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Helpless in EdinburghDr Bob, please give me some sense of perspective (VISIONS AND FEARS OF BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WHILE SLEEPING, 2010)

Sep 13, 2010

Hello Dr Bob,

I wrote to you earlier but it was said that you are on vacation. I hope you had a fun-filled summer break? I thought of writing in again and am keeping my fingers crossed with the hope that you will choose my concern to address. I have spent a lot of time reading up the archives but I cannot seem to find a similar incident. You can even poke fun at me but please reply to my concern. I am a young male student doing masters in music studies in Edinburgh. I live by myself in a student dormitory but in a shoddy neighborhood. I would be very grateful if you could say a few words about my genuine concern and tell me what to do next. I am utterly restless and helpless with no one to turn to.

I do not take drugs or consume alcohol and not had sex but I am addicted to masturbation. I usually masturbate before going to bed just as I did several weeks back. When I masturbate, my semen often gets stuck on the hairs in my anal area. On this fateful morning of 24 August, when I woke up on my own bed, I had this terrible feeling that I had sleep-walked (prior history as a child) and was anally-raped while doing so. I believe that I had sleep-walked out of my room, was anally-raped without knowing anything about it (or powerless to stop it because I was sleeping), and then returned to my room to sleep. I woke up on my bed with dried semen in my anal opening, and crusted semen and stool stains in my boxers. My butt cheeks were rather painful (still is) and when I went to the toilet, I had loose motion. When I wiped my anal area, there was some blood on the tissue paper. I continue to have problems in my bowel movement even as I write this message to you. I have been farting a lot, and have leaking poop from time to time. According to my GP, I have a small anal tear, perhaps caused by constipation.

a) Since I do not know for sure whether I sleep-walked and was anally-raped or that it was just a vivid dream, what do you reckon I should do? I read in your archives that one would definitely know if they are anally-raped but does this apply to me as well? I continue to have this terrible feeling that I am now HIV-infected because I worry that the semen in my anus might not actually be mine and instead belongs to a HIV-infected person. Do I need to see a psychologist or should I do STD screening/HIV test?

b) Can one be anally-raped while sleep-walking and have no recollection about what has happened? Would I actually have woken up if I was anally-raped since I was not drunk nor had taken any drugs? I was just extremely fatigued and slightly depressed.

c) 2-3 weeks after this possible anal rape, I am running a mild fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius, my armpits and groin area aches, I have reddish dry skin all over my body, I have a terrible sore throat, and large parts of my body aches like crazy. I continue to feel very tired. The palms of both my hands are very red and itchy. I also have a medium-sized non-itchy reddish patch on my left thigh. Are these possible signs of ARS?

Please help me. Having volunteered my time for charity in the past, I am happy to make a modest contribution of $52 to your charity. Hope it would be warmly received. Thank You.

Respectfully, Sameer

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sameer,

I have answered your previous question (see below); consequently, I will respond only briefly to your current concerns:

1. See a psychologist.

2. No; yes

3. No

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (

Stop worrying! Bad dreams and irrational thoughts are not reality.

Dr. Bob

dead of night, what should I do? (VISIONS AND FEARS OF BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WHILE SLEEPING, 2010) Sep 12, 2010

Hi Dr Bob

Hope you are enjoying your vacations in the UK. I hope you do love Scotland, the place where I reside as a student at Edinburgh University. When you have some free time, please help me with a certain incident that is causing me to worry non-stop for the past couple of weeks. You are such a caring person whose words are filled with warmth and comfort and may I add, with gentle humor too. The story below might sound ridiculous and I do not mind if you poke fun at it so long as you reply to me in your usual candor and frankness.

I live alone on the 2nd floor of a student dormitory. I had an unusual episode last week where I thought I was sleep-walking out of my dormitory, and was anally-raped in the dead of night. It felt as if I sleep-walked out of my room by unlocking it, was anally-raped outside somewhere without being able to stop it, and then returned back to my room, locked it, and got back onto my bed to continue my sleep. When I woke up, I had semen and stool stains in my boxer-shorts and I have pain and discomfort in my anal area. I fear that I might now have HIV/Hepatitis/Syphilis because of this anal rape incident. I am worrying so very much that my life has literally come to a standstill. My parents told me that I used to sleep-walk in the past which has caused me to worry even further. Please help me with some queries below, if possible.

1. If indeed I was sleep-walking, would I be woken up by someone who was raping me?

2. Could this just be a terrible wet dream where the semen and stool stains on my boxer-shorts were actually mine, and nothing actually happened?

3. Is HIV/STD testing medically recommended for such an episode?

4. Or are my fears irrational and unwarranted, and that I should move on in life and perhaps see a shrink because of these fears I have?

I have donated $20 to your charity. Hope that is okay. Enjoy your travels, and when you can, please consider replying to my concerns. I await with great anticipation.


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sammy,

Yes, I definitely enjoyed my travels through the British Isles. In Edinburgh I visited historic Trinity College, but not Edinburgh University.

Perhaps surprisingly, I have been asked questions similar to yours several times before in this forum. I repost below several examples of what can be found in the archives. My assessment of your situation is identical to the others who had similar concerns. See below.

Responding to your specific questions:

1. If indeed you were sleepwalking, would you be awakened by someone anally raping you??? Sammy, no matter how sound of a sleeper (or sleepwalker) you may be, I'm absolutely certain you would't sleep through that!

2. That is a much more logical assumption!

3. Nope!

4. Yep! I think a shrink is an excellent idea.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated.

Be well.

Dr. Bob

Student Riddled with HIV Anxiety: Should I go for a HIV Test? (VISIONS AND FEARS OF BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WHILE SLEEPING, 2010) May 16, 2010

Respected Dr Bob

You are God's gift to us who are riddled with HIV anxiety, and wish to have a peace of mind. I am yet another such person who desperately need your valuable advice.

For the past 6 weeks, I have had 'visions' of being sexually assaulted while sleeping naked because twice I had stupidly left my front door open. My room overlooks a busy street. 2 weeks ago, I think I have developed symptoms similar to those early HIV symptoms. My face is filled with white flakes all over together with a sudden outburst of large pimples. My skin is extremely dry. Both my armpits, my groins, and the sides of my neck below my chin ache terribly. I have had a terrible sore throat, and my body aches all over. I have a sore neck as well. I also have scattered red rashes on my front chest and back. My body is very warm and my chest feels like it is burning. I do not know what to do right now. I have never done any HIV test as I have never been sexually active except from kissing my girlfriend. I do not know whether I should take a test now because of my symptoms, and also because I could have had a risky exposure on two occasions in the past 6 weeks. Dr, please help this desperate 22-year old student. What should I do? Should I do a confidential HIV test or see my school counsellor?

Thank you soooo very muchhhh!


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Student Riddled with HIV Anxiety,

It's important to realize that having "visions of being sexually assaulted while sleeping naked" and actually being sexually assaulted while sleeping naked are two very different things! HIV testing is not warranted; however, counseling (psychotherapy) definitely is!

You are not alone in having such fantasies; see below for another example.

Dr. Bob

In The Middle of the Night Jan 30, 2010

Dear Dr Bob

I need your advice. I am a heterosexual male, and I live alone. A couple of weeks back, my house was broken into in the middle of the night through a window that was smashed. This was a window in the room that I was sleeping in. I was under very drowsy medication and so I was in very deep sleep. It appeared what was a dream in which this burglar had sexually assaulted me (anal sex specifically as I was naked on the bed). I woke up thereafter, and heard a loud bang on the front door. I ran to the front door but the burglar had escaped. Funnily, nothing was stolen. I thought what appeared to be a sexually-assaulted episode to be just irrational fear so I let it go. But now I am running a high fever, feeling dizzy, having large red rashes on my buttocks, a bad sore throat, moth ulcers, and swollen lymph nodes. My irrational fears are getting the better of me to the point that I am convinced that the sexual assault actually did happen and I now have STDs especially HIV and Syphilis. I need your advice on what I should do. Should I go for STD/HIV testing? Or should I see a psychiatrist? Or should I just let it go? I am in constant worry now so will be very grateful for your reply. Separately, I am happy to make a modest donation to your foundation.

Thank You LostBoy

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Lost Boy,

You are a heterosexual male and you think someone smashed the window in your bedroom and you didn't notice because you were "under very drowsy medication," and the burglar sexually assaulted you by having anal sex with you, because you were "naked on the bed." You woke up when you heard the bang of the front door, ran to it, but the horned-up burglar had escaped. Do I have that right? And "funnily, nothing was stolen." And now you think you have HIV and syphilis. Oh my! You're wondering if you should get HIV/AIDS tested or see a shrink? Definitely see a shrink! Lost Boy, you have issues bigger than the September issue of Vogue! I can assure you STD/HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. But you do have a problem! Show this post to your psychiatrist on your first visit. It will help him focus your treatment and speed your voyage of self discovery. Thanks for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated.

Good luck. Be well!

Dr. Bob

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