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Am I a pedophile or is it POCD


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I'll try and keep this short. Looking back at the first time this all started (and subsequently took away my happiness for long periods at a time) I was lying in bed after a phone conversation with my mother, she had just told me that the family would be staying at my home and with me being at uni, she asked if I could come and visit. I had been getting pretty bad panic attacks at that time and doubted if I could make it. When I put my head down to go to sleep bang! An image of my two newborn nephews pop into my head intertwined with a feeling of dread. This throws me for six and I sit on the side of the bed just trying to calm down. As the night progresses I lay there trying to reason with the thought feeling more anxious with time. It was as if my head wouldn't let it go and although it wasn't sexual I kept asking myself questions like "would you do anything inappropriate if you were around them" This carried on until I finally got to sleep (after hours of questioning). I can liken it to experiencing a real life nightmare. I did visit my house In the end and despite nervousness the anxiety subsided and I was left only with the strange lingering notion of what happened before I went to bed that night.

(This was the beginning)

I should state here that I had a healthy sexual development through puberty, curvy brunettes being my preference.

Around this time though I had similar thoughts as mentioned before, which served as turn-offs notably, imagining my grandma being raped by a man whilst I sat opposite her in her home. I hated these thoughts and hated more the fact that I couldn't shift them/take control. Similar thoughts would come whilst I was praying at church, I would imagine Jesus in an act of sex that would make the devil blush and all the time i'd be apologising to him.

(This is were it gets darker)

I cant remember exactly how things got the point where I couldn't function very well with all the negative feelings of depression/anxiety/worthlessness/guilt (the list goes on) but I went to seek help. I was told that I was suffering ruminations as part of a depressive episode and things cleared up for a while. Until my mind latched on the idea that I could be/ could turn into a pedophile (as I type that word I get an uncomfortable feeling in my groin which has been driving me absolutely crazy for far too long). It all started when an image popped up on TV one night that featured two young girls on a beach. The advert really disturbed me for some reason and I remember being a real mess until i could see the advert again and prove to myself that there was nothing to be worried about. As my moods got better, i seemed to get better and such things wouldn't effect me.

(Things go downhill)

I eventually had to drop out of university. By this point I was completely immersed in my thoughts (smoking weed didn't help) I became unsociable and can honestly say that the ruminations consumed days and weeks. I had developed groinal responses by now that would linger on for a long time. It first started as an uncomfortable sensation that had me sitting down, staring at my dick for hours on end, noting every movement against an internal sensation. Then came the compulsion to research all my fears in an attempt to morbidly understand my predicament. In this period I smoked 60 a day, anxiety escalated fast and made me very sick indeed. The groinal responses became so disturbingly intense, (simultaneously repulsive and intensely arousing) With no erection. at this point that I had serious suicidal ideation. So I left University in a mess and talked to my parents who arranged for a psych to see me. I told him that i felt like a creep & knowning about my other concerns with intrusive images he told me that I was just having bad ruminations. I got myself together, got a job and started getting my life back together. I was meeting girls, a couple who liked me and I felt great. It was at this point however that I started to think that there was something wrong with my heart. I would feel palpitations and shortness of breath and get a taxi to the nearest hospital and have it checked out, I'm not proud of it but I've even had ambulances come to the house for them to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I can probably count 15 of these incidents taking place up to now.

(So here's where I'm at now)

My Heart attack fear has fully subsided due solely to the fact that right now I wouldn't care If I had one. I'm once again suffering suicidal ideation. I have just been In a beautiful country and i'm pretty sure that I fell in love with a girl I was travelling with (just a fella named paul in the way of happiness) but before and during my travels I had to deal with this groinal response that has a severe effect on my mood. It seems that after years of obsessing I have now got to live with the response that will not shift on my own accord, no matter what I do. I got the thoughts images and anxiety as well but neutralising the thoughts with some habitual rumination seemed to be the easiest solution. Now I'm back home and living with my parents (who have noticed me acting strange and are beginning to worry about me). It seems like all these thoughts have waged war on me in one last attempt to end me. I've started reading into bios of pedophiles and staring at pictures of children in morbid attempt at finding them attractive. I sit in one spot all day ruminating on the possibility of suppressing my pedophilia in the past. I come up with a few instances way before puberty when I saw young girls getting changed in public showers and so on. These thoughts will loop constantly bringing waves of anxiety/arousal followed by dread. The groinal discomfort is present throughout ruminations and after a while it feels like sexual energy needs to be released (despite the feeling being the antithesis of sexy). It feels as though I only have to think of getting a groinal and there it is quicker than I can say response. If i'm ruminating about being a pedophile it steps up a gear and in moments when I read about being a pedophile or see a child on TV, A strong anxious/arousal occurs and I panic assume all my fears are validated/true. Other times when I check and see that I don't show any attraction I feel great and anxiety disappears (but only for a short while) After episodes like this I usually test my attraction to a child on TV or newspaper. After a distressing night yesterday where i ruminated and had the uncomfortable groin feeling for most of the day (it seems to linger despite content) I went to bed and thought about different sexual scenarios, I thought I had a god grasp on this condition when an image of a small girl entered my head. Bang anxiety, but at the same time (although I couldn't get an erection) I had a very intense arousal (this is when I question whether I can possibly like these thoughts on any level.) It felt like if I masturbated to it (despite not liking the content) I would climax very quickly. I felt sick to my stomach that night and the next day spent checking, testing, researching, praying. I would't want my worst enemy to go through all this.

I'm only able to write this tonight as I've taken a large dose of valium. Whatever this is takes me to a very dark place where I am now.

I have had moments of clarity throughout these years where I feel great and treat obsessive thoughts as just obsessive thoughts (I'm now 25) however these darker moments seem to extinguish the light.

Any help would be appreciated

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Sedateme,

Welcome to this site. I see that you're clearly in a large amount of emotional distress, and it must be unnerving that no one has responded to this thread yet.

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm MusicMan, but most people around here call me MM. I happen to be the site's resident pedophile :rolleyes:, so I've been asked to address your concerns. First off, let me say that the word "pedophile" only refers to an attraction to prepubescent children, and doesn't imply that the person has offended. People who have sexually harmed children are simply child molesters. The vast majority of people are not aware of this distinction, but I figured you should know because this is the topic of discussion. I have never harmed a child, and I never will. There are many like me, and the world should know that.

Now, onto the real issue here. The good news is that you most certainly are not a pedophile. How do I know this, you may ask? Simple. You are not attracted to children. A pedophile is someone who has sexual attraction to children that is either equal to or more intense than that of adults. The simple truth is that you KNOW you're a pedophile if you are one.

I don't doubt for a second that you have POCD. You've stated yourself that you've had other OCD issues in the past. You'd be amazed at how many people there are just like you who worry themselves to death that they might be pedophiles. It's like the "what if" thought enters their heads, and they never stop obsessing over it.

I would like to help and support you in any way I can, but I must warn you that I know a lot more about pedophilia than I do about obsessive thinking, and I can really only make things up as I go along. Anyway, I hope you're doing okay.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey man , I know you posted this along time ago and at the moment I'm currently struggling with my own Pocd type problem or at least I hope it's pocd I've been told by a councillor that it's text book but I find it hard too take on board. I can tottally sympathise with your whole story it has a load of simmilaritys with my own. I know the feeling of it being an actual nightmare , the groinal responses etc, the immediate deppression when waking up. but I'm new too these forums and when I was at one of my lowest points I read your own post and it really helped me and musicman is right if we aren't attracted to kids then that's the end of it , if you had the choice too marry the woman of your dreams or a kid who would you choose becuase I know for certain for both us it would be the woman of our dreams not the kid and that's the simple reason of why we,re not peadophilles. Now I suffer from the constant self doubt aswell so you might read this and feel better but then poke a hole in my theory but what I find really helps me is that when your having a good day , one of those days where it's at the back of your mind but you just kind of know it's not true then write down on a piece of paper the reasons you know your not a peadophile for example "today I feel good , I know it's not true , any groinal responses I felt are just anxiety , errections mean nouthing without attraction , the intrusive thoughts are just OCD" this way when you have a bad day, moment etc you can look back at this piece of paper and think hey that day I felt good and nouthing has changed so I must be good ! Hope all this helps man becuase when I was at my worst your post and musicman's reply helped me a hell of a lot knowing there was someone else out there going through the same thing as me

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  • 1 year later...

Hey, I just wanted to share my story because I;ve had OCD obsessional horror events that have happened to me recently, this site came on my google feed when I searched it up and I hope it can help other people who have this issue. First off, I'm a 22 year old woman, which I think is pretty rare considering all the things I've read are from men.

Re assurance and ritualized checking and making sure your groin didnt have a sensation sound to me like OCD. Obsessional horror OCD. I've been diagnosed with it as well, but I'm in therapy now, and let me tell you, it gets better. This thing can seem like it takes over your life in seconds and will last forever. Please have courage to seek help from a cognitive behavioral therapist. They're not going to tell you that you're a pedophile. My therapist put it best. "do you think people who are sexually attracted to children spend their lives trying to avoid them?" Which was the case for me, I spent every waking hour trying to avoid them, I would perform rituals like every time I would see a kid, make sure that im not instantly attracted, check my groinal area, not talk about kids or be near people who had small children, but the one thing I did the most was: whenever I would get the thoughts, I would STOP, IGNORE IT AND PANIC! When I went to CBT (cog therapist) I learned that this was the worst mistake I had made (in my individual case) for when I accepted my anxiety, and thought about the images through, and accepted them through my brain and let them pass naturally, I noticed a big change. In one of the work sheets my therapist has me read there is a quote: "What you resist, persists." You cannot control your thoughts, and OCD has a pesky habit of turning "Am I??" into "I am!!!" I hope you find a therapist or help because I remember that very first morning when it happened on the subway. I looked at the news paper and saw a kid and had a groinal sensation and absolutely panicked! Now about 2 months later, I feel MUCH better!

Getting A CB therapist was the best thing I've ever done for myself. You don't have to live your life in fear of your head. I know first hand about the groinal sensations. They come with the OCD, they're like a bonus life pack to sustain your OCD. Its what your OCD strives on. You will experience groinal sensations, they will feel unnatural at times, but sometimes they will feel real! and terrifying. But I could also pay attention to an itch on my body and it would appear. Remember that the groinal sensations are probably you being extremely aware of your arousal level. It still happens to me, but instead of recognizing it and being afraid of it and panicking, I recognize it as my OCD trying to live. I'm not going to let it live though. I mess it up every chance I get!

I know that CBT is expensive, and I wouldn't know what I would have done if I couldnt afford it, so I would like to share some of the methods I'm learning, which are called exposure therapy. Everyday I read the same toys 'r' us catalogue that would give me panic attacks 2 weeks ago, now they give me a 20% fear. You should sit with a feared exposure (make a hierarchy of scary things to look at such as : parent magazines, toy catalogues, etc) until your stress and anxiety lessens. Doesn't have to be 100% just until it lessens. Please take your time with it and dont overwhelm your self. If you dont want to do it, chances are, its probably a good exposure.

Breathing through my diaphragm to reduce stress

When the thought comes, let it happen, accept your anxiety. No one can read your mind. Let the thought pass, when it passes, you know that in the end, its just a thought, and the anxiety that comes with it will pass. You're trying to numb your mind to it, like when you say a name 100 times in a row it sort of loses meaning. Its the same thing.

Dont seek reassurance. Nothing is 100%. You turning into a pedophile is a very low probability chance in your life.

There are more, but Im not a therapist, please see a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist! You are not alone.

One thing that I wish I had seen when I was in the thick of all of this would be a success story. I'm not completely successful yet. I still get panicky on bad days, but I really hope this helps! Know that this is something that can be helped. I had no idea if I would ever feel normal again, but I'm getting close! Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...


That's interesting that CB therapy is working for you, because I started seeing a CB therapist a few months ago and I can honestly say it has done nothing for my POCD.

I'm a 30 year old straight male who has suffered from OCD "questioning" issues all my life. When I was a kid I thought I was gay, despite being attracted to women. Then I thought I was a murderer. Or that I wanted my parents to die. Or... blah blah all that typical horrific crap. Suddenly, 6 months ago, after never, ever feeling anything for children, I developed the fear that I was a pedophile. I can't even remember how it first manifested. I do know that it was like a blanket fear of being a pedophile, and that I consciously felt my brain "search" around the the worst possible version of that. Eventually it landed on "what if I'm attracted to young boys?"... I guess because, socially, that is the worst possible thing I could be (Jerry Sandusky, Catholic pirests in the media et al.).

From there, it's been full throttle ahead. Weird groin sensations. Constant "what ifs" every time I see a child. Suddenly I'm looking at kids in the street or on TV shows in a way that I never would have before, to test if I get a reaction. It's always "no, you're not attracted to this", but the "NO" never lasts, my brain brings up the question again. Even though I've never had a sexual arousal brought on by a child, and of course would or could never act on it, that's not the point. It has become blurred with my regular attraction to women, tied up in the endless complicated network of my head. The fact that, up until 6 months ago I never had this feeling... it somehow doesn't help at all. It makes no sense obviously that I would somehow "wake up" a pedophile, but I can't order my brain to logically reason it out on a permanent basis.

So yes, I've done the things the person above me mentioned with my therapist - saying something one hundred times to show how it loses meaning. Look at my thoughts in perspective as just thoughts. Try to understand and "give in" to my fears. But it doesn't work... the sick feeling I get that wants to check to confirm a NO is a baser instinct that I can't reason away. I feel like my therapist is missing some core issue, missing an understanding that sexual identity fears have a deeper root and therefore need to be approached in a different manner.

There are days when I'm feeling fine (the process is usually: "um, you love females instinctively, you've never felt genuine sexual arousal to a child, what the hell were you worrying about") and then there are other days where I just don't want to live anymore ("what if these feelings grow into something else, what if it's all actually just latent pedophilia in disguise, what if you somehow were intellectually attracted to women, and therefore you can switch your mind to be attracted to children"). On the bad days, I have a constant guilt, shame and disgust hanging over me.

Edit (12/28/13): wow, it seems I'm getting over this now. I'm really glad to be coming to the end of this OCD cycle... though not looking forward to whatever the next random fear is. In some ways, the CB therapy does work, in that it gets you to confront your mind's ability to drink its own "kool aid"... if you worry too much about something, and have an OCD-inclined mind, then you will get trapped in that worry so deep that it feels like it could become a reality. You just have to accept that there is no way to get a definitive "no" in anything in life. It's just like saying "I'll never get stressed out about having too much on my plate at work". You can't just never feel stress again. It's the same with OCD. You can't just say "I'll never worry about X again". To anyone else out there who is suffering from this terrible form of OCD, try to remember that.

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One important point is that it is likely that different therapies work better for different people. It is not required that a given therapy be the best for every person. That means that if you find yourself in a therapy that makes you feel as if the therapist is missing something, it might be important to discuss that with the therapist with an eye towards switching to a different approach.

Ultimately, the "best" therapy for a given person is the one that works.

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  • 2 months later...

"Try to understand and "give in" to my fears. But it doesn't work... the sick feeling I get that wants to check to confirm a NO is a baser instinct that I can't reason away. I feel like my therapist is missing some core issue, missing an understanding that sexual identity fears have a deeper root and therefore need to be approached in a different manner"

Hey! I haven't checked here in a while. I hope someone who reads your post doesnt get scared off from CBT because to me, what you had explained sounded a lot like you just trying to reassure yourself, not do exposures, and in general be anxious about it and give in to your fears. I'm glad to hear that you're starting to get better! OCD doesnt need a deep meaningful explanation that some freud type therapist will try to have you think about and chances are if you get one, you'll obsess over it too. Its OCD, and like any other disease it craves life. Everytime you give into it you make it stronger. Stick with the exposures, stick with riding the wave of the thought! After 5 months of CBT I gotta say it worked for me. I'd like to hear how things are going now. I hope that with every step you take in dealing with this, you get better!

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