A Complicated Case of POCD

POCD is simply obsessional OCD with the pedophile theme. That is, the person worries that they are a pedophile, that they are aroused by children and that they want to have sex with children. This is only one of many themes that pure obessional OCD takes. It seems to be increasing in recent times due to the mass hysteria surrounding pedophilia and child molesting in general.

Since writing articles on theme, I have received many requests for help from people who fear that they may be suffering from this condition. In working with someone with the pedophile theme, it is essential first of all to figure out whether there is any actual pedophilia going on. I have dealt with a large number of persons with this worry so far, and I haven’t met a pedophile yet. I assume that pedophiles are simply not going to come to me for help.

However, in a number of cases, the line between pedophilia and POCD is quite difficult to discern. The following case will illustrate some of the difficulties involved.

A young man, age 28, came seeking help with a possible case of pedophile theme OCD. He laid out a very confusing and complicated case that was hard to figure out.

He said he was seeing a therapist. I asked for the diagnosis given by the therapist, who was an expert in OCD. The therapist said it was POCD and not pedophilia. I asked what the basis for the diagnosis was.

The man said that the therapist said the thoughts, etc. were ego-dystonic, therefore they were OCD. I agreed with this in principle. Ego-dystonic, ego-alien, etc. thoughts will generally tend to be OCD and not something else. A true pedophilic orientation is probably not truly ego-dystonic in nature.

I asked the man whether or not he resisted the thoughts. He said he tried to, but was not always successful due to the thoughts fighting back. He then said that he had “wars in his mind” going on pretty much 24-7 over this issue. This seemed to clinch that we were dealing with OCD here and not something else. OCD thoughts are resisted but not always successfully since the thoughts fight back. As they fight back, one ends up with a war in one’s mind.

An attempt was made to discern the man’s true sexual orientation. It is my opinion that true, fixated preferential pedophilia (the only kind I am concerned with) comes on at a very young age, at the latest 13-14 and often much younger.

The man had engaged in some child sex play involving other boys. Child sex play is often found in the background of people with POCD and serves to the feed the pedophile fears. The sex play involved swatting each other on the rear end or something to that effect. The man admitted that it had been arousing.

However, as his sex drive came on, he had only a strong orientation towards females of his own age and up. He had no attraction towards males or children.

He had a good, strong, healthy sex drive along these lines until guilt triggered the child sex play memories, and he started worrying about whether or not he was a pedophile. This occurred at around age 16. The thoughts had continued and only increased in the ensuing 12 years.

Curiously, though he was clearly heterosexual, the POCD took the form of thoughts about boys, which didn’t make much sense to me. As he worked deeper and deeper into this guilt and POCD worry syndrome, he began to feel his normal attraction to females diminishing.

At the same time, he was awkward in school and frequently bullied. Girls were mean to him, and he was rejected countless times. This led to plunging self-esteem and increased POCD symptoms.

He then went to college and majored in History, but the symptoms only got worse. He ended up having relationships with women, including a sexual one recently. However, either the POCD or the anxiety in general took out his sex drive such that he simply had little to no drive anymore. He could barely sustain an erection. The relationship with the woman failed due to chronic impotence, tragically at the young age of his mid-20’s.

Later his sex drive came back to some extent, but even then, although he was able to ejaculate, he could only get partial erections.

This long, drawn out and sad history had taken a heavy toll on his self-esteem. Self-esteem issues were obvious on first talking to him over the phone, when he displayed a meek and self-apologetic demeanor. He also had heavy defenses up in that he didn’t want to deal with some of the self-effacing behaviors or the self-esteem issue.

He also had a somewhat wooden and heavily intellectualized voice which lacked emotional depth and sounded like “Spock” on Star Trek. He was told that the wooden and intellectualized demeanor would result in problems in dealing with others, particularly females, who would see it as lack of emotionality.

I informed him that the self-esteem issues were primary here and were feeding into the POCD and vice versa. I feel that self-esteem is very hard to build up from a base of nothing. Generally, good high self-esteem is based on success in life, which builds confidence at least and egotism at most. If one is not having any successes, it’s hard to build up self-esteem where successes seem to be a requirement. I feel that building self-esteem may be one of the toughest therapeutic issues out there.

When asked how the pedophilic thoughts felt, he admitted that he found them somewhat arousing, though he also felt terrified, horrified, sick and nauseous. The dominant emotions associated with the pedophilic thoughts seemed to be fear and sheer terror. This seemed more in line with POCD than with pedophilia.

I told him I agreed with the diagnosis the therapist had made, that this was POCD and not pedophilia.

Cases where the POCD comes on early in life such as the teen years in males are bound to cause much confusion. I do not believe that people develop pedophilia after puberty, and certainly not after puberty and against their will. Feelings of sickness, nausea, fear, terror and the like, whether or not accompanied by sexual arousal, seem to point towards POCD.

A good strong normative sex drive towards age appropriate or older and mature peers is a good guess that there is no pedophilia going on. Where a strong and healthy age-normal sex drive radically diminishes or vanishes over time to be replaced by a terror-stricken pedophilic “attraction,” this will look like POCD.

People do not develop strong, healthy age-appropriate drives only to see them vanish in front of their eyes to be replaced by a frightening pedophilic orientation. Any case of radical diminishment of a healthy and normative drive and its replacement by a frightening new drive, all occurring against the person’s will, after ages 13-15, is typically indicative of some sort of sexual OCD.

This case also shows, sadly, the dramatic effects of sexual OCD or possibly just anxiety on the strong sex drive of a young man. The sexually diminishing effects of anxiety or sexual OCD are in need of further investigation.

The following schemata illustrates the case above well:

Problem: POCD

True attraction: Mature females

Fake attraction: Male children

9 Comments

Filed under Anxiety Disorders, Mental Illness, OCD, Pedophilia, Psychology, Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Sex

9 responses to “A Complicated Case of POCD

  1. Dúnedain

    Yeah, this sounds like OCD. It’s a shame his disorder has gotten this bad.

  2. Mr.F

    But can he be freed from his disorder or instead of male boys he will develop another obscession?
    IMHO, his problem is that he thinks ” I’m not a self-image I must conform to”.And he will develop smth. else (may be, anorexia if he really is a
    ‘fag'[label]).
    I personally don’t believe in sexual orientation as a biological concept. For long term relations people are attracted to personalities that reside in physical bodies. So, probably this guy picked up some stereotype (label) that society readily invents and pressured himself into a corner.
    If girls were mean I think the guys were ten times meaner with their jokes and attitude.( no friends) So he went back into “better life” that he remembered.
    It’s interesting if in his fantasies these boys were like real boys (you know they are rude noisy brats) or some sort of idealized projection for relations that he struggled to find in real life.
    He got attracted to boys because of shared positive memories not tainted by bullying or emotional vacuum with peers.
    It is also interesting if his fantasies have consensual sex and emotional interaction with personalities in bodies of minors or contain cravings for sadistic abuse (as in psycopaths). Because if no agression involved than he is normal. And you can have thoughts about anything, only actions can put you in jail. Historically there were societies that tolerated consensual romantic relations ( that may have included intimacy) between older boys and young men. But in his case he definitely will have hard times finding boy with desires that complement his desires. And current society doesn’t think it’s beneficial for people to follow their instincts(instead of studying) until they are 14… wait…16… wait 18 right now, wait I here activists say it has been proven: you finally develope into being adult at 20. Age of consent is a framework of social behaviour imposed by society.

    I think that orientation is a social concept. Driver is a mind, gearbox is a penis. Mind is a unique product of combined influence of environment and experience. I think every person has his/her own sexual orientation that is changing throughout person’s life. All this gay agenda is political, gay activists don’t hide that they don’t care how much founded all this gay/straight divide if it helps them to acvieve equality. If you can be only gay or straight then what about those hetero people who are into bestiality, incest, Tokio Hotel twincest gay fantasies? Is it possible to find (an adolescent and onwards) person who never had any paraphilic thought? Clubs for fetishists do exist, so some go farther than others. What about threesome: is it gay or straight? Swingers? Consensual polygamy?
    When society is a pre-existing framework and social institutions(cps, education, activist ngo’s, police) work as production line to make sure that people fit in their future roles, it is natural to have concept of labels and stereotypes. Some are not very intrusive “fag”, “geek”, “nerd” but others are: “gay” (- ohh, are you gay? you think like them. And you must be a vegan,right?), “pedophile” (pedosmile), “predator” , etc. You can’t say: in summer I’m 50% gay on Mondays, 33% pedo in the beach and 80% predator in a traffic jam. You either accept label and associate yourself with all accompanying ideas that come with it as your’s or reject it as a whole. A walmart with shelves of packaged ideas that you can choose or anti-choose from. Advertised again and again.

    Years ago being openly homosexual was considered a disease. Now it’s OK to be openly gay. But not in Russia

    The case of this man can actually reinforce russian traditionalist views. Are over 80% of Russians homophobes? Gays are an easy and convenient target for mockery just for fun. Other than that they are a symptom of transition. In old society it doesn’t matter who you are inside if you behave like everyone else. You have a path in life and you follow it: school, vocational training or university, marriage usually happened between 20-23 years and this is when the first baby is born but now the age is on the increase (25-26 years already).

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/issue_papers/IP162/index2.html

    ( paper describes 90’s)
    Traditionalist would say this guy should define what kind of girl he needs and start searching for her .Parents will help. All his problems are from loneliness (no woman, no own children -> empty family home -> low self-esteem). So find a woman that agree to marry you, have a son. That’s nature. You don’t have to be the best parent just do what you can.That’s enough.
    It is Ok to be gay or whatever with like-minded people but away from social spotlight. Because all that “diversity” when shown in public confuses and lures people into pursuit of forced self-identification even if they don’t want. Often fruitless and ruinous. And does common global gay culture and values( that you see very much advertised by foreign ngo’s ) exist? One commenter wrote: I don’t care what they do I just want that my son never finds out about them.

    • I do not believe that these fantasies are real at all, in fact, I do not even think that they are fantasies at all. I do not think that intrusive thoughts represent real desires at all. So I do not think he is gay or pedophile or any of that stuff.

      • Mr.F

        My previous post was wordy and not straight forward.
        What do you think will happen next: when you told him he’s not a pedophile, can this eliminate his attraction to male children?

        “A good strong normative sex drive towards age appropriate or older and mature peers is a good guess that there is no pedophilia going on”.

        “People do not develop strong, healthy age-appropriate drives only to see them vanish in front of their eyes to be replaced by a frightening pedophilic orientation”

        Your conclusion is like boolean logic. You assume both his attractions are mutually exclusive. What if they are not.
        He just can’t accept some parts on moral grounds because he believes that “frightening pedofilic orientation” (defined by society and it’s moral values) exists.And you don’t want to be called pedophile because people will reject you and won’t consider you as their equal (human).
        Was he attracted to women because he was raised in heterocentric society and compulsory heterosexuality was imposed on him? But his own orientation(read: sexual preferences) is more diverse than he is ready to accept. So he fights it but: “The thoughts had continued and only increased in the ensuing 12 years.”
        Meanwhile “The relationship with the woman failed due to chronic impotence”, “he was able to ejaculate, he could only get partial erections.”
        Then, I would ask whether it’s easier for him to get erection if he lets himself focus on male children.
        “When asked how the pedophilic thoughts felt, he admitted that he found them somewhat arousing”

        Fake attraction?
        His attraction can be fake if he has a reason (e.g. money) to pretend or it’s a part of a job (prostitution, porn movie). But it ends there. You usually don’t bring your work at home if you don’t like it,right?

        His case looks like this

        http://apps.who.int/classifications/icd10/browse/2010/en#/F66.1

        Egodystonic sexual orientation
        The gender identity or sexual preference (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or prepubertal) is not in doubt, but the individual wishes it were different because of associated psychological and behavioural disorders, and may seek treatment in order to change it.

        So, “disorder” makes him to seek treatment for his “sexual preference” which is “not in doubt”. Well, now we have to know what kind of porn will harden his “schlong”. :)

  3. Pingback: Beyond fear itself: a healthy relationship with fear « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  4. Anonymous

    I’ve had pure O my whole life. As a child it was both religion and contamination related. As I got older it turned into health and contamination related. (I became an atheist and stopped caring about intrusive anti-religious thoughts.)

    But here’s where it gets a little tricky. When I was 10 years old and just discovering my sexuality, I noticed that I especially had a fondness for girls who were 5-7 years old. I knew this was much different than others my age, and felt quite guilty about it. I was also attracted to 10 year olds, however.

    As I got older, every time I saw a cute little girl, I would avert my eyes and repeat to myself in my mind “I’m not a pedophile, I’m NOT a pedophile.” It felt very much like the intrusive thoughts from my OCD and happened constantly. This continued until around 16 years old. At this point, I became interested in anime and the primary school aged characters in these shows. I talked to others who were interested in animated little girl characters also. At this point ,I was still having intrusive thoughts, but being interested in the fictional characters didn’t bother me at all.

    And then, in the same places where I was discussing these fictional characters, people would also often post pictures of elementary school girl models and actresses. I began masturbating to these photographs, but every time I would feel immensely guilty and hate myself for it.

    Awhile later, I met a 6 year old girl. She began visiting us often. .I just fell in love. In no other time in my life had I felt this way before. She was a joy to be around, and extremely beautiful. We became very close, and I cared for her more than anything. After meeting her, all intrusive thoughts stopped and I accepted my attraction as normal for me.

    I’m now in the my early 20s, and have very little interest in women. The pedophilic intrusive thoughts are no longer there, only the ones based on health worries and contamination remain. I do have sexual thoughts about young girls, but I see them as normal for me now. Although, when I see a cute girl that I’m interested in, it’s closer to crushing than lust. “Oh wow, she’s so beautiful ” The girls that I tend to like are between the ages of 5 and 11. They are just so cute.

    Now, based on this information, do you think I have a pedophilic orientation? Or do you think it’s possible that I had POCD and just gave up fighting it?

    A few things to consider: I would never touch a girl, I know it’s wrong.
    It also has nothing to do with being dominant. I actually find the idea of dominating a young girl extremely disgusting.
    It also is not only physical, I am extremely attracted to the personalities of very young girls, and just hanging out and playing games with them have been the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

  5. Jessica

    Hi there Mr Lindsay

    Since the age of 14 I have felt that “something isn’t right” when around children, and i would experience anxiety as well as a feeling that I was suppressing something, although I do not know what that was. I am now 28 and my thought processes seem to have gotten worse. Up until about a year ago I was worried about little and young girls. Boys were much less anxiety provoking. Now its the opposite. It feels like I’m attracted to prepubescent males, and when I get too tired to resist the thoughts it feels like I’m attracted to them.

    The anxiety in the thought itself has diminished, which paradoxically causes me anxiety. I know that I do not want to act on the thoughts because its wrong, and I avoid children and stopped seeing friends with children after I had the idea I was “grooming” the family. Resisting the thoughts takes a lot of energy, but not having the energy to resist is even more disconcerting. It feels inappropriate for me to be around children with this mindset, and I am constantly fighting back and forth in my head. “Realising” I’m a pedophile and trying to convince myself that I’m not. All day every day. I have been out of work for nearly six years, and i just want to get on and live a healthy fulfilling life.

    I’ve had a partner for two years now, and I love him deeply, but feel I have lost the strong physical attraction that I used to have for him about a year and a half ago. I relate to a lot of the symptoms of pocd that you have outlined in your articles.

    Feel free to email me anytime if you like. I want help to get better.

    Thank you for your time Mr Lindsay

    Yours sincerely
    Jessica

    • Jessica

      Hi please remove my last name from this post I thought I was emailing Mr Lindsay personally didn’t realise I was posting a comment on a public message board

    • Jessica

      Thank you for removing my last name from that post. In regards to my original post I should also mention that I’ve never had a sexual fantasy of a child, I have never looked at child porn and I’m very anxious because of the perceived attraction. I have no desire to take it further – in my mind or otherwise. I worry that the only reason that it’s a problem for me is because “what will people think and how would they treat me?” Instead of feeling disgust. But I’ve never been aroused by a child. But have had uncomfortable feelings that are unwanted. I worry that this means the worst. Hod I hope not. Please contact me please help I’m on diazepam for anxiety andiI still feel anxious after taking one pill.

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