Is groinal response sexual?: Hey lately I... - My OCD Community

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Is groinal response sexual?


Hey lately I've just been doing really badly because of OCD. And I've been thinking about my problems a lot. One of my OCD fears (the worst one) is my fear that I'm trying to get a groinal response from people and even sometimes animals and that I am sexually assaulting them, the reason I think I might be trying to get a groinal response is that I am trying to confirm to myself that it isn't wrong or that it's okay (it isn't okay but I think it could be a compulsion or something). Like I won't even be touching the person or animal and still, Im afraid I'm sexually assaulting them when I'm not touching them. I'll make a small movement towards them or I'll face in their direction though and I'll question if I made that movement to get a groinal response. Also, I know for a fact I wouldn't do that for pleasure, If I did try to have a groinal response, it was something to do with my OCD. This causes me so much guilt and pain. If I didn't have this issue I think I would be fine, this is basically the only thing that is really damaging me. But would that even be sexual assault? Because OCD groinal response is not a sexual response it just comes from fear/focusing on your groin. So even if I WAS trying to get a groinal response (which I don't even know if I do that I hope not), would that be considered sexual assault? I don't think it would because it isn't actual arousal but idk.. I know I'm overthinking this but if this were true I know that I would feel a lot less guilt.

10 Replies

Idk if this is gonna be understandable to anyone bc I know it's confusing. I get it since I'm going through it but I'm pretty sure most people have never had this issue.

Eliza, I understand your concerns regarding 'groinal response'; for years, I have experienced this autonomic nervous system symptom in response to my homosexual ocd illness. (My irrational fear is that I might be lesbian.) This groinal response would occur at church, at school and even at home in the company of my sisters and my mother! Until I understood that I had OCD (many years later) and that the groinal sensation was a fear-based symptom of my illness, I suffered immeasurably with self-doubt and terror that God had turned me into a lesbian to punish me for teenage sexual 'sins' with boys. My fear of lesbians became so acute that I was unable to even say or read the word 'lesbian' without triggering a massive ocd episode. And of course, these fears were exaggerated because of groinal response which I was convinced 'proved' I was indeed a lesbian. (I'm not.) Sadly, this fear-based illness has cost me dearly over the years --- lost career opportunities, a divorce from a very good man and many inappropriate relationships with men to 'prove' I was not lesbian.

Noteworthy here, is the fact that I can now write about and discuss the word 'lesbian' (a major accomplishment for me!). This is a direct result of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This is the only effective way to deal with our OCD fear-based themes. I had to learn to remain in the company of females, allow the groinal response to occur and, most importantly, NOT try to compulsively stop the sensation. I learned to sit through it, acknowledge its presence, even welcome (!) it with love and acceptance until it was no longer a threat to me. When the OCD realized that I was no longer recoiling in fear and disgust it stopped bullying me and I was set free.

All the reassurance in the world from others (including members of this site) will NOT help you. You seek reassurance as a compulsion in response to your fear-based sexual obsessions. If we continue to reassure you, we are simply prolonging your suffering. I will not reassure you. I will simply share what worked for me. Facing our fears, even inviting them in -- then NOT responding with compulsive avoidance is the only way to break the power of the OCD.

Explore the possibilities of using ERP therapy for yourself. Read about it; seek a therapist who uses it. You do not need reassurance; you need to practice ERP and get your life back. Sheila

Hi! So, I'm going through the same thing as you. I know I'm a straight woman but I've gotten to the point of fearing being attracted to other women so much that i can't SEE a woman's body part without getting a groinal, it happened with my own mother. I still haven't started ERP because of the coronavirus outbreak and the limitations it poses to getting therapy in my area, but my biggest fear regarding groinal responses is: will they be here my whole life? Did they stop happening for you when you saw women?

Hi there. I'm really sorry to hear you're having such a hard time with HOCD right now. I'm glad you have reached out for some insight. I understand exactly what you're experiencing; it's horrible. All forms of OCD are horrible, but this type of OCD (homosexual ocd or HOCD) is particularly distressing. It is not surprising that it has flared up during the pandemic because any form of stress can bring on the symptoms. Keep in mind that groinal response is part of the anxiety. For example, when some people get anxious they feel strain in their neck or shoulder or they get a tension headache. With HOCD we experience the strain in our groin. I have learned that this groinal sensation is not sexual arousal. It's definitely not pleasurable; it is a fear-based anxiety response.

It is possible to seek ERP online at This group of therapists specialize in online therapy specifically for OCD. Another online resource is Nathan Peterson who is a therapist with very informative short videos on all types of OCD at

I continue to manage my ocd on a daily basis with ERP . If and when I experience a groinal (and yes, I still do sometimes) I simply acknowledge it, accept it and move on. I do not try to eliminate it because that is a compulsion. If we compulsively try to avoid or fight the sensation it will continue to get worse. Your therapist will help you with ERP.

I also find podcast very helpful. Good luck. You are not alone.

I been dealing with my ocd for 11 years now and feel like everytime its getting worst. Im a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters that now i can't even be close to them because of my thoughts.. i love them with all my hart but every time they want to hug me or get close to me i will push them away or try to stay away as far as possible because im afraid of doing something inappropriate.. this thing its controlling my life and can't seem to find a way out of it. I feel so depressed every day now. Is anybody else going thru this that could help me

Dear CW: There is help available and you absolutely must seek it out — for your own sake and for the sake of your daughters. Those little girls need their dad’s affection with lots of hugs, otherwise, they may feel terribly unloved and unworthy as they grow up in an atmosphere of your physical avoidance. As they grow older you can be sure they will seek male affection in other, less favourable ways . You have described Harm OCD and in your case, paedophilia ocd, which is the fear of sexually harming children. There are online resources to help you which I described in my response. Do check out as well as Nathan Peterson at

Dear Eliza,

When I used to ask my therapist things like, "Am I a horrible person/total pervert/terrible sinner, etc.," she would say to me, "What does your wise mind say?" Something that helps me sometimes is to imagine a friend coming to me & relating the same story from when she was 13. Would you judge your 13 year old friend? What would you say to her? What you're doing now is seeking reassurance, which can make you feel a little less horrible temporarily, but ultimately it makes your ocd stronger. Flooding will help, although it's very counterintuitive & easier said than done. You have my sympathy, girl. I know this is painful & horrible. I've been there. Hugs!

Hi Eliza. I’m sorry you are going thru such a difficult time. I have a very similar OCD. Mine is I’m afraid of being a pedophile. I would look things up on line, perform mental review (to try to remember if I did do something and just don’t remember), seek reassurance and avoidance. The problem is I have a grandson and this version of my OCD started when he was about 1 1/2 years old. I didn’t have the “right” type of help till last September, when he was 3 years old. This gave my OCD a year and a half to really grab hold. I have many other OCD symptoms, but they do not bother me as much (if at all) since I’ve been getting the “right” help using ERP/ flooding. I still struggle with the pedophile one because it is the most vile and disgusting one. Like you I would look for any “feelings” that would prove I’m a pedophile. It is so hard sharing this with anyone because I’m afraid people will not understand. And if they doubt me then that would be more “evidence” that I’m a sick person. It’s an awful feeling. Sometimes I just wish it would go away and leave me alone. But that only makes it stronger. I have to stop fighting it and accept the feelings and thoughts without judgment or putting meaning behind it. Once I put less emphases in it, it will loosen its hold and not affect me as much. I’ve had OCD my whole life. (I’m 53). It has changed over the years. What bothered me when my kids were young was different. They are still there but as a faint memory with no anxiety attached. I’m hoping that’s how this OCD thought will go as well. Stay strong and keep working on it. ERP/flooding is the best treatment. Finding a therapist trained in OCD treatment is key to your success. Good luck! Keep us updated on how things are going. You are not alone.

Hi Eliza, I’m sorry to hear what a difficult time you’ve been having. I’ve been facing the same challenges myself, but with POCD which is terrible in itself too. I’m trying to over come my OCD, and anxiety and horrible thoughts and feelings. If you ever want to talk and maybe we can helps each other through things I’m hear for you! What I keep telling myself, is it’s okay to have these thoughts. People think about different and many things everyday, all day. But we’ve yet to act on them. Even if we have a sexual attraction, or interaction (groin) sensation, are we horrible people? No. Because we’ve not done anything wrong, except have thoughts, and these thoughts are simply just thoughts. I wish I could take my own advice. It’s hard, but I’m glad to see such caring responses. I hope this community can help me as well. I’m glad I found this app/forum. Take care of yourself. Please reach out with me if you’d like to talk about ANYTHING. ♡

thank you so much!! we should talk :)

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