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Hetero Pos Son, 24, Despairs of ever having Love in his life
Mar 9, 2009

Dear Dr. Bob: My son is straight and has gone 4+ years without sexual expression and now is feeling like life isn't worth living if he can't have a partner and love in his life. He is healthy, pre-med and although he lived with a girl for a year, they only 'cuddled' - no sex. It ended disastrously because both were so tense 'playing house' without the component of sex! He can't imagine a woman that is negative loving him enough to take a chance on sex with condoms and even then, with his old gf, he was too worried about putting her at risk to assent even if she felt vaginal sex with a condom could be done safely.

MY QUESTION: I have looked for resources for a DVD which could be watched by a + and - straight couple that would show safe and alternative sexual expression that he could watch with a woman to appease both their fears. And to give them ideas and 'permission' for sexual acts that are variant from what 'normal' 20-something young adults are doing (standard vaginal sex)

This has become so stressful for him he is unmotivated with school, and staying alive in general because he is lonesome and feels he faces a long life without a partner. The stigma is so bad his friends do not know his status, so wonder why he isn't flirting and bringing home women. It isolates him from activity.

It's like being sick with this serious thing that one cannot get support for. He is definitely in despair. And I grieve for him that this huge part of human expression, sex, is removed from his young life. Where can he go to get good information, DVD instructional type, so he can watch in private and learn some other ways to satisfy his sexual life while teaching a negative potential partner that there could be a satisfying SAFE sexual component if she chose to spend time with him?

It is nearly impossible to watch my handsome, 6'4", smart, kind kid go through this turmoil and know his chance at finding a woman he could partner with and convincing her she'll be safe is nearly impossible. When we spoke last night I really feared for him because of his feelings of hopelessness and lonliness!

I so hope there is a resource out there he and a potential partner can watch and learn from - it's so sensitive a subject and particularly at that age - I know there are mixed couples, but lots of them knew each other/fell in love before one became diagnosed. Thanks for any direction you can give --

Anguished Mother

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Anguished Mother,

If indeed your HIV-positive son "feels like life isn't worth living" and is in "despair" with "feelings of hopelessness and loneliness," you indeed have cause for your concern; however, a DVD is not the answer! Your son needs to see a psychiatrist. He is clinically depressed. Depression is common among us HIVers but it is a very treatable condition. You also report "the stigma is so bad his friends do not know his status . . . ." Your son needs a more extensive support network. Why has he not confided in his close friends? Post the question to him: If one of your close friends was going through a similar difficult situation, wouldn't you want to know so you could be supportive? Also, has your son tried going to any HIV support groups? It is helpful to discuss these types of problems with others who have had or are having similar experiences. As for where your son can get "good information" about magnetic couples (one poz, one neggie), I'd recommend he start right here. We have an entire chapter in the archives of this forum dedicated to the subject. Plus, as you may know, I personally am part of a very successful magnetic couple with my husband Steve Natterstad, M.D. (the physician expert in The Body's Tratamientos forum). We've been together for 16 years and continue to have mind-blowing, toe-curling, wake-the-neighbors passionate sex. Yes, there is a happily-ever-after even for magnetic couples. So get your son's depression treated and turn him on to this forum, OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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