Sexual orientation obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Prevalence and correlates

Monnica T. Williams, Samantha G. Farris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Sexual obsessions are a common symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that may be particularly troubling to patients. However, little research has examined concerns surrounding sexual orientation, which includes obsessive doubt about one's sexual orientation, fears of becoming homosexual, or fears that others might think one is homosexual. The present study reports rates and related characteristics of individuals with sexual orientation obsessions in a clinical sample. Participants from the DSM-IV Field Trial (n= 409; Foa et al., 1995) were assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Symptom Checklist and Severity Scale (YBOCS). We found that 8% (n= 33) reported current sexual orientation obsessions and 11.9% (n= 49) endorsed lifetime symptoms. Patents with a history of sexual orientation obsessions were twice as likely to be male than female, with moderate OCD severity. Time, interference, and distress items from the YBOCS obsessions subscale were significantly and positively correlated with a history of obsessions about sexual orientation. Avoidance was positively correlated at a trend level (p= 0.055). Obsessions about sexual orientation may be associated with increased distress, interference, and avoidance, which may have unique clinical implications. Considerations for diagnosis and treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-159
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Assessment
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Sexual obsessions
  • Sexual orientation


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