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Author Topic: Desperate for help...
NoName
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Can someone please help me? Basically my problem is that I have experienced pregnancy scares on and off for the last 8 or so years of my life...pregnancy scares that aren't exactly legitimate. I am 23 years old and had sex for the first time when I was 16. I have only been with two people my entire life, with one of them being the person I am still with and have been with for 7 years now. I have only had real intercourse about 5 times and it has been at least 5 years or more since I had it last. I have been in a committed long term relationship for the past 7 years now and there are 0 worries about sti's of any kind and we are both reaching our mid-twenties, so we are not uneducated or irresponsible. We decided after maybe 3 times of intercourse years ago that we would no longer have it until we were much older because the pregnancy risk was too scary for me. Since then, we have regularly had oral and manual sex...and nothing more for the past 5 years. Most of the time I am completely fine and worry free about it. But sometimes, I overly obsess about the possibility that his semen "could have found a way into me." We have never, ever, gone so far as to actually let our genitals touch each other, nor do we ever let his fluids come into contact with my genitals. We are super safe and careful...but yet, sometimes I still think "what if some got down there and I didn't notice?" I also think crazy things like "I am bound to get pregnant from this sometime because I have avoided it for so long." I almost think that I will magically get pregnant JUST because I soooo badly never want to be.

Here is where it gets even crazier, I have a Psychology degree, and have had plenty of therapy, and I am well educated about the reproductive system...and I still do this! Therapy or...anyone for that matter has never been able to help me with this issue because I truly believe this issue isn't a very common one. Sure, many women don't WANT to be pregnant but I don't know of many that obsess about it this much (that aren't teenagers that is). I will freely admit I have MANY anxiety issues and plenty of phobias to go along with it, but this pregnancy phobia is the absolute worst of all. I am just so sick of this. I don't think I will ever be normal or ever have sex for the rest of my life. If I can't even have foreplay without obsessing, then I will never have intercourse. I get mad at myself because I physically want sex...so I am intimate with my boyfriend...then I worry about this. I wish that I had no sex drive at all and that he didn't either so that it wouldn't have to be worried about anymore. He gets really worn out with me because we both know I am being unreasonable. I am so scared of this that I don't want to be on birth control because I am afraid it will mess my period up..and a missed period to me means definite pregnancy. I would really just like to be completely sterilized but I don't know a doctor in this world that would go that to a woman my age.

I posted this because I am having another "scare" right now and they have happened quite often lately. We messed around in the same way we ALWAYS do yesterday and I just finished my period the day before that and normally ovulate a week after...but none of this eases my mind. I sit and think about how a sperm cell could have gotten from A to B to C and so forth and give myself stomach aches and a rapid heart beat. I hope someone on here can understand what I am going through and help me to ease my mind..I would just be grateful for any advice at all. I have explored your site and you guys seem to be the most professional one I have found. Sorry for the length.

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Stephanie_1
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Hi NoName, Welcome to Scarleteen.

Let me start by saying how someone feels about any problem, whether it be pregnancy or anything else is very personal and very individual. Working here though, we have seen a lot of people express these same feelings about pregnancy worry - and to many different varying degrees - so you're not alone.

I see above that you do not want to be using birth control (by this I assume you're talking about the pill specifically, but since you're talking about methods messing with your cycles some possibly I'm going to loop in other hormonal methods as well. So can you tell us a little bit about what methods of contraception you do/have used to prevent pregnancy? There's quite a few options out there, and coupling methods of contraception can raise their effectiveness ratings.

I see you mentioned above about therapy not being very effective, can you explain how long you tried therapy for this, and also if you changed therapists at any time? Also, are you currently seeing a therapist (or have you ever) for the anxiety outside of the one about pregnancy? A lot of times when anxiety is the root of the issue it's important to be working with that in and of itself as well. Also, what type of therapists have you been to see?

Additionally, have you considered possibly stopping any type of sex while you work through these feelings? Sex can be great, but it's also about pleasure and when there's baskets and bundles of anxiety and worry after any type of sex, it tends to outweigh that pleasure.

[ 06-19-2011, 03:18 PM: Message edited by: Stephanie_1 ]

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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NoName
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Thanks for your reply. I have used a few different birth control pills in the past (and always coupled it with condoms) but it has been at least 7 years or more ago since I have. I know that with any hormonal method that you no longer have a period and that it is very common for the pill to make you miss periods all together...that really scares me. That is why I don't have intercourse all together. I know that I am not on birth control and I am scared to be on it. Personally, the only method I would feel 100 percent satisfied with is a tubal...though I have even heard of that failing as well. I get very worried about my relationship because we have already gone more than 5 years without intercourse (which seems practically unheard of) and I don't see myself being comfortable enough to have it in the near future either. My boyfriend is the most supportive and understanding person in the world about this problem...although he doesn't understand it, he still respects my feelings. That makes me feel even more guilty for what I put him through. Honestly, although I have needs too, I could probably just ignore my needs and never express my sexuality at all...which is much easier said than done if you are single and not in a relationship like I am. Part of my feels like I am doing the best I can by being as intimate as I can without risking pregnancy...but a few years ago I came across some information online (I know, the internet is a terrible place to look) about people actually conceiving without having actual intercourse, that is when my phobia got worse and I started to worry about what little intimacy we do have.

As I said, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and in the program I completed, you do a very long internship and you take lots of classes that are very personal. In addition, I have seen 2 different therapists (one male, one female) both for at least 6 months at a time. I just recently stopped therapy because my therapist was leaving but I do have the option of starting with someone new. I have truly dug my feelings out from the the bottom of my soul and have explored tons of issues with other people as well. I just don't know if there is any real help for me because it seems like I can't get someone to understand this problem. I know from experience that anxiety can be one of the worst problems to treat. All that people seem to tell me is to get on some kind of medication for it (which I do not want at all). I wrote here because it seemed like a knowledgeable site about sexual matters and I really just wanted to know how far out there my fear was and how many others feel this strongly about it. I also wouldn't be lying if I didn't tell you that I was also seeking some reassurance that pregnancy can't happen in this way. I understand what you are saying about not having any sexual contact at all and I feel if I stop that yes, my anxiety would stop, but I am afraid of what would happen to my relationship and also my mental well-being. I have never thought it was very healthy to give into irrational thinking so please believe me I am trying really hard to listen to reason and just keep on trying to be normal. I went to this site to try something new. Any advice or help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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NoName
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Still needing (and hoping) for some support...
Posts: 172 | From: USA | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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To start with, I just want to make sure you're aware that not all methods of hormonal birth control completely suppress periods. Some methods can make bleeding irregular, and there are some brands of the pill that are designed specifically to suppress bleeds for several months at a time. But plenty of brands of the pill leave you with a regular cycle and a withdrawal bleed once a month. If you want, and if you think that starting on some method of birth control will make you feel safer, we can certainly talk about what your options are.

Another thing that may help you is getting a very clear idea of what does and does not cause pregnancy. These articles should help you out there:
Pregnancy Scared?
Where DID I Come From? A Refresher Course in Human Reproduction

As you probably know from your studies, the key to treating pretty much anything is to find out where it originated. I hear you saying that you are afraid to become pregnant, but do you know where this fear stems from? What is it about becoming pregnant that scares you so much?

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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NoName
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Thank you so much for replying. Support of any kind means so much to me right now. To answer your first question, yes I would like some more information about birth control. My main concern is how the hormones mess with your body, mainly how it can make you skip periods sometimes. With this particular anxiety, the week I have my period is pretty much the one week out of the month this anxiety has a chance to go down because I know for sure that I am "okay." Can you explain exactly what the "withdrawal bleed" is? I know that the pill keeps you from ovulating so exactly what are you bleeding...and does the withdrawal bleed mean you are not pregnant like a period does? I honestly despise that 1% chance or so that hormonal birth control has of failing. I feel that there is no hope for me to ever feel comfortable at all since no birth control is 100 percent effective.

I have read those articles like a 100 times trying to reassure myself that I am okay and they are great articles really. They have made me feel somewhat better. I would like to know though, every other site I go to is full of people saying "yes getting pregnant from fingering, oral, etc. is very possible because sperm can be really strong/sneaky and make a pregnancy even if its just a little bit." And lots of people claimed it has happened to them or someone they knew. Yet, some also say what this site says "that pregnancy from those means are near impossible due to the conditions that must be met." It makes me very uneasy and confused. How is it 2011 and NO sort of consensus has been reached about this issue...surely this is issue has been around for a very long time by now?

Lastly, I basically from the core of my being DO NOT EVER want children. I am 100 percent sure I will never change my mind. Never wanted them in my life. This is for many reasons. First, I come from a VERY dysfunctional family that has really messed up the way I view life. I have had a really hard time in my adult life trying to be normal socially, mentally, morally, and yes, sexually. They taught many threatening and contradicting messages to me growing up so all of the important things that you are supposed to learn in order to be a functional person were never really taught to me. For this reason, I do not want to bring another child into my family, nor do I want to raise one knowing how many problems I already have and may never overcome. I also want more than anything to make the rest of my life way better than what I have lived up until now (because I have seen some really hard times for the past 10 years or so). I am 23 and I still live at home, have a degree that has proven to be useless, can't find any meaningful employment, and suffer from anxiety and depression on a daily basis. I also do not want a child out of the fear of pregnancy itself. I am soo paranoid about my body and things invading it. I have never drank or smoke and hardly take medication for anything. I am also a super clean person as well. I fear germs a lot because I think that I will catch a disease or illness that will seriously make me ill. Which make sense why I am so fearful of sperm because I feel like they are little parasites that do anything they can to get inside of you and make you pregnant. I swear, if I didn't have a relationship with someone I loved so much, I would probably give into my anxiety and be celibate for the rest of my life. My last reason is just basic, I have NEVER had a maternal instinct in my life. I do not like kids, I do not like anything associated with them, and the mere sight of a pregnant woman or discussion about them make me feel sick and uneasy. That may make me seem callous but that is the truth. I have felt this way for as long as I can remember.

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Stephanie_1
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The withdrawal bleed is called that because when you have a period, an egg (ovum) is released and reabsorbed into the body. Bot with the pill, ovulation doesn't occur so there's no egg. Therefore, the change in the name.

The consensus comes in where no method is 100% effective - therefore sometimes people will become pregnant. But each method comes with its own numbers there per effectiveness and not all methods are hormonal. Also, not all of them rely on you remembering to take something every day. Have a look at this: Birth Control Bingo then we can discuss any methods you wish to discuss (also, listed at the top is the effectiveness rating for each method.) Also a goodie is seeing how they work together: The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method

Also want to touch on the fact that even for those that are being super careful - pregnancy is something that may just not be wanted at all and may happen. This is when it's important to (if you know a method failed) get ec, and also if you don't but do find you're pregnant to have a plan on what you want to do should this occur, and having funds available for any option. This can also mean taking a step back from sex of any kind until you are ready and able to do so.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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NoName
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Thank you for the information. First off, can you give me some information about sterilization? Is there any way I can convince a doctor to sterilize me at my age? I also would like to know if it is possible to use tons of birth control (ie, diaphragm, condom, birth control, and withdrawal) all at the same time? Would it ruin the effectiveness at all? Is there a specific type of hormonal birth control that has the lest amount of side effects and more likely to not mess your period up as badly? Honestly though, I am more concerned with info about how safely I am playing it as it is: no intercourse or genital contact at all. Is manual and oral sex really that unsafe? Logically, I can't understand how ANY pregnancy EVER happens from a trace amount of sperm on a finger or your mouth...but yet people say it have. I simply don't see how it is possible. Are sperm really smart enough to just crawl inside you and do anything it can to make you pregnant? I wouldn't have even started worrying about this in the first place if I hadn't found stories of it happening. It only made a bad phobia even worse. Thank you so much for talking to me. This site has helped me a whole lot.
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Stephanie_1
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Lots of questions here, so going to try and hit on all of them briefly. First, having read the articles linked for you above (pregnancy scared and refresher) you already know unless genital-genital or ejaculate/pre-ejaculate female genital contact occurs there's no risk. That said, oral sex poses no risk of pregnancy because there is not a direct rout between mouth and genitals for pregnancy to occur. With fingering, for there to be a viable risk of pregnancy, you're talking about fingers with fresh ejaculate making contact with or inside of the female's genitals. To lessen risk, you can always use gloves and lubricant, then dispose of the gloves before touching your (or having him touch your genitals). Too, you can always just make sure to wash your hands between.

Per using a bunch of methods of contraception together, yes this is possible. You just need to make sure that they are all compatible with one another. For instance, some methods say not to use with certain other methods. So it's just a little bit of research.FYI, the IUD is the most effective method there is to date.

Per sterilization, it can be REALLY tough to find a doctor willing to do so at your age unless there's a medical reason behind it - and the medical reason being something meaning that being a last resort. generally it costs between $1,500 and $6,000 which may not be covered at all by insurance (as well as any additional doctors fees.) There may be state or federal requirements for sterilization, such as age restrictions or waiting periods - which you would need to talk with your doctor about. But there's also a lot of other options available, so how about taking a bit of time to go through those two articles I linked you first.

[ 06-25-2011, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Stephanie_1 ]

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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NoName
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Thank you so much for talking to me really. I know you must get tired of hearing the same questions all the time. It isn't that I don't logically know all of this stuff it is just that my mind doesn't want to believe it. I do feel better coming here though because it is one of the few sites I have found that doesn't seem biased about sex (at least I hope not!) I've been thinking, all of these stories that freak me and a lot of other people out may in fact come from people with a hidden agenda. Like maybe they tell you things so that people will be too scared to do anything sexual at all. It is nice to find a site that tells you like it is. After all, sex will always exist and for young people, it will always be a great source of excitement and worry...and it never helps to receive false or misleading information about something so serious.

Honestly, unlike a lot of questions on this site, me and my boyfriend never have an "oh no" moment where we realized that we may have just touched semen and then me. We never "dry hump" and we never have genital to genital contact. If there is some crazy chance that a trace amount of pre-cum or semen got in me, it would be so small an amount that it probably wouldn't even matter. So according to what you have told me and the articles I have read, there is no way I can get pregnant. I am going to try my best to keep on telling myself that and maybe one day I can stop stressing so much over this. It really is odd, this particular phobia had really been nonexistent for a very long time and it has only been a few months ago that I have "relapsed" and started obsessing over it again. I am definitely going to get started back in therapy again and going to make an appointment with a gynecologist to discuss some issues with him as well. I clearly have many issues with my sexuality that is only getting more detrimental to me as I get older and a million anxiety issues to add on top of it. Thank you so much for the work you do here and for taking the time out to answer my many questions.

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