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