OCD groinal response: having OCD sexual thoughts about family

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This is a true story about how learning about OCD groinal response and intrusive sexual thoughts about family ended years of psychological distress for the author.

Close up Portrait young redhair woman with eyeglass worrying about having OCD groinal response and OCD sexual thoughts about family.

I love my dad. But what if I love him too much? What if we’re…too close? | Photo credit: ©Benzoix / Adobe Stock

OCD groinal response: having OCD sexual thoughts about family‘

You love your daddy’s cock and balls; you love his cock and balls.’ I remember scrambling to type this down in my phone notes when I heard her say it. I knew that if I confronted my mum about it later, she would deny ever having said it — and I needed proof. Otherwise, I’d start to doubt myself, I knew that I did that, and often.

It was already years after my dad, and I had moved out, and she was always accusing me of having him wrapped around my little finger. She said that I was a daddy’s girl. She called up the social worker at my school and said that he was ‘pimping me out,’ she said that I wanted him all to myself.

OCD Domestic Abuse = Something Scary

That was all pretty horrid —, but when you take that and whisk in some OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) it becomes all the more scary. I’ve had intrusive thoughts since I was a kid. 

For example, walking downstairs, I’ve always pictured slipping and breaking my teeth. Crossing roads always involved flashing images of being mowed down. These were just minor annoyances, though, and I always figured they were normal. I had always had an active imagination.

The first time it became consistently distressing was when I was in high school. I started having recurring images of crows, or ravens — I don’t know, I’m not an ornithologist, whatever — pecking and picking at the nerves and veins in my forearms.

These OCD body sensations were accompanied by itchiness and the sense that I could feel the blood running from my elbows to my wrists and I ended up scratching my forearms with my nails a lot. It was a stressful time. My family was falling apart, and I had invested all my self-worth into being a good student, which meant that I was constantly anxious about homework. I cried a lot.

This was around that time that I remember being called into the social worker’s office with my dad— she asked me straight up if he was sexually abusing me. My mum had called her and ‘expressed some concern.’ I started laughing uncontrollably.

The idea was utterly absurd! My mum was drinking heaps and just desperate to drive my dad and me apart. I was stunned she had stooped so low, but still — I found it almost funny.

The social worker was reassured and asked if she could help us — my dad wasn’t used to being a single dad. He didn’t really know how to cook or how to deal with a teenage girl and her usual teenage girl problems. But there aren’t shelters, centers, or support groups for fathers and kids subject to domestic violence. I understand why, I’m a feminist — but it meant that we were on our own.

My dad and I became close by necessity. We talked all about sex, about intimacy, and love. I understand many people may find that weird, but I didn’t feel like I had my mum anymore — otherwise, I swear I wouldn’t have been asking my dad to buy me tampons and discussing my crushes with him. I mean, that shit was seriously above his pay grade. Still, I needed a role model — and there weren’t many strong female leads in the films I was watching at the time.

My OCD sexually intrusive thoughts about family members were getting worse

So that’s how we lived, I guess. How we survived, even. Without my mum. Fast forward to my first year of university. That was when my OCD sexual intrusive thoughts about family members started reappearing.

I started seeing these sexually intrusive images again, except this time they were really sweet, and lovely, and pretty.

Just fucking with you; they were gory as hell. 

My mind was like a B-movie horror show, with films like ‘Fork, meet eyeball II’ and ‘nail clippers VS nipples’ or ‘Being suffocated by a hag in your sleep.’

I would lie awake at night, just hugging my boobs in case someone was coming to snip them off. Then I’d start worrying about being choked, so I’d have to hunker down in my bed and cover my neck, like some kind of nightmare-prone burrito. Unfortunately, those intrusives are by far some of the least damaging, least disturbing things I have had come to mind.

‘Do you have sex with your daddy?! Does he screw you?! You love your daddy, don’t you?!’

This is just one of the things my mum has said that suggests there’s this whole incest conspiracy thing going on. That my sexual thoughts about family were real. That it wasn't all in my head.

That I stole her husband from her, took him away with me. That I fuck my dad. That I love his cock and balls. Safe to say, I have never had sex with my dad — and I don’t want to. Or at least I don’t think I do.

OCD intrusive sexual thoughts about family

Funny thing about living with OCD intrusive thoughts. It often latches on to the things you fear the most. 

For me, that’s physical pain — and the idea that my mum is right. That I am to blame for what happened to our family. That she’s right about me…wanting my dad, in that way. OCD sexual thoughts are fucking terrifying. I love my dad.

But what if I love him too much? What if we’re…too close?

OCD sexual intrusive thoughts are not real

Even though OCD thoughts are not real, OCD is a brilliant trickster, and can make the most rational people believe the wildest things. Plus, it doesn’t only deal in thoughts — but also images, feelings, and sensations. Yeah. I didn’t know that either. Not one medical professional had ever bothered to tell me that. So I had this secret.

It made me feel disgusting. It made me feel horrible. It made me feel as if I had to distance myself from my dad, who is my rock, one of my very best friends. This fucking secret. ‘You love your daddy’s cock and balls; you love his cock and balls.’

It’s hard to write down, even now… So, when I talked to my dad, or thought about him a lot, or hugged him, I would get this feeling, like…down there. 

You know the feeling. It was super distressing. I felt so gross. Being close to him was hard. My head was all ‘You little slut! Your mum was right all along. You’re so disgusting. You want to fuck your dad. AAaaaaAAaaAAAaaaaargh.’

Although I wasn’t fantasizing about it, there were these feelings, these physical sensations. I didn’t want to talk about intimacy or relationships with him as I had before. I felt dirty. And it just wouldn’t go away. 

I figured it had been somehow triggered by what my mum had said, but I still blamed myself, and thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I didn’t tell my friends, I didn’t tell my therapist, I didn’t tell anyone, and I felt further from my dad than I probably ever had.

OCD Groinal Responses

I was so ashamed until I was browsing Facebook one day and saw a Tumblr re-post about ‘groinal responses.’ So, what is an OCD groinal response?

A groinal response is that fucking feeling! The horn! The ‘nng’ you get in your vag, or the stirring of a boner rising (?) (can you tell that I don’t have a penis?) — and it’s a natural response to literally tons of shit. Including seeing babies, because babies come from sex.

Type “OCD groinal response” or into a search engine, you will find plenty of resources. In the OCD community, it’s typically used to describe the totally uncontrollable genital sensations that occur in those who suffer from intrusive sexual thoughts.

My only response to the discovery of this new-found knowledge about OCD groinal response was ‘Why the fuck was I never given a leaflet about this?!’ — so many people have intrusive sexual thoughts, or intrusive sexual thoughts about family, thoughts which make them feel ashamed, dirty, and disgusting, often causing them to isolate themselves. 

Even when I finally reached out to a therapist to talk about sexual OCD and groinal response, I was told virtually nothing. They only wanted to focus on my OCD, which I had already worked on for years. And when I asked them how to stop groinal response, they simply said to try cognitive behavioral therapy!

"OCD intrusive sexual thoughts about family are real and incredibly distressing"

If I had known about OCD groinal responses sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with months of self-doubt, self-loathing, and hurt. Maybe I wouldn’t have purposefully distanced myself from one of the most important people in my life. I just needed to hear about…groinal responses.

Now, this is a terrifying secret to share — and on the Internet, of all places! — but it’s what URevolution is about. OCD sexual thoughts about family members and groinal responses are surprisingly common, and it shouldn’t be this scary to seek guidance, reassurance, and help. I shouldn’t have to rely on Tumblr for medical advice this crucial to my mental health.

"OCD sexual thoughts about family members and groinal responses are surprisingly common, and it shouldn’t be this scary to seek guidance, reassurance, and help."

OCD sexual thoughts about family and OCD groinal responses are nothing to be ashamed of. OCD thoughts are not real. And groinal responses don't mean you want to have sex with family members. 

I would wager that most people have had an unwanted sexual groinal response before (arousal non-concordance), something that made them feel ashamed of themselves — like inappropriate physical feelings when witnessing pain, seeing something taboo or disgusting, or even while being violated themselves.

If anyone reading this feels the way I did when I found out about OCD, sexual thoughts about family, and groinal responses — aka. ‘HOLY FUCK SO I’M NOT A BAD PERSON?’ — I just have one thing to say. Look, brains are weird. They can get mixed up sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, and it doesn’t dictate what you want. It’s just a meaningless OCD groinal response. It’s uncomfortable as hell…but it will pass.

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What is an OCD groinal response?

  • “OCD groinal response” is used to identify any change or reaction in the groin area after an intrusive thought or intrusive images, such as a tingle, a swelling, or a small movement.
  • Scientific research has shown us that arousal comes in all shapes and forms. Society is uninformed about what triggers arousal, which makes it harder for someone with OCD to understand what is happening to them “down there.”
  • Our genitals are often reacting entirely to what is sexually relevant; not what we want and value. The term for this is arousal non-concordance.
  • Accepting uncertainty is always the best route when it comes to your recovery from OCD. Reminding yourself, “this is arousal non-concordance” repetitively is just another form of compulsion, so try to stay away from this.
Source: Kimberley Quinlan, MA Marriage and Family Therapy
Article by
Miriam Swallow Adler

Miriam Swallow Adler, the author "OCD groinal response: having OCD sexual thoughts about family," is a tired young person who writes, sings, and illustrates things while moonlighting as an Oxford University student.