Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

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strawberryjam
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Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 5:51 am

Hello! I'm a 20-something year-old woman, growing up and living in a very "conservative" and religious environment. I describe myself as a practicing person, too, although so much more liberal than most people here and I also share a different point of view about being intimate with a loved (and conseting) one.
The first time I decided to go intimate year ago with my current partner, I had a terrible pregnancy scare. I think this was because I knew very little about sex (no sex-ed I ever received in my life), but mostly because I was so scared of the social consequences I had to bear were I really pregnant. Thank God I wasn't. It then led me to educate myself about sexual stuffs mostly through this website (thanks for existing! :D ).
But here's the problem. Now that I feel so much more informed than before, I still cannot shake the worry off my mind whenever I got intimate with my partner. I am aware that I have always played safe and done stuffs that are risk-free (he has no STI, so in this case I'm talking about pregnancy risk)--for example I and my partner only engage in fingering or handjob (manual sex) and dry humping with our undies on, in which he ejaculated far from my vulva. No PIV. Also, when we chose to grind naked, he always put a condom on and pull his penis away from my lady bits when he's about to ejaculate. The recurring worry always hits me after we had fun and this just ruins everything. This stays for days or even weeks and only can be erased when I finally get my period. I always have scenarios playing in my mind about my parents finding me pregnant, and how disappointed and angry my family would be, about how my future would be ruined. I would usually go on the internet to find justification (which I should not do I know) but all the anecdota answers just add to my worry. This might sound so exaggerated but living in such environment where being inimate is a taboo, these thoughts just kill me.
What do you think is wrong with me? Why do I still have worries even though I practice risk-free sex? What should I do? I don't think seeing a psychologist and talking about this counts as an option where I live. I just want to have worry-free fun with my partner!

Sam W
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue May 15, 2018 7:17 am

Hi Strawberryjam,

I'm sorry that you're dealing with these worries, and that you're finding them hard to get rid of. There are several reasons why people can find it difficult to shake unfounded pregnancy fears, and if you haven't yet done so take a look at this article to see the most common reasons: You're Not Pregnant. Why Do You think You Are? . Do any of those reasons feel like they apply to you?

I will say, this has nothing to do with anything being wrong with you, and it may be partially a result of growing up in a more conservative space where certain sexual things are seen as bad. If you grow up with negative messages about sex, that can end up making you feel like something bad is going to happen if you have sex no matter how careful you are.

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 7:48 am

Hi Sam, thanks for the quick and kind answer!

Yes, I feel like most of the points stated there resonate with me so much especially on the sex as shame and pregnancy as punishment part. It's only that I am not sure about the concrete steps I have to take next in order to overcome this feeling :( How should I and my partner make boundaries on the sexual activities that will at least ease my mind? Doing all those stuffs mentioned on my first post (putting on condoms, avoiding bare genital-to-genital contacts), do you think we're already on the right track?

It is just so not fun to overthink and be so careful that you lose all the fun.
Last edited by strawberryjam on Tue May 15, 2018 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Heather
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 7:52 am

Why don't we start by figuring out what limits or boundaries you want here, then we can talk about how to express them to a partner if you like?

What limits and boundaries do you think you want, or would work best for you so you CAN enjoy yourself with minimal worry?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 8:06 am

That's actually a good question.
I think all I want is a pregnancy-risk free activities, whatever it is. I always notice that I always worry if one or both of us start to get completely naked. Even though our genitals are not touching each other I just feel insecure in such situation because it could be that his penis accidentally brushes my vagina or something. Also his ejaculation makes me insecure, even though he does it far from my vagina. I am aware that my fear is irrational and that really hinders me from making a clear decision about what I want actually, because so far I have never been completely at ease no matter how 'safe' the sex was. Wow, I think I really need a favor.

And, in the place where it is just downright impossible to get a birth control before marriage, what birth control method do you think I should use to back up condom? I currently use charting (through app and observation of cervical fluid) and keeping the ejaculation away from the vulva (which probably counts as withrawal?).

Heather
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 8:30 am

When both are used properly -- and the best way to combine them is to just abstain from any intercourse, period, during and right around your most fertile time, then use the withdrawal otherwise -- those two methods combined can be very effective. However, if you or your partner can get your hands on condoms, and probably you can, condoms are more effective than withdrawal and also give you the added bonus of STI protection.

To get clear together on what you want: If I hear you right, you would like to only engage in activities that pose no pregnancy risk at all, so that means no vaginal or anal intercourse or naked rubbing -- no direct contact between your genitals and his. I'm not sure I'm clear on what you'd like to ask him in terms of ejaculation: are you saying you'd like to ask him not to ejaculate at all with you? Or are you saying that his ejaculation makes you feel insecure, but you don't have a specific ask around it, or can get okay with those feelings?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 8:40 am

Yes, we have access to condoms, and that's the method we use everytime we feel like rubbing naked (we never do PIV). Other than that, we usually just do manual, oral, or dry sex with underpants.

I love seeing him orgasm actually! But maybe not anywhere near my body because it the semen makes me feel insecure?

Heather
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 8:44 am

Okay! So there you go. You need to set these limits:
- You don't want to do anything with any direct genital contact
- You don't want him to ejaculate near your body

You can set those limits just as simply as that, as in, "I need to set some limits with the sex we're having. I'm not comfortable with any direct genital contact or you ejaculating near my body." I always think it's just a nice move after setting limits to check in with the person or people we're setting them with with an additional, "Are there any limits or boundaries you want to share with me of your own right now?"

How do you feel about all that?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 8:50 am

I'll try discussing it with my partner! :)

But if I may ask something, what counts as direct genital contact? Does rubbing with condom or underpants count?

Sam W
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue May 15, 2018 9:06 am

Sounds like a plan! Direct contact means that there is no clothing at all on either person's genitals. One of the reasons condoms are used is that they greatly reduce any risk presented by direct contact.

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 9:16 am

Thank you so much, Sam! I hope it will make me less worried :)

Heather
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Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 9:24 am

Can I suggest you don't think of this as something you try to discuss, but instead as something you are stating that isn't up for negotiation?

In other words: you are entitled to the limits and boundaries you need. Everyone is. If any partners can't roll with whatever our limits and boundaries are...well, then I guess we're just not going to be able to be sexual partners with that person. Make sense?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 9:46 am

That sounds reasonable. I will Heather! Now that you mention it, something just pops in my mind... sometimes, when we're in heat of the moment, we are very prone to cross the borders that we set and regret it after all the passion dies down. Simply because it feels good. Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid that and keep being on track?

Heather
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 9:51 am

I'd suggest you bring it up and talk about it. When you're talking about and setting these other limits, you can bring this up too, then talk together to come up with some strategies to help both of you stick to limits.

Honestly, though, I'd also first look at these situations to get a real sense of what's going on. Do YOU forget your own limits, like just forget them because you're feeling so good, including not being worried? Or is it more something like you finding that *he* is ignoring them and you don't feel as able to speak up, or that you see you both are feeling good and don't remind about limits because you feel like you'll ruin something? As clear a sense as you can get about what really goes on at those times the better, because then you can better communicate the issue to him and come up with the best strategies most likely to work.

For example, if it's about you forgetting, you can just ask him to remind you. If it's about feeling like you will ruin things, he can give you some reassurance that nothing is ruined by you only doing what you really feel comfortable with. Or maybe it will work best for you two to just do a fast check-in before any sex to remind each other about the limits.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 10:06 am

Sometimes it's me. Although I am very careful most of the time during sex, there are moments where I am like, "Screw it, it feels good, we both enjoy it, and I think it won't pose any risk" although I know very well that I will regret it afterwards. My partner sometimes makes sure by asking me if I really want to do it because I am usually worried after the sex ends, which I stupidly say I do. Also sometimes it's him. He usually asks me to do something, for example to take off my underpants which I feel insecure about. Most of the time when I say no, he will not do it. I think we are pretty good at respecting each other's desires. But sometimes there are moments where he will say, "It's okay, it's very safe, it doesn't even touch the penis" or something like that and I proceed doing what he asks me, despite me feeling a little doubtful.
Do you get my situation here?

Heather
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Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 10:10 am

Most of the time when I say no, he will not do it. I think we are pretty good at respecting each other's desires. But sometimes there are moments where he will say, "It's okay, it's very safe, it doesn't even touch the penis" or something like that and I proceed doing what he asks me, despite me feeling a little doubtfu


Are you saying that sometimes he DOES do things you have said no to? Or tries to talk you into doing things you have set limits with?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 10:12 am

The second it is.

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 10:13 am

Like he assures me that it's safe to do so? He has more experience with sex than I do... so sometimes I justt fall into believing him although I will still feel worried afterwards.

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 10:17 am

It was not in the sense of forcing how he does it. He asks me in such a way that is irressistible and tumbles down my border walls?

Heather
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 15, 2018 10:26 am

Yeah, that's not okay. That's coercion, which is not respecting your limits. It doesn't matter if he has more experience, or if you are worried about something that isn't factual. Neither of those things gives him the right to try and get you to let go of that limit, no matter how he odes it, including with words.

So, it sounds like there is another big talk you two need to have where you make clear that a limit is a LIMIT. It's the sexual version of a red light: he can't drive through it no matter how he's convinced himself it's okay to do that. He has to just respect it. Do you think you can be clear about that, and do you think he will respect that moving forward?

One thing I want to add is that something that often amplifies the kinds of fears you're having IS having a partner who you can't trust to respect your limits, or who you have experienced talking you out of them. You feel scared in part because that is actually scary situation, to be so vulnerable with someone and yet not be able to trust them to really respect that vulnerability, which very much includes respecting limits.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Tue May 15, 2018 6:05 pm

Ah, alright. This kinda sheds light on my problem.
So you say I am still entitled to have my borders and 'fears' no matter how risk-free the sexual activities are? Because there are times where I would just tell myself that I am not supposed to worry if the activities are pregnancy risk free--which, no matter how factual and rational they are, always put me in another worry.

The point about the parter makes sense to me. I think I will talk to him about this. All that I'm afraid of is if I once again will mindlessly do things I should not do because we're in the heat of the moment and him not trying to stop me. If this is the case, do you think also that this is a probelm of my self control?

Heather
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Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Wed May 16, 2018 9:09 am

Even if your fears aren't particularly rational (though again: if you are or have been with anyone who can get you pregnant and didn't or doesn't respect your limits, it's pretty rational to be afraid of pregnancy, since it's a real thing that happens that partners can create pregnancies the pregnant person didn't want via sexual or reproductive coercion), your feelings are what they are. And chances are they are based in SOMETHING, too: for some people, that can be an anxiety disorder, for others, lack of readiness or real desire for sex, for others still, they're related to abusive or coercive partners, just as a few examples. But all the same, you feel how you feel, and it's often not fun nor does it usually feel good emotionally to do sexual things that make you feel fearful. If your partner felt afraid, I'm sure he wouldn't want to do those things, either.

I'd say setting limits -- and having them respected -- based on your feelings is a pretty important part of any healthy sexual relationship or interaction. It's not up to someone else to decide if those feelings are valid or not: a respectful partner should accept them as valid and respect your limits; easy, and without any argument or manipulation, always.

Per your second question, it's actually not fair to put it on a partner to stop YOU from doing things or going along with things you don't want. You're the one responsible for YOUR behaviour. If you don't feel able to stop things you don't want to, then yeah, you want to look at that and see if you can't figure out why that is. It could be in some partnerships because it doesn't seem like it actually matters: I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't part of this, since your partner has ignored and worked to change your limits before. But it also can just be because a person needs to learn their own self-control, and learn how to say no to something that might feel good, but they know is'n't right for them or won't work for them after sex is over.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

strawberryjam
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Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby strawberryjam » Sun May 27, 2018 6:53 am

Sorry for taking so long to get back to the topic. I kinda needed some time to think things over. Thank you very, very much for all the help. I am so glad you exist! :) There is this one thing that I probably forgot to mention about this issue: that is, it seems like my first experience on getting intimate that resulted in pregnancy panic has been playing a big role in my perception about sex. Aside of the things I have mentioned in my comments, this experience really leaves a bad feeling that keeps on coming back! I think I am kinda paranoid or something? How should I overcome this one?

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6424
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Vashon Island, WA

Re: Why Can't I Calm My Worrying?

Unread postby Heather » Tue May 29, 2018 12:47 pm

You’re welcome.

I’d say you just give it time, as well as that you keep creating very different experiences - like only doing what you DO feel comfortable with and not scared about - so your brain can have new associations. <3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead


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