POCD: what is pedophile obsessive-compulsive disorder? (2023)

POCD is an obsessive fear of being or becoming a pedophile, which many see as the ultimate loss of identity.

POCD (pedophilic obsessive-compulsive disorder)

People will feel sorry for me if I have cancer. They will accept me if it turns out I'm gay. They'll blame me as a mental patient if I lose my mind and push someone in front of a bus. But if these thoughts mean anything, I'm dead to the world and everything is wrong. What if I'm a pedophile?

This is the plight of the victim of POCD (victim slang for pedophilia-themed OCD). OCD is a disorder characterized by obsessions (unwanted intrusive thoughts and feelings) and compulsions (rituals to neutralize the obsessions). Many of the things people with OCD obsess about have to do with losing their identity. Someone with contamination OCD can worry just as much about being considered a fool for not washing themselves properly as about dying of an illness. POCD is an obsessive fear of being or becoming a pedophile, which many see as the ultimate loss of identity. Valid or not, understood or not, the pedophile is the only character for whom no one can answer. It's the last thing a human wants to be. So it's no surprise that the main vein of horrific ideas is at home in the minds of so many OCD sufferers. The fear of being a pedophile combines the worst of several common obsessions, Harm OCD (fear of taking violent action against the weak), Sexual Orientation OCD (fear of being attracted to the "wrong" kind of person), and Moral OCD scrupulosity (fear of breaking society's strictest moral codes).

(Video) What is Pedophile OCD? | POCD | Intrusive Thoughts

POCD obsessions can occur in different contexts:

  • Unwanted intrusive sexual thoughts/images/feelings around children (often, but not exclusively, the children themselves)
  • Fear that early experiences were signs of repressed pedophilia (p.When I was 10 years old I fell in love with a 9 year old boy and kissed him, which means I like 9 year old boys..)
  • Fear that childhood sexual play will turn one into a pedophile
  • Fear of being a victim of child sexual abuse will condemn him to become an abuser.
  • Concerned that the incidental contact with children was in some way intentional or pleasure-motivated (eg.Did I move it to please me?Is shipping)
  • Fear that positive emotions toward children may be sexual in nature (e.g., a woman is overcome with love for her child and wonders if the love is somehow romantic or sexual)
  • Fear, beauty, tenderness, grace, beauty, etc. in a child, it is a sign of sexual intentions.
  • Concern that perceptions of adult characteristics (e.g., certain body parts, posture, style of dress) by preadolescent children, adolescent adolescents, or someone who is “too young” are indicators of pedophilia.
  • Obsessions with false memories, such as the obsessive concern that a pedophile act occurred and was somehow erased from memory (eg.I abused the little boy I passed earlier and I don't remember? Why am I wondering?)
  • Not afraid of being a pedophile, but afraid that the presence of intrusive pedophilic thoughts will ruin the possibility of being happy or, over time, make the thinker a pedophile in some way.

POCD compulsions span the spectrum of the disorder:

  • Avoiding children in multiple environments (home, school, playground, etc.)
  • Avoid potentially triggering images, such as B. the children's clothing department of a store or a children's television show.
  • Avoid carrying children in a manner that may involve accidental contact with sensitive body parts (e.g., trying to hold a small child so their feet don't accidentally collide with their groin).
  • Avoiding relationships, intimacy, or sexual behavior with adults for fear of triggering unwanted pedophilic thoughts
  • Mental review of all behaviors and thoughts/intentions when dealing with children
  • Mentally check/rationalize whether it's okay to notice a person of a certain age (eg.I may have had a sexual thought about this teenage girl but she looks like she is 18 and that would mean she is of legal consent but that girl over there may be 16 and I have her also noticed, and that means she might be a pedophile.)
  • Seek reassurance from others that no inappropriate behavior has occurred, that you are not a pedophile, etc.
  • Admitting pedophilic thoughts to manipulate others, to reassure them that you have OCD or to make sure you are not hiding anything.
  • Re-enacting or repeating events (e.g., lifting a child up and putting him down repeatedly) to prove that no sexual act was performed or intended
  • Do some research on pedophilia and try to be certain what separates a true pedophile from someone with POCD.
  • Check children for signs of abuse that you think may have taken place in your presence
  • Document where you have been to ensure you have not abused a child
  • Check your body for signs of "inappropriate arousal" in the groin or elsewhere around children or thoughts of children.


If you are in the beautiful situation of having young children of your own or having a connection with a young niece or nephew or other child who is important to you, the issue of child intimacy can be a source of great pain, if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder. . Imagine a man with OCD holding his young daughter in his arms. She is wrapped in it, her head pressed against his chest, her small hands clutching his back or neck. His face is firmly on her head, breathing in the scent of baby shampoo and, well, baby. He thinks, "I love this girl." This closeness and the way it slows down time is called intimacy. But before they had children, intimacy was what he experienced with his wife, and sometimes as intimacy increased, it morphed into sex. Long before that was intimacy when he was a kid, clinging to his father, but that was too long ago to remember. No, recent associations with intimacy have been primarily sexual. The POCD patient is thus struggling with two realities. One is the very real and present moment of intimacy that you share with your daughter. The other is memory, the association of intimacy with adult sexuality. It feels like storing a cache of porn pics in a computer file along with baby pics and calling it "pics i like". It feels unacceptable, even dangerous, when these incongruent thoughts share some mental space. So for the POCD sufferer, who is largely unable to overlook this incongruity, there is an overwhelming need to decontaminate the record, so to speak.

The constraints therefore result from trying to create a sense of certainty that the two intimacies do not share the same space. The belief is that this shared space of love for a child and sexual love should define pedophilia or any other type of sexually unacceptable deviance. But if you can prove to yourself that the two intimacies share no space, no space at all, then you can feel safe from this internal charge. The problem is that the very behaviors designed to solve this problem (hyperanalysis, perceptual testing, avoidance, etc.) reinforce unwanted thoughts, making them more intrusive and invasive.

(Video) What is pedophilia OCD (POCD)?

I can't stop talking about this... and I can't stop talking about it either

You may feel trapped between a rock and a hard place. Part of you won't shut up like you had a sexual thought about a child, compulsively confess, desperate to let your partner know you had the thought, and tell you it doesn't mean anything. Maybe, just maybe, your partner will even let you off the hook this morning when it comes to getting the kids dressed when they see how desperate you are. Yet at the same time, part of you can't even articulate the words, so embarrassing, so awful, and so unsure of how the other person is going to react. So before you can control the confession, or before you can open up about unwanted thoughts, you may need to speak to a trained OCD specialist to understand what's going on.

But what if they think I'm a danger to children and file some sort of mandatory report?

(Video) OCD3: What is Pedophilia OCD (POCD)?

This can be a serious and legitimate barrier to treatment, especially if you do not see an OCD specialist. Therapists are trained to diagnose mental illness, but many have poor training in diagnosing OCD, ignoring anyone who doesn't have a problem with hand washing. Therapists are also trained to assess safety risks and, in most cases, are required by the government to report potential dangers to children. Therefore, this underscores the importance of seeking help from someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating OCD, who can recognize the symptoms for what they really are and can make the environment safe to manage this OCD overcome. If you're looking for OCD treatment, here's a good list of questions to ask your doctor:http://iocdf.org/about-ocd/treatment/how-to-find-the-right-therapist/

Anyone familiar with OCD knows that peace of mind is part of the problem, not the solution. But a basic reality check isn't always a mandatory guarantee, and the basic reality may be that this nightmare is just OCD, and OCD is treatable.

(Video) POCD: The OCD Fear of Turning into a Pedophile

Click here for POCD Part 2: Pedophile-Related OCD Treatment


1. Lets Talk About Pedophilia and OCD.
(Ozzy Jimenez)
2. Pedophilia OCD
(OCD & Anxiety Center of Cleveland)
3. Jayme Valdez - Pedophilia themed OCD (Ep199)
(The OCD Stories)
(Purely OCD)
5. POCD: Intrusive Thoughts of Pedophilia
(Chrissie Hodges)
6. Pedophile OCD is not what you think it is.
(Stop My OCD)


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