BoyfriendGayA serious question was asked at theguardian.com Friday but most of the nearly 400 comments that followed missed the mark on helping the person with the problem.

In The Guardian’s Private Lives section of the website, a woman posted that her boyfriend has been having thoughts that he might be gay. (You can read the post and the subsequent comments here.) She goes on to say she has heard there is a type of OCD that centers on sexuality and she wonders if her boyfriend should perhaps try to flesh that out to see if OCD is at the center of his problem.

At the writing of this blog post, 389 comments had been made in a day. A few — a very few — actually deal with the question posed. Those people seem to actually know what they are talking about and suggest that he may be having issues with OCD and that seeing a doctor as a first step would be a good move.

The remainder of the comments made show how inadequately OCD is understood by the general population. People commented that obviously the boyfriend is gay; she should dump him and move on. Others commented that she should let him explore his gay tendencies to see if he likes it. None of these people delved into the question at hand: could the boyfriend possibly be dealing with OCD.

This whole matter highlights why people who think they might have OCD have no business asking the general public for help when it comes to OCD. The general public doesn’t have a clue when it comes to OCD. For the most part, the general public thinks OCD involves fastidious neat freaks who clean a lot. They simply do not understand the myriad of complex obsessions that OCD sufferers have to contend with.

There certainly is a type of OCD that centers on sexual orientation issues. It is (mistakenly) called HOCD, which stands for Homosexual OCD. The premise is that otherwise heterosexual people can become fixated on the topic of being homosexual. The truth is that homosexuals can also become fixated on being or becoming heterosexual so HOCD is a big misnomer. The topic is better served by calling it OCD with sexual orientation obsessions.

It’s a shame that the woman portrayed in The Guardian post chose to throw her sensitive question out to the masses. There are places on the web (notably the OCD-UK forums) where she could have asked her question and got an answer back from people who know what they are talking about when it comes to OCD. Those in the OCD world know all about HOCD or OCD with sexual orientation obsessions well.

Hopefully the woman will discover that her boyfriend (who she portrays as not wanting to seek help for his problem) could well be dealing with OCD and that a talk with a qualified therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist would help him sort out his issue. He’d be able to figure out if he is dealing with OCD or not and, if it is OCD at the center of his problem, he could be shown the tools to effectively deal with the problem. On the other hand, if OCD is not at play, he would learn that also and be able to deal with his situation with the knowledge of what is going on.