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Trapped in a Destructive Relationship
Dec 13, 1996

I am an 18-year-old male and a freshman at GSU. I have been having unsafe sex since I was 13, but I am afraid to be tested for HIV. I have been having sex with the same man (in his 30's) for most of those years. Lately he has been encouraging me to have unsafe sex with his friends. He tells me that it is safe because they are all bisexual with girlfriends or wives. I am the "bottom" in these sexual encounters, and sometimes he invites two or three guys over per evening. I do not like the sex, and I never have an orgasm (which doesn't seem to matter to the people involved.) I want out of this relationship, but I am scared that he will tell my parents (which he has threatened to do.) I have no one to talk about this to, and I have no support. I feel very lonely in this regard, and suicide seems to be the only way out for me.

Response from Rev. Pieters

Suicide is NOT the way out. You have the option to end this situation, rather than your life. But you definitely need to take action. First of all, please seek professional help at your University, from a trained counselor, therapist, physician, or clergy person with whom you can speak in person. Reach out and trust a professional who can help you directly.

You are engaged in a destructive and unloving relationship, and it is time to end it. Get out of this relationship now. You are being forced to have sex which you do not want or like. That is rape. The consequences of your repeated experience of being raped is far more dangerous to your mental health than the possibility of his "outing" you to your parents. You need to get out of this relationship. God has given us our sexuality for creative, loving and joyful physical communication. When the sex act becomes destructive and unloving, it loses its sacredness and goes against God's will for our lives.

Sex is not safe just "because they are all bisexual with girlfriends or even wives." Bisexual men have been and continue to be at as much risk for HIV as exclusively gay men. There are many, many bisexual men with wives and children who have not only died from AIDS, but have infected their wives, unborn children, and lovers as well. In these unsafe encounters you describe, you are being exposed to any and all diseases, including HIV, that these men carry.

If the price of getting out of this relationship involves coming out to your parents, then perhaps it is time to come out to your parents yourself, and deal with whatever the consequences might be. There are hundreds of thousands of gay men and lesbians who have been pleasantly surprised to find out that their parents' love for them is greater than their homophobia. Sometimes it takes time for parents to understand this, and some parents never will. You cannot control their reaction. But you can be honest with them. If this is what you have to do to get out of this destructive relationship, then do it now. You will need support for this process, and again I encourage you to seek this help from a professional counselor.

You have every reason to be scared, my friend. But reaching out for help, as you've done here, is a strong indication that you recognize the destructiveness of your situation, and you obviously want to do something about it. Good. Take action. Get out of this relationship now. Get help now. Get tested for HIV now. If you turn out to be HIV-negative, do everything you can to stay that way. If you are HIV positive, early intervention with new treatments can save your life. Get control of your life, and trust in God's love for you. God gives us everything we need to face whatever challenges life might hand us. Open your heart and trust in God, and God will empower you to act as you need, to end this horribly destructive situation.

For "Trapped"
Controlled by Fear

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