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Author Topic: Afraid of sex ??
Arella
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Hi! I know this is a silly question but I don't have anyone to talk about this things and I really need some advice.
To put it bluntly - sex scares me. I've never been in a relationships, so no sex, no kisses, not even holding hands. And I'm 22. That's what confuses me and I'm afraid something's wrong with me. I remember being around the age of 13 and "wanting" to have a boyfriend and have sex because all I knew was that in romantic movies they kiss and caress each other and that looked so beautiful. But later I found out what sex really means and I was terrified. I told myself I'm just immature and when I'll grow up I won't be scared anymore. But nothing has changed so far.
I want to have a beautiful relationship. I've never been in love. I want someone to treat me nice and I crave for hugs and tenderness. I don't want to live my whole life like this. I want to experience some things. I'm curious about some things. I want to be positive about sex in general (I've grown in an environment were sex was something "dirty" and "a sin"). I want to change and don't feel like a freak anymore. But penetration or penis-in-vagina sex REALLY FREAKS ME OUT!!! Sometimes I watch porn out of boredom or curiosity [I know it's fake and it's not an example of what happens in a real relationship] and if I watch long enough I can get horny but I prefer not to because I really don't like it.
I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe I'm immature. But I'm 22 and all my friends act like sex is this AWESOME thing and it confuses me. I've always said I don't want a relationship, I don't like boys or I'm not interested in anyone but lately I've been feeling lonely and I don't know what to think about me anymore.
So... I don't know what my question really is and I know it's not like you can figure this out for me, but I really need some advice and someone to talk about this.
Thank you very much!

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oneboikyle
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Hi Arella! I don't know if I should leave this to one of the volunteers to answer, but I just wanted to say, there is nothing wrong with you! It's perfectly fine to not like the idea of sex, or to think of it as a little gross. If you never warm to the idea of it, that's absolutely fine and perfectly within normal human experience, but at the same time, I wouldn't worry about not liking it in the future, because your views may well change 5 or 10 years from now. Either way, it's nothing to worry about.

You said that you wanted a beautiful relationship, and the impression I got from your post is that you're worried you won't get that if you don't want sex (please correct me if I'm wrong). I just have to say, there is so much more to relationships than sex! I mean, it's entirely possible you could be asexual, but that doesn't mean you can't have a relationship if you want one. On the other hand, it might be that you're just not ready, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Relationships are more than just sex, and it can be nice to emotionally connect with people without worrying about getting it on! [Smile] I know I am a fan of cuddling and watching a film together, without that sort of pressure.

You said that you want to experience "some things", and that penetrative sex is what really freaks you out. Just an idea to throw out there, but sex can mean so many things to different people, and just because that aspect of sex makes you uncomfortable, it doesn't mean you can't do anything sexual. I mean, only you know what you would be comfortable with, but if you wanted to experience, for example, oral sex, that doesn't mean that you have to be okay with anything else. You (and your partner) decide where to draw the line, and that line doesn't have to be static [Smile]

Anyway, now I've said that, I just want to reiterate that you are not "a freak" in the slightest, and I think it's awesome that you're examining your own boundaries. And now I'll let the experts give you some better advice [Smile]

[ 04-25-2013, 06:51 AM: Message edited by: oneboikyle ]

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Arella
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Hi oneboikyle! Thank you so much for your kind reply!
I don't find sex gross, I know it can be something very beautiful if it's done with a partner who respects you. But I find it uncomfortable (to think about it, to talk about it and probably to do it) and violent. I know it shouldn't be violent or anything like that, but I can't get rid of this idea, that it's something that's meant to hurt people. I've never met a guy who would treat women nicely; all the men from my family / colleagues / friends are very misogynistic and I simply hate being around them. They've always treated women like objects.
I've thought about the possibility to be asexual, but as far as I know, asexuality just means the lack of sexual attraction. I don't know if I've ever been attracted to someone, I just feel very confused.
I also worry about a lot of things like: What if a like someone and want to have a relationship with him? What if he also wants to have a relationship with me? What if he wants more? Do I have to tell him I've never been with someone? What if he laughs at me? What if I find I like women instead of men?
Maybe I'm over thinking right now and probably I should give it some more time, but I'm just tired. I look at my friends and it seems so simple and clear for them - it's like they have some sort of "indications" in their "genetic material" and I don't.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hey there, Arella.

quote:
I also worry about a lot of things like: What if a like someone and want to have a relationship with him? What if he also wants to have a relationship with me? What if he wants more? Do I have to tell him I've never been with someone? What if he laughs at me? What if I find I like women instead of men?
Really, the answer to all of these worries is that all of this would be okay.

In other words, if you like someone and want to have a relationship with them, that'll probably be okay. If someone wants something sexually we don't, that's okay, too: we get to say no, and sex is something we negotiate with people. Ideally, we choose sexual partners we can be honest with when it comes to our sexual history, so hopefully anyone you'd choose for that is someone you'd feel comfortable talking to, and also won't be someone who laughs at you. If that someone isn't a man, but is a woman, that's okay, too.

I think it's probably not very helpful to focus on what your friends think or say: they're not you, after all: this is about you.

I also hear you saying that you probably have a lot of religious-based sexual shame and fear to get past. That's likely a big part of this, and will probably take some time to unpack. That's okay, too. There's no schedule with this: you get to have whatever sexual life you have only when it feels right for you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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marimo
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Arella, just wanted to let you know you're not alone. Im 21, and Im in the same circumstances with most of the same feelings as you're talking about here. So, sending my support and solidarity to you. [Smile]
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Arella
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Thank you for your replies!

Heather, I liked how you said:
quote:
If someone wants something sexually we don't, that's okay, too: we get to say no.
I always thought I had no choice because I'm a woman, but actually I have. I can say no and that's okay. I shouldn't choose a partner who wouldn't respect my boundaries or who would laugh at me. I also shouldn't compare myself with my friends - I tend to do that a lot, in other aspects too, and it's not helpful at all. I don't think religion has something to do with this, but the people I've grown up with and their ideas.

marimo, I'm sorry you have most of the same feelings! Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one!

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Heather
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I only brought up religion because you said you grew up with the idea sex was a sin, and sin is a religious idea.

By all means, being a woman doesn't change your agency with this.

For sure, we're still not all the way there yet in the world where everyone is on board with the idea of gender equity when it comes to sexuality. But this isn't a couple hundred years ago, or even 100 years ago: it's 2013. If you're a woman in most (though certainly not all, alas) parts of the world who has a choice in being sexual or not in the first place -- in other words, something like forced marriage isn't a reality for you -- you have a choice.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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Arella
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It's been a while since I've posted. There's no point in opening a new topic so I guess I'll just write here.
I've come to realize that it's not sex that I'm afraid of. It's rape. I don't know why. I mean, of course, no one want to be raped, but it's gotten really bad to the point where I start shacking and almost have a panic attack if I read or hear stories and news on TV about rape. It's like they trigger something in me, but there's nothing to trigger cause I haven't been raped (harassed, yes).
I've searched and they say it's called virginitophobia. I don't care what the name is, I just know it has really affected me over the last years and I don't want to continue this way. I've been going to a therapist for a while for depression and anxiety, but he's very critical and I can't tell him something like this, he'd laugh at me.
I feel really ashamed for this. I know it's an irrational fear but I can't control it.
I would highly appreciate if you could give me some advice, resources or anything to help myself.

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Heather
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Hey there, Arella. [Smile]

We truly aren't qualified or equipped to help people manage phobias or persistent fears like this. It's just not what we're educated to do, nor able to do in this medium.

A qualified therapist is who you'd want to ask for help with this. I'd say if your current therapist isn't someone you can ask about phobias without them laughing at you, that therapist isn't qualified to be a therapist, period. Seriously.

So, if you have the ability to switch to someone new, perhaps this is a good reason to? Not just to address this with someone who is capable of helping you with it, but also because no matter what you're getting therapy for, a therapist you can't speak freely with without fear of them being a jerk probably isn't going to be able to help you very much with anything, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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WesLuck
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I wish you all the best! If it helps at all, I'm in my early 30s and haven't had a sexual relationship but I've had a lot of fun finding about myself and becoming comfortable with solo sex, which I think will help a lot when I do find a partner.

I agree with Heather that your therapist doesn't sound very helpful or therapeutic. A professional should at the very least be friendly, open-minded and be able to create a safe space for working through issues - if not then he's not doing his job. It would be great if you could find a better therapist who you feel comfortable to share issues with, and I think that would help you a great deal. Change - at your own pace. You have been affected by negative conditioning from people who have been in your social circle, especially in your early years of life. But it's your choice now. You are in charge of your own life. [Smile]

[ 06-25-2013, 10:28 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Arella
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I've been thinking about this and I know I shouldn't go to this therapist anymore and I will tell him when I have the next session because I can't just cancel it over the phone.
The thing is, he's the second therapist I'm seeing. The first one was very misogynist and used to talk a lot about his life and his past relationships with women - I found that extremely inappropriate as he would really go into details.
They were both recommended by friends/acquaintances who are still seeing them and I don't feel comfortable going to someone I know nothing about. My friends told me they're fine, but I don't know what their problems are so...
Anyway, I've been considering going to a woman, thinking that maybe she would be more understanding about these issues, but right now I'm going through a rough patch financially and I can't afford anymore.
I was hoping I would find something over the internet, any resources or books. I want to help myself but I don't know how. Anyway, maybe over time it will get better.

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Arella
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This is awkward but I need someone to talk about.
Since they've started a lot of constructions in our city, they've changed the bus routes so I had to change the bus I usually take. And this new one is always crowded. This is embarrassing but last week I took this bus and it was very crowded; I didn't even realize at first that a man was rubbing against my butt - sorry for details, I don't even know how this is called. I didn't realize when he started. I think there were a few minutes and then when I finally realized I freaked out and told myself that it's too late to say something. I just... I felt used. And dirty. I got down at the next bus station and walked home in tears; I took a shower and I just wanted to rip my skin off. And I know this is stupid, I keep telling myself to get over it, but I can’t. I should have punched him, I should have said something. It shouldn't matter. But I hate myself for not saying anything. Now I figured a way to avoid that bus by changing two buses and it takes a lot of time. It’s stupid, I know, but every time I see that green bus I freak out.
Also last year I joined a computer course and one of the colleagues used to stalk me. I've gained weight and I wear black in a failed attempt to hide my fat rolls. I’m not attractive so why do I get this sick attention?
I have a friend who sometimes tickles and hugs me from behind (nothing sexual) and I used to like that; but last time she did that, I freaked out and almost punched her. How can I get over this?

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hi Arella,

It sounds like you've experienced a lot of crap recently in quick succession. I'm so sorry to hear it happened to you.

I want to say to you that being assaulted does not make you dirty it also doesn't render any of your feelings or responses or behaviours as unjustified. Everything you did, you did to survive and for you that was the exact 'right' thing to do. None of it is stupid - you expressed anger at your own body and yourself and although that isn't nice, it isn't a fault of yours to have felt or to feel that way. Sometimes anger, even if it's misdirected, is the only outlet we have had access to at the time. That is all ok until we can work on it... I wouldn't say you should have done X, or that you shouldn't have done Y; punch or no punch, the priority should be you and dealing with how this experience has set off all those things you have already been struggling with.

Have you been able to get any in-person support from a friend or a professional? It sounds like you haven't told anyone?

Given what has happened, I would also say, with your friend, it might be useful just let her know that this is upsetting you and physical contact of that sort is really triggering for you at the moment. I would hope that if she's a good friend she would respect that. If you felt able to disclose that you had been assaulted it could also help but you shouldn't feel obligated to say any more, or even this much if you don't want to.

With your therapist, I don't think you have any obligation to go to your next appointment, especially as your assault has intensified the symptoms of your problem and given how you were treated thus far. Doing so on the phone, or even asking a friend to support you by helping you make that call or in-person at reception isn't a bad thing to do. Remember in mental health, as with all healthcare, people make cancellations and can switch providers any time they like, it's a choice you get to make. If seeing him again is bad for your mental health, then they're not doing the job of caring for your mental health to do anything but cancel your appointment.

Finally regarding the assault you experienced on the bus your emotional reaction is totally understandable especially in the context of what you have already been feeling.

I don't know if this would help you find a better therapist but I feel like it might be good for you to look for someone who has experience supporting survivors of sexual assault. Your feelings don't all stem from the assault alone, as we've discussed, but, as you've also identified, they are all heavily concerned similar themes and someone with a specific dedication to caring for survivors, I imagine, could also be well suited to you and would at the very least take you far more seriously than your current therapist.

You also do get to tell a therapist what you want from them, as it is their job. To say "My previous therapist would have laughed about my fears of being raped and so I'm really scared of not being taken seriously by therapists. Would you be able to take me seriously that?" is absolutely something you get to say and can be a great to help someone help you, and to learn from the mistakes (or incompetence) of their predecessor.

[ 07-14-2013, 05:50 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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Arella
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Hi,
Thank you for your message! I apologize for not replying sooner, but it was a lot to take in and I didn't know how to manage all that so I was a bit of a mess in the last week.
I can't talk to my friend about this, she's pretty shy about any sexual topic and I know she wouldn't understand. We're not very close friends so I can't make such a confession to her.
I've been to the same therapist. I know I shouldn't have done that, but I was a mess and I needed to talk about. He said that maybe I didn't say anything to that man because I liked what he was doing. That was strange. So I'm not going anymore. I should have known better.
Anyway, thank you again for your message! I think I have read it a million times over and over again.

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WesLuck
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I would like to wish you the best, and assure you, sometimes we do something once more (like visiting the same therapist) to be totally sure it isn't for us. We all have to emotionally "feel our way" (play it by ear) with situations. But it is very good to trust our intuition, as it often has a handle on things our conscious mind hasn't come to a conclusion on yet. Intuition is a good guide whether something is right for us or not.

Anyway, all the best, and I hope you find a good therapist soon. [Smile] When you need something, one generally finds a way.

[ 07-23-2013, 07:18 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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skiesofgreen
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Arella, I'm so sorry about what's happened to you and I am both sorry and angry that your therapist would say that to you. Not only does it wreak of victim blaming, but speaks to a complete misunderstanding of sexual assault and, quite frankly, was complete unprofessionalism on the part of your therapist.

I want you to know that, despite what your therapist said, not being able to speak up, or freezing, is a actually very common response with victims of sexual assault. It does not speak to fault with you or to you "wanting it" and it's entirely within the norm of human reaction to assault. This is not your fault.

I think you're bang on in feeling like you need a new therapist and I really agree with Jacob that someone with a background in dealing with sexual assault sounds like they might be a good fit for you.

Given everything that's been going on what do you feel you need right now in terms of support?

Also do you need help finding a therapist you feel comfortable with? If so the volunteers here are often able to help point you in the right direction, so if you let them know that's something you'd like I'm sure they'll let you know what they need from you so that they can help you out in that regard (usually zipcode/postal code emailed to them or posted here when that's something you're comfortable with).

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