|new relationship-unsure how to proceed
Jan 24, 2000
I'm a gay man in my late 20's who is HIV- and I have not previously dated anyone who was HIV+. Recently I met a very nice man that asked me out. On our first date we began kissing. It was very enjoyable and I felt very sexually attracted to him. I had previously told him that I would not sleep with anyone right away and that I have to date someone for a period of time and get to know them before I have sex with them, which is always safe. As we were kissing he stops for a moment to tell me he is HIV+. This made me very uncomfortable and unsure what to say. I did not want to hurt his feelings, but suddenly I was no longer attracted to him. I continued to hold him and kiss him lightly but I did not really want to do even that anymore. He stated that I could ask him anything about himself or HIV. This made me feel better but I can't seem to get past this. It was only one date and I like him, but I'm not sure I want to go out again. Are these fears rational or am I being too cautious? I'm afraid I will not be sexually aroused by him again. I'm not certain how to approach this with him. It seems like so much to have to face when all I really want to think about is the next date and having fun socially. In some ways that feels selfish to me and I don't like feeling that way.
It has taken me a lot to get the energy up to date again after the painful breakup of my last relationship.
Response from Dr. Remien
Thank you for your honesty in describing your feelings. You are not the only person to have this type of reaction and to have these feelings. While two people of opposite HIV status are perfectly capable of having a very comfortable and satisfying relationship, not everyone can feel totally comfortable having an intimate and sexual relationship with someone of "opposite" HIV status.
It's certainly possible that you could become more comfortable with this man or another HIV+ man if you are otherwise attracted to and interested in him. But you can't force your "feelings" to change and feelings are not always "rational." The bottom line is you need to be honest and follow your heart. It would not be very helpful to either of you if you were to force yourself to proceed with a relationship you are not comfortable with, while hiding your true feelings. This would not be fair to either of you. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner and see where it takes you.
A matter of time
Low Sexual Desire
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