Whether or not behaviors are compulsions or mere habit depends on the context in which the behaviors are performed.
The "forbidden thoughts factor" correlated highly with intrusive and distressing thoughts of a violent, religious, or sexual nature.
The "cleaning factor" correlated highly with obsessions about contamination and compulsions related to cleaning.
Furthermore, some subtypes have been associated with improvement in performance on certain tasks such as pattern recognition (washing subtype) and spatial working memory (obsessive thought subtype).
Subgroups have also been distinguished by neuroimaging findings and treatment response.
The person might feel that these actions somehow either will prevent a dreaded event from occurring or will push the event from their thoughts.
In any case, the individual's reasoning is so idiosyncratic or distorted that it results in significant distress for the individual with OCD or for those around them.
Other individuals with OCD may experience the sensation of invisible protrusions emanating from their bodies, or have the feeling that inanimate objects are ensouled.
Some people with OCD experience sexual obsessions that may involve intrusive thoughts or images of "kissing, touching, fondling, oral sex, anal sex, intercourse, incest, and rape" with "strangers, acquaintances, parents, children, family members, friends, coworkers, animals, and religious figures", and can include "heterosexual or homosexual content" with persons of any age.
Neuroimaging studies on this have been too few, and the subtypes examined have differed too much to draw any conclusions.
On the other hand, subtype dependent treatment response has been studied, and the hoarding subtype has consistently responded least to treatment.