I think I'm addicted to taking pregnancy risks!
Heather Corinna replies:I have a problem: I think I'm addicted to stress, or at least the relief when stress has passed. I'm a very overly paranoid person and yet I keep acting carelessly and doing risky things. I don't want to get pregnant, I'm not on pills, and yet I'm always doing something sexual with my boyfriend. - Sometimes I'll sit on his penis naked...him not in me, but me on his shaft. - I've swallowed, kissed him and had him preform oral - We have sex quite regularly although we always use new condoms and I check for tears right away - Today I've probably done the stupidest thing of all....I've let him put his penis inside me unprotected (he urinated before hand to rid himself of any cum, it was for only a few seconds and he didn't move it much, and I put Purell inside myself after) I know it was stupid! I dont know why I always do this to myself.I make myself sick with worry each and every time and yet I cannot control myself. I dont think I'm addicted to sex or anything, but I do think I'm hooked on stress. Have you ever heard such a stupid thing? I always do things that stress me out. I leave huge projects to the last minute, I've purposely made myself late for things. I don't much care about the everyday things but the sexual stress is whats concerning me. I literally say to myself "no more sex till I get on pills" and yet the next time I'm with my boyfriend, I practically force myself on him. WHATS WRONG WITH ME?!!?! I dunno exactly what I'm asking but any advice would be appreciated...oh and whats the likelyhood of getting pregnant from what I described? I'd go and get plan b but unfortunately I don't think I have access to it.
Risk-taking is a very, very normal (I'm going to say it again in case you missed it: VERY normal) part of adolescent and young adult -- and overall human -- development. When the risks we're taking are sound risks to BE taking, which involve the possibility of real benefits, that not only isn't a problem, it really is an important part of our personal development.
Pretty much everything we'll dare to do in life to evolve involves some sort of risk, be it emotional, physical, intellectual, financial, social... or all of those things and more. If we want to fall in love, for instance, we have to risk rejection or hurt. If we want to try a new job that involves a move, we may take financial, social or intellectual risks. If we want to stand up for something we believe in, we might risk our social reputations by speaking up for something not everyone agrees on. And when we take a risk, it does give us a charge: when the result of the risk we took was positive, we obviously feel triumphant.
However, we obviously are going to want to be sure that when we're taking risks, it's worth it: that we're not risking TOO much, and that whatever the benefit might be is worth the risk that we're taking. In your case, risking pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease is probably not worth it, particularly if you do not want to be someone's mother or do not want to become pregnant. We can safely say that risking disease and infection is never a smart risk, since no one wants an infection. If you dig the charge of high-stress situations, why not choose one which is far more likely to pay off for you? Find an awesome volunteer job, apply to a challenging school, go to protests, organize a charity event. Heck, get into extreme sports, if you must. The risks you take doing things like that are smarter risks, where you don't have a lot to lose or aren't risking serious trauma, and with better benefits in the payoff. You don't really get a benefit by risking pregnancy and not becoming pregnant at all: that still leaves you at zero (so long as you don't pick up an infection, too). The kinds of risks you're taking now either will do you harm or won't: they don't actually promise any real benefits.
Sounds too, like you might also be in the habit of trying to sabotage yourself some, considering what you also say about the issue with procrastinating with projects. For both of these issues, you may find a counselor of real benefit to you, particularly if some of this is stemming from depression, which is also very common in young adults. If that's not an option -- though it likely is, even most schools have counselors on hand -- really spending some time evaluating yourself on these issues may do the trick. You might ask yourself, for instance, if you feel undeserving of positive results? Or if you're just plain bored with your life right now, and are taking these kinds of risks because you don't feel challenged enough in terms of having better risks to take in other areas of your life. You say you don't care much about how you're mucking it up with other parts of your life, but you really should care: this is your life, gal, and you'll want it to be as great as it can be. If you don't care at all, it's possible you're undervaluing yourself and your own life, which is clearly something you're going to want to change if you want to have an enriching life.
I'd also ask why it sounds like -- according to this post -- you're the only person in your relationship who is responsible for managing the risks. You say you aren't on the pill, but you don't talk about your boyfriend offering up a condom easily: managing risks from partnered sex isn't just the responsibility of the partner at the most risk. It is, and should be, something both parties take equal responsibility for, not just one. So, sounds to me like you may also need to have a chat with your guy about needing him to pony up and carry his half of the responsibility, every time. If he knows you're not using another birth control method, then he needs to simply be taking out a condom and putting it on if and when the two of you start genital sex if he isn't doing that already. You need to keep condoms around, too, in the case that he runs out of his own stash. Given you're having such a hard time with risk-taking, I think it's particularly important he knows that not only does he need to do his part here, but he needs to be even more vigilant about it because you need some help and support in this arena.
Per what's just happened, for starters, do NOT again put hand sanitizer inside your vagina. Not only is that not a spermicide, nor will it act like one, you're likely to give yourself a yeast infection that way, or really irritate that genital tissue. You can look right on the bottle and note where it says NOT to use it: always pay attention to instructions like that with anything you're using. But as a rule, nothing which isn't designed for vaginal use should go in the vagina, and even things like douches do more harm than good, upsetting your vaginal balance.
Per the emergency contraception, if he did urinate right beforehand, your risks are low: not nonexistent, but low. Your risks of STIs are likely greater than they are of pregnancy. But if you absolutely do not wish to become pregnant, I'd advise looking up EC in your area. If you're over 18, you can get it over the counter at any pharmacy. if you are under that age, you can get a prescription for it from your sexual healthcare provider, your general doctor, some school nurses, even from the emergency room. You may not even need to see anyone: with some general doctors or clinics, you can just call in, and they'll send the prescription for you to your pharmacy.
Here's some extra information for you: I'm including the readiness checklist in here because I think you should take a look at it. If sex isn't exciting for you without these risks, then there's no sense in having it. If sex doesn't feel like a place where you have self-control, it's not healthy or safe for you or your partners to be having it together. If you really are NOT ready or able to manage some of the things with sex, then it likely is NOT a good idea to be sexually active right now, and you may benefit from taking some time away from sex until you can pull yourself together more on these issues:
- 10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self (at Any Age)
- Emergency Contraception
- Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist
- Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To
I want to leave you with one more thing. I really do think you'll find that the same type of charge you get from all this worry and drama over risking pregnancy isn't going to be all that different from the boost you get from managing things responsibly, save that when you DO make smart choices, YOU get to own them, 100%, rather than feeling like you just got lucky. That's an accomplishment that really gets to be yours, and which also isn't going to result in this sort of crazy rollercoaster that might leave you feeling better at the end, but has you a wreck in the middle. You sound pretty self-aware here, in terms of what you've been doing not being smart or workable: so, apply that self-awareness and instead of risking something you do NOT want, risk something you do: being in charge of your sexuality, and making the choices which are the best ones for you.
One positive step I'd suggest you can start with is to start taking care of your sexual health, which I'm guessing you may not be. That's a pelvic exam, pap smear and full STI screening (which you absolutely need, posthaste, especially since you have been going it unsafe for oral and vaginal sex) every year. During that exam you can find out a lot about your body and your sexual and reproductive health, and you can also talk to that healthcare provider about birth control methods. Since you're clearly a worrier, and clearly having troubles using condoms consistently, it might be best for you to have two methods to use: condoms, and then another method, such as the birth control pill, the vaginal ring, or another barrier method, like a diaphragm. You can even get a prescription for EC to have on hand in case you make a mistake again: sometimes it takes time to learn how to be more responsible with sex, and there's no sense in punishing yourself with a pregnancy if you do bungle this up again.
Again, taking a step like that tends to be empowering, and that's a far healthier charge to boost yourself with -- and one with a far better payoff -- than what you've been doing. That one step alone may make taking better steps henceforth a lot easier: healthy choices tend to create a healthy momentum.
P.S. Do stop calling yourself stupid. Often, we behave the way we identify ourselves, and if we put ourselves down a lot, it never results in the good stuff. By all means, you can acknowledge you've made some choices that aren't smart or healthy, and perhaps those CHOICES have been stupid, but that doesn't mean the person making them is stupid. You might find that if you can start even just calling yourself, too yourself, more positive things, that it has a positive effect on the way you behave and the choices you make. After all, when we know we're smart people, if we start to make a foolish choice, a part of us will tend to send a note to self reminding us that smart people would make better choices.