OCD Staring at genitals

Since posting about obsessive staring, I have noticed there is a high amount of search queries for one specific compulsion. Staring at private parts/ genitals.

I wanted to speak more about my experience and what I did about it.

This became a problem when working in a hotel

I won’t mention the specific hotel because I still work in the industry. But between 2015-2020 I worked as receptionist in various hotels in the UK and Australia. From receptionist to assistant reception manager.

I was good at my job, and regularly received great feedback from guests and staff.

I would meet hundreds of people on a typical 8-hour shift, whether my duty was checking in, or checking out.

Now bare in mind I worked behind a desk, I would only really get to see the guests from the waist-up.

A man hides his face at the reception of a hotel

Also bare in mind that when guests arrive, many are already dressed up, ready to head straight out.

On some occasions I would have a very strong urge to look at a woman’s cleavage.

I put this down to both Tourette, OCD and because of that, see it more of a Tourettic OCD behavior.

I guess staring could be classed as a motor tic, but when I have looked it up, it always seems to be more linked with OCD.

It is a very embarrassing compulsion to have.

Two minutes seems like a lifetime

The average check-in would take around 3-4 minutes.

From filling in the registration form to taking a payment or pre-authorisation, to answering questions about the area.

If a woman had a more revealing top on, I would have the strongest urge to look. I would resist as much as possible, but sometimes that urge would just be too great to ignore for this period of time. Every minute feels like an hour when a tic is involved.

It really is like trying to hold in a sneeze.

man with head in a box

I would find the right time to do it, such as when they were looking at the city map. Literally the quickest glance would be enough to make the urge disappear.

I was a straight male in my mid-to-late twenties in my reception days, so I understand anyone putting it down to that. But it wasn’t that.

It was the exact same internal itch that I would feel with any other tics I have. Head nodding, blinking and grunting.

Plus, I would have the same urge to stare if someone came in with a specific disability, or something that was noticeable like a birthmark. Nothing judgmental, simply my brain saying:

It would be awful to bring attention to this thing… do it!!

This is why I feel it is a combination of Tourette and OCD. I have this urge to do a tic, but it is based around thoughts that produce anxiety. Something that is classic OCD.

What I did to combat it

Now because I am not a medical professional, I can only speak about my experience.

And because this may manifest as Tourette, OCD or both depending on the person, one piece of advice wouldn’t work for everyone.

All I can say is that I attended CBT therapy and mentioned this specific issue. And as my therapist knew quite a bit about my past and diagnosis, we could talk about how to go about treating it.

It is important to speak to a professional for advice and treatment!

Don’t worry about being judged

Therapists in OCD know the nature of the disorder, and how intrusive thoughts are often the last things we want to think about.

There is no judgement, and in my experience it was a big weight off my shoulders to talk about it.

Staring at private parts a.k.a genitals is a great example of this. And from my blogs stats I can tell how common the problem is. You certainly aren’t the only one having this problem!

Scrabble letters arranged to spell 'ask for help'

I have noticed that staring at private parts obsessions can evolve over time

Since moving to London I have developed the same urge I had in hotels on the London Underground.

Any Londoner or visitor to London knows- no eye contact on the tube!

This is probably why staring has become such an intense urge again. It comes about at the worst times possible. Because of this, it sometimes happens if I am on a date too.

This is another reminder for me why help is so important. Although OCD compulsions can vary a lot, they all tend to come from the same processes.

Understanding more about OCD can help us overcome so many situations, even the ones we haven’t encountered yet.

London tube train full of people

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