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Worried once again


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Hello, 

Today my brain decided to give something else to worry about after a few days of normality. I've realised that most of the times when the words 'child' and 'sex' (or something of this sort) come together in the same scenario, I tend to be very curious about it. But it's a very disgusting kind of curious. And that's because of the arousal caused by the specific scenario. I don't know if it makes sense, but what I'm trying to say is that in those moments I like how the arousal feels and I keep engaging with the scenario because of the arousal. It is very disturbing when you think about it, and the worst part is that I can't help it, just like people with inappropriate sexual interests can't. 

I know I have OCD and that's what caused all of this in the first place. But liking the arousal and allowing myself to enjoy what's happening both in my body and mind in that respective moment is only caused by me and not my OCD, and that's what worries me. 

Again, I hope this makes sense. 

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Cora, maybe it's time for a new approach. What if you say to yourself, 'You know what, maybe I do enjoy this stuff. Maybe I am a paedophile. Maybe I'm just curious about sex like most people. Who knows? It doesn't matter.'

And then stop looking for answers. Stop trying to prove you are or aren't anything.

Learn to shrug off anything and everthing with child and sex in the same sentence.

Just like people with contamination fears do exposures like licking the sole of their shoe or putting their hand down a toilet and eating a sandwich after without washing their hand - these exercises are about going beyond the normal in order to help you swing from the extreme you're at to the opposite extreme until you're able to come back to the normal 'middle ground' afterwards, like a pendulum.

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Posted (edited)

Just to make it more clear, I'll give you the following example. 

Two or three times I came across stories of children being sexually abused. I had incredibly strong arousals in all three cases (and they all felt enjoyable) and instead of stopping the mess going on in my body and mind, I kept reading the stories because, I believe, deep down I wanted the arousal to keep going. And only seconds later I would realise what I had done.

How can I ignore all of this and treat it as OCD? 

On a side note, I'm really struggling with therapy because even though I know this is OCD, I can't fully accept it. My therapist and I came to the conclusion that one of the reasons for that is self-sabotage, and we're going to work a bit on how to be kinder to myself and on learning that making mistakes is okay for me too. 

I have my next therapy session next Monday and I was feeling a bit more confident than the last couple of times, but I now have again another worry, another reason to why I could be a a terrible person. And this is a constant cycle. I feel fine for a while and then my brain throws me something else to worry about. I'll never get better - or change the way I live - if this carries on. 

I honestly don't know how I'm supposed to react to this anymore. I want peace and quiet in my mind. 

I didn't plan to vent so please accept my apologies. 

Edited by Cora
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4 minutes ago, snowbear said:

Cora, maybe it's time for a new approach. What if you say to yourself, 'You know what, maybe I do enjoy this stuff. Maybe I am a paedophile. Maybe I'm just curious about sex like most people. Who knows? It doesn't matter.'

And then stop looking for answers. Stop trying to prove you are or aren't anything.

Learn to shrug off anything and everthing with child and sex in the same sentence.

Just like people with contamination fears do exposures like licking the sole of their shoe or putting their hand down a toilet and eating a sandwich after without washing their hand - these exercises are about going beyond the normal in order to help you swing from the extreme you're at to the opposite extreme until you're able to come back to the normal 'middle ground' afterwards, like a pendulum.

Thank you so much for your reply, @snowbear.

That makes perfect sense that they are good exposures. However, when it happens to me, it doesn't feel like an exposure. It feels like a natural, normal instinct. Like it's what I'm supposed to truly like and enjoy. 

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Cora, what you're experiencing is super common and one of the most vexing parts of OCD for a lot of people: that morally abhorrent (to the OCD sufferer) compulsions FEEL so genuine and desired. They're not. At all. 

Here's why. Two things are going on: 

1) You're experiencing a compulsion, and mistaking the compelling feeling for genuine desire and 

2) You've conditioned your brain to associate morally repugnant (to you, the sufferer) topics with sex, leading to automatic, involuntary feelings of arousal. This is also not real desire and does not mean you genuinely want anything at all to do with such scenarios. 

I'll break each point down.

Point 1: My OCD has revolved around an ever-changing carousel of health anxiety. I remember spending an entire day alone in my apartment, entirely neglecting what I had planned for the day, desperately and compulsively feeling my right breast for lumps. I dug so hard into my breast that I left welts that were visible months later. I hated doing it. It hurt so much. I so badly wanted to stop. But at the same exact time, the only thing I could think about doing was continuing. I needed to, I couldn't restrain myself. I went back again and again. I wanted to even as I hated every moment. 

That is the cruel nature of a compulsion. 

Your compulsions happen to revolve around the anxiety that you're a sexual deviant, just as mine revolved around the obsessive fear that I had a deadly disease. It's doesn't matter: compulsions are all the same. They feel utterly and terrifyingly real to the sufferer, no matter what they surround. 

But, this is the important point: They are not in any way representative of who we really are. They feel real because "feeling real but being false" is the essence of OCD. 

You clearly value family and acting in a morally correct way, so your OCD targets that which you care most about. My Dad died, which shattered any sense of invulnerability I might have felt otherwise, and so my OCD targeted this new, huge fear. That's why parents who love their kids more than life have intrusive thoughts of hurting them, or people who highly identify as straight fear that they are gay. OCD is attracted most to the things we care about the deepest. 

If you find this helpful, I'll explain point number 2. :) 

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Isn't it normal to feel those weird moments of arousal, once there is some kind of taboo involved? To me it's like the arousal from cheating stories, affairs between co-workers or whatever. They always feel very dark, dirty and wrong morally speaking, but we are always super curious and want to know more. Take me, I do have a very relatable story:

I'm a lot into history and even though I identify as straight, I've read a lot about the Greeks and obviously came across some historical records about their same-sex relationships and I also felt some kind of weird arousal sometimes. Like there was always this older “teacher” and this younger “student” relationship between two Greeks, where part of the “manning up” was — besides all the military trainings and so on — that they had sex. The older one was in all of this always the “giver”, while the younger one always the “taker” — if you know what I mean, haha.

And I've read about a particular one, were a younger adult student and the teacher were part of a drinking session with other soldiers. And at some point, the mentor looked at his student very lustful while they were drinking, went with him into the woods, had sex, just to came back later to continue drinking with their companions, as if nothing happened. And then, once the party was over, the very same mentor guy went back to his wife's bed to have Sex with her. As if nothing happened. As if it's completely normal to have casual sex with his co-worker.

I don't know why, but I'm most certainly not gay, and yet this was somehow an arousing story for me. Maybe it's because of the situation and the unreality of it, that it makes it somehow arousing for me. Maybe just because it's basically a story about a guy, who is married and who happens to have sex, in the middle of a party, in the woods, with his student, who just accepts his mentors lust, while no one really cares. Like there are so many taboos in this story. Holy Jesus, haha.

Now should I go and post in this forum, that I, who is happily married with kids, is a closeted gay guy, because of this particular moment of weird arousing from a very particular story, which happens to contain a thousand taboos in it and which REALLY happened? Hell no. In fact, my theme was just about the fear of touching someone inappropriately, but never ever would I have made a connection between my OCD and this story. That's so absurd.

I make it much easier for me: I don't try to understand or interpret it. It's not like I'm fixated on this or that I suddenly find men to be attractive or that I want some 18 years old to get with me into the woods, haha. No. It's not like I constantly thought about this story in the aftermath and sought out for more. No. Random arousal. Who cares? It just isn't relevant at all. I'm pretty sure people with OCD themes about homosexuality would develop OCD from this “incident”. Well, I don't do so. And the very reason for that is simply because I don't try to analyze it or try to find a logical answer for my arousal back then.

Sometimes we don't need to find the answer for everything. Sometimes there isn't a bigger picture behind all of our thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are just thoughts and nothing else. Why you just don't try to give it a try and ignore it? I think that's your main problem. You always try to find a meaning behind every single incident. But there is no meaning! Accept the uncertainty of thoughts. Why is it so important to give a meaning to everything, while there is no need to give everything a meaning at all? There is no need.

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On 10/10/2021 at 02:00, Saffron37 said:

Cora, what you're experiencing is super common and one of the most vexing parts of OCD for a lot of people: that morally abhorrent (to the OCD sufferer) compulsions FEEL so genuine and desired. They're not. At all. 

Here's why. Two things are going on: 

1) You're experiencing a compulsion, and mistaking the compelling feeling for genuine desire and 

2) You've conditioned your brain to associate morally repugnant (to you, the sufferer) topics with sex, leading to automatic, involuntary feelings of arousal. This is also not real desire and does not mean you genuinely want anything at all to do with such scenarios. 

I'll break each point down.

Point 1: My OCD has revolved around an ever-changing carousel of health anxiety. I remember spending an entire day alone in my apartment, entirely neglecting what I had planned for the day, desperately and compulsively feeling my right breast for lumps. I dug so hard into my breast that I left welts that were visible months later. I hated doing it. It hurt so much. I so badly wanted to stop. But at the same exact time, the only thing I could think about doing was continuing. I needed to, I couldn't restrain myself. I went back again and again. I wanted to even as I hated every moment. 

That is the cruel nature of a compulsion. 

Your compulsions happen to revolve around the anxiety that you're a sexual deviant, just as mine revolved around the obsessive fear that I had a deadly disease. It's doesn't matter: compulsions are all the same. They feel utterly and terrifyingly real to the sufferer, no matter what they surround. 

But, this is the important point: They are not in any way representative of who we really are. They feel real because "feeling real but being false" is the essence of OCD. 

You clearly value family and acting in a morally correct way, so your OCD targets that which you care most about. My Dad died, which shattered any sense of invulnerability I might have felt otherwise, and so my OCD targeted this new, huge fear. That's why parents who love their kids more than life have intrusive thoughts of hurting them, or people who highly identify as straight fear that they are gay. OCD is attracted most to the things we care about the deepest. 

If you find this helpful, I'll explain point number 2. :) 

Hi @Saffron37

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I do find it helpful, so if you still want to, you can explain point number 2. 

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20 hours ago, discuccsant said:

Isn't it normal to feel those weird moments of arousal, once there is some kind of taboo involved? To me it's like the arousal from cheating stories, affairs between co-workers or whatever. They always feel very dark, dirty and wrong morally speaking, but we are always super curious and want to know more. Take me, I do have a very relatable story:

I'm a lot into history and even though I identify as straight, I've read a lot about the Greeks and obviously came across some historical records about their same-sex relationships and I also felt some kind of weird arousal sometimes. Like there was always this older “teacher” and this younger “student” relationship between two Greeks, where part of the “manning up” was — besides all the military trainings and so on — that they had sex. The older one was in all of this always the “giver”, while the younger one always the “taker” — if you know what I mean, haha.

And I've read about a particular one, were a younger adult student and the teacher were part of a drinking session with other soldiers. And at some point, the mentor looked at his student very lustful while they were drinking, went with him into the woods, had sex, just to came back later to continue drinking with their companions, as if nothing happened. And then, once the party was over, the very same mentor guy went back to his wife's bed to have Sex with her. As if nothing happened. As if it's completely normal to have casual sex with his co-worker.

I don't know why, but I'm most certainly not gay, and yet this was somehow an arousing story for me. Maybe it's because of the situation and the unreality of it, that it makes it somehow arousing for me. Maybe just because it's basically a story about a guy, who is married and who happens to have sex, in the middle of a party, in the woods, with his student, who just accepts his mentors lust, while no one really cares. Like there are so many taboos in this story. Holy Jesus, haha.

Now should I go and post in this forum, that I, who is happily married with kids, is a closeted gay guy, because of this particular moment of weird arousing from a very particular story, which happens to contain a thousand taboos in it and which REALLY happened? Hell no. In fact, my theme was just about the fear of touching someone inappropriately, but never ever would I have made a connection between my OCD and this story. That's so absurd.

I make it much easier for me: I don't try to understand or interpret it. It's not like I'm fixated on this or that I suddenly find men to be attractive or that I want some 18 years old to get with me into the woods, haha. No. It's not like I constantly thought about this story in the aftermath and sought out for more. No. Random arousal. Who cares? It just isn't relevant at all. I'm pretty sure people with OCD themes about homosexuality would develop OCD from this “incident”. Well, I don't do so. And the very reason for that is simply because I don't try to analyze it or try to find a logical answer for my arousal back then.

Sometimes we don't need to find the answer for everything. Sometimes there isn't a bigger picture behind all of our thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are just thoughts and nothing else. Why you just don't try to give it a try and ignore it? I think that's your main problem. You always try to find a meaning behind every single incident. But there is no meaning! Accept the uncertainty of thoughts. Why is it so important to give a meaning to everything, while there is no need to give everything a meaning at all? There is no need.

Thank you very much for replying, @discuccsant

I would love to bot give meaning to those incidents, but it seems impossible. And it's not because of the arousal but because I wanted to keep having the arousal and didn't stop reading about those abuse stories. I feel like I should have looked away but I just couldn't help myself. 

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On 10/10/2021 at 02:00, Saffron37 said:

1) You're experiencing a compulsion, and mistaking the compelling feeling for genuine desire and 

I just wanted to add, @Saffron37, that I'm worried it's not a compulsion. It doesn't feel like one because in that moment I'm not really checking for anything. All I can think about in that moment is the arousal and how I want to keep having it, and that's all. 

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You're definitely checking, Cora. You're checking to see if you're feeling any arousal. Feeling like you want it to continue is the very definition of a compulsion--just like I completely felt that I wanted to keep digging into my breast, despite the fact that it was so painful. 

Because my compulsive behavior involved such an explicitly unpleasant sensation (pain), it's easier for me to see the compulsion for what it is. That's literally the only difference between us. 

 

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By the way Cora, I know what you're thinking, most likely: "Saffron doesn't get it! I wanted to keep thinking about that disgusting thing, and I kept doing it! If I could have stopped myself but didn't, that must mean that it's not OCD, it's just me. I must be a monster!"

Nope!

I remember how I felt when I was digging in my breast: "God, I must be such a freak. Who does this? Who leaves welts on their body? I know I could stop if I wanted to, so it must mean I don't want to. That must mean I'm just messed up beyond repair!"

But I'm not a freak or broken or whatever other mean words I hurled at myself. I'm a person who was experiencing a compulsion and giving into it because I didn't know what else to do.

You're not a sexual deviant or a monster. You're a person in the grip of a compulsion who is giving in to it because you don't know what else to do.

 

 

Edited by Saffron37
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Also, I just want to make sure I understand this correctly. You said it took you "several seconds" to realize what you had done when you kept reading the stories about child sex abuse. How long did you actually experience this "arousal" before you "realized what you had done"?

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1 hour ago, Saffron37 said:

If I could have stopped myself but didn't, that must mean that it's not OCD, it's just me. I must be a monster!"

I do have this thought almost all the time. 

6 minutes ago, Saffron37 said:

How long did you actually experience this "arousal" before you "realized what you had done"?

The arousal happened as soon as I saw the words 'child' and 'sex' in the same context. It was almost like a reflex. I saw the words together in the same scenario, I got an arousal, as I kept reading the arousal got stronger and stronger (and it felt more and more enjoyable) and then because of how strong it was I wanted to keep reading. I don't exactly know how many seconds it took me before I realised that I had to stop that whole mess going in my body, but it was probably more than a couple of seconds, maybe 30 seconds, or maybe even a whole a minute, which sounds bad in my head. 

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30 seconds...maybe a minute? I'm going to guess you were barely even taking in the words you were reading, given how hyperfocused you were on your body. Think about that. How much of the details of the story were you actually taking in, versus knowing that you were reading about a taboo subject and feeling anxious because of that? And a minute isn't a very long time at all. 

This is something really important to understand, so please read carefully: the anxiety response can mimic the feeling of arousal.

When the body is anxious, excited or in some way stressed, it floods the body with hormones and neurotransmitters like adrenalin and epinephrine. Your heart races, blood pumps to your extremities--yes, including between your legs. One of the most upsetting physical sensations I've ever experienced is when my Dad was dying from cancer, and a handful of times (when I was at my most anxious and bereft) I felt a pleasurable, tingling sensation in my genitals. It horrified me until I realized that my nervous system was hyperactive to the point of stimulating that part of the body, and it had nothing to do with my thoughts and feelings. Because my OCD doesn't revolve around fears of sexual deviance, I was able to dismiss the sensation very quickly and not let it bother me again.

So now, think about your situation. You get extraordinarily intense anxiety when you encounter triggers like the articles you read. This stimulates your body (in a non-sexual manner) in many different ways. Next, consider that your obsession revolves around sexual taboos--you've conditioned your brain to pay a ton of attention to subjects you find sexually taboo, and to obsessively wonder whether you are aroused by them. Your part of your brain that controls arousal doesn't know that it's OCD, all it thinks is "huh, I guess these subjects have something to do with sex." It's not real desire. 

Finally, think about the nature of compulsions. A compulsion, in and of itself, is simply a behavior that you feel like you want to do, you have to do. Just like someone who is not suicidal feeling the compulsion to crash their car--which happens a whole lot in OCD! Or me returning again and again to my breast, despite how much it hurt. 

Now, put it all together.

Massive anxiety response that can mimic arousal + obsessions that condition your brain to see sexually taboo topics as highly important + compulsions = your situation.

 

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The problem remains Cora that you're still looking for that one answer that you hope will make this stop, absolute certainty fo make this go away.  It won't sadly You've had hundreds of explanations, including the excellent ones given above by Saffron. They all give you a momentary fix, a few minutes of relief u til the next time and then you're back treading the hamster wheel.

To move beyond this you have to get to a place of acceptance where you understand the cause and resultant effects that the mind and body experience as a result of OCD......then you have to change your reaction, ultimately by understanding and not reacting (compulsions) beyond that first flash of fear.

You cannot wait for that feeling of certainty to come first.  This is why you're still stuck here several years on looking for an answer.  It's fime to change the reaction.

 

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Thank you so very much for your help, @Saffron37 - I really really appreciate it.

Everything you said makes so much sense and I want so badly to accept that is was only a compulsion and not something (more) horrible, but the fact that I really wanted to keep reading/watching those things because I liked the way the arousal felt makes me doubt so much. I have other compulsions and I'm aware what they are but in that case I was convinced it was a desire or something I want to do because I wanted to enjoy it. 

Edited by Cora
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On 11/10/2021 at 16:26, Caramoole said:

You cannot wait for that feeling of certainty to come first.  This is why you're still stuck here several years on looking for an answer.  It's fime to change the reaction.

It's just so hard, @Caramoole. Some things I do and think are so awful and that's why I'm so stuck. 

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On 11/10/2021 at 13:59, Saffron37 said:

So now, think about your situation. You get extraordinarily intense anxiety when you encounter triggers like the articles you read. This stimulates your body (in a non-sexual manner) in many different ways. Next, consider that your obsession revolves around sexual taboos--you've conditioned your brain to pay a ton of attention to subjects you find sexually taboo, and to obsessively wonder whether you are aroused by them. Your part of your brain that controls arousal doesn't know that it's OCD, all it thinks is "huh, I guess these subjects have something to do with sex." It's not real desire. 

It's the wanting to keep reading and watching when I clearly was aware of the content and the very sick curiosity of wishing to find very disturbing details in those stories that makes me so upset. I haven't mentioned this before but I also felt like I wanted to keep reading/listening to the stories because it seemed like I wanted to masturbate to them (even though I never did - but it felt like I really wanted to). It's very weird but it's like I was reading something so I could feel aroused and do something about it - like a paedophile would do. Ugh... this drives me crazy, I swear! I just want to hit my head against a wall because I'm too tired of going round and round in circles. 

Edited by Cora
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You can hit your head against the wall or you could consistently do what we've been telling you. One thing's for sure, your way isn't working.

Edited by PolarBear
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I know it's hard to believe but you do have a choice.  All and every explanation has been given on these many, many threads.  That includes detailed explanation of why it feels real and as if you really want to do these things.  I know it's hard, I've been there.  Despite that, you can do things differently.

You can also have these thoughts and enjoy them, as you say you do and want to do.  As long as they're thoughts, they harm no-one.  Stop fighting them.

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12 minutes ago, Caramoole said:

You can also have these thoughts and enjoy them, as you say you do and want to do.  As long as they're thoughts, they harm no-one.  Stop fighting them

But isn't this the opposite of what OCD is about? Am I not supposed to be disgusted by these thoughts if I truly fear that I could be a paedophile?

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I've given you two explanations there Cora.  One is corroboration  about OCD and the type of thoughts it can produce and why they feel real.  However, you insist that these are real, enjoyed desires.  If they are and I take you at face value.....they're still just thoughts, not deeds and thoughts can't hurt anyone.

OCD isn't about being disgusted about the thoughts.  It's about understanding that it's a condition that can create these type of thoughts. About understanding that these thoughts provoke intense fear & revulsion BUT then about taking a leap of faith and working hard to apply the advice and change how we react to them.

As yet, you disagree with the explanations and seek more reassurance whilst insisting that your feelings and desires are real.  Are they?  You keep telling us this isn't OCD........I suspect (nay, know) that you're looking for more reassurance that this is OCD.  This reassurance can't continue.  You have to make an educated guess and decide whether to follow the advice or to continue with your version.  All I'm saying is that even if these thoughts are what you really feel, they're just thoughts.  You are seeing a therapist who, I'm sure, if she felt you were a risk to others would take action.  She hasn't.......iread nto that the obvious answer.

It's down to you to make the changes Cora.  Only you can......and despite everything that's been explained  you're still waiting for certainty.  That feeling won't come first.  The changes have to come first.  Changes in using compulsions. Changes in getting through the anxiety and doubt without resorting to using  compulsions.

You have a choice Cora......take the very low level risk of accepting the advice that has been explained and start the process of trying your very best to apply it........or continue with your belief (which has zero evidence, apart from false [explaned] fears)  You keep saying you enjoy the thoughts.....all I'm saying is, that still hurts no-one or puts them at risk.  They're just thoughts.  What you're really asking is for someone to assure you (again) that this is OCD.  That's an answer you now have to arrive at and take that leap of faith.

 

 

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Cora, I think you would really benefit from a book called Brain Lock, by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz! It's a fantastic book that explains exactly how and why, neurologically, OCD symptoms happen. It helps you to see your symptoms of OCD as exactly what they are--symptoms of OCD. The book even shows brain scans before and after OCD sufferers undergo treatment, and the amazing changes.

Seriously, please read this book. You're suffering and it's horrible and you don't have to be. Please read it. You have nothing to lose. 

 

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Saffron really nailed it on point.

I also think Cora needs to understand, that arousal — no matter from what disturbing stuff it may have risen up from — will ALWAYS feel pleasurable. A lot of victims of rape do in fact feel guilty, that at some point it felt pleasurable for them. They didn't like the idea of being raped, they just happened to feel a physical reaction to what was going on. And this was arousal. So a lot of them actually didn't go to the police at all and started to hate themselves, just because they seemed to enjoy it, like as if they are sick people. Part of therapy for victims of rape is basically also making them understand, that they can't control how their body reacts to certain things and that it's not their fault. It's a super tragic topic, but maybe this gives you a better understanding of arousal is and that arousal itself isn't always desired, even though it always feels pleasurable.

Or take tickling, for example. Let's say you're super sad and let's say you just lost someone close to you by a car accident. If someone now happens to tickle you now, and you start to laugh: Would you feel guilty for laughing? I highly doubt so. Our bodily reaction DON'T reflect our values and our real desires. It's just our bodies reacting to certain stuff.

So I really believe, that you initially feel some kind of arousal and that it feels pleasurable for you. I don't question that. But that's just because of the fact, that arousal always feel pleasurable and because everything that is somehow sexual for us, will switch our body to some kind of sexual mode. Like tickling always makes us laugh, no matter the circumstances. The laughing mode. You simply need to understand that anything that is even remotely sexual for an individual, will create that feeling of arousal or put someone in some kind of sexual mode. The moment we see something as sexual, no matter what the topic is about, our body will react in a certain way. Some may feel some tingling and others may feel arousal. It doesn't matter, but I'm pretty sure every single one does feel something, even if they are absolutely disgusted by the topic at the very same moment. I mean, I could laugh, even though I didn't want to, when some sick individual tickles me, while something very tragic happened. And it's the very same for sexuality.

People with OCD generally need to get rid of trying to see life from a white and black scheme. There are no categories in life. There is no “good time” or “bad time” for our bodies to produce some kind of physical reaction to whatever. At least for our bodies, that's the case. Obviously we wouldn't like that to happen, as our values and morals determine how we want and how we do in fact live our lives. But random feelings don't have any significance. So stop judging the reaction of your primitive, animalistic body to random stuff, you're not responsible for. It's not your fault, and it's not your bodies fault. Your body just does it work, how it should do it.

Now after this initial arousal, basically everything of what Saffron said kicks in: I'm pretty sure, while you read those stories, some kind of anxiety rose up, because you went into this sexual mode, once your body got triggered by those word and after that — maybe even completely by your subconscious — you gave into a checking compulsion, to figure out, what this feeling was and what it meant, so that you continued to read more and more.  And because you happened to felt initially some kind of arousal, you mix this all up. That's why it feels real for you. And it very much sucks, that you interpret it that way. And because of the black and white thinking, you always see all of this from a very extreme point of view and can't accept any kind of logical explanation.

TL;DR: Arousal always feels good and pleasurable, no matter how it was triggered or if we desired it. We get aroused by everything our subconscious interprets as something sexual, because it reminds our bodies of sex, but it doesn't say ANYTHING about us and our values.

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All very good points BUT all explanations that have been given many times and in many forms.......and this is what Cora craves...more reassurance, more explanations, that one nugget of information to make this stop, more fuel to carry out a compulsion.  To progress Cora needs now to put the advice into practise, to work on the recommendations. Her therapist has recommended that she doesn't use the forum in this way as it's aiding the need to carry out compulsions.

We tread a very fine line sometimes when we offer help......and yes, in the early days it is vital.  However, it can become part of the problem when (no matter how good) it does fuel & sustain the problem

 

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