There is no human jurisdiction on the mind. We are morally, ethically and lawfully bound by rules in society. However, inside ourselves, our thoughts are not seen or heard without confession. Throughout history, and particularly in religious brethren, the idea of perverse sexual thoughts and acts have been widely condemned. But what if the thoughts are involuntary?
It has come to my attention, and more recently through personal experience, that obsessive bad thoughts may contribute to a male’s sexual behaviour. That is, to either act or withdraw.
In Dr Lee Baer’s, The Imp of the Mind, he describes clinical bad thoughts on the perverse.
These bad thoughts – when severe they are called obsessions – may cost people the most important things in their lives: Some cannot bear to be around their own children; others cannot have relationships; and others are so paralysed they cannot perform simple everyday activities – such as leaving their house – because of their bad thoughts. Many people contemplate suicide at some time.
In Australia, six people will commit suicide every day. Men are four times more likely to suicide than women. A staggering 180 people attempt suicide per day. That’s one every 10 minutes. And, it is estimated that almost 250 people make some sort of suicide plan every day.*
I wonder how many men die at the mercy of their tormented minds; how many men suffer in silence with obsessive bad thoughts? About three per cent of Australians will develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That’s more than 450,000.**
Sufferers of intrusive thoughts may think of acts of violence in sex; sexually punishing a loved one; unnatural sex acts, like bestiality; engaging in sexual acts that cause pain to their partner; sexual impulses such as seeking perfection, assault of a female, repetitive acts of blasphemous and obscene imagery; and so on. They are unwanted thoughts.
The most inappropriate thoughts at the most inappropriate times. That’s how a sufferer thinks. It happens. The altar boy who has an image of a nun giving him a blowjob, or the kindergarten teacher who fears he will look up a girl’s skirt. Sounds sick, yeah?
Clinically, such thoughts fall within the spectrum of a disorder known as Pure Obsessional OCD or Pure-O, a condition in which individuals report experiencing obsessions without observable compulsions. These obsessions often manifest as intrusive, unwanted thoughts, impulses or mental images of committing an act they consider to be harmful, violent, immoral, sexually inappropriate, or sacrilegious. For individuals with Pure-O, these thoughts can be frightening and torturous precisely because they are so antithetical to their values and beliefs.***†
The occasional bad thought is not Pure-O, as being neat is not necessarily a compulsion or “a little OCD”. Everyone gets bad thoughts. But if bad thoughts are severe, repetitive and intrusive, there may be a need to seek therapy. There is no shame in asking for help, especially today.
According to Baer, suppression of sexual thoughts over a period of time can actually lead to thinking about them more often: the more you fight, the more compelled.
You want to overcome these bad thoughts, these obsessions. What are the options? Medication (SSRIs), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), or natural therapies. At some point, acceptance becomes part of the healing process. It’s far more common than you think.
OCD sufferers are the least likely to act on an impulse, urge or thought. That’s because they’re highly moralistic, more so than other people.
What are you obsessed about? How have you overcome it or learned to deal with sexually inappropriate thoughts?
This hidden epidemic afflicts millions of men around the world. Talking about it is the first in a number of positive steps to understanding this “Imp of the Mind”.