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Hi, so I recently have been having these intrusive thoughts about my orientation. Anything really triggered it from just seeing a girl to anything that is considered feminine or any female genetalia. I have liked guys all my life and im in a 2 year relationship as of now and I love him so much but these thoughts are really distressing. I've been trying to do some self-help for a while now and have read up on Exposure therapy but I don't really know what to expose first. Seeing girls isn't as triggering anymore but even random words make me think it. And all this thinking started during the lockdown. It's really frustrating because I know i'm straight but my brain keeps telling me other wise. Like i'll be picturing something with m boyfirend (romantic or sexual) and my brain is like but what if it's with a girl so then I get all distressed because i know that's not what I want but i'm always like "what if". And i dont really know if that thought is like a "normal" intrusive thoughtt to have. I've read up on many books on how to try and observe the thoughts and let them happen but it's super distressing for me to kind of just let them happen. If anybody has any advice  and just letting me know that what. If anybody has any advice that would be super helpful.     

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Hi Laura, 

There's no such thing as 'HOCD', just OCD. The theme (sexuality, harm, germs whatever) is irrelvant to how it's treated and acronyms like 'HOCD' tend to cause confusion more than they help. Whatever the theme, treatment is with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy.) 

Self help is a useful way to go, though be careful you don't fall into the trap of doing exposure therapy alone and ignore the cognitive part. In my opinion, the cognitive side is far more important. As you say, it can be distressing to be told to 'just let the thoughts happen' and understanding the cognitive part helps you deal with things like that.

Which self help book(s) have you read? I recommend Break Free from OCD, but there are others available that explain CBT quite well too. 

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@PolarBear I have had CBT twice now but I’m struggling again. Can you read my recent post and let me know if you think this book you have recommended would be of any help to me please? Thank you in advance 

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On 23/05/2020 at 19:13, Chels said:

I have had CBT twice now but I’m struggling again.

Something to keep in mind, CBT isn't just something you do for awhile then stop once the sessions stop, the goal is to learn new techniques and behaviors to keep applying to your life moving forward.  Its like an exercise regimen, CBT is just the personal trainer sessions, to help you learn the exercises, but you have to keep doing them after or the benefits go away (unfortunately).

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