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I think I've made a mistake

Apr 23, 2001

Dear Mr. Kull,

Please, if you have an extra moment in your day can you respond to my question? I've been going insane with a fear that I've made a mistake and as a result have contracted HIV.

I am a 19 year first-year college student living on campus and away from home. I am also gay. I've been ok in dealing with my sexuality, but have had horrible urges lately and can't seem to stop them.

The incident occurred a couple of days ago in a bathroom in my college's library. I knew that guys met there for anonymous fun, and I had always heard about it and was curious. So, I went. When I was there I found a guy that was very attractive, was my age, and I decided to mess around with him. Basically, we just touched each others bodies with lots of massaging and rubbing and mutual masturbation. I did not feel any fluids come into contact with me at any time. When we both ejaculated we did it by ourselves and came on the floor.

After I ejaculated I ran out and have been so, so scared. I can't deal with the fear that I could now be HIV+! This is the third guy I've messed around with, but the first time I've ever met someone in a bathroom. I have called my campuses crisis hotline and talked to them but they didn't help. I want out of this now. I am seriously considering just ending it all because the pain is too much to deal with.

Please Mr. Kull, I've read your responses to other questions and I can already anticipate your answer, but I need to hear it from you directly. How risky was I? How will I ever be comfortable having sex? I am so so so scared and am terrified of what a test result may bring back.


Response from Mr. Kull

You're right, I'm totally predictable. It is highly unlikely that you would get HIV infected during mutual masturbation. If semen does not come into contact with your mucous membranes (the lining of the mouth, anus, or urethra) or bloodstream (for instance, through fresh cuts or wounds, or by sharing injection needles), then infection can't happen.

It really sounds like you might have some guilt about having an anonymous sexual encounter in the bathroom. Let me tell one thing I know: you are not alone. Having anonymous sexual trysts in public spaces happens on many college campuses (and even more often outside of college life). Lots of people have urges or fantasies to have sex in what they perceive to be risky, even dangerous, situations, and that's okay. Acting on your desire to engage in risk can involve a more complicated set of choices, and you have to look at the consequences of your actions, your value system, and your own personal boudaries. This is true for everyone, whether you are a race car driver or a person who likes to have sex in the park.

If any behavior that you engage in makes you uncomfortable, interferes with your day-to-day functioning, or puts you in physical or emotional danger, it may be advisable that you take a deeper look at your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Being gay can be a difficult experience for many people, so it's important that you look at all of the ramifications of your experience.


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