What is POCD?

Repost from the old site.

Please feel free to sign the Reform Sex Offender Laws petition here, and yes I signed the petition. If signing the petition makes me a pedophile, then I guess I am a pedophile.

POCD is a terrifying illness; the mere mention of it makes ordinary people squirm uncomfortably. What is it? It is the colloquial name for a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. Specifically, it is the obsession that one may be a pedophile. Actually, this obsession is surprisingly common on the OCD boards.

Perhaps one or more persons with OCD have acted on this obsession and done something to a minor, but I am not aware of any cases. In general, clinicians will tell you that the person with POCD simply does not act on the thoughts, feelings, urges, etc.

Like HOCD (homosexual OCD), POCD often begins with a sudden thought, often as the person is dealing with a minor. Often the persons had been around young people for a long time before developing it. I know one man who developed it at age 29 as a schoolteacher. Previously, he had been around kids for a long time and had not had any such feelings.

The symptoms of POCD seem frightening to those who do not understand the disorder. As the disorder progresses, the symptoms get worse and worse. The person, strangely, often feels that they are losing their attraction to the mature individuals of the opposite sex (the only POCD folks I have known have been straight).

Some desperately try to get back the feelings they once had for mature persons. They may become convinced that they are a pedophile. They become terrified of being around children. Perversely, they start to notice that some children are attractive (often males start noticing that little girls are attractive).

When they see children, they often feel compelled to look at them for longer than is necessary (this is a type of checking). Looking at children (especially attractive children) does not disgust them, and they may even find it mildly arousing, facts that serve to convince them that they are a pedophile.

They begin to go back into their past and wonder if they have always been attracted to children. At the same time, they may wonder if they have ever been attracted to mature opposite sex persons.

This is a form of checking. This mental merry-go-round of doubts leads nowhere and often leads them to falsely conclude that they were always attracted to kids and/or never to adults. The reason they conclude falsely is that the high anxiety impairs rational thinking.

Sometimes they think about being a pedophile all the time, others only think about it sometimes, often when they are around kids (the schoolteacher I talked to only got it around his students). The person is often in deep despair and in a state of very high anxiety. They often stop having relationships with the opposite sex because they think they are too upset or anxious to get into a relationship.

However, the schoolteacher above continued to have relationships with women and functioned well in them. The person is sometimes afraid they may start looking at child porn on the Net soon (though I am not aware of any that ever did so). As in many other types of OCD, POCD feels very real and the person really feels like they are turning into a pedophile.

The feeling is one of anxiety, though – sheer terror. In addition to thoughts, they may also experience feelings and urges around children, but they are rarely aroused. Sometimes there is a little arousal (this is the so-called groinal response) that is probably more due to sheer anxiety than anything else.

This serves to confuse the person more and more. The person is usually terrified that they may act on the feelings, urges and thoughts about children. The POCD sufferer also obsesses about going to prison if they do act on the thoughts. The person does not want to be a pedophile and feels they are turning into one against their will.

Sometimes they fear that the only reason they do not act on the thoughts is fear of the consequences. Typically, they have no real fantasies about kids, but some report intrusive thoughts of child sex intervening when they are aroused by more normal fantasies.

In more severe cases, they fear that they may have to act on the thoughts in order to achieve sexual satisfaction because this will be the only way they can achieve gratification, since they are pedophiles (nevertheless, they still will not act on them).

Some report that the thoughts disgust them, but others fear that the thoughts do not disgust them, and this means they are a pedophile.

They may do a lot of testing with thoughts and fantasies (as in HOCD), bringing up thoughts of sex with children to see whether or not they get turned on by them. Usually they find that the thoughts do not turn them on, but often they start questioning that until they start wondering if the thoughts really do turn them on. Some of the males spend many, many hours in bathrooms or in their rooms thinking of pedophile thoughts and then seeing what their reaction is.

They may look at people their own age but then think they won’t be attracted to them because they are a pedophile. Some report that they are terrified that they might actually enjoy the pedophilic experience if they should ever have one.

They often surf websites that have information about pedophiles to see whether they are a pedophile or not. When they do this, they may feel that they identify with the feelings pedophiles have. Some fear that they are worse than others with POCD for various reasons, and that this means that they are actually a pedophile and do not have POCD, whereas perhaps the others have POCD.

Some worry that their lack of sex, either during the POCD episode, or in their life in general, could cause pedophilia and is going to turn them into a pedophile. Others read that immature males who cannot get the opposite sex sometimes molest children, and then fear that they are immature and cannot get a woman, and this will make them a pedophile.

Often, they are frightened they will fall in love with a child, and some fear that they already have. They may look back on some love or sexual experiences they had as a teenager and fear that they got stuck at this age and this makes them a pedophile.

Others begin to fear that they will never be able to marry and have children (which is what they want to do) since they fear they will molest their own children.

Typically, the person had no interest in children prior to the onset of POCD. Usually, questioning will reveal a history of typical OCD, often fear of diseases, germs, being gay (HOCD), being killed by a criminal, harm OCD, etc. POCD sometimes seems to come fairly late in the course of OCD.

Sometimes a person feels they have beaten HOCD only to deal with POCD. Typically, people who have been through both feel that POCD makes HOCD look like a walk in the park. POCD seems to be one of the worst kinds of OCD that one can get, probably due to the profound fear and stigma attached to pedophilia, for good reason.

As I mentioned at the start, the general rule is that the person with POCD will never act on the thoughts.

I confess that it is difficult to differentiate between POCD and the thoughts of a person who is really going to molest a child. First of all, a definition of pedophilia is essential. Contrary to the lunatic hysteria seizing our sick Medieval land, a man who is attracted to teenage girls is not a pedophile.

In my opinion, any man who says he does not look at teenage girls is a lying hypocrite. In general, psychiatry defines pedophilia as attraction to a pre-pubertal child. Attraction to females age 14-17 is completely normal in males of any age.

In fact, excellent studies have shown that all males react maximally to females aged 16 and up. The same studies show that these same males are attracted to minor females, on a basis of descending attraction, all the way down to age 7, at which point the attraction ends.

Note that the attraction is on a descending scale. A male with maximal attraction to young girls and minimal attraction to mature females is not normal and is properly termed a pedophile.

Hence, attraction to minor females is completely normal in any males – and maximal attraction to females age 16-17, is not sign that a man is a child molester or a pedophile or abnormal in any way, shape or form. Adult males having sex with females aged 14-17 is properly termed statutory rape in many US states.

In most of the world, including most of Europe, the age of consent has been dropped below 18. Nevertheless, when we talk of child molesters and pedophilia, as sane people, not as Medievalist freaks, we are not talking about attraction or even sex with minors aged 14-17. Whatever it is, and the sex part is often illegal, is certainly not pedophilia or child molestation by any non-lunatic definition of the term.

A true pedophile is attracted only to children of a certain age and not to adults and has been this way since adolescence. Apparently they cannot change their orientation.

I think we should feel sorry for these people as long as they do not molest children. They should be encouraged to live out their fantasy lives with pedophilic stories and the like (which are legal anyway), and counseled strongly to avoid acting on their urges (after all, they do have a right to some sort of an inner sex life). Since they apparently cannot change their orientation, they deserve to be treated with compassion.

However, about 50% of convicted child molesters will offend again over a 25-year period. Furthermore, although some kids come away unscathed, at least in Western societies, many kids who get molested seem to suffer psychological damage. New evidence indicates that they may even suffer long-term effects in their brains, setting the stage for future pathology, in particular Borderline Personality Disorder.

This shows that child molesting frequently causes real, observable, and possibly permanent damage to children. That is one more reason why persons thinking about doing such a thing should think about the damage they are likely to cause.

In a true pedophile, the thoughts, fantasies, pornography, etc. are likely to be very pleasurable. The person loves to think about his fantasies and in many cases feels little or no guilt about it. Sometimes he may feel that he has gone too far, but that is more of an addiction-type feeling. He will feel minimal attraction to mature individuals. Such a person is referred to as “regressed”.

There are also folks referred to as non-pedophilic child molesters. There are various types.

There is another type of child molester, the “immature” offender. This person is inadequate in many ways and often cannot get persons of their own age. I do not know how their thinking operates, but apparently they do not have POCD. The main thing is that they apparently want to molest a child. People with POCD do not even want to think about this stuff, much less do it.

Another less common offender is the “trysexual” – this is someone who will try anything. Whatever thinking this person has, it is not POCD. The wild popularity of pedophilia themes on erotic story sites, often written by housewives and mothers of young kids, among others, suggests that not only pedophiles are reading and writing this stuff.

Perhaps there is a forbidden fruit aspect to these type of stories. Considering how many people are reading and writing this stuff, I assume that most of them have enough social controls that they can fantasize about such things without acting on them.

A recent survey showed that 28% of normal, non-pedophilic males were aroused by pedophilic erotic images (How the heck do they get away with doing these studies anyway?) This shows that non-exclusive or non-preferential attraction to pedophilic erotica is a normal sexual expression for many males. But once they cross the line from thinking to action, we are in another ballpark altogether.

I should note that pedophilia stories, unlike child porn with photos of real kids, is completely legal and if one is so inclined, there is plenty of it out there on the Internet. I’m not going to show you how to search for it, but Google is your friend.

Treatment of POCD involves SSRI’s – the usual OCD treatment – and cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT involves exposure – typical exercises involve going to parks and places where there are lots of kids and exposing yourself to the thoughts and fears. Many POCD sufferers are probably too frightened to get into therapy because they are afraid that the therapist may try to turn them in to the authorities.

I am currently doing amateur therapy (he also sees a real therapist) with an individual who has POCD for a considerable part of the day, every day, for about 16 years now.

Drugs have all failed, and he has continuous obsessions all day from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed, though not necessarily POCD. Most of the time he has harm obsessions (thoughts about killing, raping, torturing and cannibalizing victims). The funny thing about him is that he is probably the last person on Earth who would ever commit such a violent office.

In addition, I am absolutely certain that this individual will never molest a child. If he did not have OCD and I thought he might molest a child, I am not sure if I could be comfortable talking to him.

I am not aware that much has been written about POCD in the psychological literature, at least from what I can find on the Internet. This disorder needs a lot more light shined on it due to the number of sufferers. This post is a small ray of light in that direction.

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59 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Borderline, Heterosexuality, Mental Illness, OCD, Pedophilia, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology, Reposts From The Old Site, Sex

59 responses to “What is POCD?

  1. JD

    This sounds a lot like me, but my issue is having looked at the “unhealthy website” on the home page. I can’t stop thinking about why I visited sites like this in the first place! I am so sad because I would make a great father!

    • DC

      Are you worried about feeling morally bad about it or getting in trouble. I have POCD to but its more worrieng what others think than feeling bad about how self. I get paranioa when I go out in public that people think I am a Pedo.

      • JD

        I guess that I just feel morally bad, DC. A teacher of young children who wants to have a kid of his own with his girlfriend should really not know that this exisits, should he?

        • JD

          In fact, I project the opposite image of a pedo. Parents race to get their kids put into my class. I am not trying to inflate my ego here, I am just a kick ass teacher. I have 25 kids this year and almost half the class was requests. I am AWESOME with kids! AWESOME! The parents have even told me that when I have kids, my son or daughter will be so lucky to have me! Damn straight….If I can get there!

      • Hi DC, I do not think you have POCD. It looks like something different.

        • K.G.

          Dear mr. Lindsay,

          Where do I start with my story? First thing, very good article!
          My name is K.G., a 15-year-old guy from the Netherlands.
          A few months ago a classmate called me a pedophile without any reason. I didn’t react that much, but after after a few times she said that to me, I did react. Later, I had to do an internship on an elementaryschool. But every day, I was thinking more about being a pedophile. I never thought about being a pedophile before. But ya…that internship…
          While that internship I wasn’t even aroused with those childern. Actually, my whole life I didn’t really like children. I found them even kinda annoying.
          When I masturbate I actually only think about kids of my own age (14/17).
          But now, every second my minds tell me I’m a pedophile. Really strange. I’m thinking every second about it. Every day I do researche about pedophilia and the symptoms or signs. I tried to masturbate with younger kids in my head, but it didn’t work. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t feel something. I was trying on my best, but the feeling was sooooo minimal. So I was continued with people of my own age. I hate this feeling. I hate to get those weird thoughts in my head, and voices who tell me I’m a pedophile. I experiment with every to see if I’m a pedophile. But no. But I’m afraid if this continue, that I will like the feeling. I’m getting depressed, and I don’t like to spent more attention on the thing I always loved to do (making Iirish music with my flute and friends). Mr. Lindsay…is this POCD? I don’t like the thoughts. I don’t get aroused with children. The thought came almost out of nothing, and because of my classmate. I’m getting crazy, because I never thought about it before.

          Thank you for letting tell me my story…

          K.G.

  2. Gay State Girl

    Hey Lindsay
    I’d like to meet Lori sometime. Heve her shoot me a message okay.

  3. Jackie

    ‘A true pedophile is attracted only to children of a certain age and not to adults and has been this way since adolescence.’

    This is not true – some pedophiles are attracted to adults and adolescents as well but their predominant attraction will be children. Also some come to this attraction later in life than adolescence.

    ‘The wild popularity of pedophilia themes on erotic story sites, often written by housewives and mothers of young kids, among others, suggests that not only pedophiles are reading and writing this stuff.’

    How do you know the authors of these stories – are they verified?

    • Nick

      A TRUE PEDOPHILE is attracted to children predominantly Jackie, hence the reason for Robert labelling them a TRUE Pedophile. You could be thinking of a person who is sexually attracted to anyone and anything (I think its called a pansexual)

      It’s probably also best not to leave comments like that, kinda unnerving.

  4. Great article. Thanks for this!

  5. Mr. Hopeless

    Its like reading a page about my life :S for the last 4 years I’ve been depressed and had anxity and repeating thoughts about being a pedofile because i saw some CP as a teenager.
    Can’t fight the thoughts and everything on this blog fits me totally ! which somebody could help me :S ?
    Its so much a taboo in this world, so NO ONE to talk about it with :/ would never ever harm a kid!

    Its like anoreksia ! Even if everybody told me I’m not, i would still think it :S

    Had a good life until these anxity thoughts hit me :/

    Never been so scared in my life :/

    Had alot of sex with girls my own age, so its weird how these thoughts still hunting me :/

  6. Rose

    I’ve been having these horrible thoughts that I am somehow a pedophile since I was about 14, so for 6 years. I’ve never touched a child, never wanted to. I do not fantasize about them, I have never wanted to watch porn involving children, or read about sexual situations involving children. I do not become sexually aroused at the sight of children. But I have this horrible fear that if I am around a child I will hurt them somehow. I used to babysit, but I refuse to now, and when I was still living with my parents and they decided to become involved in foster care, I became terrified, thinking I would hurt the children that lived with us. (I never, ever did) At one point, we had a child staying with us who was under two. Sometimes, my mom would ask me to give the little one a bath, but it gave me immense anxiety to do so, obviously. The thought of me being in the situation was completely and utterly terrifying, and it made me nauseous. The whole idea of having to undress the kid, wash her, dry her off, filled me with fear that I would molest her. I hated having to wash her “down there” because it disgusted me, and it made me feel like I was being totally inappropriate, even though it is necessary to do that for the child’s cleanliness. I right out refused to change diapers for this reason (although I never told my mom this). The obsessions about being a child molester actually got a bit better when I was living with my parents and they had the kids around, because I found that I didn’t touch the kids, no matter what the situation was, and that I didn’t want to touch them, and I was able to have a normal, healthy relationship with them as a big foster sister. I’ve always been attracted to people my own age or older, so I realize that my fear of being a pedophile is irrational, but it is still there and it fills me with immense anxiety on a daily basis. The weird thing is, actually seeing a kid in a grocery store doesn’t usually trigger the obsessive thought. I just smile at them and continue on, not thinking about anything. It’s when I picture a kid in my head, no sexual situation involved, that I get this fear that I am a pedophile. For example, I over-heard this conversation between a mother and what I assume to be her friend. The mother said she found blood on her child’s clothing and checked her child for cuts and found none. I pictured in my head the mother frantically checking her child for a cut, and the thought that I was a pedophile came bursting up, I had immense anxiety and hurried away from the conversation I was overhearing. I experienced no sexual arousal when this image came into my head, but I felt extreme guilt, anxiety, fear, and shame. I forgot where I was and what I was doing, the thought was so overpowering that I couldn’t think of anything else. I obsessed about it for 4 hours. It became so upsetting that I thought that I should kill myself to keep from molesting a child.

    I felt slightly relieved when I heard about POCD, and I took solace in the knowledge that I was not alone in my fears, but my obsessive thoughts continue, and I am seeking counseling.

  7. Wade

    Wow… This is like reading through what I’ve going through these past 4 months perfectly! Holy shit… holy fucking shit… I’m so relieved! There has been so many times I wanted to kill myself, thinking I was going to be able to live a normal life, go to jail one day, to not be able to have a family, etc. Recently, I’ve been actually coming close to accepting that I was a pedophile, and that I should live through my life while suppressing these urges. I’m so glad this can be treated… and I’m so happy I can live a (mostly) normal life! Yes!

  8. harman

    I wouldn’t say that OCD has taken over my life but I would say there have been parts of my life where I have OCD in short sharp bursts. Normally It feels pretty intense though, although I think my last proper OCD episode was more than a year ago. I still have occasional nervous little habits (such as clucking of the throat), normally during times of stress I think.

    The reason I’m writing is that I want to share some of my experiences hopefully in some sort of coherence. I think during my lifetime I’ve had periods of OCD from probably just before my teen years I think starting with harm OCD. Not knowing anything about OCD at the time (probably only knowing it as the obsessive handwashing, ordering things etc etc) I think my first case of OCD (Pure Obsessional) was Harm OCD. Obviously not knowing what the fuck it was at the time I found this absolutely frightening. It baffled me why I would have these horrible thoughts (that made me anxious) about mutilating myself or others. I really hope this doesn’t spike people because I know what it’s like (I give you permission to delete this if it’s too much!). I knew at the time that I didn’t actually want to commit these acts, It was just the thought of the possibility that I could actually do it, if that makes any sense. I remember once having a part time job as a butchery/Deli assistant and whilst cleaning this meat cleaver I had the thought that I could chop off my arm. From these thoughts I got very nervous and anxious and I would feel like pacing (often would if I was on my own) thinking inevitably that I was going to carry out one of these acts. That’s just one example, there’s a various range of others but I’ll move on.

    Another type of OCD that I’ve had (this mainly occurred in my lower years of secondary school) is homosexual OCD. Well I’ll not go into much detail but I think it started out with knowing a guy from school who was obviously very effeminate. Although I didn’t feel sexually attracted, the thought one day just popped into my head and I became obsessive. It’s hard to explain but it was the fact that he was effeminate started to make me think I was starting to become sexually attracted against my own will. At the time I was confused because I knew I didn’t fancy him in the same way that I knew for sure that I was sexually attracted to girls and I didn’t have a type of guy who I was sexually attracted to. During this period of time I did find that my attraction to girls that was initially very strong felt like it was gradually fading away and I was starting to feel really anxious. During this period I would check out pictures of male models in magazines with abdominals showing knowing that I wasn’t sexually attracted. However after a period of time of focusing, low and behold, it felt like I was beginning to develop an attraction.

    This is a bit disjointed I know and I’m jumping from bits. Now I come to it the dreaded POCD which for some reason hit me much harder than any of the others and frightened me a lot more than Harm OCD, which I didn’t think possible. With the other types of OCD I used to get very nervous and anxious but with POCD I actually experienced anxiety chest pains. This caused me even more stress at the time because I thought I was having minor heart attacks basically. Well how to explain it…… I thought I was turning into a pedophile. It was horrible, and I still have the occasional doubt if I’m honest. I can tell you the general theme- obviously I thought I was becoming sexually attracted to little girls. I used to be even harder when I could recognize if a little girl might grow up to be pretty in later life etc etc.Well I’m sure you get the gist (I’m finding this pretty difficult to explain). I always used to check my sexual attraction to women with little girls, and if I came across a picture or seeing a little girl in public I used to focus on the thought to see if I was sexually attracted to them. Obviously the groinal response was very confusing ( I had this with homosexual OCD). The thing is there is a littlle girl (daughter of a family friend) who I had this horrible focus on (thinking that I might be coming sexually attracted). It was just noticing/ realizing that she was a pretty little girl and would grow up to be an attractive lady but feeling paranoid about whether I have any sexual attraction to her at the time. I absolutely hated it, because there were family gatherings and I used to play with my cousin and his friends and obviously she would be there and it felt like I had to make an extra effort to not act all weird around her.

    However after a time like with all my different types of OCD it does eventually fade away but the process can obviously be spiked again in the future. After my POCD eventually faded away I looked at photos at family gatherings and seeing the little girl again, be baffled. Seeing her again I would think although potentially pretty that she looked too much like a boy and why I thought I might be sexually attracted.

    Still as ever, there is that nagging doubt. I hope this isn’t too long winded and makes sense.

  9. harman

    It was actually coming across this thread and reading it that gave me comfort during my POCD period (something like January 2011). I was actually thinking of contacting you then, but for some reason I didn’t.

  10. CJ

    I really hope someone out there can see this and help. The past 2.5 months have been absolute hell, I started suffering from HOCD and it was very intense. I am straight and a female in my 20’s but became obsessed with the thought that i might be gay. That lasted about 2 months and than those thoughts suddenly stopped and much more disturbing obsessions took over. Now I have NEVER been attracted to children sexually, fantasized about them, etc. But I went from having HOCD to POCD almost overnight. I now avoid children like the plague and am so nervous around them.
    I sometimes will try and picture sexual things with them to test my reaction and will look at kids just to see how i feel. The impulse to check child porn became bad (have not done it, am completely aware it’s illegal) but i felt like that was the only way for me to know “for sure”. But I know even if i did check that i would feel even more disgusted with myself and it would just cement this idea that I have magically turned into a pedo.

    I’ve read that people with pocd never check child porn so the impulse to do so to relieve my thoughts makes me feel even worse. I’ve started to see an OCD therapist but have only had one session so far. I used to want a family but not anymore because I am convinced I’d want to molest my own kids and go to jail. I don’t know why this is happening and I can’t imagine living without this irrational (yet very real) fear, so I feel so depressed and hopeless. Do you think i really could be a pedo? Thanks for your time.

    • What you read is not true. Some POCD’ers have seen CP. That was often the onset of the POCD. I think after they get POCD they usually don’t look at such things though.

      This is a clearcut case of POCD. You’re not a pedophile; it’s not even possible.

  11. AT

    Hey, Robert. I’m coming to you for some… I pretty sure “reassurance.”

    When I was a kid, I stepped in some ant poison at my grandma’s house. When taking a bath after the day was done, I got some water in my mouth and thought,

    “Oh jeez. I stepped in ant poison. Can’t that kill me?”

    Then, for the next 9 months of my life, I couldn’t stop washing my hands. I couldn’t stop asking my parents if touching a certain thing was going to kill me. I often bought hand sanitizer to bring with me and wash my hands.

    Then I grew out of it.

    3 months ago, studying for finals, 3 hours after taking an energy drink, I had a thought about stabbing my roommate. I looked up and thought,

    “Holy shit, why did I think that..? Am I some sort of maniac?”

    Then… came the panic attack. I started hyperventilating, and thoughts came flooding in,

    “Am I a killer? Have I always been this way? Am I safe around people?”

    More and more flooded in. Nasty, just… terrifying images filled my mind. The next morning I woke up disgustingly depressed. I was still having the thoughts. I thought that my life was over. That I was truly a manic because these thoughts just wouldn’t stop.

    “Am I going to act on these things? Do I secretly want to? Am I aroused by violence?”

    The next month I avoided knives, sharp objects and being alone with people. Then I had a thought about sexually molesting a child. And I thought…

    “Could I do that? Is that another part of my insanity? What the hell is wrong with me? I’ve always been attracted to woman, why would I think that.”

    And for a week I would worry about it. I would relate what I was feeling to pedophiles I’ve seen on movies and television, worried I was just like them. Then after a week, I would worry more about the violent thoughts, with a occasional worry over being a pedophile.

    Now after 3 months, I cannot shake the thought that I might be a pedophile. (With some side worry that I might be crazy violent.) I try to avoid pictures of kids and kids altogether, because I get pressure in my chest and I get this… twinge in my penis. I can’t explain it. It terrifies me.

    “Why does that happen? I must be aroused by little boys and girls. I’m a monster.”

    I feel like I don’t like woman as much as I used too. And I worry that’s the transformation into a pedophile. Like it’s been there all my life and I can’t stop it from happening.

    Often when the subject or a picture of a child comes up I will touch my penis after the twinge to make sure I don’t have an erection. Often times I will leave the room to check. I’m afraid to look at myself naked in mirror anymore cause I feel I might be aroused by myself. Two weeks ago I had a few days of just worrying I might be a homosexual. Then it sank back into being a pedophile again.

    I’m so afraid. I don’t want to be this way. I feel like one day I’m going to wake up and say fuck it and look up child porn and then my life is over.

    I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m crazy. I just spend most of the day hating myself.

  12. S.B.B

    Just to start off I’ll give a little information about myself.
    (I’ve just recently turned 18, I’m male and I live in the UK)

    Now to start off my story.
    At the age of 14 my parents eventually got the internet after years of me begging them to do so. I mainly wanted the internet to play online games with my friends etc, but as a young lad I would obviously access pornography. I can’t admit I went a bit crazy with the porn for a few years because it was new to me. After a while I started to get bored of mainstream porn, I found out I much preferred Amateur porn. So at the age of 16/17 I would go on amateur porn websites, but this one time I came across this particular amateur website and I stupidly accessed it, I soon found out that the material involved CP. As soon as I found that out I instantly freaked. This was the kick start to my ‘Debatable POCD’. At first I feared the police would track my IP and arrest me for accessing that particular website, but after I while my fear turned to me being an actual Pedophile, I would question myself repeatedly over and over again, constantly looking for reassurance, basically the typical POCD traits.

    It’s been just over a year now of when I first developed the fear of being a pedophile and its seemed to just get worse and worse.

    My history of mental illnesses.
    At the age of 12/13 I started to develop panic attacks. After 2 years of suffering with them I learned to control them through CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but it left with me what I like to call ‘mental scaring’ I started to sink into a deep depression and I would have dark thoughts about life & death, that sort of scenario.

    I developed obsessions about things, small things to start of with like neat handwriting & presentation, that sort of stuff. After a while it escalated more severe obsessions afterlife, heaven and hell, that sort of theme (I’m by no means religious) this obsession would scare me to death similar to the POCD fear factor, but not as bad as the POCD ofcourse.

    Anyway back to the fear about being a pedophile. I’d just like to say these thoughts about children scare me to death, and I absolutely hate having them, but there’s like a small part of me that feels like if I ever did anything to a child or if i was to watch CP, which I’m 100% confident I wouldn’t never do, I would feel like I would enjoy it to a degree, that’s
    what scares me the most. I’m at the stage ‘again’ where suicide is the only way for me to be at peace with my mind, I can not describe this mental torcher I have to deal with. I feel so sick and guilty about these thoughts. I’m living in pure hell.

    If anybody would relate or help me in any way I would be extremely grateful, thanks.

  13. skip

    I feel like I need help, i have obsessions, I have compulsions, I have since I was a teen. I am now 25 and can’t seem to escape. Please help

  14. Jane

    Thank god I found this! I actually thought I was a pedo. I feel like I’m losing my mind and I can’t control it. I feel like I’m the only one in the world who feels this way and I just feel alone and sad. I have intrusive thoughts that’s so disgusting and horrible that I cry and one time it was so bad that I cut my wrist with a huge kitchen knife because I wanted to punish myself for having these thoughts. These tgoughts all started when i was having a good time with my mom, step dad and nephew. well all were having fun but then i looked over to my nephew and i just got a pedo thought. i never had such a huge anxiety attack in my life. i cant even be around my nephew or any other kuds. i refuse to wash him up and when i do i never touch him. but its like in the back of my kind something is saying “youre a pedo! disgusting! touching him!” I can’t watch tv because of the kids that pop up on tv and I never want to leave the house. I hate being in a room with kids because I’m afraid I might do something. Which I don’t do anything. It’s just still very hard. I’m still struggling hard. Every time my nephew comes over I make an excuse to not give him a hug or kiss. I use to love doing that. He was my #1 and now I think it all say eyed were I was watching tv and they kept on talking about pedos and child molesters. I remember saying “how can someone think a kid is sexy. That’s disgusting!” Then now I’m having these thoughts. These thoughts that I will never act on these thoughts that I will never in my life think of. Every time I have these thoughts I just feel like throwing myself to a wall and banging my head on the wall until the thoughts go away. I seriously feel depressed and just not myself. I never in my life felt this way before until 3 months ago. It just came out of nowhere. I am going through counseling and I was on meds until they took me off because it made everything worse. But now I’m not on meds. But I was wondering if anyone else ever had this problem or felt this way? Please reply soon. Thanks loves for taking the time out to read this. I really appreciate it.

  15. John

    Hi Jane if you don’t mind me asking what meds were you on

  16. John

    Jane I can relate to your pain. These thoughts came to me a month ago and scared me half to death. They were so intrusive that I had to go to the emergency room. I rather die than harm any child and most especially my nephew. I had good two weeks after the hospital after I got on the meds but the last couple of weeks have been pure hell. Like someone else said I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy. Jane just keep on fighting, I know there will be brighter days for both of us even though sometimes it just doesn’t seem that way.

  17. sb13

    I have HOCD and POCD. My hocd is worse in an aspect as it is my main obsession. I used to think i was latent homosexual for 3 years and tired avoiding these thoughts with mental rituals and i would always have extreme anxiety. Finaly getting diagnosed has helped and being on an SSRI is good. Now latley my POCD has been getting worse though. I’ve been having dreams about it lately maing me wake up with anxiety. I see a child and intrusive thoughts and images pop up picturing them naked. Having HOCD doesnt help either because the same thing happens with both sexes for POCD. like i said again its gotten better being on an SSRI but i think these 2 types of OCD are the worse

  18. Marc Nathaniel Agcaoili

    I’m 17 now, and I did something when I was 14 that I regret. Back then, I was one of those flashers on Chatroulette. Then someone who looked pre-pubescent saw me. He could have been of my age though. But I sorta had slight pedophilic urges, so I didn’t stop for him. Three years later, I now have POCD. Help me.

  19. Jessica

    Please email me. I really need your help!!!!!!!

  20. Zach

    Please help me. Please. I can’t do this anymore. These thoughts won’t stop and I feel like I’m a complete monster. I broke down crying in front of my mother (something I haven’t done for years) when I told her about all of these thoughts. I’m only 18 and extremely scared that I might actually act on these thoughts. The scary thing is I’ve never been diagnosed with OCD or anxiety, but I believe I may have it. No, I pray to God that I have it because the alternative is too disgusting to imagine.

    I recently had what I believe was HOCD and thought I was on my way to beating it only to have it mutate into this. I get frequent groinal responses around kids or at the thoughts that come in about them and I’ve taken to pinching or pulling on my skin to stop it. I nearly made myself throw up because it hurt to do this but I feel like it’s the only way. I find that I constantly pull on my hair without realizing it and can’t stop checking myself for arousal. Suicide has entered my mind more than once because I can’t live with being a monster. Please, I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially kids, but my mind is telling my I do. I’m so scared, I can’t even sleep.

  21. brt

    I have a strange combination of OCD and pedophilia. I’ve always had slight pedophilic urges, but my OCD is exaggerating them and affecting my sexual tastes.

  22. brt

    And also, earlier today, I saw a bunch of kids bathing in public. I looked at them for a while. It was a strange combination of checking and voyeurism.

  23. Hi Robert I really do need to talk to you about the issues and problems I’m having and I’ve got and by the way there the same as zacks and brt’s as well so can you email me back please as it’s really urgent because I really do want to give up with my life as I can’t live like this anymore. :-( :-S

  24. robert–thank you, you are a lifesaver. you literally got my through my schiz-ocd and now this really helped with my pocd, which seems to have popped up overnight, though i am sure it has happened before. the worst part is, i have a child, and i met the perfect man and i finally thought i was ready to have another but now im so scared because of my pocd that i can’t ever have any or a family.. ive never done anything gross like that but im scared i want to.. you know.. testing, checking in my head.. i feel like a disgusting human being lately and i want to stop.. this just popped up yesterday. after watching californication [figures, trigger warning people!] my behaviour therapist, who i havent seen in awhile, said ocd takes what is dearest to you [my son in this case] and taunts you with it. i believe she said that when i was afraid i would hurt him [harm ocd] ive had them all. im 25 and these thoughts just started now. im so scared but reading your articles helps very much, often. i always remember a line from your schiz-ocd article–something like psychotic people are unaware that what they are saying or thinking or doing isnt rational, therefore if you have the thought ‘im going psychotic’ you can’t possibly be going psychotic. i love that, it got me through hard times. i’d just like to let you know that you save lives, in the truest sense of the word. i hope this passes just like the harm ocd, the religious stuff, all the old compulsions that passed. this is by far the most distressing. i thought schiz ocd was but its definitely this. i really do not want to be a pedophile! deep down inside im like ‘youre not dont be dumb’ but then my brain goes BUT WHAT IF YOU REEEALLY ARE. and almost tries to convince me, you know? i want brain surgery =[

  25. This is really long:

    Ah my whole story just got deleted because a stupid mistake! Let’s see if i have the energy to write once again. Excuse my english, I’m german.

    So I have been having the OCD-like obsessions since my 18th I think, I am now 22. I say OCD-like because only recently (1 year) I have been frantically typing all my problems into google and this word popped up a lot.

    It all kind of started with the fear that I was gay. I was a rapper, and a quite good on of that if I may say so, people really liked my stuff and I LOVED to write and perform. It was a true passion, or even obsession. I don’t remember te exact day I started thinking I was gay but I guess the soubt has always been there since I was about 12. A friend showed me his wiener and I asked myself if I liked that. Oh, and I then became confused by this admiration/infatuation? with my male teacher at the time. I just thought he was so cool, olmost to cool I thought. But this tought just casually popped in my mind once a day maybe and I could let it go for all of high school. I had a girlfriend an a lot of crushes. All girl, néver boy. Then one day when I was maybe 18 I started thinking I was gay. Maybe I had surpressed it. I took it very seriously and the pieces seemed to fit sometimes. I never came to coming out of the closet tho, because that idea has always seemed weird, like it isn’t what I should do. Because I’m straight, probably;). Mostly because of all these psychological problems (depression kicked in) I stopped persuing my rapping career (wich may have triggered the HOCD because of the homophobia in hiphop). People asked me why, and still do to this day. I can’t give a genuine answer and it always hurts my soul because I always have loved being honest and had it as one of my highest values. Sometimes it feels like the OCD was some kind of killer of my honesty because I was becoming to honest as a person. I was like searching for stuff to be honest about, I thought that if I couldn’t be honest about myself to people I wasn’t right inside. Off course my mind created stuff I couldn’t be honest about…

    I am sorry, this is a story I haven’t even told a therapist so it’s long and very, well, fragmented. I’ll cut to the chase now you have a bit of the background story. So in the past year all these thoughts got really bad and really smuttering of my ‘normal thinking’. I have felt like a monster. The guilt is really terrible and makes me selfdestructive. In Holland luckily we have institutions for people who struggle psychologically and I’m in a house with people my age trying to make it better with councelers. I have been very isolated from the world tho because of my fears and the newest one so is the pedophelia fear.

    When I type it it seems really stupid and olmost funny because I am not a pedophile? Like I never saw myself as a dude like that. But now I started to really obsess with it. I’m finding it had not to speak in tongues her because the truth is so shameful. Well, so. The fear has a basis. Back when I was 16 maybe 17 one of the children of my parents friends sat on my lap and I got an erection!! this was not related to the child as I remember it. I got the child off my lap immediately out of disgust and moral fucking duty. She wasn’t touching my penis in any way. I also told my mom right after in sheer panic but she told me it happens with boys my age, we get erections at weird moments. I believed her but it didn’t sit right with me off course. Now I started (the last month) thinking about it a lot. Just doubting. reasearching the internet watching documentaire’s and just fearing to relate to these pedophelic people. I am an open person tho, I don’t judge them. I just fear the whole existence of it a lot, it’s part of the human condition, what if it’s part of mine? Now when I was was running a week ago I saw children and I got the groinal response, wich i have been getting everytime the anxiety gets triggered because I focus on my groin (i hope). I got really sick. I never get a real erection tho. The fear of that is enormously horrifying. It really makes me scared at times. To not be safe in your own mind is a terrible thing. To get this off my chest ( in this ugly horribly written manner, excuse me) makes me feel better. Sometimes I just can’t decide what’s real anymore. I told my psychologist for the first time last week and she seemed kind of startled. I fear she doesn’t know anything about it and will judge me. She is a smart woman tho and has been very sweet, so i have to have a little faith in her.

    So where am I going with this? I don’t know. The thought just comes in my mind compulsively, the fear to be a pedophile and it eats away at my very being. I also had the fear of being molested recently (probably related to the pocd). Mostly my OCD had to do with perversions. Like fearing to feel atracted to my mom or dad or horrible stuff like that. But the pocd is really really killing me. I’d rather kill myself then to live a faith like that. And then to hurt a child all the more!

    I guess I want some reassurance I am not a pedophile. I kinda know I’m not but I just keep on doubting and avoiding children like the plague (like above said). It’s all really similar to the HOCD and that should teach me something but there is just that DOUBT. Ugh. I don’t know, I am really confused.

  26. I’m sorry it’s a way to bad written story. Just needed to let some of it out. You’re doing good work! Peace.

  27. William

    Robert, I relate to everything that has been said on this topic and I really need someone to talk to.

  28. Ellie

    Hi guys, I am diagnosed with POCD and in therapy right now, but I struggle with immense guilt from a couple of things that happened during my OCD battle. It started when I was 16 and I suddenly started worrying about being attracted to children- this thought was on and off for a while, went away for a few months and then came back full force.

    I already have diagnosed depression so the OCD was another thing to deal with. I would worry constantly about being attracted to kids- I would look at children an try to “test” my reactions, even looking during babies diaper changes etc. but I never got a clear answer to whether I was turned on because I didn’t feel anything at all. The not knowing drove me crazy, I wanted to die because I just couldn’t get a definitive answer to whether I was a pedo or not, on a spur of the moment type thing I decided to test my reactions whilst looking after a baby. All I did was pick him up with my hand under his diaper (as many people do) but because I did this specifically to test my reaction I thought I may have molested him; this triggered a whole new type of OCD for me as I struggled with the guilt.

    I also still wasn’t sure about whether I was a pedo or not, and in an act of desperation I did google CP as I thought if I saw it I would know for sure how I felt. I never found any CP apart from a few pics of girls posing in bikinis, and seeing those girls like that made me cry because I thought it was so sick and disgusting. I did search a lot for CP and I’m so thankful I never found any, but the combined built from touching the child’s diaper crotch area + searching for CP to test my reactions makes me feel like a sick criminal and the guilt eats me up every day. I guess I’m here to ask what your opinion is- did I do anything wrong? Should I be feeling guilty about this? My therapist, friends and parents say NO I have not done anything, but I feel like I constantly need reassurance otherwise I end up convincing myself I am a criminal and need to turn myself in/ kill myself. Please give me your opinion, thanks.

  29. Shahnawaz

    Hi, I am 17 years male, and I think that I might be suffering from POCD. It all started 2 months ago with a thought, “Could I be a pedophile?” I constantly keep checking my past, and see if i did anything to qualify me as a Pedophile. It was when I met this girl on Omegle, and she looked like 15-16(she was 13!)and we started chatting. But when I she told me about her age, I was shocked that I had masturbated on her and I removed her off my phone instantly.I have never masturbated to any girl below 16, Never! . This was point when I started Obsessing about Pedophilia. I keep search for articles about Pedophilia everyday. I know that deep in my heart that i am not a pedophile. I have never been attracted to little children. That is disgusting. But somehow, It keeps haunting me…I don’t want these thoughts in the first place. How can I even think about it! I am struggling a lot with it and it just keeps on going worse and worse. I keep doubting a lot about my sexual orientation. Am i a pedophile? Argh, God, I hate this so much!

  30. rmwillard89

    I think I may have this. I just spent 2 to 3 hours measuring my 2d:4d digit ratio because I read that pedophiles have a higher ratio and mine is high. I’d like someone to talk to, if you can. Thanks.

  31. Hey,
    Two years ago I broke up with my girlfriend after leaving her country where I was doing an internship. I loved her and I came back to the UK with no money or job, became depressed and addicted to porn, then that wasn’t enough so I started looking at 15/14yo omegle recordings then on a few occasions even saw maybe 9/10yo but was not aroused by this.

    I wanted a career and the horrendously painful irony is that I am training to be a primary school teacher because the pay is good and it’s a noble profession.

    Then one day I woke up and my past hit me like BAM. I think I am having a breakdown. It makes me feel sick what I have done and just want to settle down and find a girlfriend. This is troubling me a huge amount because I cannot tell me therapist I think I have POCD (I do not have sexual feelings towards children) because they will definitely refer me if I tell them what I did. I would rather kill myself than do anything to a child.

    My situation is really really effed up. What should I do?

    Thanks

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