something that wants to change me, that mockingly, even if I don’t have problems with homosexuality, and respect it, and even being interested in understanding its world and its problems, turns it against me, making me assume my peacefulness as a unconscious will, and therefore making me think that I’m hiding something to myself and here is the trigger of obsession.

You gave me the example of blond and brown but it is a bit too simplistic, if you take the sexuality, it focuses the individual in a dimension that touches the being in points really at the root: nature and “spirit”, that feel in danger, because there is a force (the obsession or the forcing, in the case of the guy of the country who is obliged) that is imposed and automatic mechanisms of defense start, not because it is bad being blond or brown but because I’M NOT BROWN and becoming it would be a big problem.

Can you imagine a life with a woman, who touches you, has sex with you, kisses you, her smell her presence? I think it’s horrible FOR YOU not as an objective thing, but FOR YOU it would not be desirable, for me it’s the same thing but on the contrary, it’s a beautiful thing that two people love each other, no doubt and, as I tell you, I’m for the free love and that everyone does what they feel, but I don’t feel gay, I have a problem, a pathology diagnosed to me that cannot be deleted with the abatement of the preconceptions about “homosexuality” that is nothing unhealthy in my mind, on the contrary, I reiterate that I have friendships and deep esteem with many homosexual people and as you have said I respect you very much and I consider you a person to whom I wanted to tell my story of which I am ashamed and you don’t imagine how much! I speak alone, I hit myself, I scream, tremble, get nightmares, I have been anorexic, all because inside me something is wrong, my sexuality is intact, my relationship with people who love people of the same sex is accepted and indeed profitable and I’m also proud of it so much so that in my family environment in which the thing is not well seen I defend you with a sword because nobody is in the right to criticize, denigrate another person for his sexual or love behavior, nobody.

As I cannot stand this and I easily infuriate having a very rational view of things and having put the sentimental / instinctive dimension under control, the same I do towards myself and this kills me because I cannot serenely live the crush on a woman because the OCD hides problems much deeper so much so that the first thing that they told me the ones who have had my problem for a long time and my psychiatrist has reaffirmed is the fact that my disease has nothing to do with the conception of homosexuality and indeed the advanced research in this field has shown that homophobia is not part of the disorder but it is sometimes a fictitious consequence for reasons of psychosis and neurosis that then lead to wrong defense mechanisms, but this is another story.

I, Project, am in a crisis that I had never faced before because I’m free to think as I want, I’m independent and open to everyone, wishing everyone’s good, but my heart and my sexuality, having only one propensity, cannot in any case bend to those things, because it would be a problem, I feel bad thinking of having to go with a man and imagine it makes me feel dirty, raped and many other bad feelings, this upsets me, so it’s not a good thing for me to think of myself in those conditions, for me it’s a happy thing to think that two people who love the same sex can do it freely in the light of the sun, that can be friends with heterosexual people and that the labels decay sooner or later and that sexuality is something that, in a free society, can be considered as a mole on the back. My mind is so open that the only case in which collapse occurs is when something is imposed on me and goes against my health, against my being, against my nature. Here’s everything. This has destroyed my image, my strength and my confidence in sexuality, has led me to have strange behaviors and to close a love that was good but was not right at this time, to go wrong at university etc. etc. … Now I end up with the shopping list, because you probably cannot take it anymore, I’m sorry if I went on too much but I wanted the argument to be clear: my primary care physician was the first to not understand the thing and is written in the DSM that my pathology is often difficult to diagnose because it is confused with non-acceptance, internalized homophobia, etc. etc. but this is not so, unfortunately, it is not a cultural question; you don’t know how much I feel guilty about the gay world for the things that I think because I know they are ordinary people, good and without anything to be ashamed of, but a mind that has problems, like mine, you don’t imagine what brings you to think and to do, I sometimes cannot understand if it is fiction or reality what I have around, I feel bad chest and I cry endlessly, because something wants to kill me inside, because I cannot love women anymore, I cannot be loved by them, I can no longer be myself. I know who I am but I feel lost and it’s hard. Thanks for listening, I’m sorry to have insisted maybe a little too much, it was not my purpose. A hug.”

I answered Mark in my turn:

“Hi Mark, I read your last email very carefully and it’s as if my brain had opened up, in practice I began to really understand what you’re talking about and I put aside the idea, objectively very superficial, that your ailments could have a dimension so to say cultural or environmental. Now I also come to understand means the sense of impossible involvement “for you” in a sexuality that is not yours and the general picture is much clearer to me.

I tried to tell you what I thought starting from totally wrong assumptions, now I realize it, but you have corrected me with great clarity and extreme tact, thing of which I thank you very much, because you made me enter more seriously into your world. What I learned from your last email will be very useful in the future to evaluate similar situations less superficially. If you think that I can be useful in any way, I’m at your disposal. You are truly a guy of great human dignity and I feel honored to have met you, I tell you it in all sincerity.”

And Mark answered me in turn:

“Hey Project, I’m happy to have given you an opportunity to get a clearer idea of my problem and maybe a useful testimony for your future in helping people. If you want to transcribe or publish my story for the sake of other guys, feel free to do it without any problem, the more this evil is known by people, the more genuinely homosexual people understand that “I’m the sick” and not they, the better it will be, I think. If you like we can still chat, I find a good response in you. I thank you as always.”

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-real-case-of-gay-themed-obsessive-compulsive-disorder