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Scared of Sex
Jun 10, 2001

Ryan... Im a hetro-male... I was tested 5 times in the past 5 years... All NEG. But now... I am extremely uncomfortable becoming envolved in sexual situations. I consider myself abstinant... because im scared to engage in sexual activity. I feel like the next time I have sex... I will get infected... which i do not want.

Am i crazy? Is it normal to be fearful under these conditions???

Thanks...

Response from Mr. Kull

You will not see me using the word "normal" too often (or ever) in this forum. Normal implies that there is a particular way to be, to feel, and to act, and that anything outside of that is "abnormal" or "bad." Of course, societies and cultures have certain standards that we all adhere to, but the idea of normality often makes us question ourselves and others. Ideas of normal behavior or standards can get in the way of the kind of open and honest communication that allows people to talk about sex, sexuality, and HIV.

It is understandable that anyone would be afraid or anxious about sexual contact given the fact that we have seen AIDS grow into a massive, worldwide epidemic in the last twenty years. Research and treatment show promise, but HIV continues to infect millions around the world. I would tend to doubt the honesty of anyone saying that they were not anxious about AIDS.

We all take certain risks in our day-to-day lives. Getting into a car is one of them. Sometimes walking out of the front door of one's house can constitute a risk. As human beings, we engage in a sort of healthy denial of the risks of daily life in order to function. If I'm constantly thinking about the next car wreck I might have, I might never be able to get into a car and get to work. When our fears overwhelm us and interfere with our lives, it becomes necessary to look at what's going on psychologically. It is not unusual for anxiety to get in the way of people's lives; anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. The good news is that there is help out there (see the National Institute of Mental Health's pages on anxiety disorders http://www.nimh.nih.gov/anxiety/anxietymenu.cfm).

To deny that human beings are sexual would deny that fact that we eat and breathe in order to live. The fact that you are questioning your fear about sex may be telling us that you would benefit from talking with someone (a counselor or psychotherapist?) about your thoughts and feelings. There are ways to engage in sexual contact with people that GREATLY reduce your risk of infection; as do seatbelts save many lives in car crashes. Finding a way to express your sexuality in a manner that feels safe and "normal" for you may be more fulfilling than becoming isolated by your fears.

RMK



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