By Monnica Williams, Ph.D., ABPP
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts, impulses, or mental images that cause anxiety, and stress. They can also make it hard to carry out everyday responsibilities at work, at school, or in the home. These thoughts may focus on the fear of committing an act a person considers harmful, violent, immoral, sexually inappropriate, or sacrilegious. The person does not want to act on these thoughts (although the OCD may attempt to persuade the person that there is a chance), and these thoughts bring no pleasure, causing extreme distress.
Sexual Intrusive Thoughts consist of unwanted sexual thoughts. This may include fears related to one’s sexual orientation or what others might think. It may also contain mental imagery of sexual behaviors that the individual finds immoral or abhorrent. The person may fear committing a harmful sexual act or being sexually aggressive. Individuals with OCD may even suffer from unwanted intrusive thoughts about committing a sexual act with a child. This is not the same as having a sexual fantasy, being a pedophile, or being homophobic.
Examples of sexual intrusive thoughts:
- Recurrent fears of sexual acts with a child
- Recurrent worries about having a different sexual orientation
- Repetitive thoughts of touching someone inappropriately on impulse
- Unwanted sexual thoughts or images involving animals
- Distressing thoughts about sex involving religious figures
DISCLAIMER: The content found here is intended to serve as educational content and is not intended to replace therapy. For treatment-related questions, please be sure to work with your local provider or contact a local clinician.