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Topic: OCD and Unusual Physical Symptoms

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Fawkes1
    Fawkes1 avatar
    2 posts
    30 May 2020

    NOTE: This post deals with sexual obsessions/compulsions. I should also say that I am a male between the ages of 25-35.

    Hi there,

    I have had severe OCD for over 15 years. I have received ongoing treatment for the past 7 years in the form of medication, CBT, and ERP.

    My obsessions involve anything that feels slightly wrong/incorrect/imperfect: unlucky numbers, touching something in the "wrong" way, checking, coincidences, surprises, repetitive body movements and tics, unwanted thoughts, contamination, etc. Anything that reinforces a lack of control or certainty. Because my triggers are so wide-ranging, they can occur any time, anywhere, and without the slightest warning. As such, I am racked with constant and extreme anxiety and fear. You will all be familiar with how distressing this feels.

    My main OCD fear is around masturbation, and a fear of being "caught in the act". This fear has crippled me for well over a decade, and it pretty much rules my life. The "unusual physical symptoms" to which the title of this thread refer are the sensations I get in my body from the aforementioned triggers, which cause me to use masturbation as a compulsion, as it is the only thing that relieves those sensations. So what are those sensations? Well, as an example, a couple of nights ago I clenched my bottom in the "wrong" way. Immediately, my genitals started burning, and my bottom tightened. This is what happens when I get triggered. I have always referred to it as "the burning feeling", but it is really a mix of burning and arousal. It is absolute agony. It feels as if my genitals have been lit on fire. At its worst, it affects my ability to walk. The only way to get rid of the feeling is through masturbation (although that itself has to go "right", which is a whole other story).

    I have no physical problem. The burning feeling is purely an expression of anxiety, and its relationship to masturbation is magical thinking. My treatment therefore involves resisting the urge to masturbate. The cruelty of my OCD is that masturbation is my biggest fear, but also the only thing that relieves my absolutely crippling physical symptoms. I would estimate that I probably spend about half of my time in physical discomfort, much of it extreme. The other half is spent in fear.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences? It is such a difficult thing to talk about, but I am really at my wits' end. Any help would be hugely appreciated, and please feel free to ask any questions.

  2. Emmen
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Emmen avatar
    304 posts
    4 June 2020 in reply to Fawkes1

    Dear Fawkes1,

    I'm glad you've talked about this. It sounds agonizing, both physically and mentally, to experience what you have. You mentioned that you have received treatment for the past 7 years, and I'm guessing it hasn't helped this particular compulsion?

    I've read once before (can't remember where) that it may be useful to address the cause of the OCD than the symptoms, and that OCD is a response to an inability to adjust to the environment. I'm not sure if this will help you since you have been seeking treatment for 7 years and I'm sure they'd have tried different approaches.

    The best advice I can offer you is to continue with your treatment because your OCD is severe and your most dependable way forward. I'm really sorry that I can't be more help and that you have to go through this, but I hope that with more treatment, you will recover.

    Take care,

  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    13475 posts
    5 June 2020 in reply to Fawkes1

    Hello Fawkes, thanks for posting your comment and I have had OCD for a very long time.

    Your obsessions are also what I have, although not all of them, but I know how dilapidating they can be, to the point that your day could be disrupted in many different ways making you incapable of carrying out your daily duties.

    'Being caught in the act' is a fear that most men would be feeling, but that doesn't mean all men have OCD, it's an obsession that could lead onto having 'intrusive thoughts' which may cause compulsions to happen, such as touching the tap 3, 4 or 5 times.

    Just wanted to touch base with you and ask if you are taking any medication, because I am.

    Take care.


  4. Fawkes1
    Fawkes1 avatar
    2 posts
    8 June 2020

    Thank you very much for the support. I am currently taking medication. I'm on a pretty low dose at the moment. One of the real difficulties of the medication is the side-effects for sexual functioning. I have been taught by my psychologist that masturbation is a natural and healthy thing, but that I must also resist it as a compulsion. Being an otherwise healthy young man, it is very tough to balance both of those ideas.

    I have done quite a bit of work in unpacking the potential causes/root of the problem. Like many people, I developed OCD tendencies around the age of 11-12, which got worse and worse throughout my teens. The transition from primary school to high school was particularly difficult. But I was never taught that masturbation is a terrible, shameful thing. I sometimes think that it would be easier if there was some obvious event in my past that I could pin it all onto.

    This particular compulsion has only gotten worse over the years. In many ways, I'm better than I used to be at sitting with the discomfort, but my anxiety has definitely worsened. My fear of masturbation has also grown.

    I've had a couple of really tough triggers in the past few days. I get this urge to kind of tense my genital area, almost like I'm trying to stop myself from peeing. It's completely non-sexual, but just the fact that it involves that part of my body makes me feel really terrible about it. And so I draw these magical links between the action and anything that happens at the same time, particularly any sounds or movements that happen around me.

    Anyway, thanks so much again for the support. It's very comforting to hear.

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