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Author Topic: I'm clearly missing something here...
Tacosforcharity
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Hi, i posted on here earlier this year about a pregnancy scare that couldn't possibly be a viable pregnancy risk, so i took a break from all that. It had probably been more than a few months since my boyfriend fingered me, but because of all the stress it caused me, i decided to take a break from all that. Anyway, yesterday, i decided i was ready to start getting intimate with my boyfriend again, we only really resort to fingering and oral sex, and based from the information provided on this site, those kinds of sex do not pose pregnancy risks (am i right here?). I'm really not concerned with STI's at all because he's been tested negative, but i can't seem to shake the stress from my previous pregnancy scare, even if it isn't as bad as before.

is there anything i'm doing wrong here? why am i constantly being tempted to take EC even if there hasn't bee a real risk?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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Hi Tacosforcharity,

You're right that neither oral sex nor fingering pose pregnancy risk
I tend to think that fear is there to tell us something, so if you're still not feeling ready to engage in these sexual activities with your boyfriend, that's okay. It's okay to listen to your instinctss.

We'd be happy to help you see I you can figure out what's going on here, though.


Do you feel like you have a strong understanding of the facts of how human reproduction works?

Why do you think you're so afraid?
. [Smile]

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Robin

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Tacosforcharity
Neophyte
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Judging from what happened the previous night, i have come to the conclusion that i am not ready for these kinds of things, but the real question here is, when will i ever be?

Yes, i do feel like i understand it, biologically, but i dont understand how these things are to work, on the emotional level. When do you really know you're ready? When do go about doing these things without feeling so stressed all the time?

I feel like i'm so scared of this happening because i never really had a good sex ed, and i feel like there's no one i can really talk to, especially since i was raised so conservatively [Frown]

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I have a couple links that might help you out and be a comfort to you in this regard:
• Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/fear_of_pregnancy_ready_for_sex
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/what_if_i_never_want_or_feel_ready_for_sex

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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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Tacosforcharity
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thanks for the reads! based from them i guess i realized that even if i am taking every precaution to the point of no risk, i feel like what i'm doing isn't enough, and what i'm doing is:

1.) making sure all clothes were on,
2.) no ejaculate came anywhere near my private parts,
3.) making my boyfriend wash his hands (quite a number of times)
4.) making sure he didn't touch me if he came in contact with his ejaculate
5.) before cleaning myself off, i washed my hands (for quite a qhile with soap, might i add).

is this normal? to feel like what i'm doing isn't adequate?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Tacosforcharity
Neophyte
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thanks for the reads! based from them i guess i realized that even if i am taking every precaution to the point of no risk, i feel like what i'm doing isn't enough, and what i'm doing is:

1.) making sure all clothes were on,
2.) no ejaculate came anywhere near my private parts,
3.) making my boyfriend wash his hands (quite a number of times)
4.) making sure he didn't touch me if he came in contact with his ejaculate
5.) before cleaning myself off, i washed my hands (for quite a qhile with soap, might i add).

is this normal? to feel like what i'm doing isn't adequate?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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I'm not sure "normal" is something that's helpful here, or that we can even answer to.

But what I would say about this is:

1) If you have education and understanding on how pregnancy does and doesn't occur, then these aren't rational fears about pregnancy. So, I'd be taking a look at why you think you are experiencing this level of irrational fear.

2) If you keep doing something that is 100% optional -- something no one HAS to do, and is only really supposed to be doing when it feels good for them, including emotionally -- and even all of these actions, some of which not only aren't necessary, but won't do anything at a given point, keep scaring you, then I'd be asking yourself why you are doing something that scares you so much and requires so, so much effort for you to do even minimally.

Make sense?

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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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Tacosforcharity
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I get that i shouldn't be doing things that scare me like that, but I waited a really long time, gave myself time to think about if i'm ready or not, and during that time, i do think i'm ready, and then i end up doing it. The first few hours after feel really great! I'm happy and everything and i feel like it's going to be better this time, but the morning after just feels bad. Going back, the morning after feels like i haven't done enough to protect myself.

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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Right, but what I hear is that you know, now, there is a pattern of you NOT feeling good about this after a certain period of time.

So, I think that tells us that clearly, it's not working for you to keep trying to come at this this way, you know?

So, let's try this: do you think this is about you not having enough education to understand how pregnancy does and doesn't happen? In other words, that you are doing all these "precautions" (I use quotes because some of these things, like washing yourself, won't do anything in this regard) because you don't know what DOES and does pose real risks and what, in reality, does and doesn't reduce them?

OR... does it seem more like you know a lot of this isn't rational fear, and you are struggling with irrational fear? Where you know the facts, and know your fears aren't square with them, but still feel scared?

--------------------
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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Tacosforcharity
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I do think that i have enough education as of now, i've done all the research i can, but i dont have like a trusted adult to talk about these things with like my mom or any support group, really... I guess i'm taking my lack of support out onto an irrational fear.

Yeah, i do think it boils down to me not being able to accept that it's an irrational fear, and no matter how minimal the risk, i can't handle it too well. So i guess trying and trying again isn't the answer?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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Irrational fears -- phobias -- are ultimately usually a meantal health issue, and so that's how they need to be approached. A person can do that with the help of a mental healthcare provider, or work on it on their own.

If it's something you want to work on on your own, then no, continuing to just put yourself in situations that are scaring you, and where it's clear, doing that is only compounding your fears, not making them less strong? Nope, not the right approach.

Can I ask if you have tried simply not doing ANYTHING that freaks you out in this regard, at all? Not for days, or weeks, but not doing it period so long as you're feeling like this?

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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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Tacosforcharity
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definitely! prior to the other night with my boyfriend, i took months off away from doing anything like fingering, but then one day i decided i was ready to start again... and it sort of wound me up in this situation. well, i guess i was better off without it, but what can i do whenever i feel like "i can do this?" i find it hard to find ways to stop myself when i put this to mind, especially after a long time... :/

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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Want to try and talk that through?

For instance are those "I can do this" moments both "I really, really, really want to do this for myself," and "I feel totally up to handling this today, including the fears I'm pretty sure will happen after?"

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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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Tacosforcharity
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Well, at first they are... But the morning after, not so much. Do you recommend i convince myself not to do it, and believe that doing these things is a bad thing? The only con i see there is that i might carry it on to the distant future, though.

I do realize i have another problem, though. My boyfriend likes to try his chances and well, "convince" me to do these things with him, but it's only because i say yes once in a very blue moon. I dont feel ready to be doing these things yet, but there really are moments when i do feel up to it [Frown] do i just go with it?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Robin Lee
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So, what I hear you saying is that your boyfriend asks you on a regular basis to do these sexual activities in the hopes that you'll say yes. Does your boyfriend know that you feel a lot of fear and panic after these sexual activities?

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Robin

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Heather
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Can you tell me what you mean by "convince," also? Like, in a situation where he has "convinced" you, what does that look or sound like? What does that involve? Does it involve, for instance, you saying no, for any reason, and then him working to change your mind?

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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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Tacosforcharity
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yeah!!! he's usually the one to initiate, and i almost automatically say no! but then he heats up (in that way) and if he does manage to get through to me, i give in. [Frown] but then we've established ground rules like wash your hands, or no instance where we have both our clothes off.

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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Again, I'm very curious what "get through to you means." What does he do to do that? Does he ask again and again? Keep touching you or coming on to you after you have said no, rather than accepting your no and figuring out something else entirely to do with you, or going home?

I ask because it sounds to me like what's happening here is coercion.

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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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Tacosforcharity
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to robin, he feels if he keeps asking and trying, there's always a shot of me saying yes to having actual intercourse with him. i told him i wasn't ready for anything sexual yet, but he said he wouldn't stop me if i asked..... i don't know what to feel about that since i kind of need someone to protect my very delicate mental health :l

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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It sounds like he's very much not respecting your limits here. saying we keep pushing and asking someone sexually when they're saying no because they might say yes? That is basically describing oneself engaging in coercive behaviour.

And that's not part of a healthy sexual or otherwise interpersonal relationship. It may also be part of why you're so scared and uncomfortable all of the time, because it IS very scary and uncomfortable to be in an intimate relationship or in any way sexual with someone who is making clear they don't respect or care that much about our limits, and that they're going to keep pushing for what they want for themselves. [Frown]

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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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Tacosforcharity
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yeah you're right... i guess this is why i'm so uncomfortable with myself, and i guess this explains why i feel like my efforts at protecting against pregnancy aren't enough? because i feel like i'm not ready to be facing these fears? (which i'm currently facing now as we speak)

i really don't know how to cope with this anymore [Frown] one day i'm coping fine, no worries, and all of a sudden, everything turns bad because of irrational fear. i mean, i am doing everything right, right? then why does it feel like it's all wrong?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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I'd not say that feeling fear in a coercive relationship is irrational. I'd say that is exceptionally rational. Again, if and when someone demonstrates our boundaries aren't particularly meaningful to them, and makes efforts to thwart them, that IS scary. Not so much about pregnancy, obviously (though reproductive coercion is something that happens in those kinds of relationships), but feeling fear in that kind of relationship or interaction? Rational. Sound. Smart.

When things feel all wrong it's generally because something IS wrong. It's sounding to me like it might not be about how often someone washes their hands, but about who you're intimate with in the first place.

Let's try this on: how do you think you might feel with a partner who NEVER pushed for anything sexual you didn't yourself make clear you wanted? Who always just responded to your no with something like, "Okay, of course. Just let me know if you ever feel differently."

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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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Tacosforcharity
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and i feel like my situation is getting worse because right now, a close friend of mine has had a risk, but it's too late for her to take EC and i feel like this is just reminding me of the bad time i had earlier this year.

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Tacosforcharity
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i guess what i'm getting from all this is that things aren't really flowing in the direction i'm going in. my boundaries aren't treated the way they should be, and for me to reach a certain level of sanity, they should be.

i guess everything feels so terrible because i think that intimacy and sexuality isn't something i make happen, it just happens, you know? i guess my emotional needs aren't being met?

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Heather
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Well, if someone wasn't "making" sex happen, it wouldn't happen. The people who might otherwise be engaging in sex would both just be sitting around or doing something else.

So, maybe YOU are not an active agent here, but someone clearly has been, or nothing would have happened, catch my drift?

All the same, "things" don't flow or do things on their own when it comes to how people interact. PEOPLE do things, choose things, take actions (or don't).

So, are you saying you don't feel you really make choices or decisions here? Or that when you do, they're based solely or primarily on what someone else wants?

This isn't just about sanity, btw. This is also about healthy -- and unhealthy-- relationships.

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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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Tacosforcharity
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how do i overcome how unhealthy this aspect of my relationship is? he's asking--pushing for something i clearly cannot give without getting hurt, but no other relationship in my life has ever been as fulfilling as this one [Frown] i look at all my friends and whenever they tell me about how intimate they and their partners can get, i feel kinda sad because i can't have that level of security when it comes to engaging in sexual activities [Frown]

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We'll run wild! We'll be glowing in the dark!

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Robin Lee
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well, first of all I'd say that it isn't just you who needs to take responsibility for overcoming this unhealthy part of your relationship, but both you *and* your boyfriend. If he isn't willing to see things from your perspective and stop pressuring you, then it's clear he doesn't have your best interests at heart in general, and it becomes about more than just the sexual part of your relationship.

In other words, as fulfilling as this relationship is, if your partner doesn't respect your needs in all aspects of the relationship, there's an issue.

So, how do you feel about talking to your boyfriend? You can explain to him that sexual activity just isn't working for you right now, and that you're feeling really pressured by his pushiness around sex and for you to feel comfortable you need for that to stop.

I certainly hear you on feeling sad that your friends are describing things they enjoy that you don't feel okay about having right now. Know though that there isn't one "right" time for someone to enjoy and feel comfortable with sexual intimacy. You not feeling comfortable with it right now doesn't say anything about you as a person, or about you as a romantic partner. In other words, it's just a fact about you, like what you enjoy eating, the things you like and don't like to do for fun, etc.

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Robin

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