Answer to Nina about “Compulsive Staring” at Privates

Nina’s OCD behavior, feeling compelled to stare at the private parts of others is not unusual and is an OCD behavior that we have seen before.  Nina, you mention your fear that you will be caught by others and be humiliated.  I am guessing you also have fears/concerns about what this may mean about you and are concerned is this really OCD or is there some other problem you have.  This is OCD.  The targets of OCD are often focused on what might be most threatening to us.  With the trauma you suffered, your mind creatively has figured out what would be terrible for you — further humiliation and, again, what does this mean about you.  Again, I am guessing that you spend an equal amount of time obsessing about being caught, how to control yourself and what does this mean about you.  Because I don’t know you, I can only discuss in general terms what exposure and response prevention would look like.  Because it is impossible to have the concentration to control where you are staring 24/7, initial treatment would have you staring at private parts on purpose, but trying to do so in a sneaky way so as to not get caught.  This gets you out of the control bind.  Scripts to accompany the exposure depend upon whether my guesses about your feared consequences are correct or not and your personal history.  In general, they would focus on how you would try to cope with being caught in a positive way and not having definite answers to questions about yourself.  You’ve mentioned a traumatic experience, this also requires treatment combined with the OCD treatment.  I don’t know if you have seen an OCD specialist.  You can check with the OC Foundation (www.ocfoundation.org) and their find a therapist part of the website.  If you find names that are close to you, you can call the Foundation to find out if they can tell you more about the therapist.  I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but you should know this is a treatable form of OCD.  If you have a therapist who is willing , I would provide them with some supervision.

194 Comments

  • I do have a therapist who might be willing to receive some supervision (I’m not in the States, though, and it’s not CBT. I tried CBT for over a year with a trained therapist in CBT, with no success. She got frustrated at the lack of progress and stopped seeing me). Do you do phone consultations or do you know of a colleague who does this? To answer your questions, I’m convinced that this is indeed ocd. There is no doubt in my mind about it after all that I’ve read on the topic. I have doubted myself in the past about my sexual orientation and what it meant as far as what kind of a person I am, but I no longer do this. I know it’s a disease But my main problem is that I AM GETTING CAUGHT ON A REGULAR BASIS, which is having disastrous effects on my professional and social life. People obviously do not appreciate having their personal space invaded like this and I understand them. I would react in the same way if I were in their shoes. In fact the compulsion happens first, and then the obsessing, contrary to most ocd sufferers. In my case, the compulsion is not actually a ritual that is devised to make me feel better. It triggers the intense fear in the first place. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been on medication for years. I also tried looking surreptitiously because I remember reading that advice somewhere a few years ago (I still do this). I find myself quite capable of doing this, though. The problem occurs when I’m in a direct conversation/interaction with someone because my real fear is of being judged as a freak. 14 years is a long time. If you have anymore insight, I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve worked so hard at trying to cure myself from this. I have all the books, I do yoga and meditation. I’m at the end of my rope. I’ve included my e-mail. thank you for responding to me

    • i have exactly the same problem. it seems it got worse over the few month. this ocd iis the worst virus you can catch. i feel lost in big world. i don’t whats wrong with me. people avoid me the humiliation its bought me its unacceptable. people think I’m weird and avoid me all the time. Before this issue i was One hard person working spent long hours in work. since this issue i avoid my work place, MY boss stress the same thing about me and questioned me about my Sexuality. its making my life HELL its unutterable the pain the name which is issued. Nothing I DO STOPS THE PROBLEM!
      I FEEL lost why have i got this disease!
      ameen.

      • I also suffer from this problem too. I have total empathy for anyone who suffers through this. People question me on my sexuality too. People say I am crazy. I feel like an outsider. I used to love my work, but now I hate going to work because of this. I thought I was the only person going through this. I agree, it is making my life hell too. I know what I am doing but I can’t stop. Sometimes I’m okay for awhile and then something triggers me to be even worse than before. I have become a loner at work. Women at work that I had interest in dating won’t even give me the time of day. I also understand Spanish. I hear my Latin coworkers talking about me really bad in Spanish. They don’t know I understand Spanish. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. I finally figured out this was OCD. I knew I had mild OCD in other areas like cleanliness but I did not connect this to OCD. I am looking for a specialist that can help me. My therapist was very good with helping me deal with my trauma but not an expert in OCD. My deepest sympathy for those who suffer from OCD.

        • John, To you and all who suffer from this form of OCD. There is help for this and in the beginning of this thread I do supply some basic advice on obsessive staring and some of the steps that you need to overcome it. Obviously it didn’t have a complete program, because although you can conquer this problem, it isn’t so simple that a short paragraph is all you need. In the updated edition of my book, there is a chapter on obsessive staring. The chapter is a piece of a larger self-help program, so just reading that chapter is not enough. The bottom line, you can get your life back.

          • Hi Dr Grayson:

            I am trying to find out if they have come up with any books, treatments to cure those who have multiple OCD staring issues. I am turning 60 this year and I have been on meds, therapy, and to OCD La for group therapy for 11/2 years. The group I was with unfortunately did not really address what I was suffering with which is peripheral staring, breasts , legs, groin area men and women. It started when I was 12 and has made for a very lonely isolating life. I am also on medication Strattera and Lexapro, for almost 25 years. It does not help with the staring issues. The posts I have read about are from young adults. Rarely have I seen anyone my age discuss this if there are people my age suffering with this disease. It is such a stigma to be different even these days, so maybe that is why my age group has not reached out for help. Too bad bc I could use the support.

            Thanks so much.

            Marcia

      • Hello,

        First of all I would like to thank Nina to bring this issue. It has helped many of us and made us realize that we have a psychological issue and is not to do much with sexual orientation. However, I happen to be getting into a trans like state and become totally unaware of what I have been doing. For instance when I am conversing I feel like I am normally talking to them and only when I hear some one else later commenting or gossiping that I had been acting weird and watching their private parts. I happen to realize that I would have. However, I have never been able to recollect properly. And the shame that comes after this makes me nervous and affects my daily routine. Now a days I could consciously notice that involuntarily I am watching others. Can you please elaborate more on it as why the sufferer gets into trans like state and become totally unaware of what they did.

    • Hi Nina, I can vouch for every single word, thought and emotion that you have undergone and written about. Is there an end in sight? When will this terrible and dreaded ailment go away?

    • Hi!

      I feel for you. I feel extremely isolated being the only one I know (I am in my late 50’s) that has that same staring issue and has made my life a living hell, especially around family relatives. I feel like a total freak also and it makes me nuts. I have been in therapy through my teenage years, and socially I feel like a pariah. I am female, and being caught staring at someone’s breast makes me fearful, and nauseous,I do not think I am gay, and have never been drawn to women, and I try to resolve this myself but it is not going away. I do yoga too, but find myself staring at the teacher’s breast and flushing. It is humiliating and it is a part of me that is out of my control.

    • What about peripheral distraction. It’s a compulsive staring as well, but instead of staring at private parts you can’t help but “stare” at people once they have hit your field of vision. I have this and it’s is also as bad as the compulsion to stare at someones privates. I am not able to do many things include going to the movies, watching tv with family/friends, sit in a classroom or any environment that requires me to focus on someone or something while people walk or sit around me including driving in the car people a passenger. This has RUINED my life. I am 26 and this started happened when in was 16, so 10 years. I didn’t graduate high school, later on I received my GED, I tried community college, state university and back to a community college, dropped out of all three. I am a very bright person, have been told that by many to get to know me, and they can’t seem to figure out what I don’t apply myself. My family are confused and now tired trying to help me. I am very tired. I have sought help for this. I have been in counseling the last 8 years. I have been on many different types of medication, I have gone through many different types of therapy including CBT and hypnosis. Nothing has helped. I need help.

      • I have exactly the same problem for more than five years. I tought that I am the only one,butnow I see that many people suffer from this. I also cannot sit in the bar or office,drive inthe car, it is horrible. Even in the psychiatric hospitals, I could see on the faces of staff that this is weird.and people usually think that I am doing this intetionaly,and inmy case think I am horrible person. I have very good husband and wonderful daughter, I am evenmore ashamed to go out with them,thanpeople are judging me even more. I tried medications,therapy,nothing helped. I am really desperate.my family is also tired of me. I spent so muchmoney oncounseling. Can somebody help me?

    • Ever heard of peripheral distraction. It’s a compulsive staring as well, but instead of staring at private parts you can’t help but “stare” at people once they have hit your field of vision. I have this and it’s is also as bad as the compulsion to stare at someones privates. I am not able to do many things include going to the movies, watching tv with family/friends, sit in a classroom or any environment that requires me to focus on someone or something while people walk or sit around me including driving in the car people a passenger. This has RUINED my life. I am 26 and this started happened when in was 16, so 10 years. I didn’t graduate high school, later on I received my GED, I tried community college, state university and back to a community college, dropped out of all three. I am a very bright person, have been told that by many to get to know me, and they can’t seem to figure out what I don’t apply myself. My family are confused and now tired trying to help me. I am very tired. I have sought help for this. I have been in counseling the last 8 years. I have been on many different types of medication, I have gone through many different types of therapy including CBT and hypnosis. Nothing has helped. I need help. Anyone else going through this?

      • Anderson,
        With OCD, whatever you can imagine being a problem, will be a problem for someone. What you describe is a more unusual presentation and it is heartbreaking to hear what you have been through. I do have some thoughts of how to approach your problem, but I would need much more information. I will be sending you a private e-mail to share my thoughts with you.
        take care,
        Jon Grayson

        • Dear Dr. Jonathan,

          I have the same problem as Anderson and the other members of this chat room. I am 39 years old and have had it for 9 years now.This is the first time I talk about it (it is very embarrassing for me). I started with “obsessive staring” at privates. Then, the “peripheral distraction” developed. Before this, I was a very confident and happy woman. Finished my under and post graduate programs. Used to have a very nice job. Very social and friendly person. I use to travel in a regular basis. Then..all that changed because of these issues. I do not work, go to school (I love academic environment), socialize or travel any more because I feel too ashamed of these behaviors. I am sure people around me feels uncomfortable, even my family. They do not say anything because they love me. But I can feel it. I really need and want to overcome this, and I still want to believe this is just a “period of my life”. I would like to know if any of you knows if there is any treatment or cure for this. Sincerely, Rose

          • I forgot to say.. actually I have been mostly in my home for the past years. This happens every time that I go out and talk to people or have people around..this situation has been a horrible experience for me. I quit my job, I moved to a place far away from friends and I always have a excuse to decline my family and friend invitations for dinner, etc.. I am losing my life, friends, family, career and my youth because of this. I would really appreciate any advise or help. Thank you! Rose

      • Dear Anderson,

        I have the same problem for more than five years. It completely ruined my life. I have a good husband and a wonderful 7 year old daughter, but I am ashamed to go out with them, because people think what a wonderful girl and father, and awful mother. I am desperate being alone in the house, doing nothing, but when I go out, it often ends up very bad. Everyone is judging me, and think that I am intentionally doing this, and laugh at me sometimes, or they won’t socialize with me. When I go to my daughter kindergarten or the show they have it, I am so upset, because I look mostly at other man (other fathers) and everyone noticed this, the last time, all the parents turned the had away of me. I cried for a week after this. The same thing, I am not looking straightforwardly, but peripheral, I notice everyone that sits next to me , or passes by me, it is the worst when I am being on the one place for more than half an hour, or even shorter, it depends. I mostly look at other man, no matter if they are ugly or old or very young, but sometimes this includes children and women. I also developed this listening to other peoples conversation when I am in public transportation for example. I tried psychotherapy, medications, nothing helped me . I am also very nice person, everyone used to like me, I finished good schools, but now I don’t know what else to do. I just want to stop with this looking and to enjoy being out with my family. I mostly go out during night, wear sunglasses, but even this doesn’t help. I fell that so many people know about this, and I am ashamed and angry at the same time at people who are gossiping me, because it ruins my life even more. Please help me, if someone knows how…

        • Hi!

          I feel for you. I feel extremely isolated being the only one I know (I am in my late 50’s) that has that same staring issue and has made my life a living hell, especially around family relatives. I feel like a total freak also and it makes me nuts. I have been in therapy through my teenage years, and socially I feel like a pariah. I am female, and being caught staring at someone’s breast makes me fearful, and nauseous,I do not think I am gay, and have never been drawn to women, and I try to resolve this myself but it is not going away. I do yoga too, but find myself staring at the teacher’s breast and flushing. It is humiliating and it is a part of me that is out of my control.

          • I would love to know what causes this compulsive staring.

            I have been on pills forever. I think I have a combination since I was little of ADD, OCD, and social anxiety. I wrote back in 2014 but no one has replied. It has been a chronic hellish situation for me for over 40 years so I have given up trying to find a solution. Attended OCD groups but they are not helpful when it comes to this. It has taken the joy out of my life and I say to myself this is only a part of me. I have a lot of good parts to me and unfortunately I inherited these psychological genes.

    • I believe it is related to my three year daily use of porn that is a compulsive cognitive tendency to scan girls whom I meet on a professional or friendship level in a manner that is against my will. A person who I might meet on a professional level might get the impression that I might have sexual thoughts about her or others when I compulsively scan her or others which lasts for milliseconds, and I am only aware that I am scanning people, only when I am actually scanning them. I will not be thinking at all about anything sexual before, during and after this compulsive behavior. This renders me socially anxious, stressed and leads me to try to avoid mingling with people, out of fear that this compulsive sexual scanning takes over when I meet them, thus giving them a distorted picture of me. I have been avoiding porn for a while and somedays I would think that this compulsive sexual scanning has gone away, yet it comes back with no warning at all. I notice that I am scanning people during that exact moment that I am scanning them. It feels like an uncontrollable reflex. I have been suffering from this problem for years. I would consciously try to fight and suppress this tendency, yet it is really hard. I even do not look people in the eye (only briefly), out of fear that I would be sexually scanning them against my intention and will. It is a strange feeling, it seems like something else takes over your mind at the moment. Do you have any advice to treat this issue? Is there any pharmacological treatment for it?

      • Hi Gabe;
        I just want to share my own opinion; and I hope it helps… As you know this is Dr. Grayson’s blog and if he gives an advice to you, you can ignore mine:)

        Ocd is a complex disorder and many reasons can induce this disorder. You describe an addiction on your mail and its medical name is impulse control disorder and has different symptoms from ocd and can be treated by yourself with an expert’s help . Relatively, ICD can be treated easily by comparison to ocd. An effective methos is to limit or control very tightly your internet surfing except studying or working. You can also prefer leaving internet use at home totally until learning how to control your impulsive urges. This is fatally important. I also a hypotesis that ICD can cause this type of ocd related staring. But you first focus on impulse control strategies and after that you need to learn another new skill for beating your scanning habits and urges.

        As Dr. Grayson offers a technique you can see on this thread, I prefer another technique learned from an because I have no complete understanding about this technique even if I read alot about it.

        I learned another technique from an eminent expert and this technique focus on resisting staring habits totally when you say yourself you will look, you will be ashamed because of your scanning or directly staring and you will be report to the police but resist and resist and resist again.

        Thats all for now. Regards.

    • Hey nina i ve successfully managed to get out of this ugly cycle.it has bothered me for almost 7 years,when i decided to find a solution.well nina i wont much into what i went through but in brief it was like this-I used to go outdoors but with a constant fear of getting caught of staring at private parts of people,then it extended to my friends,then family.everybody thought i was a freak.and i too started thinking like that,i felt guilty,and as result i felt worse.it affected my academics,my social relations,my career,my decision making abilites.i had lost everything.so there was nothing else left to lose.so i went out with attitude that what is a point in being fearful.i loosened control,i started seeing people at their private parts but never thought much about it.so slowly and gradually it went away,just like that.

      you know what was the problem.firstly the thinking that looking even momentarily at private parts is bad,secondly there is this guilt of making people uncomfortable.
      I tell u nina eveyone in the society looks at private places of other people for at least some moments,it is biological response nothing wrong in it.we ve just made a big deal about it.just stop making it an issue and it will go away.dont inculcate the guilt believe me it has no base.

      first thing u need to do is to go out start talking with people,see at their private parts momentarily and even if u get caught dont make a big deal about it.dont let the fear creep in.always remember this is psycological,u r a perfectly normal person.
      when i started doing it i was considered gay homo hetero freak psyco and what not but i didnt pay any heed to them.
      now when i am free i feel reborn and afresh.i hope it works for u write to me if u need help.dont worry u ll come out of it the same way as i did.

  • I am grateful to have found this site. I have recently come to accept that I have OCD, but it was Nina’s post that really hit home with me. I felt like I was reading my own story. I too have this driving compulsion to stare at privates. Usually for me it is with men but I think it’s because I work very closely with so many men. I am paraniod of being caught (no one has said anything yet). I know it’s just a matter of time. And it has nothing to do with how attractive the person is.
    I wish I could offer Nina some help, or tell her I found a way to beat it, but I haven’t. I can only offer support in knowing that like me, she is not the only person out there suffering from this.

    Thank you for sharing your issue. I continue to look for help and wish you success in finding peace.

  • Like Shannon, I felt like I was reading my own story. I have the same exact problem for about 15 years and I’m at my wits end. I’m a guy and my problem occurs when with both men and women — it has nothing to do with my sexual orientation or sexual frustration; I’m straight and I have a girlfriend. I have comorbid BDD and so feelings of being perceived as a freak are also in play. It’s the ultimate self-sabotage; the most humiliating thing I can do. To the doc, my question concerns how to create an effective ERP program. Should I make a scrapbook of clothed fashion photos (interestingly enough, naked people and pornographic photos are completely non-threatening) and then go through the ritual of trying not to stare, staring anyway and feeling anxious and terrible? I can induce the same feelings and anxiety this way. In the real world, I don’t stare directly, but surreptitiously. So, should I be staring directly or surreptitiously at the privates in the photos? How long per day? What are the scripts that should accompany this? Any suggestions would be welcome!

  • And again, I am feeling like the others, they are telling my story. My problem began one day when I was chatting with a female in my office, before this I was not at all “aware”. During the coversation I noticed her close her sweater…I was absolutely horrified..I thought “Oh my goodness, she thinks I was looking at her inappropriately??” That is when it all started. Every person I looked at after that I couldn’t help being drawn to their private parts…men or women. The worst part of it was, about a month later I saw the lady do the exact same thing when talking with someone else, it was a habit of hers to close her sweater when it opened to far, but, it didn’t matter the damage for me was done. I liken the urges to driving by a car wreck with casualties..you know you shouldn’t look, you don’t want to look because you know it won’t be good, but the pull in your brain is too strong to resist and you end up doing it anyway. The only time I have any relief is when I am wearing sun glasses, I can resist the urge to look becuase the other person cannot see my eyes. It doesn’t make sense to me and its completely maddening. The stress this causes is almost unbearable. I can feel the anxiety begin to build if I know I may have to talk with someone because I know that at some point I am not going to be able to resist the urge to “stare”. This has completely wrecked my life, old friendships are suffereing because I can no longer make eye contact. New friendships are non existent because you can’t make new friends if you can’t make eye contact. Can I ever go back to being “unaware”?

  • I`ve had this same problem for 25 years. I am relieved today to learn that this is not my problem only. It has limited my life and caused me alot of pain, using medications etc. I think it is now easier to accept knowing it can happen to other people as well and perhaps this acceptance will cure it in the end. I´m going to see a psychiatrist about it finally… gee what kinds of problems we get. I agree it`s like your mind figures out a way to humiliate you in the worst possible way.

  • I wasn’t expecting so many replies. Most ocd books never mention these specific symptoms (just one, an old book called “The imp of the mind” by Lee Baer). I’m shocked to find out that there are so many people suffering from this. It helps a little bit to know that I’m not alone but on the other hand, it hurts, because I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and because I now know that this can go on for even longer than 14 years. Is there a link between this specific ocd symptom and social phobia? I,ve had someone suggest that it might also involve the latter… I would like to build a support system around this; I just can’t go through this alone.

    Nina

  • Nina and the rest – Ditto on all of it, including not believing that there a soul on the planet with this identical disorder. Lucy, big ditto. If you start a facebook page or something I would join it. If anyone has had any luck with any specific meds I would love to know them. Good luck to all, it is difficult to hear your pain. I don’t think I would wish this on my worst enemy. Simon – total ditto, almost identical situation.

  • Me too another victim. I am having acute abdominal deficiency making it totally visible from outside, and I think when I started having the effect of it and when I became very much conscious of it and people noticing it, the rare behavior started.

    People hesitate to share a lift with me, no one will dare to sit in my car next to me or even behind. I can imagine me giving a lecture in an auditorium, I bet it will be empty!. Career has come to a difficult point. Anyway I am trying to take it sportive. Now more encouraged that many in this world and there may be cure for this.

    I will looking at this thread, DEAR ONES PLEASE POST HERE ANY PROGRESS

  • Further to add to my post, I met three psychiatrists, I felt none of them were very keen, did not want to meet me again!. Just gave some strong medicines with which I used to get deep sleep, nothing else, tried for a long time and stopped.

  • I’ve also suffered from this for over two years and it is a socially disabling and paralysing complaint, especially if you do a job that requires a large amount of social interaction.

    I fully agree with the idea of trying to create some kind of support group over the Internet, no one should be alone with this; however, has anyone actually studied this and does it have a name?

    After all, it is hard to create a support group if people do not know what they are searching for on the Internet!

    As for the symptoms, they are always present, but they tend to rise and fall in accordance with my level of stress.

    I think my own problems started when an ex-girlfriend informed me at a dinner party we were attending that a friend of hers mentioned seeing me looking down my former girlfriend’s cleavage while at the table.

    I was horrified at this!

    Add a sprinkle of low self esteem, a very stressful job, etc, etc, and I think i developed the necessary ingredients for this problem to emerge.

    I agree with the above writers that it is very difficult to handle, but i do live with it, and by all accounts so does everyone else that’s at least a start.

    • David, it is a form of OCD, but we don’t have a specific name for this presentation. There are therapists who are experts at working with OCD and you may live near someone. You can find out by going to the International OC Foundation’s website at: http://www.ocfoundation.org and then go to the find a therapist section. Or you can e-mail me and tell me where you live and if I know someone near you, I can direct you to them. As for online support groups: there are two very good online OCD support groups. They are the OCD support list at: OCD-Support@yahoogroups.com or the OCD Goal group at: OCD-selfhelp@yahoogroups.com.

  • Even I am suffering from the same. This is with the opposite sex

    I feel like isolating myself from the world..I was and I am a very nice girl.

    I have seen a therapist once, he is said this is because I never discussed sex with my friends ,that word was always like ..something to not talk about ..no jokes ,no movies ..I was really very innocent…And I am a perfectionist.

    Once I failed in my studies, I used to like someone, but never told him, as I was diagnosed with some illness which resulted into an operation. Then he got engaged

    My life was a disaster and then this habit came and ruined my life.

    I am very good at my work, I go out of my way elp people…but still … the people who are jealous of me keep on talking about this all the time. I make friends with my good nature but some1 from my past comes up and ruins it.

    I don’t feel this OCD with a complete stranger , but as soon as he knows about it I get that back.

    I feel like vomiting , I feel sick ,I feel inhuman to have this habit.

    I use to love God, but don’t know why he chose me for his hatred .

    I wish if God can take anything from me …anything that he wants …and set me free from this sin…………..

    • Hi asha, ppl let me know if your condition had improved and whether u are from India.

      Can u tell me if there are any therapists Dealing with this type of ocd here in India. I have been suffering from this terrible ailment for the past 14 years. Please reply and let me know if there is anyone who can help us

  • Hi all from a few years ago and present(especially the present comments 2010) I am shocked about how many people this habit affects. This is a problem for me to. I am on Lexapro 20 mg. for GAD I think. To tell you the truth I am not sure what I have anymore. I am really thinking of going off this stuff and seeing what happens. I have a hard time staring at people in the eye, but yet I feel like I do have a high self esteem, my life has changed when I came down with panic and anxiety disorder almost 10yrs ago. But I noticed this staring at private areas was even before i came down with panic and anxiety. I did have a problem with porn normal porn if there is such a thing, but since I have given my life over to Jesus Christ through hearing His word and believing it, a lot has subsided, but the staring issue is still with me. I deal with it daily, I kind of look down and around when I am talking to someone but manage to get a glimpse in because it nags me to death. Its so weird!! I dont understand it!! but I do know I live in a fallen body and world of sin and death and as long as we are in these earthly bodies we are going to have “issues”. I thought I was alone with this one though. It really helps me to sit at at tables when talking to people rather then on a chair or couch across from them(just a pointer). I am strait and happily married with three wonderful children. I can say though without doubt thank God for Jesus and His Holy Spirit, I am free from porn and other things that I used to be in bondage to, and most of the time, keeping my mind on Him and His promises help me with this frustarting habit!! If you have a Bible please read the Gospel of John chpt.3. aslo check out Romans chpt. 7&8!! It wil Help.

  • Hi, I also have the same problem. Same story like the rest of you. I have a husband and I’m straight but cant look people in the eye, my eyes are drawn to their private parts. Its with males and females. I also think its a combination of social anxiety and OCD. It depresses me to see so many people sruggling with it for years and not finding a solution. I am really trying hard to overcome it. Recently started work at a new place because I think everybody thought I was a weirdo at my old workplace because of this. Was happy to have a clean slate and was determined not to do it again. But alas same old story and people are beginning to snigger and avoid me. I hate it, its ruining my life, I wish it will just stop. And yes I agree its self distructive behaviour, humiliating yourself in the worst way without being able to help yourself. Please continue this discussion. Lets hope for some sollution.

  • Add another victim to the list! Ditto to all of the above comments. My problems are with men & women and add cleavage problems as well (the low cut fashion trend isn’t helping). Starting over with jobs and relationships doesn’t solve the problem long term, but it feels good being normal until the first event happens. It has wrecked my career and personal life. I’m just trying to make it through whatever way I can. Men seem to get more incensed and insulted when I’m noticed glancing. And it only takes a fraction of a second! I do it with television and pictures as well, but not always. I was looking at some old pictures in a photo album and I found myself looking at my own crotch in the pictures. Pretty strange & awkward mentally and not at all logical. Women, I think are more used to being stared at by men in general and don’t seem to react as much (unless you’re very close). I’ve had this condition since 1994 and it was triggered by a boss that liked to really lean back in his chair while we were having meetings. He elevated his crotch to near eye level while leaning back almost to the point of falling over backwards. After that, he accused me of staring and told me that “you really need to get yourself a girlfriend.” Ever since that day I’ve had this problem. After that I doubted my sexuality for a few years, but realized later that it had nothing to do with it.
    Strategies: I agree with the sunglasses idea that someone had. It amazingly goes away when you’re wearing sunglasses. I have no urge to look when I’m wearing them because my eyes are hidden. Caffeine makes everything much worse! Stay away from stimulants. Alprazolam (Xanax) in small amounts helps. I keep some in a pill carrier in my pocket. You need about 45 minutes for it to kick-in and be of any benefit. If you know you’re going to encounter someone in the open without the benefit of a table or something to mask or even prevent the event, try to change the setting whenever possible to your advantage. I tried several years of therapy and antidepressant medication without any improvement except for the Xanax trick. It really does seem like the forces of the universe are really working against you for reasons unknown. I’m really a kind person, so I don’t believe there’s a cause and effect thing going on. I think certain people are more vulnerable to high anxiety experiences and end up with long term issues. I’m going on 16 years of this now with no end in sight. I think coping strategies are our best hope for now.
    Hopefully, a new drug will eventually come around to help with this problem. Hope this post helps somebody. I feel better having found the site. My therapists hadn’t heard of it.

  • Hi,

    I’m going through the same problem. I have typed “staring at genital” in Google and came up with a few stories of people that managed to overcome this problem.

    One of then wrote:

    “I used to stare at people’s genitals for about 11 years starting at age 10. One day my ex-boss told me to look at people in the eyes so I started to avoid looking at those areas. I just want to know why I did it.” (meaning she doesn’t do it anymore)

    Another person wrote:

    “I just want to say that I had this problem for 15 years. once my boss told me to look at people in the eyes so i knew he was talking about it. After that i knew where to look and i don’t have much problem anymore. when i don’t know where to look i just close my eyes and take a big breath. now my relationships with people have drastically improved and i feel a lot better. if i accidentaly look at genitals i just turn my head. i still feel guilty a bit but i moved on.”

    I tried this myself and I find that looking people in the eyes eliminates the problem in several situations. However, when I’m sitting down, and someone approaches me standing up, it’s more difficult to look the person in the eyes. Moreover, when you are talking to someone, and both of you are sitting down, and someone approaches us standing up, their genitals are in the same height as the other person’s eyes, it’s difficult to keep your eyes from looking at their genitals.

    I don’t know how long this is going to last, it has started recently. I am freaking out about the stories of people who have had this problem for several years, and have not come up with a solution. This has been going on for me for about two months.

    I hope this information helps someone. Please share your experiences in trying to look people in the eyes.

  • I thought I was alone. I’ve alienated myself from friends. My husband is such an observant person, I’m sure he has noticed, but how do you bring up something like that? It started for me while I was on Wellbutrin. I may be completely off base. Did anyone else notice that?

    • Reply to K about symptoms starting after Wellbutrin. There is no current evidence of medications triggering an OCD episode, so it is most likely coincidental timing.

  • I share all of your pain. I have no desire to look – it just happens. I don’t obsess about getting “caught,” because I know going into a conversation people are going to notice.

    This has been going on for 20-plus years for me (since freshman year of high school), and it has made every day a struggle (some worse than others). There’s no escaping it, and there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation. I otherwise have high self esteem, am straight (though this problem affects me with both men and women), have dated beautiful women – married one of them (still married with four beautiful kids), but it’s because I’ve been able to cope, nothing else.

    I almost dropped out of school because of it, sat in my apartment for days at a time while enrolled at a prestigious university, but felt I owed it to my family to not let it ruin my life completely, so was able to finish college. I have no doubt profs who I actually had to interact with graded me lower because of it, and it’s put me at a significant disadvantage professionally. I don’t expect people to understand it, because I don’t understand it.

    Once the kids came along, I knew I had to tough it out and brave it to support them. So I have, and I’ve been able to make a very good living and become very respected in my field in spite of it. I don’t say this to boast, only to provide some hope to those of you I see suffering as I have (and do). I still have several close friends, though the social life is still a daily struggle and nothing like it would be if I didn’t have this problem, of course.

    One thing for some of you who I can tell are really hurting – this has nothing to do with being “perverted” or “a freak.” I’m in a position where I interact with some high profile individuals, and I can promise you I have no desire to see their “old junk.” To cope, I make eye contact, but then try to look away and glance at their eyes from time to time and look away before I glance elsewhere (tough to do, and it’s always inevitable because you’re always thinking about it – don’t do it, don’t do it).

    If I force myself to continue to look regardless of where my eyes wander, sometimes I finally get lost in the conversation and don’t think about it for a minute or so – but then it’s back to, “you’re going to look.” Again, it’s inevitable. It’s not staring for me, but constant glancing, making them uncomfortable, then you uncomfortable. It’s painful.

    Anyway … know that you’re not alone, but it doesn’t have to ruin you. Essentially, I just pretend I don’t have a problem, and people have come to appreciate and like me in spite of it. I haven’t tried drugs or counseling, but I might now that I’ve seen I’M not alone (Bob, slip me some of that Xanax). I appreciate all of you sharing.

  • I too have this problem. Mine started while on Wellbutrin also. Even after I went off Wellbutrin it continued. I beleive it has to do with anxiety and Wellbutrin increases anxiety.
    My “staring” problem started with a boss that humiliated me over and over again.My self esteem was so low that I avoided eye contact.Looking down all the time, people would assume that I was looking “there” and get uncomfortable. For whatever reason I just can’t stop. I hate it when I see others uncomfortable about it. They put coats on around me and close their tops ect.. I even do it to my own parents. It is not logical. I am happily married and have no desire to look at anyones elses “stuff”.
    The only thing that helps is Ativan. I am also on Lexapro but have not seen much of a difference with that. I feel very bad for my teenage kids , to have to go to school and get slack for having the weirdo mom.
    I do believe that there is a connection with Social Anxiety as well, because I suffer from this also.

    The only other thing I can add is when I am stressed it is harder to control. Yes sunglasses help and also sitting at a table instead of standing for a conversation helps. It makes me sad to know that no one speaks of overcoming this but gives me comfort to know I am not alone.

    • There is no evidence to date that Wellbutrin results in an increase of symptoms or long term anxiety. It is more likely that it didn’t help and the problem became worse.

  • After so many years of this haunting me I randomly decided to put into google staring at genitals, then kept viewing different pages until I found this one, and what a huge relief it is just to know there are other ppl like me. As long as I can remember this has been a problem, resulting in comments from partners and friends, and I know strangers feel uncomfortable around me in the past. I was just resigned to the fact I was very strange, and tried to avoid “situations”.it is a horrible affliction to have,and makes me want to spend alot of time alone so it doesn’t happen.I even used to wish I was blind so it didn’t happen any more and I would be normal. pls keep the post’s coming guys, it’s a huge relief to “talk” to ppl with this problem,as although I hAve alot of great friends, how do u bring up a subject like this??? Take care 🙂

  • I too have the exact same problem…

    Its a gaze/staring at the eyes but looking elsewhere…

    I’ve tried so many things, keep positive, bla bla… but it never works.

    It certainly helps when other people cover up their private areas i.e a long jacket or are sitting down…

    Like me, its ruined my social and professional side, i try not to give eye contact.

    This started for me when i was having my hair cut… the person cutting my hair was homosexual… and i had a fear he was getting an errection… freaked out staring…then after i started to stare at men’s genital areas but i was thinking about it…… progressed even further then starting to star at womens.. just keeps getting worse.

    I was a really confident… fully eye contacted person… now i’m completely the opposite.

    I’m trying to stare elsewhere i.e at the mouth or nose as a distraction from staring at the genitals.

    Its an OCD that happens because your thinking about the genital area, or thinking ‘dont stare’… you’ve got to try interact your mind with something else… think and interact with what they are saying

    Its very difficult, almost impossible to get out of.

    Any help/advice really appreciated…

    For those that have this problem, keep strong.

  • Hey thanks everyone. I knew for sure that I wasn’t the only one suffering from this but reading all the comments made me feel a tad better. I too have been suffering from this from the past 10 years and its crippling. And yes no medications seem to work. So wish that we all find a definite cure for this compulsion.

  • Hi everyone, I am man in my late 20s studying here in the USA from Africa. I have only been in the USA for 7months but these seem to have been some of the worst months in my whole life. I have a similar problem and it seems to be getting worse. I find myself looking at women’s breasts. This is something that just started a few months ago and the moment people started noticing, it kept getting worse. Looks as though it is written on my face coz even just a simple look to me seems to get a wrong interpretation either from me or the people concerned. I have seen people in school staying away from me and this is hurting me even more. I seem to be oversensitive and at times over-analytical. Another fact about me is that back home am married with a kid and i miss them so much. I dont know if this is worsening the problem as well. Trouble is that like everyone else am now having trouble keeping eye contact(esp with women) and even stress about people looking at me. I dont know whether something has just snapped off in my brain of what. I dont know why life should be this complicated. My problem started with this girl(classmate) who i accidentally looked at and she probably thought i had glanced at her chest. I saw her covering herself and that made me feel uncomfortable. Remember that at this point i was already having social anxiety problems and slight depression having just moved from a small town back home to a big city in the USA. Plus the sense of humour and esteem that had hit it’s lowest ebb, i was so much affected. And somehow what started as a small fear of being noticed by one girl has led me in fear of being noticed thereby bringing me to where am now: a total wreck, i will look at the chest of each and every woman despite their age against my will. The more i try to stop myself, the worse it is becoming. I feel much more comfortable now being alone and at times with guys only. I have cried many times to God why this is happening to me and am now at my wits end. Coincidentally, some time during the winter break(2010) i decided to go see a doctor for chest pains which were somehow caused by anxiety and he prescribed Xanax. At this time staring at breasts was not yet a problem. Somehow i feel my chest problems where healed by just knowing what the problem was. But now since i at times find myself having extreme anxiety and panic attacks, i have been taking a pill or half whenever i feel bad. By the way the doctor had told me i could take a pill to relax but of course it was not this kind of problem. This problem, combined with the pressure of school, missing home has made my life miserable and i dont know what to do! I cant even share this problem with my wife coz it’s embarrassing and honestly if i could rewind my life to just a few months ago, i would be a happier person!

  • I am the one who wrote the text saying I don’t suffer from this compulsion anymore. After a year and a half of relieve, the problem came back. I only do it once or twice a week now, but it still makes my life difficult. I am anxious around new people and I don’t want to go to school or work anymore. The fact is I was not aware of my compulsion until my boss yelled at me in September 2009. I always had a hard time with non verbal cues too so I had no idea I was actually bothering people. No one had make such comments before. I lived with my OCD (obsession compulsion disorder) for over 10 years without knowing it. I also have bipolar disorder and a mixed personnality disorder (evitant, histrionical, dependant and schizotypical). My PD (personnality disorder) decreased a lot over the years, but my BD (bipolar disorder) increased a lot. I often feel ashamed of myself for things I have done in the past, including my OCD. My family was dysfunctional and I had no friend for most of my life. Now I have a lot of friends (real ones) and get along with my family. I just can’t seem to cope with my up and downs and I fear a lot my OCD. I never know when my compulsion will come back and if so if people will reject me for doing it. I feel like people don’t really like me. Maybe they are just acting out knowing i have 3 mental illnesses. I don’t feel human, I feel like I am a bunch of labels on my shirt.

  • What I fear most is my future. I won’t be able to get a job, find a husband or have children. I can’t live a normal life. I will get my degree but hope nothing for the future. My friends will all get good jobs, marry and start a family. In the mean time, I will end up on welfare living with 10 cats and that’s all. My parents will die living me alone. I will be rejected as usual. I have been rejected by 25 people or groups of people for the past 20 years. I am always rejected because I am a terrible person. I look down on people, I always need attention from them, I have huge up-and-downs, I have a big imaginary world and I always need to be told what to do. I worth nothing and I understand why those people rejected me. For years I had no idea I was rejected because I don’t read non verbal cues and I don’t understand implicit messages. I hate myself and I feel responsible for everything I did. I always doubt my friends’ love. I always fear their rejection. Now I don’t want to live anymore. I used to think I’m a good person and people like me. Now I know it’s untrue. People don’t like me and I am a terrible person. I don’t worth living so I will commit suicide sooner or later. I live for my education and that’s it. I have no reason to live. God bless you!

  • I feel so alone and ashamed of myself. I can’t talk to anyone. People around me believe I am obsessed with sexuality and I want to have sex with all of them. They make fun of me all the time. I was sexually abuse in my childhood on a regular basis by my brother and both my parents protected him. Now I fear sexual abuse by anyone and that’s how I deal with it. My father was psychologically and verbally abusive toward me and my brother. My mother protected my father all the way. I had nowhere to go because I had no friends so I started being someone else in public. At the end I didn’t know what part of me was the character and what part was the real me. I also started a big fantasy world in which I was the main character. I talk to my false friends for hours each day. I used to mimicate my mother because I didn’t know what was right to do and what was wrong. I end up liking things she likes and doing stuff she likes just to be like her. I had no personnality at all. People say I am a jerk and I believe so. I don’t trust anyone, I feel useless and incompetent, I hate everyone on Earth. I hate myself more than everything. I hate myself because everyone hates me. I hate myself because I feel less than a human being. I hate myself because I have nowhere to go and I can’t escape from my situation and my home. I hate myself because I was abused by so many people and I hate myself because I couldn’t stop all this. I hate myself because I suffer from a mental illness people make fun of. My friends say I am normal. They say they like me. I can’t believe them, I am just a douchebag. I want to die and I need to die. People can’t understand how desperate I am. They reject me for who I am and they make fun of me.I had a pornography problem for years which stopped several months ago. I still feel the urge to escape from reality doing it. I tend to eat more than normal instead. I am far from perfect, I am the worse kind of human being after murderers. I don’t deserve to live. I feel guilty from what I do. As a Christian I know all those things are sins. I feel like God doesn’t love me for who I am. I can’t be as good as I should for Him. They say God loves everyone no matter what, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe someone likes me except my cat. She is my best friend and the only person I can trust. I hope you do well.

  • I to have started suffering from this ocd. Im 18 and it started when i was 17 when i started getting gay ocd scared to make emotional eye contact with a man i started looking down alot then one day i started focusing on people private parts and now its like i cant stop i cant enjoy tv the way i used to or go out in public i lost alot of friends over this it has gotten so bad to the point that i dropped out of school and barricaded myself in my room. I hate this ocd it makes u want to kill yourself it stops you from enjoying the simple things in life. Im hoping that i can get over this. Hope yall do the same.

  • Ugh, as with everyone else, I suffer from the same problem plus some. My name is Poe, I’m now 21, but I’ve been suffering with this problem in particular for all of a year and a half going on 2.

    At times, before realizing it was a form of OCD, it made me doubt my sexuality. That led me to the route of researching Homosexual OCD. I have no desire to be gay, mind you.

    Not only do I suffer from staring at people’s private (both above and below waist level), but I suffer from a tendency to stare/lock-on to people once they come into my peripheral vision :[ If we talk for any length of time, my eyes begin to wander downwards or whatever as my mind tells me not to do so. Then I’ll end up staring back to intensely because the only thing on my mind is to keep eye contact and not look down or anything (which with other men, I can read in their eyes our weirded out they become).

    Its gotten worse, I even do it to members of my family (I think my grandfather is weirded out the most), though I try to show him I don’t want to look by looking away when I pass him in an exaggerated manner. Real people without clothes on make this form of OCD the most difficult because I try my hardest not to look. I don’t want to look at men with their shirts off and be thought of as checking them out :T With females its easier, but there is a certain level of respect of try to provide and even moreso if I know they’re married or have boyfriends.

    This is truly ruining my life and I have no idea how this all happened to me. I can no longer look forward at a powerpoint, because my eyes and attention will wander to the person on the left or right of me after my mind lapses; though I have informed a couple people and they understand when I raise both of my hands to the side of my head to block my peripheral.

    I heard that there is a possibility that Paxil may be an effective treatment (though the withdrawal symptoms are beyond hell on earth) and xanax as a way of relieving some of the anxiety and not caring as much (or being too out of it to care). Whatever it takes, I just want to be normal again and be able to concentrate.

    At this very moment, on the fourth of July I refuse to go outside with my family and sit and socialize because I’m scared my staring will kick in while my family is standing around talking to me or whatever >_> its so much easier this way. If you move fast enough with the intention of accomplishing just what you need to accomplish, you won’t get much of a chance to stare in a focus manner. Thanks for the support guys, sorry for the long post. This is the first time I’ve ever expressed the whole of my problem . . .

    • To Poe and the others who have this problem. I understand that a column like this can’t provide the total answer, but I would encourage you to look at my original answer to Nina, who started this thread. Medication can play a role, but a form of exposure and response prevention is critical. My response was a starting point that you can bring to a therapist experienced with OCD or who is learning about it. If you have a therapist who is would like advice from me, they can feel free to contact me. I know this is a very difficult form of OCD to suffer from, but we have helped sufferers to overcome it.

  • Basically i turned to the internet after years with this struggle only to find HUNDREDS of people with the exact same type OCD as MARIE.
    Unfortunately no one has been able to find a cure. which is baffling to me that people have had this problem for ten , twenty years after numerous therapists and still
    have to face life with this debilitating problem. After reading your article you gave many of us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    I believe this problem is also connected to social anxiety as most people with this problem cant look at others in the face or have a hard time doing so . My case started when in a social situation i was in deep thought blankly staring and one person thought i was staring inappropriately and crossed her legs. From then on its like my mind plays dirty tricks on me and i cant control it, pretty ridiculous as i do it mostly to the people that are the most inappropriate . Its not sexual i do not get any gratification from it just terrible unpleasant moments. The more you try to control it the more you do it.
    The exposure theory works well on social anxiety and regular OCD but in this case how do we expose ourselves ? just stare at a person and not hold back the look so that our mind satisfies its want ? ive found xanax to help me allot with this problem and im unsure if its because it reduces my anxiety or because it reduces the level of the intrusive thoughts
    sooo a couple of quick questions that i know from reading everybody’s posts that we all have :

    best SSRI to take for this problem? the only person that ive read that was cured said she took prozac along with CBT.
    is there a cure or just a control and what is it ?
    was marie cured?
    OCD or tick?

    DR PENZEL RESPONSE:

    Medication and therapy are controls. There are no cures as of yet, but we can do a good job in controlling it. There is no one med that works for everyone. This is why there are so many of them. I think the social anxiety is the result of the problem – not the cause. Marie recovered, but was not cured – as I said, there is no cure. Beware of anyone promising one. Whether or not it is purely OCD or a tic is up for grabs, and it may vary from person to person. It may even be a combination of the two – something we refer to as Tourettic OCD

  • I tried to commit suicide in June, came close to die. I finally realized I had to tell my best friends that I have this OCD problem. I told 5 of my friends and they understood very well. 3 of them never noticed anything. For two years now I don’t do it on a regular basis. Only from time to time. Mostly with strangers on the street I never find myself talking to. I worked very hard on my personality problems. My psychologist says I don’t have this kind of disorder anymore. Thank you God! I am also bipolar which makes me going very down. I can get depressed for months. Now I feel normal. I guess my faith, my family and friends supports me a lot. God is good to me! I still feel ashamed for what I have done because of this OCD. I’m sick, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Do you find people guilty of having cancer? People around me once found me guilty of being sick, even tough I am not responsible for this. I hope people will understand. I hope they will forgive me and understand I’m the first victim. I didn’t want to look down on them, my head made me doing it against my will. My friends say I’m a nice girl and it’s true. I am fun to be with when I am not depressed. I want to be cured of this. Is it possible? Can I be free of this? I don’t want to die but I can’t live with my OCD. My ex-psychologist used to make fun of me and my faith in Jesus. She used to tell me each time I am “dependant” which is untrue. I don’t have a personality disorder anymore. I have a lot of friends and I love my family. I guess I am blessed. I hope they can find a cure one day. I really want to have fun and make more friends. I want to be a better person. I feel dirty, I feel ugly. I need to be loved no matter what. I want to be as normal as everyone on Earth, not a bunch of labels on my shirt. I hope I will be find soon.

  • wow, i am not alone. i feel like i am, though. i am 35 married with one child, had this issue since i was 7. its manifested itself in various ways, but basically i glance at anything that’s inappropriate– if someone has a deformity, breasts, whatever. it’s horrifying and has always been so. i hate it and hate this aspect of myself and quite honestly it’s disappointing that nobody has an easy cure. when i was little i used to conjure up ways of blinding myself…sunglasses “cure” it like many other folks who wrote. anyway, it’s constant- -either doing it or thinking about not doing it or thinking about what other people must say behind my back or fear of losing my job because of it. depressing indeed. thanks for reading.

  • I typed a long passage out about my experiences and things but decided not to submit it for a couple reasons. I decided that I also want to contribute by letting people know I also am ANOTHER person who has this problem.

  • o my god i have this proplem too .idrop out from college and because of this .there was a teagher in colleg (i stared at her cleaveg.i am not gay) i felt horrrrrible and after ond day and befor i walk in college this teacher told to every girl that iwas gay infront of the whole student and ask from every one not to talk to me(my good friend told me about what does this teacher said )and my name pop on all the big plasma screen all over the college ) that was the most painfull thing happen to me i start screeming in my sleep for about 4 monthes ilost alot of friends i am at hone now painting and drowing and i have alot of dark sun glasses. that happen to me in2009. always pray for good

  • It is incredible for me to see how mny people struggle with my same problem. I am a teacher and my symptoms started about five years ago at my workplace, when talking to a female colleague. Involuntarily, I started staring at her breasts, even though she had appropriate work clothing. She adjusted her clothes normally, but I started obsessing over the tought of me being gay. I am not, and have wonderful friendiship relationships with both gay or heterosexual people, but since I work in a school environment, it has become more and more frustrating as I stared at most of my female coworkers. Since receiving medication and theraphy for about 1 year as of now, I decided to be open about my OCD and visiting a therapist, since I though my coworkers need to understand my odd behaviour and complusion. I have managed to keep being functional, but sometimes symptoms come back. I try to be patient with myself and to be as honest as I can, even if that means apologizing if someone feels uncomfortable. I just don’t know if I keep being so open about OCD i will loose my job of if I have rights even with my mental condition? Does anyone know?

  • Hi! I feel very well right now. I have a lot of friends, I get along with my parents and my collegues and I volunteer with seniors and non litterate people. I go to school as well and everything seems to go right. I gave my life to Jesus again. I lost 20 pounds. I don’t look at people like this anymore. I feel so good. I still have my imaginary friends, I still urinate at night and I still hallucinate, but at least I don’t look down on people. I am proud of myself. I feel human again. I quitted pornography, gambling, eating too much and avoiding God. I hope this will last for long, knowing I am a bipolar as well. I have three mental health problems but I don’t feel I am a bunch of labels anymore. I am myself and I like who I am. God bless you all!

  • wow.. it’s really weird and i can’t even decide if it’s a good thing or bad to know that much people suffering from the same problem with me.. i’m a 26 year old male and having the same problem for almost four years.. i can’t help myself to not to look at female boobs (doesn’t matter if she is hot or not or young or an elder lady..) and staring at male’s tooth or even a simple mole in his face.. it’s like my eyes do all the things to annoy all the people around me and make people think that i’m kinda freak.. i tried to get professional help for a year.. saw a consultant.. but nothing.. so i leave my home country, all my family and friends and move to US.. right now i’m lonely.. have limited friends but they all avoid to stay alone with me.. i scare them i guess.. i can’t make eye contact with anybody.. and i can’t talk to anybody about my problem.. don’t know what to do about it.. but i’m wondering if it would be better to have some friends whom have the same problem with me and be able to chat with me without thinking that i’m some kind of pervert.. so all i’m trying to say if it’s a good idea to meet with people with the same problems?? anybody any idea??

  • I have the same problem. Started when I was 18 I am now 29. I was raised in a very religious family and went to a very small church school. Was given spankings with a wooden paddle at school by the teacher on numerous occasions. Was taught that sex and public school and wearing revealing clothes was a sin. I got married at 22 and have 3 children. I have been diagnosed as having ptsd (Post truamatic stress disorder) Been to numerous pschycologists, therapists etc…Been on many many drugs. Depression persists, worry about my kids having a mom like me. I have pretty much given up on ever being cured. I am a very angry person. Pissed at the world for how they treat me or obbessed with how I think they percieve me. I would rather people hate me because I am mean than give them a chance to laugh and ridicule me for this problem. I know I need to get help been feeling a lot worse lately. Never thought I had OCD maybe this info will help. Sorry to everyone out there who has the same problem. I know the pain it causes, or that we cause ourselves. Would be great to meet another person like me. Would love you to pieces, would never hurt ya or think ill of ya. Would laugh and giggle with ya. WOuld love to be silly together and make fun of eachother. Would love to have a staring contest with ya. Aint it funny how you can tell so much about somebody by how they react to ya? Some guys are so arrogant…Dude you really think I’m lookin at your junk???? They the ones that need the help…Sometimes it’s hard to take other people serious because they take me sooooooooooooooooooooooo serious. They take my glance to heart…get all super serious on me. What a great conversation starter think I’m going to have to start using that. Hi I’m Serena and I really don’t want to look at your private parts I just have OCD. Nice to meet ya!

    • Serena you are not alone. I am a mother of 4 small children and I have been dealing with OCD since I was a child and never knew it. It started by me counting syllables from words from other people’s sentences. Then after my 1st daughter was born I noticed I had a constant fear of driving with people. It was a sense of catastrophic doom and that I wouldn’t be able to be there for my daughter if I died in a car accident. Then after my 2nd daughter I developed this nasty form of OCD which causes me to look at people’s breasts. It doesn’t matter what age or how they look. Relatives and friends and basically anyone that has them. It’s worse with people who wear low cut tops or people who have a larger chests. I finally had to open up and tell my mom what was going on with me and that was so hard. She still doesn’t really understand the shame, disgust and problems associated with it. I felt suicidal and alone and depressed… I’m still searching for a cure. I tried paroxetine 60mg and that did nothing but made me a sleepy, emotionless zombie. I’m here for you any time u need to talk. I could use the support as well!

  • Serena, I have this to. I actually left a message up a few posts. Anyways, you said you got married. How did you meet your husband? Did you tell him about it? Because I don’t know how I could ever meet someone in person and get to know them with this. I actually have a lot of questions for how you deal with it and socialize… I mean heck! You have a family! Thanks if you reply.

  • Well yes I am married. I never thought I would get married. But it just happens. Three kids and I was only on a small dose of antidepressants with my last, my boy. He is a beautiful smart funny and vibrant 2 year old. I have been to 5 or 6 psychologists. Starting when I was 18. None of them really helped me like I had to find this site to figure out my own REALLY REAL diagnosis. So ya’ll helped me out big time. So today I made a lot of phone calls and talked to some big wig DR.s about my symptoms and they agree that some of it is OCD and could be a lil social anxiety. Excuse me but huhhhhumm….HELL YES!!! I don’t care if this shit can’t be cured. There are all kinds of things out there that can’t be cured. BUT now that I know what I have I can find the right type of DR. and kick some major ass getting some of it under control. My kids are my insperation dear. A mothers love is an amazingly powerful thing. My poor darlings have had to put up with me being grumpy and sad, stressed to the max. NO MORE…If this dr. doesn’t know what heck she is doing than I’m going to the next and the next and the next. I’ve spilled my guts and cried till i wanted to puke to a shrink that did nothing for me. I emptied out ALL the skeletons in my closet I’ve done everything in my power that i can do. For a while I lost a lil hope. BUT IM BACK BABY!!! I ordered some work books on OCD. MY appointment is for the 15th. Think of me on that day. What is everyone else doing to fight for there lives? The O in OCD stands for Obssesive. Well I am obsessing about recovery, strength, will power, comittment.

  • One of the things we people have to overcome is the fact that we feel unlovable. We are waaaaaay to hard on ourselves. We “think” we are freaks and weird. and that is what we have to fight and get over. That is the disease. One thing that has really helped me is to read books about people that have gone through horriffic events in there lives and survived. Makes me feel special I guess, like I could write a book. Meditation helps and there are lots of great books out there that can get you started with that. Lots of people have problems, we like to think we are so alone and no one else is like us. BUT there are tons and tons of people that have anxiety problems. We are all really stuck in our heads, people around us don’t know the chaos we deal with everyday and the struggle it is. And if we keep silent nothing will ever get better. Much peace and hope to you all in your lives.

  • One other thing about the whole sunglasses comment up above. I REFUSE to wear sunglasses. There have been some times where it was really tempting really really tempting but I made a pact with myself that I would never hide like that. And the whole dropping out of college. I understand that this is debilitating but I purposely made myself go back to school it was the scariest thing I’ve done.lol It was what I feared the most. I stood up to my fear and it just made me that much stronger.

    • In looking at the responses to this question, the issue of how hard it is to find treatment for OCD is clearly still a major problem. Because of this, I wanted to give a few suggestions of how we treat this problem and some ideas of how to find therapists.
      Remember in working with any OCD problem the goal is living with uncertainty and trying to live with the possibility of your worst fears coming true. For the staring problem, there are some questions you won’t find obvious answers to. Why do you stare? The actual reason is because you are trying so hard not to and are constantly concerned about it. There are other related reasons that have to do with learning, but there isn’t space here to go into it. However, as you immediate realize, this doesn’t help you. There is the fear of what will happen to you if you get caught (or remembering embarrassing incidents in which you were caught and fearing it will happen again). Imaginal exposure should focus on this happening and you trying to cope with it. But your big question is how to do behavioral exposure. Obviously blatantly staring at people’s privates will get you into to much trouble and not staring feels impossible. For most sufferers of this, we will have them practice sneaky staring; that is, spending time purposeful time trying to stare, but in a sneaky way so as not to be caught. If this sounds scary, then you can probably make a hierarchy of places to practice, because it is likely that some places are easier than others. This isn’t a complete program obviously, but it may give many of you a start.

      Second, it is important to find a therapist experienced in treating OCD — not an easy task. If the therapist doesn’t say that they use exposure and response prevention, they are not an expert. The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association actually agree that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the first line treatment for OCD with medication being an important addition. Unfortunately we have found that it is easier to treat OCD than it is to change the behavior of mental health professionals. If the therapist says they do cognitive behavioral therapy, you need to ask what kind. ERP is a cognitive behavioral therapy, but there are other techniques. You could contact the International OCD Foundation at http://www.ocfoundation.org – they may be aware of some therapists in your area. Finally, if you can’t find an OCD expert, you may be able to find a therapist willing to be supervised by an expert. I hope this supplies some help.

  • Jonathan- You say blatantly staring will get us into to much trouble?? Funny…there are so many times I have feared getting into trouble almost feared for my life. But not once…I repeat not once has a single person in my life EVER brought this problem up to me. EVER mentioned one single word about it to me. Ever said why are you looking at me like that??? OR WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM or do you need some help why are you looking at me like that?? NO ONE. I find that quite strange and additional evidence that I OBSESSE..that I do have OCD!!!!! HOORAY:)

  • Serena, I’m glad you raised this point. Among sufferer of staring, there are those like yourself who fear bing confronted and never have been. Treatment is still the same and the uncertainty to work on accepting is coping with what would happen if you were caught. There is another group who actually have stared and been caught. Treatment is very similar, but obviously this does have implications for treatment.

  • Are you sure they have been confronted I mean actually confronted? Or is it all just drama they build up in there head? Have you asked?

  • thanks for the advice. i would like to see a therapist so that i could see if i for sure have ocd (im almost certain i do) and get medication. even though staring seems to go against all my feelings, i will try to do it in a sneaky way. i have to say, when i do look on purpose, i seem to be able to make eye contact better afterwards.

  • How can I get married with OCD and BD? No one will ever want to be with me. Each time I have a crush on a guy, he doesn’t like me. Or at least he doesn’t want to go out with me. I’ll get old and isolated from the world. Although I cope well with my mental health problems, I don’t think someone else will. I want to be loved! I need to be loved! How can I live with that?

  • Hi! I feel sssssoooooooooooooooooooooooooo wwwwwwelllllllllllll! I don’t do it anymore or only in a sneaky way. My personnality disorder is very low and my Bipolar Disorder is under control. Alleluia!

  • Hi Dr. Grayson, I spoke with you briefly over the phone because I was inquiring about treatment. I have been diagnosed with OCD..specifically “Compulsive Staring”. You mentioned ERP, what other type of techniques work? I spoke with a therapist who thought that I could have a “tic” instead? She also stated that tics are difficult to treat. Are you familiar with this? Thanks.

    • Kim, for OCD, ERP is the treatment. If it were a tic, that would be a different treatment; however, I would have to hear more about your symptoms to think that it was a tic and not OCD>

  • Hey Coming Back

    Congratulations!!! I’m glad your feeling well. I hope to get there some day. It seems almost unreacheable. You reach out and all you get back is…I can’t help you or I am not accepting new patients and there is a waiting list. I’m not going to even start talking about the cost! It’s no wonder, but unfair, that people are walking around with a mental illness’. Anyway..I read your comment and I had to respond. Good Luck!!!!

  • Hi,

    I have the exact same problem as you. I am boy 22 years old from Denmark in Europe. Have stopped school and work because of the ‘starring problem’. And now it’s even destroying my family life.

    But as somebody wrotes, there’s hope.

    How are you doing?

    Let’s write together.

    By the way I am at hospital as suicidabel

    Greatings,
    Shais Anees

    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WRITE TO ME: shais@hotail.dk (shais SNABELA hotmail.dk)

  • Hey Coming Back!

    Congratulations! How did you do? Was it medication? Treatment? Or what?

    We would be glad to hear more about it, thank you (SMILE)

  • Well said, Serena. I just connected up with someone else that suffers from this on Facebook, but you words are a great inspiration.

    Lol, I also like you possible future conversation starter, haha. Take care of yourself and keep up your good spirits. ^_^

    Peace

  • same problem like nina. i am wandering since five years. used SSRIs TCAs CBT but didn”t get any relief yet.plz suggest something for this irritable disease.

  • first i want to thank Nina,Dr Grayson and others about sharing and discussing this worst type of obsession.Is there any hope by having psychosurgery like deep brain stimulations(DBS),cingulotomy,etc….

    • OCD is learned and biological. Some have reported help with psychosurgery, but medication and exposure and response prevention (ERP) are still necessary after surgery. Most reputable centers will not do surgery if the sufferer hasn’t been treated with medication and a course of ERP from a reputable center.

  • I’m 13, I have this Compusive Staring problem. It stared when I was 11 but one noiced, at the start of this year it began to get worse. My eyes would look at some people’s privates some of he time. By May everyone of my classmates, teachers, family and anyone else who had ever come across me knew. At school they called me perv, pedo, shouted it, look scared, or angry, called me a sket, said I would rape people, one person threatened to beat me up, all this was either behind my back (well, not really, they were near me, just not talking directly TO me) or to my face. It hurt that I was making all those people feel uncomfortable. I skipped a lesson for the first time in my life (I was always thought of as the “goody two shoes” so this mean a LOT) and faked sick just to stay at home. I wouldn’t look both ways when crossing the road just so I wouldn’t have my eyes moving around.
    I dropped out because I just couldn’ cope. I contemplated suicide, hurting myself, lucikly I haven’t. Right now I’m at home waiting for my tutor to arrive, I keep my eyes closed when she’s teaching me.
    Help?
    Even my therapist and psychiatrist whispered about me when they thought I could hear them and one said, “Oh, you’ve got one of THEM next. Be careful.” and when I was walking another said, “Ewww…”
    Even though they should know about OCD :/
    Once at school a cook told another cook that, “There’s something wrong with her,” and staring telling her about my eye problem and another said, “That’s disgusing.”
    Help me guys. I’m life-less.

    • Naomi, it is good you are in therapy. You mention that it is cognitive behavioral and this is good, but I just want to add that there are many techniques that are a part of cognitive behavioral therapy and in treating OCD, the main technique used is called exposure and response prevention. This has been agreed upon by almost every OCD expert, the OCD treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the International OCD Foundation (http://www.ocfoundation.org), so I do hope this is a part of your treatment.

  • Naomi, I use to think people were talking about me also. I realized most of the time they weren’t talking about me, and I was just worried that they were. It’s not much of a problem as you are making it out to be. I mean, It’s not like you are hurting anyone! I think the reason people may act weird, is not because what you are looking at, but because they can tell you are worried about SOMETHING. You being worried around them makes them worry xD. Just relax and go with the flow. The problem is that you are worrying a bit too much! Just go with the flow and whatever happen, happens, no big deal. Also, never hurt yourself. Life is too short to worry about things like this, and especially too short to hurt yourself. If one day, lasers come shooting out of your eyes and zap people, then you have something to worry about. LOL! Just don’t be worried. If you are happy, other people will be happy around you. Cheer up! Some people have it worse. 🙂

  • @Jonathon Grayson. I asked my therapist and my CBT does include ERP.

    My dose on Sertraline has been upped to 175mg. Told psychiatrist that after 100mg, my body kind of got used to it and it doesn’t seeme to be working. She said otherwise. But I get the feeling that she’s lying…
    :/

  • Wow it is so relieving that i am not the only one who suffers from this. You guys don’t know how many times I have contemplated suicide. Naomi I feel your pain and agony, i have been called all those names you have been including fag, homo, bisexual. Me being a guy i get it if not as much but worse. I no longer have a social life, lost all my friends. I am to ashamed to even make eye contact with my family because i don’t want to look at there private parts. How disgusting is that.

  • Me too. Same as you all say, me too. 16 years in. Tried so many things with no luck. Have actually made some progress in the last year-and-a-half but overall the issue is still there. I can probably last another 10 or so years, and plan to end it then if the issue remains. It is impossible to live so defeated, to wake up every day knowing it’s another day in hell, to be all alone and unwanted by the world. I hope you all break through, for I bet you would wake every day with a smile on your face, be able to take the regular stresses with ease…because “it” is gone.

    I’ve created yahoo group/forum for us all. I hope you join. Here’s the link:
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ObsessiveStaring/

  • Stay strong and don’t commit suicide. You’re not the only one, knowing that there are others helps me too. Please don’t leave the rest of us here alone.
    🙁
    Oh, my dose of Sertraline is being increased to 200mg.

  • @Jay: Stay strong and don’t commit suicide. You’re not the only one, knowing that there are others helps me too. Please don’t leave the rest of us here alone.
    🙁
    Oh, my dose of Sertraline is being increased to 200mg.

  • Hi,
    Glad to see many people in the forum are discussing the mental issue which I have been suffering from last 14 years. I thought that as an inferior and never shared with anybody, not even with my parents.Recently I went for a google search and realised there are many in the world with the same problem.
    I also would lkie to share another problem I have. along with staring others private parts, I also stare at my own private parts when I am in a crowd or get more anxiety. How do I oversome of staring my own private parts when I am with people. Others think I am giving them signals and I loose the rappo with them . Even I have lost friends with this behavior. I have lost important jobs because of this abnormal behavior. Please guide me what to do in this case. I am in Bangalore, India. Suggest how to control this. Now I am on sizopin-150MG/ day at night.
    Thnx, Prasad.

  • I dont know how could this be possible im 29 and i lived normal
    Until this summer when i was talking to my friend wife and couldnt
    Stop stairing her breast i didnt return to their house and ever since
    I cant stop stairing at people private including my own family (this is
    What disturb me the most) i avoid all my friend a part from few who i
    Hope are understanding or will understand that i wasnt allways like this

    It has been 7 months now and my family and my close friend have noticed
    but none of them confronted me or asked me what is wrong.
    If this is OCD then im in trouble for the rest of my life

    • Aselamualykum!!!!! Hello,

      I am suffering from the type of disease I’m reading on this website. I was grew up happy, healthy, in many ways of my life Allahamdulilah!!! But starting June 2006 something came and took the life I have. My social life, relationships, family connection, education, employment ….although I tried many things to understand, why do I check people’s private, both male and female for over 8 yrs now, I never stopped my prayer and learning to accept what has fallen on me. I came to Canada and been through so many challenges. But never suffered the way this ” OCD” make me. It’s way too painful to know that there won’t be a single human being in the face of earth, will see me and know me for who I am. Rather I give people the expression of I’m, non sense crazy woman who evaluate others by checking their boob size or private….I have a great profession, sense of humerus, more importantly respectful of people regardless any thing. I grew up in large families so I love people and helping any one in need. I wish I could share more with all, but I’m not sure if talking about my self would help from suffering from this unnamable embarrassing situation we are suffering. One of my professor said one time ” this is not porno class” and jock…..I don’t watch porn or think about sex at all while I was with friend I had, professors…….so e times I hate watching tv because I don’t see any thing that educate the society in terms of this kind of topics and I really hope that those tv show….talk about it so that people like my self can go out to work knowing there may be some one out there who wouldn’t judge me.

      I really want to say to those who suffers from this type OCD, we are only human and can not be perfect in all aspects of our life. It’s all going to be fine just don’t fight it hard as it is the major cause of our soul. When it comes just let it be…let it flow it’s way…..don’t struggle. I learn on myself that, what we resist actually persist.

      Best luck to you all my sisters and brothers!!!!!!!

  • @Jay: Simply put, no. Not well *enough*. I have Social Phobia and the Sertraline has just fogged out me caring too much about what people think. OCD-wise, no. The pysical are certainly less severe but my fear of staring is completely rational so I don’t think it can be “corrected” by medicine. CBT hasn’t worked out for me, either, since we do “experiments” to see if people notice me staring which in other types of OCD are supposed to prove the obsessions won’t come true but the staring thing, well I’m homeschooled because people threatended me at school and the fact that they felt the need to do so, that they were actually scared of me makes me sick to the core. I’m pretty sure that “sket, skank, slut, bitch, eeew, I’m going to beat you up”, whispered and glares of hate ARE NOT “all in my head”. My own therapist and psychiatrist bitched about me behind my back.
    🙁
    But I’m going to keep trying. Everyone keep writing on this site because maybe someone will find a cure that properly works! I’m NOT giving up because with this many people there is NO WAY at least one of us won’t find a cure. <3

  • I’d like to chat with someone online who has this problem like me. Does anyone have Skype or MSN or anything that would want to talk also?

  • Oh my, there’s a community of people. I thought I was the only one…. I have a problem with staring too. I have lost jobs, friends, relationships, opportunities, career moves, even family members want nothing to do with me because of this. Mine started in 2004. It escalated in 2008, I have learned to try to control it now, but I have lost so much because of it. I partly know where mine stems from, but I wish it would just go away. I stare at both men and women directly when I speak to them. THANK GOD I DON’T ACT OUT WITH CHILDREN, ONLY ADULTS!!!!I don’t get any sexual pleasure from it because I never use to speak to people like that before. I have been searching all these years for people like me. I honestly thought I was the only one. Is there a group for us?

  • wow. I have the same problem for over 20 years. I did not realize there were others. I thought not many had my symptoms. All I can say it is very embarrassing and I hate it. There is never a moment that it brings me joy. I feel like someone is controlling my own body. I fear of looking at people in the face. It has affected me in the work place. I do get ridiculed a lot. If they only knew that it is not what it seems. It even happens with my own family members. how awful. I guess my brain picked the most offensive with me and I know in my heart with clarity that it is my brain. But I still get frustrated because I want it to stop. I am going to find me an OCD dr. I did meet you before and see that you truly want to help OCD victims. , but was so scared to look directly at privates because I myself find it offensive. so weird this disorder.

  • @Arlene
    Yes there are groups, this one in particular is very good: www(dot)facebook(dot)com/groups/OCDstarring/
    Replace the (dot)s with an actual “.” I tried to post before but for some reason the post didn’t display. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for Dr Jonathan Grayson and Nina….We all having this same obsession can be get cured by group therapy(group having same obsession that is staring)as nobody will understand better than ourselves.I am 29yrs old postgraduate doctor(surgeon)suffering from this wierd obsession since four years residing in Pune,Maharashtra,India.I struggled 4 years,read psychiatry from kaplan and sudock,abnomal psychology,behavioral pychology,Freud,Albert Ellis,CNS pharmacology,internet literature,seeked treatment from 5to6 psychiatrists and finally got improved 70-80%(YBOCD score from 32 to 8) by fluvoxamine 200mg and CBT right now.If anybody want to contact me contact on apanym@gmail.com I am ready to held get together in Pune from my own pocket if all u wish.

  • Thanks for Dr Jonathan Grayson and Nina….We all having this same obsession can be get cured by group therapy(group having same obsession that is staring)as nobody will understand better than ourselves.I am 29yrs old postgraduate doctor(surgeon)suffering from this wierd obsession since four years residing in Pune,Maharashtra,India.I struggled 4 years,read psychiatry from kaplan and sudock,abnomal psychology,behavioral pychology,Freud,Albert Ellis,CNS pharmacology,internet literature and much more;seeked treatment from 5to6 psychiatrists and finally got improved 70-80%(YBOCD score from 32 to 10) by fluvoxamine 200mg and CBT right now.If anybody want to contact me contact on apanym(a)gmail(dot)com Group on facebook here is adress facebook(dot)com/groups/109252475869637/

  • hi everybody,i have the same problem since the past 4 years.i suffered so much from it,i had lost everything.i was thinking that masturbation has caused this to me but not sure.i tryed almost everything to overcome it but i couldnt.the goof news that i was listening called in arabic الرقية ﺍﻟﺸﺮﻋﻴﺔ which i found in youtube and it seemed that the problem has gone.usually people does that that to get out anything that caused by jinn or demon.if someone want to try it use the head and close the eyes and listen,its in arabic language.good luck

  • just to explain what was happenig,my voice has changed and i barely can speak with people.i give up playing music coz while playing my eyes keep looking at audience private parts funny but true and i have to close them.my boss uses the back door to leave just to avoid me hhh.i felt so sorry about people who have to deal with me coz for them its a big mission to confront me,the worse thing is that most of my friends thinks that im
    gay.to me it was like hell

  • anyone tried flooding? today I spent a few hours staring all people all around the city – i’ve got to imagine this works – at some point your brain will make new connections – i did the whole increasing anxiety by telling myself things but i also told myself wow this is stupid and boring while i was staring….problem is some of the boobs i was looking at weren’t stupid and boring.

  • Manoj – i am indian – i live in nyc – that’s not my real name – we can communicate here – xanax helps with the anxiety but it still happens – im not a doctor but i’ve got to imagine if you do something enough that doesn;t provide you any pleasure i hope it can be stopped. now if you have ideas that may help let me know, but please don;t put your problems on me as this is bad enough

  • hi serena ….
    thank you very much for telling me not to leave college ..i started to go to school .it was very hard but i explan my ocd to my closest friend only ..and i start smiling again .i broke two of my sunglasses .iam not fully cured .it alwayse in the back of my my mind .but you are right …with this ocd ifeel wiser ..stronger …i dont know …i kinda want to meet some one with this ocd ….good with us all

  • 8 years of hell, two years of college life lived believing i was a pervert, after graduation getting into two similar jobs quitting each one within 2-3 months of joining fearing sexual harrassment charges and worse unable to tell anyone why i did so. isolation. a visit to a clinical psychologist and two psychiatrist. prescribed anti depressents (fluoxetine and some other drugs)but i didnt like taking them. nothing happened. so three years of stuck at home living off of my parents. being very depressed one day i decided to runaway from my home because i just couldn’t kill myself for this. but i didn’t what would i say if i had to come back home and having to explain. i couldn’t have said that i stare at peoples privates. now I my plan is to take a bike trip around the country(INDIA) be like a little kid again. just say whats on your mind, say it to some starngers face “yes i am staring at your privates i am sorry!”

    I can actually relate to poe here. I have the same severity of being unable take my mind off of people within my peripheral vision. i was wearing glasses till one girl told my friend that i secretly watched girls with those glasses on. but little did she know then that without the glasses i stare at the privates of women and men. these days kids scare me. same with me with men without shirt its funny what they would think of me GOD! i’m a straight guy and i told my therapist that i fear i might be gay and she smiled. she was my therapist for nearly two years didnt help much.

  • and i would like to add that being at home or being homebound for such a long time is having another effect that i can’t stand. the little noises i hear from my neighbours. their talks, sounds when they are washing dishes and i am beginning to freak them out when trying not make such sounds myself. like as if i am willfully making them like making a conversation through sounds. I am going crazy i tell you. i dread every day that they might call cops on me.

    thank you so muh for this question. Love and Peace 🙂

    • I am having the same problem where my peripheral vision OCD progressed into fear of overhearing others OCD. Is there any treatment for this?

  • It was the best relief I’ve had In a long time to find this site and see all the other people with this problem. It’s been about 2 years I’ve had this problem, and since seeing this site I have of course come to admit I have OCD. Supposibly it’s a big step to helping, but idk it did bring relief but did not stop my problem. It’s like everyone notices it, when I go to school the female teachers always walk by fast, and latly some where wearing scarfs to cover their chest. It just frustrates me to see them act like that friends too. I’ve told my family about it and they accept it without any weird tension in the area. But still I want and need the best help I can get if anybody has figured a way to get rid of this horrible sin that is destroying my life!. Please contact me. Jorgecjenkins@gmail.com

  • Sara, I know what you are talking about. Sure a problem may be able to be changed, or even “fixed”, but this may be who we truely are, and some people love others simply for being themselves. now don get me wrong, this surely can be improved. for example, there are people on this webpage that are reporting improvement, and that is great! For me, I’m living like this, and dealing with it, and I know there are people out there who are alright with this problem. I know this because of this webpage, and because the few close friends in real life I told about this and who said it is alright and they will still be my friends. For others, improvement or a cure may be more satisfying, but I myself have accepted it, and will cherish it because it is me. Have a great day everyone!

  • hello im rick i have sufferd with this since i was 18 years old i have had cbt once be4 and it help so much i did lock my self in my house for 2 years when i was 18 its so sad this is it has made me think of killing my self so meny times i am now going back to get some more cbt tommrow i but have lernt from my last cbt that it is normal to look its just we dont think it is i told my self for years its bad to look so i tryed not to or done it sneekley witch made me have blind eye theres nouthing worng in looking its normal

    with love ricky

  • i am now 35 and i did where dark glasses for 3 years as well i have ran all my life over the world austraila england i am now in austraila if this cbt dose not fix me im going to try doctor grayson i know i can beat this i know we all can i fill for you all who has this as it herts so much

    take care
    ricky

  • Hello fellow sufferers,

    I am so glad to have found this website. I am suffering this afflictions since June 2011 and its over a year now. At least I know that I am not alone or a freak. I have told some of my friends and my bf as well as my Doctor. Of course they dont understand. They thought I am kind of pervert or I do have sexual desires which is totally untrue. I look at man crotch and woman breast. I must say.. I really really hate myself for having this affliction. I must admit, many many times I have considered taking my own life. I am sure this will end my suffering. but I cant hurt the persons that I love so much my bf,my mother and my nephews.
    Sometimes I said to myself, is this the beginning of something that makes someone kill herself???
    I have burned many bridges with my friends and my collegues whom I used to be very close.
    again I would like to STRESS here, there is nothing sexual at all. its just that my brain, thought keep going there,
    It all started when I noticed my colleague keep cover their crotch with their shirts. I was like, hello,,,, I wasnt looking at your crotch at all andalso he is not my type at all…because of that incident then I became obsessive and anxious everytime I am talking to guys….and now became worse with woman too!!!
    my doctor think that I have a sexual desire…which is totally crap. she doesnt understand . no one understand. Only my fellow sufferers like you all understand….I have myself a lots because of this. I have been on prozac but doesnt seem to do anything. I tried to meditate but I couldnt concentrate long enough. I am very scare tofind out that some of you guys being carrying this affliction of more than 15, 20 years…..I dont think I could handle that long…..

  • I suffered from this problem for years and after reading these posts the problem became worse, so I decided to get help from a therapist and now feel significantly better. I emailed Dr Fred Penzel who put me in touch with a London based ocd specialist Dr David Veale at the Priory. Dr Veale had seen numerous people about this issue, and believed the best course of treatment was cbt with erp, and an ssri. I refused the ssri but underwent 12 sessions of cbt. The road has been tough but I have gone from being someone who’s eyes would hurt from being drawn to these areas to someone who isn’t as bothered about where my eyes went.

    In summary:

    The things that helped me:
    – understanding that the problem is not where my eyes go. The root psychological problem instead is my FEAR of where my eye contact rests. Therefore to tackle this I had to overcome this fear and worry less about my over exaggerated view of what looking meant. In turn I would look less as I became less worried and obsessed with eye contact
    – doing regular sneeky looks to become more accustomed to the fear of being caught. This needs to be intense looks and regular – its scary at first but after a while you don’t care as much about being caught
    – doing experiments where I did purposeful short glances at these areas when people were speaking to me and noting down peoples reactions, which were not in line with what I expected before the experiment. Most people didn’t notice or didn’t react
    – making sure I did not avoid people or situations where I feared being caught
    – doing regular exercise
    – meditation to relax my thoughts
    – I also took inositol which helped a bit

    Things that did not help
    – number one thing that made this worse was reading chat boards like this and listening to other peoples horrid experiences, which reinforced my initial view that this can not be overcome
    – avoidance of people
    – worrying about what would happen if I get caught
    – obsessing about making eye contact
    – over monitoring of where my eyes were going

    I understand how horrid this ocd is, it caused me so much pain and stress, but it can be overcome. Be strong, work with a therapist and fight your fear!!!

    • Anon, I’m sorry you found reading this list so painful, the advice you eventually followed was the longer version of what was suggested in my original post to Nina. Unfortunately, some readers don’t go back to the initial response. It’s wonderful you found proper help – that hopefully serves as an inspiration to other sufferers.

      • Jonathan thanks for highlighting what this issue is and how I should consider therapy treatments – I can’t explain my gratitude for your help

  • I as well, am suffering from this problem.Im not sure how this began but im sure i want it to end. I m also not sure if it started because in the past I inhaled cannabis for a long period of time and istopped using it for a while. Before istopped smoking it for a while i was doing fine. I would get paranoid every now and then but it was nothing serious. After istarted smoking again i began acting weird. For example after a smoking session I would get really paranoid . My legs would start shaking unintentionally. I would think about it so much that i would speak hardly while i was on it. After a while i would also get thaughts that i was walking funny but it would only happened while i was high. Then thouse thoughts sticked to me and i started thinkinking iwas walking funny even when iwasn’t on anything. I would go to school and get really nervous when iwalked by groups of people. Those thaughts took over my mind and thats all i would think of during school , at home, and wherever id go. I believe thats how i got OCD.I became obsessed with the idea that i walked funny. I talked to my sister about it and told me i walked fine but even yet i cant get those thaughts off my head.I tried taking yoga to see if it could help me out but unfortunatley it didnt work. One time ,knowing i had those crazy thaughts in my head and would only get worse i went hight to school. Iwas really paranoid , ialmost cried because i wanted to leave out the classroom. I started staring shortly after I had those thaughts of walking weird. I stared at teachers, classmates, and random people. I also thaught about taking my life to an end but with the help of some family members they made me understand its not worth for ( nothing really is) and i now have the audacity to look out for help. Im hoping therapy classes can help me out. Im also not tyring to take medications because ive been told they can become addictive. Today i got back from a one month trip to Mexico. Ithaught by going I could run away from those negative thoughts but i thought wrong. I dumbly consumed cannabis once again while I was there, knowing that getting high only makes those thaughts worse. I now know i should not be having smoking sessions. Im really hoping ican minimize the many times i think about walking weird and those awkawrd stares. Please do not judge me thats not what im here for.Thank you if you took the time to read part of my story and good luck to everyone trieng to overcome OCD like i’am.(:

    • Karen, there are quite a few people who have either OCD or panic disordered triggered by cannabis use. It was NOT caused by the marijuana – as I’ve said elsewhere, OCD is both learned and biological, so the biological part was already there. It is likely that the biology was beginning to become active and your use triggered it (but OCD was probably going to hit anyway). It is true that for people whose OCD is triggered this way, further use doesn’t work out. There are two important points for you to follow. First, the first line treatment for OCD recommended by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and virtually every OCD expert is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which is a form of cognitive behavior therapy. When looking for a therapist, if they don’t say that exposure and response prevention is part of their treatment, then it would be best to find someone else. If you have trouble finding someone, contact the International OCD Foundation (www.ocfoundation.org), because they may point you to a local resource. As for medications, the ones used for OCD are not addictive. The primary category are the SSRI (eg Prozac, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft). On the average they are equal and don’t have side effects. Individually, you may find that one works best or only one doesn’t have side effects for you. Remember, I said OCD is learned and biological. Meds change biology, not learning, so alone, they rarely help someone to completely overcome OCD. On the other hand, ERP is a psychological treatment and doesn’t change biology. Often the best s a combination of the two.

  • i am from india nd suffering from the same problem.i was surprised to find this thing and earlier i thought i may be the only person living in hell with this.It started at the age of 15 and now for about 8 years,i am now 23.i was very social and was a class leader and had very good relationship with all the teachers but one day unknowngly i looked at the crotch of a female teacher and i think she noticed it,from there it started,i had a feeling that what i did was wrong and later i used to think of it and tried not to happen it again nd later this staring developed to breasts and also it became compulsive and spread to male teacher’s crotch nd it was really annoying to me and i started avoiding conversation with teachers and i lost the relationships with them nd this behaviour spread to when i talk to friends,relatives and everybody,so i tried avoiding social gatherings and later i joined college and it started affecting my studies as i am not hearing what the lecturer says but trying hard not to stare at the private parts,i was very talkative among friends but after starting this i avoided group discussions,gatherings and i became a person with no friends and also started talking very less nd i was not able to make good friends and at that time i loved a girl in my class but not even able to talk with her nd i talked very little to her and texted her through mobile what i had to say but will try to avoid talking to her directly in class but it made problems as she thought why am i behaving like this, i was afraid that i will look at her crotch but eventually it happened that she saw me watching her private parts while talking and it strained the relationship and i started avoiding her even i love her a lot.Now not even talking to her and not even texting bcoz no relationship can last long if u dont keep proper eye contact and if u are not able to talk properly as i am not getting words to say bcoz i am thinking while talking that “oh god my eyes should not go there”,it was really a hell,also i lost all the confidence to stand infront of a group of people and take a seminar which i used to do with lot of confidence before affecting with this and that is why my friends choosed me as a leader in school.everything was lost bcoz of this i became a good for nothing fellow.At the second year of my college i decided to see a psychologist he diagnosed me with OCD and referred me to a psychiatrist and he gave me fluvoxamine 50mg daily nd after 3 weeks,for the first time in my life i felt like i got my life back,the compulsive urge to look at privates reduced to about 80% not fully resolved but it was a great relief for me.i started feeling unaware of this problem but after 4 months of happiness another problem arised when my psychiatrist increased the dosage to 100mg per day bcoz of this medicine i started thinking that my classmates are against me and they are doing something against me and also i started getting angry with people which is a side effect of this medication and i was forced to quit the medication as my psychiatrist told i may develop hypomania as side effect but i was not ready to stop it because i thought the symptoms will reoccur,and finally i stopped taking it and as i thought the symptoms reoccured but it was not as strong as before,i was able to control the behaviour a bit and i like to take this medicine again but my family members are not allowing so i am still suffering from this behaviour but it is far better than before so i advice other co sufferers to try this medicine as it can reduce the symptoms to a manageble level but be carefull not to take large doses,be patient for a month to get results and also the medicine may act differently for diiferent persons so some may not have problems taking large doses and some may develop agression and hallucinations but be sure not to take any antipsychotic medicines if your doctor says u developed hypomania,hypomania will be resolved if u stop medication and wait for six months without any medicine,if u take antipsychotic u may get irreversible side effects and decrese in your IQ so dont try it.Anyway fluvoxamine helped me a lot to decrease the symptoms,now i am living with managable symptoms which is far better than before and i will try this medicine again if my symptoms get worse again.Hope this information will help other co sufferers .

  • I’ve been to four therapists and finally found someone who specialises in ocd in London who could help me. The key to finding help is finding someone that specialises in ocd and therefore understands the dynamics behind this issue.

    The key thing that I have learnt about this issue is that the battle you have should not be with your eye gaze. As an ocd sufferer I have come to the conclusion, with help from books I have read and my therapy, that I have a recurring intrusive thought which is “if I look at someone’s privates I will be thought of as a pervert, sexual predator or gay”. This thought started when I was caught looking down a co workers top. As a result I felt very upset, worried more about where I looked, over monitored my eye gaze and started avoiding certain people and avoiding looking at people by looking at the ground when I spoke to people (the latter behaviours are called “safety seeking behaviours”). These behaviours and my excessive worrying and monitoring of my eye gaze is what is ocd, the situation of looking at someones privates and being caught could happen to anyone, but for someone with ocd they worry excessively about it and feel responsible to take safety seeking behaviours to prevent it happening again. As a result the intrusive thoughts became worse and occured more often and I looked more and more at people’s privates.

    The first stage of therapy began by looking at the theories of ocd with my therapist, which was also aided by reading self help books by dr david veale and dr Fred penzel. I also recorded my therapy, to listen to the sessions in the week, note the sessions up and reinforce what I learnt. The key things I learnt about ocd and eye gaze was that I had a fear of where my eye gaze rested, and my safety seeking behaviours and avoidance of people was making the issue worse. The battle therefore had to be with overcoming my fear of where my eye gaze rested and not getting attached to the thought that if I look at people’s privates thy will think I am gay or a pervert. A happy by product of overcoming this fear is that you look less and most of the time now not at all at people’s privates. When my eyes do rest on privates I am less worried or upset and therefore feel much happier with my life.

    To really home down on this view of the problem we came up with two theories of what my issue is. Theory 1: I look at people’s privates and people think I am some sick pervert, sexual predator or gay. Theory 2: I worry excessively about looking at people’s privates and what it means therefore my eye gaze is attracted to peoples private areas. We analysed events that happened to me and I learnt that theory 2 was true. My therapist told me I should live by theory 2. This meant stopping avoiding people and dropping my safety seeking behaviours. Also when people gripped there shirt or looked awkward when I spoke to them I learnt in therapy that it did not necessarily mean they caught me looking at their privates and even if it did i needed to worry less about it as looking at privates is not the problem, worrying about it is!!!

    To reinforce these teachings I undertook experiments which involved purposefully looking at someone’s privates and beforehand writing down what I expected to happen. Most of the time I would expect the person to look disgusted, grip their shirt even tell me to stop looking or get angry with me. In almost every case they would not notice. It’s easy to do these experiments with people whose reactions you are less concerned about – eg a shop assistant, then move up to someone you do care about like a family member. I learnt that a lot of this issue was in my head and I had lost perspective before therapy.

    I then learnt about exposure response prevention (erp) and association. I learnt about the Pavlovian theory of association and behavioural therapy. The essence of this is that if you have a fear of something avoidance makes the fear worse, and exposing yourself to a fear consistently makes it less scary each time you do it. For example if you are afraid of spiders then avoiding a spider each time you see one will maintain the fear and even allow it to grow. If you spent ten minutes each day with a spider on your hand the fear would eventually reduce.

    How the above related to my issue was that I needed to spend each day and every day exposing myself to the fear of looking at privates and being caught looking at privates. My experiments helped a bit with this, but I also did sneaky looks at people’s privates when people were not looking, consistently for about twenty minutes on my way to work on the train and the same on my way back. By ten days I was less worried about getting caught sneaky looking. I then created audio recording which I played on loop/repeat which had my ten worst fears on them related to looking at privates. I listened to them for thirty mins in the morning and thirty mins at night. The key is that the recordings should be scary thoughts and should make you anxious. As you are exposed to these horrid thoughts you become less anxious by about ten days.

    The repeated recordings had my thoughts recorded such as “my mother will think I am a perverted weirdo if I look at her breasts” “my boss will think I am a perverted gay sexual predator if I look at his crotch”. You have to listen to about ten to fifteen of these thoughts on repeat at least once every day for thirty mins for about two weeks to see improvements.

    Finally I also learnt about mindfulness meditation. As soon as I saw myself worrying about “looking” I stop myself and let the thoughts float past me. Learning how to stop worrying is important to getting over this as well.

    In 5months I felt that I have gone a long way in overcoming my fear. I am happier and feel better. A happy by product of overcoming my fear is that I look less at people’s privates, but when I do look I don’t worry what people think which results in less looking.

    Learn as much as you can about ocd, find the right therapist that understand ocd, and get better!!

    This was written by a guy that had this issue for about 6 years and has felt suicdal when it was at it worst!!

    • raj u r an angel, u gave such a detailed information about how to overcome this . dunno why mostly people with ocd are v nice. i ve sufferind from different types of ocd since 10 year constant hell it is . n now this compulsive staring has started but i know i will overcome this and if i wont i really dont care about what people think of me i know what i am n iam v proud of that .

  • Sorry and in addition to those books I also read yours Jonathan – Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty which also was very helpful.

  • Jonathan, one thing that may help further would be if you elaborated more on the scripts you ask patients to write. This is something that my therapist hasn’t advised me on.

  • Hey. I’ve posted here a while before. Since then I’ve completed two rounds of CBT ad E/RP, which is twice as much as recommended. I’m 15 and was treated by a clinic which is an international specialist in child and adolescent OCD. Several months ago my therapsit described me as “subclinical”. My treatment has stopped, in terms of therapy. However I am still on 175mg of Sertraline which takes the edge off and really, really reduced my sexual obsessions at the start but I’m developed a kind of tolerance. I was in remission from the staring for months and I thought I could forget about it and be normal. But whenever I’m triggered by a stressful event (like now, I have no friends) the staring really spikes. I suppose there is no cure. Just management. This is as good as it gets for me.

  • Hi, I am really relieved to know that I am not the only one with this problem. I’m a 22 year old male, college student from Southern California and I have been suffering with OCD staring for about 6 months.

    A bit of my background story:
    I am a person who also suffers from social anxiety. I didn’t realize I had social anxiety (probably what contributes to my OCD staring) until I was 18, when I had the time to figure out what kind of person I was. Turns out I was quite shy, and I had a really bad habit of dwelling on my insecurities which eventually made me depressed. Then at about 20, I challenged myself to overcome my depression and become a person with great confidence. So I made sort of a list of goals such as make and hold eye contact, let conversations flow naturally, don’t be scared to talk to women etc. I eventually succeeded and became naturally confident with not many worries but I still live with social anxiety.

    Anyway, flash forward to around December 2012, I was 21. I went Black Friday shopping for a few sweatpants that I could wear to the gym and for lazy days when I have classes. I never thought about staring at genitals up until this time. I didn’t realize that every time I put on the sweatpants that my “bulge” would show. So whenever I wore them, men and women would always glance down at my crotch. Now, I don’t think I’m big or anything but I guess it was prominent enough for people to take notice. I didn’t think anything of it at the time until it started happening more each time I wore them. As time progressed, I really started taking notice. Whenever I was with friends, male or female, I liked to stay comfortable so I always wore my sweatpants but they would stare and it really started to bother me. Even when I went to the gym, a few people would glance down then back up to my face. I eventually got very self conscious about it so I ditched wearing sweatpants after 3 months.

    Even after I stopped wearing them, just the thought of genitals became ingrained in my mind so I started to glance down at men’s and women’s crotches too. It was a role reversal. Now I’m making THEM feel uncomfortable. Crotches are not exclusive though, I even moved on to women’s breasts. I feel very bad about it and embarrassed every time I look. Progressively it started slowly killing what I achieved to gain my confidence. Eventually OCD tore my confidence to shreds. I’m not even back at square one, i’m way further back than that to the point where I have to hide myself in my room. If I come in contact with anyone my eyes automatically lock on to their genitals. I really don’t mean it to be a sexual thing or me trying to be perverted. I more I say “don’t look” the more it happens. I can see the look only people’s faces thinking I’m some kind of freak for looking. Now I’ve lost all my friends and I’m locked in my room because I can’t bare to be face to face with anyone.

    Sorry this is so long but I had to tell my story since I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone else. They probably wouldn’t understand anyway. I’m the only person I know who does this. I just want to live a normal life again.

  • I’m so glad that I’m not alone.

    I’m a 12th grader in high school , its my last year. I’ve had this problem every since I started 9th grade for some reasonn. (Most liekly because I was diagnosed with phycosis at that time) It’s very .humiliating, and reeally makes me into a weirdo.. as you can imagine it just crushes my social life, especially with having a boyfriend , because of the fact that my “glancing” almost only accurs with males. I hate the fact that I can’t have a normal conversation with my male peers with out .having these stupid urges. I go to therapy. but not for the staring. I’m too embitter to even bring it up with m y therapist,. I don’t like this and I think it has a lot to do with social anxiety. OCD. I thought this was some weird thing I just suffered with but I’m glad to know it’s common and other normal people has the same problem.

  • I have the starring problem too. So many of us there must be a cure. I hope I am not going
    to have this the rest of my life. I am going to try to find a psychiatrist to see if I can get
    some meds. I can’t take it much longer. I guess I will be a shut in. I tried to hang out
    with some old friends and they took off running. Guess they were never my friends.
    How did this happen to me. Why has it ruined my life. I use to be the toast of my
    family now I am just an embarresment.

  • After finding this site,i sighed with relief that i am not alone,that many others suffer from this paralyzing disorder;so many stories of how this has affected their lives,the shame,the guilt,fear of being caught,the pain.I have lived this way also for over 20 years with little progress;It is so debilitating,crippling;the only thing that provides some form of solice is living as a hermit crab,isolation,extremely limited social interraction,and dark shades/sunglasses.i have no access to afford a good therapist,yet alone any medication that may help…heck i wish i could even try prozac;I tried hinting to my regular doctor about the problem,he dismissed it saying it should be a passing matter.It is interfering with quality of life.And although it forces us to question our sexuality,after years I know in my heart of hearts it is not about being gay;I know I am not gay,I am straight.I have learned now this is OCD.It gives some form of closure,but no cure.I need help,I want help.If there is a therapist who has had success with these suffering this form of OCD,please help.

    • There is help for compulsive staring. I don’t usually mention my book, but the 2nd edition just came out and there is a section on compulsive staring. Obviously the answers are not simple and for the chapter to be helpful you’d have to read the other sections. I would try to summarize here, but it would take too much space, though I think I gave a shortened version earlier in this thread.

  • I was just googling this subject and found this site. Since a couple of years ago when i’m engaging in a social conversation with a woman everything it’s ok until a thought comes to my mind. “Cannot look at her breasts”, from that thought everything starts to crumble. She can be using a high-fitting collar it doesn’t matter. It also happens with one eye persons or last week one hand amputee. The thought just switches to “cannot look to non existing hand or ruined eye”. The feeling that i’m making someone unconfortable by starring is awfull, I’m a 40 year old Portuguese man and i just think what the hell is happening to me. I Also have the need to open/close my car door twice always and check/verify if i closed the door properly. But the staring is what is messing with me.

  • I am a 33 yrs old male and I have the same problem it started when I was around 12 yrs, I’m married with two lovely doughters. I have no clue on how to deal with the problem other than just braving it out and facing each day as it comes. I’m writing to encourage those who feel as though there’s no one out there for them, I’ve lived a very isolated, timid and lonely life without real friends intimate or otherwise; coz soon as they learnt of my wierd behavior they would shun or even tell others to keep off, ‘YET’ I found a wife who loves me. Though she doesn’t fully understand why am different, she supports and encourages me. Regardless of gender, we are social beings and that aspect in us will always draw us to whomever we perseive as suitable mates. I live for my family and though at times it gets real hard I always come through by forcusing on my kids and the fact that they need me and look up to me for everything. I brave through suicidal thoughts, withdrawal, paranoia and OCD every waking day …thanks for letting me know that am not alone on this…

  • Wow I am not alone. I feel breast obsessed. It seems to get worse when I am stressed. I was doing really well for a while and it has started again. I am going to check out tools for dealing with OCD. It makes me feel terrible about myself. Perhaps reading your comments will make me allow a bit of self acceptance.

  • i am suffering from this problem for the past seven years.it even made me to drop out of college.i went to a psychiatrist and he told that i had a problem of gaze avoidance and not related to ocd and did not prescribe me any meds saying that it was normal.but i read somewhere that fluvoxamine was effective against this.what do you think??

  • *******PROGRESS–THIS CAN GET BETTER!!**********
    I have had trouble with this and my therapist believes it is from having been sexually abused when I was younger. Also, my mother was very sexual in nature and so I have learned that intimacy and sex are intertwined, making intimate situations like eye contact feel frighteningly sexual. Reminding myself of why I’m having that has helped with my shame, but not the behavior. I’ve been practicing some things and these help, hopefully one or more of these suggestions may help you too:

    If you imagine that when you look in someone else’s eye, it’s almost like it would help if there was a 3rd thing to focus on peripherally—I think that sort of dulls the sting of scary intimacy– I used to choose to make private parts that 3rd thing–which obviously makes like awkward. Instead of letting privates be the “3rd thing” you focus on, choose your breath. YES you can replace privates with your breath as an anchor point to go to when intimacy is overwhelming. At first, it will be difficult, but you can even practice while looking at pictures…instead of looking at privates, drawn attention to your breath peripherally. It’s always there. Over time, you will naturally do this and it is actually quite calming to other people because paying attention to your breath is quite grounding. It will have the opposite effect of staring at privates.

    Secondly, look away every 7 seconds. Count in your head, you can do a strong and relaxed blink or look down and to the side every 7 seconds–this is normal and makes people feel comfortable. Most people don’t like being stared at in the eye and practicing eye contact can make us more prone to staring. I think if you’re like me, you’ll find that looking away every 7 seconds gives a sense of escape and relief from the conversation and you feel less pressured and unlikely to stare inappropriately.

    Third, practice in the mirror. Look deep into your right eye, and then the left. Stay with yourself. Don’t quit early. There is something about this odd that I feel is tied with fear of being exposed or seen (that is projected onto others–fear of exposing them or seeing them). Therefore, see yourself. Get intimate with yourself in a loving way. That way, when someone makes piercing eye contact, we won’t have to jump into these odd behaviors, we can break away every 7 seconds in normal polite ways.

    Lastly,
    Practice energetic boundaries. This is kind of abstract, but if you’re sitting next to someone in a waiting room for example, and you find yourself wondering what they think of you or if they’re thinking of you, remind yourself that it is not your business. That is their energy and is separate from yours. Practicing energy boundaries in this way has stopped my peripheral staring. When it’s hard to stop focusing on other people’s perception of me, I focus on my breath–stay with your breath–feel the rise and fall…almost like you’re sitting on top of a galloping horse and each rise and fall is a gallop…don’t stray from yourself. These techniques are helpful to me and help me to stay in my own energy body. Hope these make sense!

  • Sad to say, I believe there is no cure for this problem. You have to accept your fate people. Yes you can use tricks to cope with the problems like wearing sunglasses, avoiding eye contact, talking to people who are behind desks or while walking side by side… but be warned those tricks that help you cope will make your problem worst in the long run!!!!!

    In a sense we are no different than the person with OCD who thinks he will get AIDS from door knob in a public bathroom and starts using a tissue to open the door. Simply using the tissue makes him feel better in the short run but his OCD is still present and he is giving it more power. Since his fear of AIDS is still present soon he will be worrying about more than just door knobs and his coping mechanisms will be more involved than just using a tissues. His obsessions and compulsions will become more acute.

    So every time you stay home because of this problem, every time you avoid situations, every time you avoid eye contact, every time you do whatever you do to cope with this problem you are actually making it worst in the long run. Yes you feel better in the short term but does it solve your problem, nope. It will just take you deeper and deeper into your obsession and the level of horrific suffering we already go through will continue to increase along with our social isolation.

    About me. I have no friends anymore, no girlfriend, no family that talks to me any more. I have a job and despite being the most skilled person at my company I have watched the lazy, less talented, and manipulative people get big raises and promotions ahead of me. Two months ago my hours were cut to 4 a day and while still getting the most difficult tasks passed to me. I am doing more work in 4 hours than others are doing in 12. I have saved my company millions with the processes I have put in place over the past 10 plus years, and at the same time I am the big joke of the place. But I need that job, that is all I have left and nobody in their right mind would hire me after I spend the interview staring at their genitals and or breasts.

    I can’t blame other people, I have not had a normal conversations with a single person in 3 years, the fear of looking is always the most prominent focus and thought in my mind. As time has gone on my anxiety in these situations is getting worst and interactions with other people become painful, awkward (for everybody) and humiliating. Depression and my weight are both growing, nothing is good anymore, nothing makes me happy, i get so angry sometimes it scares me, my thoughts are not clear, I am not rational anymore, my brain is fired…. but this is my life and I have accepted it.

    It all really started when I was 12. I was a different person back then I was charming, clever, funny and my family was proud of me. My Aunts would drag their husbands to my house and ask me a 12 year old to help in their marriage problems, I was a smart articulate fucker back then but I know that person anymore. I knew something inside me was not right, it was the beginning of my OCD. Then I did the worst thing I could possible do, I made I promise to my self that I would never let these thoughts effect my life in any way. It seemed like a good idea, I did not have the starting at private parts problem at the time and the thoughts were not that bad or frequent. What really did is challenge my OCD brain and put in over drive. Every year since has been worst than the last, I am in my late 30s now and I am so tired I fought it so hard.

    My last friend was my little brother, why he kept coming around I don’t know why. He went overseas and got married, it took a year for her to immigrate my Country. As the date of her arrival came closer my anxiety grew and she couldn’t wait to meet me, being alone in a new Country I am sure she expected me to be part of her support system. My brother stuck with my all these years I wanted their first day of their new life to be great, i wanted to help them in anyway I could. When she finally arrived she was wearing a low cut top, you can imagine the pleasant conversations we had next few hours. Since the they have moved on from me.

    Hundreds if not thousands of people have gone online for help with this problem and I have yet to read about a single person who has been cured. Yes It can get better and worst, I have been there and done that. There are several reasons why that happens but it always will be there your ability to cope simply changes. I believe hoping or looking for a cure only makes this obsession take a stronger hold on you. So what can you do? Nothing.

    Imagine a killer is on the other side of a door and pushing to get it and you are trying to keep the door closed. Now imagine I tell you to ignore any thoughts of the door while you are pushing against the door for your life? Not going to happen. I have overcome many OCD obsessions but this one is by far the worst.

    Nobody can control their eyes 100 percent of the time and even if you could your focus would be on controlling your eyes and you will never have a normal interaction with people. You can never get the thought out of your mind and trying will only make it worst. We are trapped in these situations with people in front of us and when an important or crucial conversations is taking place we are looking at and thinking about and trying not to think about about their private parts.

    Unlike the static door knob contamination this problem is much more dynamic. You cannot control your eyes but the way people way people move, how they sit, what they wear, what color they are wearing… what they are talking about (hey I am sorry your mother passed away but that is not going to stop me from looking at your breasts), and who your are talking to is always changing.

    I have read ERP could work by secretly looking at peoples private parts. The problem is most of the people with this problem are not doing looking at peoples private parts in a secret manner but looking repeatedly in an obvious manner. The guy who is afraid of the door knob can touch the door knob and face his fear and his anxiety will go down and eventually ERP will start to work for him. Looking at private parts secretly does not cause me any more anxiety that eating ice cream. So how could ERP possible work for us?

    I wish we could all get better, I know what you are going through. I am not trying to be negative but I feel all I can do is accept life the way it is and not worry all the time about the things we cannot change. Our brain has simply created a problem our brain cannot solve…

    • What you said about the surreptitious looking is so true. I’m perfectly capable of doing this and like you stated, it’s as easy as eating ice cream. For this reason, this particular technique has done me absolutely no good whatsoever. And the conventional ocd wisdom whereby you need to resist your compulsion is inefficient simply because the looking happens in the blink of an eye for me. I have been in situations where I was not dreading the initial interaction with another party, yet this symptom suddenly manifested himself. It’s not like I have time to psyche myself up into resisting the compulsion because by the time the compulsion has happened, it’s already too late. It happens as fast as blinking and it brings me no sense of relief whatsoever, unlike other compulsions. If anything, it makes me feel even worse about myself. I notice Dr Grayson hasn’t been back to this page and I wish he would come back and share whatever advances might have been made in ocd treatement. This ocd is different from any other symptom I’ve experienced. I also get the urge to blurt out ethnic or racial slurs in public sometimes but it’s less painful because I’m aware that I don’t actually blurt it out, the pain is more rooted in the fear of doing so. Whereas with this looking disease, I know for a fact that my behavior has been noticed and has made others uncomfortable and sometimes downright angry. No one likes being ogled and I’ve lost my career, my social life and my sanity over this. What is one to do? I can’t take it anymore. This is not how my life was supposed to go, this lonely, barren, unaccomplished, senseless existence. I can’t cope anymore.
      .

  • hi everyone. I am a guy from Bangladesh. English is not my first language. so forgive my bad gramatical problem. the ocd you guys have described here also distroyed my 2 years. but I have almost cured it now. i no longer have problem with making eye contacts and the compulsion of looking at peoples private part is almost gone.this ocd creates for shame based thought. its actually a mixed feelings of guilt, shame, self blaming, fear of being judged by others , self disgust , lower self cofidence which creates this ocd. this feeling constantly stimulate the brain which help to create this ocd. I have got this ocd because of my religiocity, because of my shame based society. to cure this ocd you need to accept the idea that there is nothing shameful about ones nudity. you dont have to feel guilty or you dont have have to indulge yourself on self disgustment because of looking at people priveate part. you have to remove the idea of being judge by others from your brain. belive me the more you think about what others are thinking about you the more you are going to look at others people private part. so it will make your situation more worse. if you are religious or still have religious mindset you have to give this idea a chance that there is nothing sinful on watching human nakedness or human sex. human nudity is natural and human sex is natural. there is no need to feel shameful if you think or watch human nudity or sex. in my early days when I usee to have this ocd I was looking for a way out. I start visualization. I closed.my eyes and wathed myself from first person view. then I created naked figure in my mind. male figure female figure. and I kept staring at there private part. at first it realy made me anxious. but little by little my anxiety started to going down. then I began to expand my focus on there whole body. and I kept telling my subconscious mind that there is nothing shameful guiltful sinful about ones nudity and there sex. its all natural. I kept watching and telling myself this lines. and also kept telling myself I dont care about other judgement. at the second phase I downloaded bunch of nude pics and sex vids. I kept staring at their private parts and asking myself what is so shameful about this thing. there is nothing shameful or sinful or disgutful shameful on human nudity. it’s all natuaral. ( do not mastarbate at this time. it will be better if you refrain yourself from mastarbating for atleasr two months. it is super necessary or you are going to fucked up again) when your brain is really going to accept nudity and sex as natural phenomenaa and stop feeling shameful disgutful sinful guilty you will notice that you are not getting aroueed by watching porn and looking at nude pics. and you will started to feel comfortable when you are looking at others. you have to change your religious beliefs and precnviced social structure. you have to create a heart that is willing to accept new idea and
    belif system. there some book I am mentionig here which I belive will help you guys. (( healing the shame that binds you)) ((sex and god by darrel ray)) ((the brain that change itself)) (( the emotion code)) hope what I have writ will help you guys. you need to keep practice ing this methods daily and do not try to avoid eye contact nomatter what your mind say you are beautiful thank you.

  • the more i think about this, the more i think i have this from comparing my body to others. I’m a girl. and i am jealous in my relationship. in order to assess my competition, i became more and more aware of other people’s body. i started to obsess over making sure how good or bad someones body looked compared to mine. now it is tied to my need to look away from shame that i already had…the 2 combined. i am practicing accepting my body how it is and not comparing. it is getting better from that. i also look at myself in the mirror and practice eye contact that way.

  • Hi All,

    Like Germain said, After finding this site,i sighed with relief that i am not alone. Has been suffering with similar problem for around 2 years. I stare at cleavage / bra straps / gap between the body and loose outfit / neck line that are deeper, with the possibility of showing the cleavage, very short sleeves with armpit partially visible when arms move etc. I don’t stare at boobs, sleeveless tops, micros, what ever, even at a naked woman.
    This is causing serious issues in my life. Cant even speak to my friends/colleagues/relatives without making a stare. I can make eye contacts for the whole time / or look some where else but make me feels weird. Seeing me starring, people will start checking their cleavage or adjust their dress.

    This all started after a period of high stress & anxiety. Had GERD and used to see things in slow motion.
    At least now i can tell people who are very close to me that this is a disorder/whatever, so please excuse.

  • Am so happy to know that there exists this terrible compulsion in many of us. It doesn’t make sense at all as there is total self loathing and misery when I look at men’s crotches and women’s breasts. Having been afflicted with this terrible problem for they past 12 years, I am now at the end of my rope.

    Can we form a secret support group in fb or at least in yahoo?

    I live in India, in a conservative south Indian society where people are totally unable to comprehend such a behaviour. I have tried meditation and auto suggestions which are of some benefit. My actual prob is that when the person in front is not Lookin at me I do not state at their privates. It’s rather strange, more like i I am willfully humiliating myself by looking at their privates only when they are looking at me.

    Peace be on all of us and May God bless and guide us.

  • There is abs no sexual pleasures in all of this and going by the above comments and trauma in most of the posts, there is a sense of dread and self loathing.

    I
    My own effort at reducing this problem would be this~ spend ten minutes at least everyday and mentally send strong positive thought too your brain. Command it to look only at the eyes off another. Eventually you will see lot of positive effects. The mind and brain will HAVE to listen and the severity/frequency of staring will come down

  • Oh thank God this is OCD and hopeful l y can be helped? I thought I was a singular freak isolated for the remaining duration of my life. I have been on Ritalin for over a year and just now realized this started shortly after I started taking it. I’ve always had some I guess “obtrusive thoughts” mostly about my health but never thought of ocd, I don’t repeat behaviors etc. Until this hell started when someone’s top at work slipped and i got an embarrassing eyeful and got worried about noticing someone’s Breast again, and wham it’s all I notice, other women’s breasts, and now any male female sex areas. I t s ruined my prof, social and even family life as it happens with everyone. It’s even lead me to question my sexuality although I find it off putting noticing it h err women’s breasts. It wasn’t t until my husband said it though it might be anxiety related. Thank God for him STanding by me through this. Please tell me th u s problem can be undone.

  • Hi,
    The first time this happened I was the new girl in a 5th grade class. A girl passed a note to me and I it said, “Stop Staring”. Then either that day or shortly there after I found myself staring at a boy’s private parts and I did it so long everyone started talking about it. For some reason I could not look away. In high school, it was rumored I was gay because I would stare at other girl’s breasts. The worst happened about 10 years ago (I am 50 now) when we were getting my sister ready for her wedding and one of her friends daughter was there and I was looking into the mirror and staring at her butt (she was wearing very short shorts). When I looked up in the mirror I could see her mom with a upset expression on her face like I was some sort of pervert. I felt like she thought I was having some private thoughts about her daughter and I was not thinking about anything just listening to everyone else talk and staring inappropriately.

    This is my worry now. For about four years I taught middle school at a catholic school. This was not a problem for me. The reason is that the students all have on uniforms so nothing is exposed and I never had a problem with this there. But I am not catholic and would like to teach again but I am so afraid of teaching in the public schools where the students will not be covered up completely. At the same time, I would like better pay and a pension. So, I kept trying to find what mental disorder I have that makes me do this. I am glad to read it is OCD. I do see a therapist for depression and plan to discuss this with her at my next meeting. Now I would in a biotech lab and we all wear lab coats. I love it. There is nothing to stare at and I do not have a problem with this at work.

    I am reading a lot of shame in the comments and I share that feeling of shame. I have read that shame is when you move from feeling guilty (I did something wrong) to I am wrong. It is so nice to know I am not alone. I have spent the last few days trying different ways of finding this type of group and I am so happy to read I am not alone. I am a good person who is in no way perverted. But I don’t know if I can have this type of OCD and teach school.

  • Wow this is one worrying thread. I’m another sufferer and thought that it was just me but seeing the amount of people that this issue affects and the duration they’ve suffered for is seriously scary. This affects me with family and friends and so far avoidance and isolation has been the way of things, but i’ve started a new job and avoidance isn’t an option any more, I think that sometimes getting it out in the open can take the power out of it but I haven’t had the guts to tell anyone about it, other than my partner.

    I’ve been trying for a few years to deal with this issue myself and have had a few minor successes. One of the most recent successes was in saying yes to it rather than no and then trying to will it to happen, sort of like a form of paradoxical intention but really trying to enjoy it and embrace it as part of me and then going polar opposite and trying to use appreciation, actually appreciating this symptom, thanking it for making me look at life in a different manner thanking it for making me look for answers and to learn so much about the mind, it’s easier said than done but it seems to take some of the charge out of it and reduce the anxiety that preludes any form of social interaction.

    One thing i KNOW and that is there is a way to get through this, keeping looking, keep searching for answers and we can get there. If you find any answers please fire them up here and together we can do it!!

    I haven’t read the entire thread but I just want to ask, has anyone tried talking with a person who they’ve had a problem of staring at and telling them about the problem? If so, has it helped?

    I found the following quote on yahoo just prior to finding this thread, I haven’t tried it but anythings worth a blast at this point, apologies for the crudeness of it…

    “Maybe transferring the point of interest will help. Try imagining their eyes as breasts or even little round vaginas. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised ;)”

  • I am suffering from the same issue for many years now. It’s painful. but I am tired of it. I will very strongly believe that there is cure for that. I am repeating it in my mind.. I am repeating with myself” I overcame many obstacles.. I can overcome this too.” I started to talk about it.. to my friends.. Dr. Grayson, Hope see you soon in LA. Does not matter where..Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Marina Del Ray, Santa Monica, Torrance, Redondo Beach.. anywhere will be good. I will come and see you.

  • Dr. Grayson, I have been told by my therapist that i am hyper aware of where my eyes are looking and that i am normal except for lacking some eye contact. That people look at private areas naturally and everyone can control where there eyes go. I need to know if this can be true that i am normal and just hyper aware of my eyes looking or is this some psychological trick used to get me to stop looking.

  • Update: i have asked two people in my life that i do it to and they said they havent noticed anything unusual or specifically me looking at their crotches. So i do not have this problem but it is just in my head

  • I had ocd of uncontrollable staring at women’s breast and hip (exposed when women is wearing sarie) for few years in my early 20’s. Ashamed of this behaviour i started avoiding visits to relatives.
    Later this has developed into unavoidable looking at men’s genital area. Although i dont think or observe anything, fear of they feel uneasy and insulted lead me into severe anexiety. Later i could not avoid my eyes moving to sideways if i feel someone looks at my side. I felt I was silently disturbing others and out of stress I made fun of myself to show others I have some problem. This led me into big public shame and subsequetly greater stress. I have been suffering from ocd for more than 12 years, undergone stress, suicidal thought etc. I will write in detail later.

    Solution: my doctor suggested fluvoxmine 100mg initially and later prescribed 200mg. This helped about 40%. After 2 years I have taken Ayurvedic treatment for stress. Few sessions of Shirodhara (oil pouring on head) immeadiately given me enough mind strength to control anexiety and eyes. I was also prescribed Saraswatarishta and Bramhi gritham (easily available in all Ayurvedic shops. Not costly.commonly prescribed for small kids also. Best consult Ayurvedic doctor). Shirodhara effect will last for few weeks/months depending on lifestyle. I take it 2-3 sessions every few months, but regularly continuing with above medicines including fluvoxine. That almost cured me.

    Personal advice
    1. Never ever announce your condition public except loved ones. People might think declared crazy.
    2. Wear bit dark glasses where necessary. You can say eye watering, Itching etc. intead of undergoing shame, stress. It might even help you almost out of stress.
    3. Change the place if you feel ashamed at present location.

  • I realize that I first shared my story in 2009. We are now in 2015 and my problem remains. Things have gotten worse for me. I’ve gotten fired from 2 jobs and my career is pretty much over. Haven’t worked for 2 years and my elderly mother now supports me financially. I’ve become a hermit. My psychiatrist has pretty much given up on me and suggested that I apply for disability support from the government. She has maintained for years that cognitive behavioral therapy was not indicated for my illness because of the trauma component of it and has refused to steer me in that direction. I don’t have the means to pay an independent psychologist and I’m dependent on the free care that is being offered to me through universal health care. I’ve had a suicide attempt and a hospital stay, followed by more therapy (again not cognitive behavioral. I’ve had this once several years ago but the therapist was a wrong fit as she was unable to cope with the shock she felt from my other symptoms). I’m 47 years old now and I feel that I have nothing to live for. I’m at the end of my rope. If anyone has conquered this with the help of a therapist, please share a comprehensive description of the methods used. I know I’m asking for a lot but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t think I will make it another year. All my dreams and aspirations in life have been crushed by this disease. I’ve been on medication for years. It has helped somewhat with the depression but not the OCD. And the continued OCD brings me back into depression. My mother has paid a gym membership for me along with training sessions but I’m staring at the trainer and I feel I may have to give it up. I’m this close to a second attempt. Help.

  • Hello everyone,

    I’m so incredibly depressed to be back on this page after so many years. At first, knowing that there were people out there who had the same problem made me feel less alone but now it just makes me feel sad and weighed down. I’m still struggling with this and I’m making a last ditch effort at saving myself. I haven’t worked in 3 years. Ijust started with a new CBT therapist and I’m pouring just about every penny I have left into this course of treatment. Once I’m out of money, I guess I’ll be on social assistance. I’ve actually reached the 20 year mark with this disease and it’s still showing no signs of relenting. I’ve only had 3 sessions so far and all that the therapist has done is make me fill out questionnaires and give me some basic info about ocd that I already know because I’ve purchased just about every book on the topic. I’m so scared this is going to fail because I’m near broke and I’ve run out of options. I’m supposed to go back to school in the fall. I’ve actually been admitted to university again. I don’t know if I’ll be able to follow through (mentally and financially). If this new round of therapy doesn’t work, I feel it’s over for me. I’m putting everything on the line. As I progress (or not) through treatment, I will come back to this page and leave some feedback on how it’s going and what my therapist is telling me. Nothing would make me more grateful in this world than to beat this and help others along the way. I feel like I’ve been incarcerated for 20 years and purging a life sentence. I didn’t marry, didn’t have kids, no friends, my career was ruined. This disease took everything away from me and I’m trying to start over, wipe the slate clean. I notice one person has said that he/she no longer experiences the symptoms but has not shared anything about the techniques employed to get to that point. If anyone has tips or techniques that help them, please share.

    • Hi Nina. You responded to the post I made last year. I just wanted to tell you to hang in there. I have had this problem/thought for around 20 years but did not start to drastically effect life until 4 years ago when it was combined with another thought and my life, strength, happiness, relationships, my soul have completely been destroyed. I am not the same person anymore and I don’t know who I am.

      Right now I am having the hard time with breasts, i think because it is so close to the eyes and in my field of vision. I remember not understanding why men bother looking a woman’s cleavage. I mean the area pretty much looked the same once they are in a bra, and did not understand the fixation, so even though I had this problem with men’s groinal area I was ok with women until 4 years ago.

      I really have fallen apart, especially mentally but I just try my best and i have accepted where i am and were i am probably going to be some day, so i dont fight it and sometimes i don’t care but i still look or focus on not looking. Sometimes I give myself full permission to look as much as I want and I helps belive it or not. Yes I actually don’t look but am still not present during conversation because i still think about it 100% of the time.

      I am in a bad place, I have several other OCD thoughts that are gaining strength of late. My battery is dying but I have done a couple of thing that have helped. I will post them later, maybe they will help you. I feel like I am too far gone.

    • Hi Nina and everyone,

      I have had this problem for about 20 years – sometimes worse than others. Primarily with breasts as they are prominent in my vision but also with crotches or bare excessive exposed skin – anything inappropriate really! Friggin ‘nightmare’ etc.

      During it all I managed to fall in love, get married and have kids – four lovely ones. I kept my ‘Body Conscious’ Staring (as I have labeled it) a secret for the most part but it is very exhausting not being ‘in the room’ or ‘in the moment’ and like others at times I have felt that blindness or not being here (prior to having my family) would be better than living my life with this ‘monster’.

      Having a career or normal social life has been difficult and sometimes non existent but I’ve lived with it. It does take the edge of the happy things in my life as I feel that everything is clouded when I’m out socially or we have visitors but because I owe it to myself and others I push on one way or another. Even though some people may have noticed and I’ve often been very upset I know that I’m a good person and that it is a condition – lots of people suffer worse fates and on the plus side it ensures that I am a very empathetic person with an understanding of living with a mental disorder. I always like to find the silver lining in every bad situation – even the bleakest situations afford a glimmer of something more…a new bud.

      I’ve had mild SSRI’s for a short time but they tend to stop orgasms which I did not want to give up to my problem….you can only take some much BC OCD!!! (Body Conscious OCD) as I will now refer to it.

      My husband is now a Psychiatrist (we met at College prior to his Medical Degree – we’re both working class? Not sure if class has a bearing but in Medicine there not much working classes) and mostly we ignore my issue as he tells me that I am coping very well with the problem and that he feels my social skills are good. He sees patients with mental health issues that do act inappropriately and that suffer very outward mental health issues and so on a scale, us BC OCD sufferers probably figure quite low on a scale of 1 to 10 on Mental Health where 10 involves Sectioning.

      However he is very sympathetic when we have time to contemplate it (with four kids and his career this is difficult sometimes!) – perhaps when I’m struggling again we re-talk it and recently hes looked at this forum and reflected upon it and he feels that my problem is routed in my core beliefs of self. I had a somewhat dysfunctional childhood with alcoholic father and family separation so that may play a part in why I don’t feel an equal to/the same as others – I do feel like a ‘weirdo’ and that they will notice that I am not normal when I am having any interactions due to my BC OCD. Like most other sufferers, I can look back and remember the ‘trigger’ incident. For me, I was in a pub with friends aged about 19 and I was coming down from some recreational drugs and drinking when I because embarrassed as I realised that during conversation I noticed how by my friends breasts were – they are pretty big by the way – it was not an attraction thing, but anyway, one of the guys with us noticed – he is actually a bit of a perv but thats by the by – it just seems that his joking about it and my embarrassment at how inappropriate it was and that I was a bit weird all ‘collided’ and the seed was sown.

      I know that we will talk about it again soon and he mentioned that I could try ERP – Exposure, Response Assignments – this is where you allow yourself to stare at breasts/crotches etc. (for a short time) and do not worry if people notice. This can be done in social places like shopping centres, coffee shops etc. Like he said, ‘what is the worst that can happen’ ‘if people notice – so what?’ we are all used to being looked at and often dismiss these glances. What I and we need to try to do is not think of how to cure this problem as others have mentioned – we all have body’s so you will always see other peoples body’s and most people look at all the same parts that we do – like my hubby said, he’ll glance at a crotch, or breasts or exposed legs etc but has not created this negative thought association with it and social anxiety. Wouldn’t it be good to downscale the problem and learn that it is part of who we are? Tell your brain that its noticing the parts but that you can dismiss the thoughts or leave them hanging ‘on the side’ of your brain as you deal with more important things in your life? It’s only BC OCD and is just a part of you not the sum of who you are – we all deserve so much more in life.

      So what we can all do as sufferers is give ourself a break – we’re not that bad – so what if we notice things and have a problem noticing things that we feel most people do not have a problem with? I believe that part of healing from this problem is just accepting it – medication is not the answer as most people have tried those – downgrading your BC OCD mentally is the key. The best way to do this is to keep busy and active – helathy diet, healthy mind, get involved, excercise, volunteer, get a small job…have achievements that improve your self esteem – see a therapist, do some therapy techniques….whatever small things you can do every day to downgrade your BC OCD . I am really positive that we can live with it – we are all living proof of that – lets just give it less power? Even if you do have ‘reversion’ days when it all comes on top again, give yourself another break – love yourself completely, BC OCD ‘wart’ n all.

      I will talk with my husband some more about proper therapy tips and techniques if anyone would like? – he really is very understanding and maybe only in the last week or so since he’s read up about others on this site has he gained a true understanding of how I ‘suffer’ as all BC OCD sufferers will know – we are all very good at living the lie – he still loves me the same, if not more and likewise you will find that acceptance in others – you have found it from me and we all have it for each other on this site – I have an affinity to you all even though your strangers and I know that you are a good person. One other thing my husband did say (and is also available as advice on this video link in which a woman discusses her BC OCD http://www.thedoctorstv.com/articles/2778-woman-s-unusual-obsessive-compulsion ) is that usually intrusive thoughts are the opposite to what we would act on/we don’t understand why we have the intrusive thought as we don’t want to think it). Really the problem is what we think others think of us? But surely, it is more important what we think of ourselves? Don’t let your BC OCD tell you that you are a weirdo or not normal – why allow our complex brain to destroy our self esteem in an ongoing way? It’s a difficult one to understand.

      Our condition does not have a proper name and may be a mixture of OCD and Social Anxiety – my husband says it does not fit in to the description of OCD as it currently stands so that is why treatment is difficult – whilst we are all looking in to this further and gaining an understanding of how we can cope why not look at the silver linings and good things – go and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are okay. It’s not that bad. It’s a disorder. I can bring some order to it. I deserve to feel good. I can feel good about myself even though I have OCD. Re-train your brain about how lovely you are. BTW this post is also directed at me!

      I am interested in responses and creating a group – I live an hour from London – maybe we can all help give BC OCD less dominance in our lives – why not try that instead of fueling the fire with negative thoughts – bombard it with positivity!

      PS. the old saying ‘you are your own worst enemy’ comes to mind 🙂

  • I just typed not recalling that I had left a message on here 3 months ago. Hadn’t even checked to see if there was a response but I see today that there wasn’t anyway. Perhaps this page is no longer active.

  • Some people say there isn’t a cure for this type of OCD and I completely agree because ALL people look at private parts. Private parts can’t disappear from people’s bodies. We are monitoring 24/7 where our eyes are and that is the problem. When you are looking to someones eyes you notice the breasts because they are part of the peripheral vision. Yes I sometimes glance but I’m trying to not give it importance. This OCD is not about looking is about feeling we are freaks, perverts etc. It is a shame disease. So we need to heal the shame, practice positive thinking, exercise and don’t care what other people think about us (and also stop trying to guess what they think about you which in most cases you will think is negative). Love yourself as much as you can and things can start changing.

  • Hi There
    I have been suffering from this problem for the last 15 years. I certainly feel medications may not help this problem. I feel behavioral therapy-group therapy(a similar group having same obsession that is staring) meet and talk about this problem. The benefit of meeting like minded who will understand you better . This in turn should reduce the anxiety and stress and possible desensitize this problem time over a period of time.we need to get our lives back !!! If anybody interested in starting a group in UK please let me know

  • One thing a therapist told me was that I was uncomfortable around people. So much so, that I involuntarily stare at them inappropriately to make them feel as uncomfortable as I feel and that this works to drive them away. A defense mechanism, she stated, never mentioned OCD. I am mainly introverted and have always wondered if this issue was connected to my tendency to withdraw and isolate from people due to a tendency to live “in my mind” more than in the real world. I guess it may be a case of which came first, the issue or how I’ve come to deal with it, truly don’t know. Even though it’s comforting to find all these sites and know I’m not suffering alone. The bigger surprise is the lack of what’s next and the courage to walk those steps. Thanks to everyone and the doctors who are sharing too.

    • Trisha,
      Although what your therapist told you may be true, the fact she wasn’t aware that this is a form of OCD makes her observation suspect. A good portion of those with the staring problem are uncomfortable around people and, usually, your OCD “grabs” on to this and further increases your discomfort. Why would this happen? One of the traits most OCD sufferers share is creativity. I don’t know if you think you are creative, but the core of creativity resides in a single question: What if? Your creativity is not your OCD, but it is misused by your OCD. When we are normally creative, we think about all kinds of things and the possible consequences. When OCD is in control, we ask a question and respond with, “Oh no! That can’t happen…”
      You, like most people, think of creativity as something used for art, but the evolutionary reason for creativity is survival: Where is the tiger and how can I make sure it doesn’t eat me? Where is the tiger, is there some way I can eat it? In the modern world, creativity isn’t only physical, but mental, what is a threat to my self. If I’m socially anxious and worry about what people think of me or my actions, OCD will ramp this up so that I worry about and seek reassurance for anything I do or I worry, what if I’m making everything worse by doing x (in your case, staring)? Some people with obsessive staring don’t actually do it, but worry about it. Others find themselves doing it. Way earlier in this thread I talk about sneak peeking as a part of the exposure and response prevention treatment for this. Others have noted that they have difficulty doing this or it didn’t work. Although it is discussed in the updated version of my book, it is something very hard to institute on your own. If you live in the right area, I may be able to recommend an OCD expert near you (send me an e-mail through my website, LAOCDTreatment.com. Take care and I hope this was helpful.
      take care,
      Jon Grayson

      • Dr Grayson,

        I feel that CBT therapists might be overlooking an important component of this type of ocd when they are trying to counsel people and should look towards incorporating specific, practical geared CBT techniques with some measure of psychotherapy instead of relying on this one component that is exposure and prevention.

        The reason I say this is because a lot of us have clearly alluded to the fact that social anxiety and the fear of other’s judgment of us plays a huge part in the development and continuance of this specific form of ocd disorder. If you read all the entries on here, they all seem to share that common point. ALL OF US long to have better interpersonal relationships and social skills (be it in a professional or personal setting) and ALL OF US are being hindered by the fear of others noticing our disorder and thinking of us as asocial and freaks. Which is why I believe that all the techniques about using an elastic or surreptitiously looking at private parts are not working for the majority of us. Although I’m sure some of these techniques might be useful IN CONJUNCTION with the lack of confidence and fear of rejection being addressed, they do not work on their own. Which is why you are having people suffering from this from 20+ years and still being unable to get past it.
        Quite a few posters also mention cultural attitudes towards sexuality that end up being a hindrance. In my case, I believe there is some of that at play and it was intensified by the sexual trauma I experienced in my 20’s and the shame I was subjected to about it from my community.

        You have been exploring this problem for a long time and in my humble opinion, I think it’s time for mental health professionals to fine tune your approach a little bit and include the notion of shame and fear of judgment/social anxiety into a your therapeutic approach. This is from someone who has been suffering from this for 20 + years and who has had a LOT of time to think about it. I would love to find a professional who is capable of successfully blending CBT techniques and psychotherapy in a way that these two approach blend seamlessly instead of being in conflict. I have yet to find the proper help after all this time and frankly, I’m becoming suicidal.

        • Nina,
          I do think the “sneak peeking” is an important part of treatment, but what you say is very important and needs to be a part of treatment I’m sorry if it seemed like I thought treatment could simplistically could be a single component. Because this is a blog, all of the other factors that may play a role in someone’s personal treatment, both the OCD and non-OCD components are too much to include. For example, you refer to a sexual trauma that you suffered from; treatment would absolutely have to look at that, the OCD problem, and how you are currently functioning or not. I’m curious where you are located, in case I’m aware of a professional who would be able to meet your needs. You can send that to my private e-mail drjg17@hotmail.com.
          – Jon Grayson

  • I have a few insights, due to having this OCD for 2 years now. I’ve been up to where I thought it was over. I’ve been down to where I was ready to die It comes from the fear of what others will think of you. It comes from complusive thinking. The only way to get over it; is to be the same way you were before you had it or noticed you had it. Dont care… Not one bit. For me it comes and goes. When on medication or under the influence my mind isn’t preoccupied with thoughts of fear therefore im free. Just dont care, relax and focus not on the person, but in the person. Who are they and what do they have to say. If needed be glance to the side a few seconds then land right back on the eyes. Enjoy your life regardless of what people think of you. Im going down stairs now to try to practice what im preaching. Cheer me on because all of us who understand, cheer you on aswell. Also ask god for help. Godbless

  • Dear Grayson,

    I work on developing an effective plan for compulsive staring for myself. As you know, there are very limited information about it. Despite this, I was able to form a self-directed treatment plan and trying to apply it daily.

    I am curious about why experts gave a little thought to cs and didn’t do in-depth research. I’ve came across some case examples about cs but haven’t find fulfilling solution especially for exposure. As you can suggest, If you want to ward off OCD, you should be an exposure maniac 🙂

    Knowing that E/RP is the key and the one and only treatment for compulsive staring, you’re experiencing a dilemma how to create an exposure hierarchy.
    I am saying that, if you try to overcome the disorder related cs, as the same time, you need to create and develop a treatment solution. There may be an exception for who can have chance to get right therapy directly from experts like you.

    I believe, the right therapy for cs should involve social anxiety therapy tools, especially exposures. Applying social anxiety exposures may help in two ways. First, you can attack your avoidance behavior directly, and can realize and alter your problematic behavior patterns. Second, you can have opportunities to train yourself not to focus on people related fears which is number one issue for compulsive staring. Because of having experienced problems about compulsions rather than obsessions in cs, mastering respond prevention needs hard work and only can achieve living an active life.It is a hard work because there are some pitfalls that need to realize so as to do effective exposures. That work insists, continually implementing right behavior patterns that learned after each social exposures; tolerating erroneously misapplying that right behavior patterns; trying to give up old useless behavior patterns; using each opportunity to being active both socially and physically.

    Dear Grayson,

    I am writing you to be able to find that missing point about compulsive staring exposures. Could you share any information about necessary exposures to achieve total immersion.

    Best.

    • Aaron,
      For the exposure part of treatment, I suggest sneak peaking as mentioned in the earliest response to this thread. You should look at Nina’s most recent comment dated 7/28/15 as it notes the importance of a therapist not only paying attention to this, but to the whole person and other issues that may be directly related to this form of ocd.
      – Jon Grayson

      • Dr.Grayson,
        There is an issue that needs to be cleared up about sneak peaking.
        If I understand Erp and Sneak peaking correctly;
        When using ERP for compulsive staring, one needs to resist checking (staring) a stimuli more than once.
        When (sneak) peaking, one should look at stimuli quickly and secretly on purpose. Even if these two strategy seems like to be contrary to each other, there must be a logic …

        In what circumstances, one should use sneak peaking? For example, when talking to a colleague, he is trying to resist staring by using Erp, when does he use sneak peaking.?

        What to do, if sneak peaking turns mistakenly into a checking ritual? In other words, how can oneI distinguish sneak peaking from a checking ritual if he is peaking two, three, four or more?

        A.

  • Dr.Grayson,
    There is an issue that needs to be cleared up about sneak peaking.
    If I understand Erp and Sneak peaking correctly;
    When using ERP for compulsive staring, one needs to resist checking (staring) a stimuli more than once.
    When (sneak) peaking, one should look at stimuli quickly and secretly on purpose. Even if these two strategy seems like to be contrary to each other, there must be a logic …

    In what circumstances, one should use sneak peaking? For example, when talking to a colleague, he is trying to resist staring by using Erp, when does he use sneak peaking.?

    What to do, if sneak peaking turns mistakenly into a checking ritual? In other words, how can oneI distinguish sneak peaking from a checking ritual if he is peaking two, three, four or more?

    A.

  • Hello,

    I see that you have not published my posts which are intended to offer help to people suffering the same condition as me?

    Please can you reply and advise why? Perhaps it works better for you if people are in need of treatment and worried without tips and help from other sources? If so shame on you.

  • Hi Bridie;

    There are very active online support groups. One of them is
    OCD-Support@yahoogroups.com

    Unfortunately, there is limited information about compulsive staring but I believe, Dr.Grayson is one of the experts who knows very well this type of OCD.

    Further, you can contact me by pressing my name that links to my website…
    Best..

  • My life is a hell i didn’t knew what was happening to me until I read this article, I’ve 24
    And I’ve ocd, most of the time involuntary thoughts about my sexual orientation, recently this has decreased a little bit but now I’ve noticed that when I’m talking to people even my own family and people that i love I look at they parts that makes me sick cause also i can’t look a the eyes of the people, i can’t enjoy my life the little things that made feel a little bit alive now are nothing, my feelings about the closest people to me had changes i feel nothing, my expression my way to communicate with people it’s worst than a little child even that I’ve tried to go against this, all days i try to fight against this shit, I have lost a lot of friends and potentially nice girls that I’ve been with, I’m not in the USA im in Mx, I would really like to join an Facebook group forum or something to see if Sharing my emotions can improve something. Feel free to respond comment or whatever you want

  • Hi everyone, I suffer from this same peculiar type of OCD manifestation, and I take it as the disease feeding on the exact thing that I have the greatest fear of. Here are some things I’ve done that have helped me ease the symptoms a lot, on a good stretch, I can be free from staring and if I do, not be conscious about it for a good 5 days of absolute bliss, but usually it comes back because I have lapsed or well, I am walking on what is a very long road to recovery and I am not perfect.

    Firstly, it was important for me to recognise and remind myself that this is primarily an anxiety disorder. So if I start to stare or have the thought, it means I am for whatever reason, feeling anxious. I start to immediately take a deep breath, notice if I am being tense in any area of the body and try to relax. These few movements usually take me a bit elsewhere, away from what I am doing and inwards into more self care and awareness.

    Diet, nutrition and exercise are paramount. Caffeine is a big no no for me now, and I attribute my anxiety and nervousness to being over-caffeinated for many years from double and triple shot espressos working in a high octane and demanding work environments. Now, I choose herbal tea, but still occasionally relapse, especially when I get complacent and feel like I have a handle on it, when in fact, I really don’t. Running, swimming, yoga, meditation and also prayer should become daily and weekly habits. If you try fasting even juice fasting for at least 3 days it also does wonders for mental clarity and focus, taking you into a zone of inner awareness and away from overthinking, doubt and anxiety that is the cause of OCD staring. The main goal is to achieve inner peace, and that’s when all these melt away.

    I found the supplement 5HTP to be extremely helpful for me, in boosting mood and also OCD is and can be a neurobiological condition, where certain synapses of the brain have just been wired together. I akin to OCD and overthinking to be being stuck in a locked groove pattern. Where the same negative thought runs through the same groove over and over again without moving on. I’ve read that everyone thinks of the same intrusive or negative thoughts, the thing is that for other people, they are able to brush these thoughts away without thinking twice, or they are able to let it go on by without catastrophising or thinking that it is an indicator of being an inner devil, which clearly you are not. OCD sufferers will overinflate and overemphasize these every day thoughts until they overtake the mind and it soon becomes all that your mind is preoccupied with. I know because I’ve been there.

    What I’ve also found useful is thought labelling. When I have a thought negative or otherwise, it is important to filter it and label it and place it in the correct category – so my brain process will be something like when a thought comes through, I label it as, comparison thought, OCD thought, catastrophising thought, fortune telling thought etc and brush it away appropriately. When you can reach a state of constant mind hygiene, you reach a really good place. Mental hygiene is as important as physical hygiene, so it is important to keep your thoughts clean – not by burying them or suppressing them or pushing them away, but by accepting them and then letting them go.

    Acceptance is another huge topic, and it seems totally counter intuitive, but the moment you are able to completely love yourself and accept your OCD as simply part of who you are, miraculously, it doesn’t bother you as much as before, or at all, and the less chance it has to trigger and upset you, and soon you will see that it just goes away by itself. Like I mentioned, this is a long process, it takes a lot of mindfulness training and discipline, it means a change in lifestyle for some. But for those of us whose social lives are being hindered and the choices we make affected by this condition, it is well worthwhile to stop whatever you are doing in its tracks, and to seek a different neuron pathway – to build new paths in the brain that are about love, gratitude, kindness and compassion towards yourself and others. It takes years to undo what you have conditioned within yourself, but change is totally possible.

    Dry eyes and bad vision – all possible. I have a dry eye condition and I also refuse to wear spectacles all the time though I have a low degree. This means perhaps my eyes have trouble focusing and when they do focus, they focus on sadly, someone’s private parts. I also have a tendency to look down when I speak, which brings my peripheral vision closer to the offensive area. I also was not able to look people in the eye for ages – till today I find it uncomfortable but these are all symptoms of someone who has a low self-esteem, low self worth or low self confidence. When you fix all these and rebuild your confidence by taking care of yourself, your inner self and your mind and your body, you will slowly regain everything back.

    I am lucky to only be a pure O – obsessional and not compulsive, and I know that it is on a mild spectrum, but still having to experience myself and my eyes drift innocuously to someone’s private parts, multiple times and to everyone is perhaps the worst offence my mind can do to myself…

    Personally, I refuse to take any medication as I have heard too many personal accounts from friends who suffer from ADHD, depression and etc that their medication only created the condition, made it more real, and sadly for some that their psychiatrists appeared to be more interested in selling the drug than ever curing them. I am not saying that this is the case for everyone, but although the methods I have mentioned above take hard work and is a long process, you have to get off your butt and get moving and meditate and do all the necessary inner work and the results take longer (it’s not like popping a pill), it is much better for you in the long run and it is absolutely possible. I wish you all the best.

    I wish you all the best.

  • I’m 16 and I have suffered this for more than a year already. A few months back I attempted suicide. However it didn’t work out the way I expected and I was still alive. No one knows about this disorder I have. Its so embarassing. I think it was because I was physically abused and feared(tortured)emotionallly, by my father from the time I was 5 till even now and the lies I’ve been told by my ex best friend who has compulsive lying. And maybe because my aunt my dad’ sister has this. I’m not exactly sure, maybe not. I look at my family, friends,classmates, teachers, children, strangers people at school young or old male or female. I don’t have friends anymore. I used to before this condition but betrayed me. I am attending college by this year. I don’t what to do. I ‘ll be living by myself in a whole new city, new york. I’m so scared. There are times I try so hard not to look at people’s private parts and I almost get hit my cars as I was not focusing on the road. I think one day I will just get hit. Basically I completely avoid people looking them in the eyes. If I do I will look down at their private part. I avoid people. In public I feel like everyone’s eyes are on me. I try to not look at anyone in public and I feel like my head is paining as if I’m in another world and I’m not attached to my body. I always sleep to avoid looking at people, read something, look down it is so bad as I have scoliosis. I don’t know what I am living for. Maybe for a good future and someone who accepts me and for my grandma and my family. Or maybe a hope of happiness. I tell myself if things do not work out ten years later I will commit suicide again.
    Everyone out there suffering just think that you are much better than people who are murderers, rapists, go and stare all you want who cares about them, that they don’t matter to you, think of the happy time you didnt suffer from this, don’t think that you are unnormal and maybe think everyone is someone you love as you tend to stare lass at people you trust. Like I feel comfortable with my family more. AND REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I don’t know if this disease can be cured. But I guess I’ll stay strong and have some hope for now. I guess this might be for the rest of my life, I won’t get married, be happy etc. But I remember once when I wasn’t like this and how much hope and chances I had.
    Thank you. Please stay for me. Somewhere out there someone loves you. Me. You can contact me if you need anything. I’m glad to care about you.

  • Hi, I’m 25 years old and a female who recently lost all my friends because of the wandering eye when I’m highly anxious around people. They were the closest friends I had since I moved from my hometown as a teenager and it was all within a night that i had to cut everyone out because this girl noticed and told all of our friends which lead them to begin to watch me and where I l was looking. Seeing that they were watching me in social events only made my anxiety worse and made it even harder to make eye contact with anyone resulting in me looking away and catching private parts in an attempt to look away. There were three different instances when I was hanging out with my “friends” that I overheard them discussing me doing this, generally saying that they thought i was bi because of it. This only made me more anxious and difficult to make eye contact for fear of them judging me. But in reality I’ve never felt attracted to women and this happens with anyone and everyone because I find it difficult to make eye contact. I felt completely lost and alone and didn’t know who to turn to. Luckily I had been reconnecting with an ex boyfriend before this happened and I can whole heartedly say that if it weren’t for him, I would have fell into a deep depression after losing these friends and deciding to change my job of 6 years. Granted, I could’ve stayed there(all the friends I lost all worked with me) and dealt with my coworkers judging me and talking behind my back yet acting fake to my face, but I refused to have to put myself through that. After researching this I’ve realized that there are a a lot of people dealing with the same issue. I was relieved that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy. Since then I’ve become more comfortable in knowing that it’s not just me which has made my social anxiety decrease exponentially. Since then I worked on avoiding starring at privates accidentally by looking past people when I walk around or walk into rooms. I just look at the wall behind their heads (that way it kind of looks like I’m looking at their faces versus trying to look at the floor and catching privates accidentally) which eliminates trying to find something to look at. I know everyone is different so this may not help anyone else but I will say that since I’ve been doing this, it’s become increasingly easier to not look at privates involuntarily. contact me at samylively@gmail.com if you would like to talk about this, vent or need advice. So thankful for each and everyone because without you guys I WOULD be alone and who know what I would do..

  • Hello all,

    I have also had the same experience. I searched online and came across this forum.

    I feel responsible to share my views with you because of the pain you are experiencing, the social isolation and loss of dreams it’s causing so many. And most importantly to help those being suicidal. You can overcome this.

    As we have seen, drugs are not the cure but it can end.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that many with this struggle are naturally introverted. This says a lot because most introverts notice the details in life. This makes them susceptible to ‘noticing things’.

    Another important point to note is that many are naturally shy and have a tendency to be self conscious. This is one reason why they don’t make eye contact.

    There are so many things we do as an unconscious habit but when we pay attention to a particular event, we give it a space in our minds. Then because we are self conscious, we feel there is something wrong and of course because we don’t want any people to think there’s something wrong with us we unconsciously pay more attention to that action. This is what really entrenches it in our minds.

    As one contributor mentioned, the more we try to resist something, the more conscious we get about it.

    The real therapy here is in a complete change not about the habit but first of all about how we feel about ourselves. Obsessive staring feeds on self consciousness. As testified by many, they can’t look at people in the eyes. Many other people glance over the body parts of others but they don’t fidget about it. The challenge with ocd staring sufferers is that they fidget and make others know they are uncomfortable.

    The antidote therefore is not primarily in drugs but a huge dose of self confidence.

    You have to be bold and act bold even if you dont feel so. There’s nothing anyone has on you. Most introverts are intelligent, you need to project that. Even if your eyes glaze over private parts, keep the conversation going on. Dont freeze up. Just go on. What this does is that first, it doesn’t draw undue attention to what has happened. Two, it doesn’t keep impressing the act in your mind.

    You are very normal because your nature is reserved but you need to be confident. Most of what we suffer from really are not from what people say about us but what we say to ourselves aboit ourselves, then we project that and then give people what they see about us.

    Therefore in moving forward, you need to itemize personal qualities, experiences or relationships that you are proud of and write them down on a card you can carry around with you. Also, write these out on a larger poster you paste on your bathroom or dressing mirror or corner, somewhere you are sure to reach every day and often each day. This is the authentic you, not the questionable thoughts you assume about yourself.

    Im a faith oriented individual and I believe strongly that God loves us so much but we need to see ourselves positively and not through flawed experiences.

    We need to fight not by feeling sorry for ourselves but by refraining from what we don’t want to be part of. And the way to do that is not by complaining and feeding our minds more on the problem but increasingly focusing on the great things about our lives and deliberately projecting that.

    Anything you focus on, only gets magnified. This is why worry never makes anyone feel better. If however, you focus on your great points, you will magnify that in your mind as well as in how you project yourself before others. And as this improves your self confidence, you will be less anxious before people and can look them in the eye.

    Look people in the eye, hold gazes for 5 seconds, even if your eyes roam, bring them back up. A great way to stay in control and keep conversations is to ask questions. Look away to other things in the room, bring them back to your company.

    Of course, shame feeling comes from being self conscious. There are some people who do this same things, yet by there outgoing nature don’t make a fuss about it and so it doesn’t become a problem. But because of your detailed and reserved nature, it becomes easily noticable. So divert your attention to other things. You have to tell yourself regularly that there’s nothing wrong with you. Decide ahead what you will do in social situations so you are not at the metcy of your impulses or circumstance.

    God has made you special, don’t allow negative thoughts circumvent your life. Break the boundaries, take a chance at life. And at the very least, so what if you stared. Except your eyes stay glued or you actually reach for those parts, know that you are normal. Don’t freak out. Act as normal as you can. Remember, being in control is the key. You have nothing to be ashamed of because you are not an offender. It’s just life. And it will pass if you don’t give it too much attention. Never forget, its your reaction and the thoughts that give you away. So decide ahead what you want people to know and think of you, then project that.

    I hope I have helped someone.

    You are loved and special! Don’t let anything stop you from giving your best to the world and enjoying the best also. Take back your life.

    In case you are wondering, I’ve been here too but choosing and sharing a better life.

    **This condition is associated with anxiety. If you have had other experiences in life, particularly in childhood that led to anxiety states, you will need to see a therapist to deal with roots of shame and fear.

    It will also be helpful to join support groups, where role playing can help with social skills.

    Thanks to Dr Grayson for the platform and help.

    fullandfreesocialmedia@gmail.com

    Cheers,

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