'Homosexual OCD': Straight Men Who Suspect They Are Gay

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Ross Murray, a spokesman for the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, said he had never heard of this type of OCD, but that Brodsky made sense.

"It sounds exactly like a phobia or fear of snakes," he said. "I can't think of anyone who has that sort of obsessional focus on their own sexual orientation."

"Someone who is gay, but in the closet, is not spending time researching and testing themselves," he said. "They know deep down that is a part of them. Gay people are not looking for any kind of external validation."

Having an obsession about being gay is no different from any other mental obsession, said Brodsky.

"Something they have read or heard initially triggers it," said Brodsky. "A friend might say something and they think, 'Gee, I could be gay or I am doing something a gay person would do."

They might even get subtle body sensations, being aroused by another man. "Certainly that does not make them gay," he said. "It takes almost nothing to arouse a man."

These obsessive thoughts are not rooted in homophobia, according to Brodsky. "That – and even sex – has nothing to do with it," he said. "Maybe they were abused as a kid or heard 'gay' as a taunt. There are other issues in their lives preventing them from having loving, committed relationships."

As for treatment, Brodsky said he would help a patient who was truly gay validate their feelings and attain self-acceptance, "achieving calm and peace of mind."

"This is the opposite of the method of OCD treatment which uses exposure therapy, which tries to actually trigger anxiety and face fears," he said. "Exposure has nothing to with the truth, attaining clarity or self-knowledge … It is very simple, you face your fears and doubts enough times, not reassure yourself, and you physiologically become less bothered by it."

These patients can be successfully treated in the same way other forms of OCD are treated, according to Brodsky. "It's easy and it's effective."

Drescher said that medications are also highly effective, especially in tandem with behavioral therapy.

Determining the cause of the obsession is "never black and white," according to Brodsky. "And you have to look at the entire track record of their behavior... There is a clear difference between OCD and a person who is really attracted to the same sex."

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