Sexuality Doubt

Someone with sexuality doubt is overly concerned about his or her sexual orientation, or sexual identity.  We tend to think of this form of OCD, which has been referred to as “Sexual Orientation OCD,” as pertaining to people who aren’t gay or lesbian having doubts or fears that they might not be heterosexual. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that Sexual Orientation OCD is not exclusive to heterosexuals.  Many homosexuals, both male and female, are plagued by obsessive fears of being “straight,” and suffer equally when OCD attacks their sexual identity.

Obsessions individuals experience related to Sexual Orientation OCD include:

  • Continually worrying about possibly being gay or lesbian/straight
  • Fear that they may have acted in a manner that could be interpreted as “gay” or “lesbian”/”straight”
  • Fear that they could have touched someone inappropriately

Rituals that may be performed in an attempt to relieve the anxiety related to sexuality doubt include:

  • Repeatedly asking themselves or someone they’re close to questions such as, “Do you think I could be gay/straight?” or “How can I know if I’m gay/straight?”
  • Closely observing themselves to see if they “look” gay or lesbian/straight or have acted in a way that could be interpreted as gay or lesbian/straight
  • Spending time looking at nice-looking men or women (or pictures of them) to test their own sexual response
  • Overly analyzing how they acted in a social situation to try to determine if they acted in a homosexual/heterosexual manner
  • Avoiding any discussion of gay or lesbian/straight subjects, to the extent that they avoid saying the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “homosexual” “heterosexual” or any other synonym or colloquialism
  • Not acting or dressing in any way that individuals of the opposite sexual orientation do – for example, a heterosexual woman not wearing slacks or pants suits, or trying very hard not to act “masculine” for fear of being thought to be a lesbian; a homosexual man not engaging in activities such as hunting or fishing, because they might be considered more characteristic of straight men.

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