Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Any questions or discussions that you ONLY want to discuss with our staff or volunteers.
(Users: please do not reply to other users here.)
space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:47 am

Hello Scarleteen!
I just want to preface this with the fact that this isn’t a pregnancy scare, it’s related mental health problems to do with a pregnancy scare
I recently posted on these forums about some queries to do with sperm cells and their lifespan, and while I got a satisfactory answer, it still didn’t help calm me down about my fears and worries of pregnancy, and I didn’t post about them on here since it is against the rules and I completely respect that. However, my fears became irrational and I was crying most days and unable to generally cope as I forgot most of the day that the sexual acts that caused these fears, therefore causing me to gaslight myself even more.
I did get my period though, which was a relief! For about.. twelve hours?
I remembered actions my partner and I had done two days before my period came which factually could not resolve in pregnancy. Whatsoever. We had clothes on, there was no genitalia touching of any form, and there was only rubbing over my clothes (pants, not just underwear) and my bare nipples, and I stimulated other parts of his body that made him feel good as I wasn’t comfortable with genitalia rubbing even over clothes due to my immense fears that I had mentioned.
We have since ceased all sexual actions until I can calm whatever the hell this is down, but of course, since it was after ovulation, I’m going to freak out because I have to wait until my next period to know if everything is okay, according to my brain. Of which I could not cope with. At all.
However, they are now a source of my anxiety again, and I know factually that nothing could happen but I keep freaking myself out over being freaked out again. Reading facts that support my case and should help me calm down only freak me out even more, but not reading them scare me too. Things that used to help me cope don’t help anymore. I know deep down I’m scared of being scared, not even scared of pregnancy. No matter what my friends, my mum, my partner or this site told me, I just could not get a grip. And I genuinely do not know if I can cope with another month of this.
I don’t see my therapist for just over a week and it can get so much worse before then, and I want to go on anxiety medication to hopefully calm my fears but my mum isn’t taking me seriously and just thinks that going back to school will solve all of this. I know this stresses her out, she’s had to sit through me crying at 3am just because I can’t get a grip on reality. I’m terrified that these will become fears of basic human touching of people with a penis, which I know is irrational and I have no need to be, but it doesn’t seem unlikely at this point.
I keep thinking back on times where I wasn’t scared, where I could talk to my friends and play video games to cope with things instead of just feeling so scared all the time and spiralling into circles of overthinking and overanalysing. I keep getting scared that it will just not improve. At all.
I don’t know what I needed out of writing this. I think I need some advice, or to just let it out. I think both apply
I thank and also apologise to whoever reads this from the bottom of my heart, and I wish you a good day!

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 am

Hey there, space egg. I’m so sorry you’re goons though this.

I’m not officially here yet today, but when I am, I wanted to check with you to see if you’re okay with me talking in more depth about some facts and misnomers about sperm cells like I have before with you in my answer to you. It just feels like some of this is based in holding on to mythology about these cells that isn’t grounded in how they work in reality at all.

I ask because I think it might help, but it also might create some anxiety, and if so, I want to make sure you have what you need to manage that on top of also being okay with it, period.
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

space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:23 pm

Thank you so much Heather, that might do some good. I think general facts instead of targeted ones might’ve been why I just assumed things.

Today was just what I expected, it’s just a compulsive fear that I just have been obsessing over and I couldn’t just think straight I was always scared of touching *something* even though my rational thought knows it’s well.. irrational
I don’t like putting it on my partner because he feels like it’s his fault that I go through this. Thank you for wanting to help, it really does mean a lot.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:46 am

Alas, I just wrote a whole long post then closed my own window accidentally (UGH, ME!), so I just wanted to let you know I'm on this, but it's going to be a minute.
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

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:12 am

The way it looks from where I'm sitting, we've got a mutli-pronged issue here, one that includes your anxiety disorder (and whatever kind it is, and whatever that means for you, including treatment and any barriers to that), how supported you do or don't feel with the anxiety by the people in your life, especially the most influential people, what you can and can't control when it comes to both what triggers your anxiety and what you can do to manage it (especially with the limitations of the pandemic), and the matter of the facts of things, very much including the fact that it sure doesn't help that one of your anxiety triggers is based in something where the facts have been obscured by cultural (cough,patriarchal, cough) mythologies about that thing (sperm cells).

Obviously, there's some of that I/we can help more with than others, but by all means, I'm in to do what we can here, or at least try our best. I'm so sorry this is causing you so much suffering. I'd love to see it cease, or if it can't do that, at least be something that can get dialed down.

The facts are obviously one place I have some things I can offer, but before I do that, I want to touch lightly on a few other things. We can talk more about them if you'd like.

It sounds like you think your mother won't give permission for you to get anxiety medication if that's what your therapist suggests/agrees with you about. A couple things on that: 1) you may not actually need her permission, as this may be a case where you might be able to be considered a mature minor per AU policy about minors and healthcare, or, if you'd feel better about this, 2) your therapist may be able to have a talk with her and get her to understand that your anxiety existed before school was interrupted, so school getting back isn't likely to resolve it. In other words, your therapist may be able to better educate your mother about your anxiety -- about anxiety disorders, period -- than you've been able to, something I think would be a good idea to ask them to try and do regardless. You'd certainly benefit from living in a household where the person you live with understood what you were dealign with a bit better.

On a similar note, I hear you feeling very much like a burden here to the most influential people in your life -- to your mother and your boyfriend. I want to just make sure that you know that their feelings are NOT your responsibility. They're not. And you are NOT a burden. It doesn't sound to me like either of them are being jerks here or anything, but I do think that you feeling like a burden and them both sounding like they just don't get it (and perhaps not doing any learning of their own about anxiety to try and better understand) is creating a kind of perfect storm where instead of feelings supported, you're feeling worse, and that's not going to help you out here, you know? I'd be happy to talk about some ways they might be able to better support you if you like, and how you can ask for that.

Moving on to those facts.

You and I both know that these will get overridden by your anxiety sometimes, because your anxiety does not give a hoot about rational things. But I think that you can perhaps use them to try and craft some ways to ground yourself with them if and when the anxiety happens, or keep it from spiraling out. I'm going to oversimplify things here in a way I usually wouldn't for our purposes, because you aren't a bunch of medical students, you're you, in this situation. I know we've also talked about some of this before, so pardon me if I give you some reruns. I'm getting older and my brain is not the steel trap it once was!

You keep thinking about sperm cells a) like they are mighty, and b) like they operate like germs. Neither could be further from the truth.

In reality, when it comes to how the whole bit of human reproduction goes, no one is mighty: not sperm cells, not ova, not the fluids involved, none of it. In fact, honestly, between getting the timing right and all of the other exacting specifications involved in human reproduction it truly is a wonder this species manages to reproduce itself at all. Like, it is so exacting and so complex that if it weren't for the fact that there are times in life where people literally are inclined to do it -- and when I say it, I very expressly mean penis-in-vagina intercourse -- like bunnies (and, I am sorry to say, probably also if it weren't for how much sexual violence has existed in history), we'd be long gone as a species by now.

And sperm cells are like, the LEAST powerful of everything involved. They are the MOST delicate, the most easily destroyed or intercepted, the easiest to predict, etc. They also don't "infect" things. In other words, if it weren't for EVERYTHING else involved -- the ova, the cervix, the uterus and the muscles of it, the fluids of the vagina and the cervix, the timing of it all -- they would be literally useless. There is not a single thing they can do on their own. Nothing. They're not like viruses, where they just need to show up and find a host and get in there and do their thing. It's more like that they need to show up, get to the door (which is hard enough for them to do, so hard they need 500 of their friends to even get one of them there!), and hope everyone ELSE does THEIR thing. Make sense? So, this is why worries about them being on things like door handles or pants are so divorced from reality -- if and when a sperm cell managed to find itself there it would be so utterly damaged and so without all that it needs to be able to do anything that it just doesn't make sense to think about that as even a thing.

How about we start there today and see where you want to take it, okay? <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

space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:40 pm

Dear Heather
Thank you genuinely so much for this, it’s put my mind at a genuine ease
I finally managed to get it into my mother’s head that seeing a doctor about this would be beneficial and could possibly not only get me a prescription but a better therapy plan, which is a freaking huge relief.
It’s nice to be taken seriously, because goodness knows how bad it would’ve gotten if I left it alone. Bless her, she’s trying her hardest.
I just have a question that I think has weighed this down the most
Are they able to be transferred from surface to surface without the ejaculated liquid? Or can they physically not move outside of the liquid they’re ejaculated with? Once that liquid’s gone, are they gone too?
If you’d like to direct me to a page if you’ve explained these over and over again to people, by all means, I don’t wanna be that person :lol:
Thank you once again, so much. For taking the time to write all this! I’m sorry you lost the first one, so did I with my initial inquiry. It’s so frustrating!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I can’t say I won’t be back, but this helped a ton, and it means a ton too :)
I hope you have a lovely day/night/afternoon whenever you read this!
- space egg

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:24 pm

I can answer that last question, but it's one of those questions where the question itself doesn't really make sense.

Like, if I asked you, "Can my dog buy a car?" You'd probably be like, "Well, why would you even ask that because your dog could''t have a bank account to have money for a car, or even drive a car or get a license..."

Once the liquid they're ejaculated with is all gone and anything left is on some random surface, we really can't say *anything* about those cells, because no one has studied them like that to care because that information has zero relevance since those cells can't do anything. In other words, they're effectively useless microscopic dust, so no one is funding scientists to see how they move around because there's no reason to know. For that same reason, there isn't a mountain of literature for me to give you on this: make sense?

The oversimplified takeaway from that, though I want to be clear that I totally understand if your anxiety -- not you -- can't "hear" it -- is that no, they can't be moved around all by themselves and still be able to do anything at all. If they could, I can assure you we would not only have studies on that, but a lot of people would be spending a lot less money and energy trying to get pregnant than there are.

I am glad to have been of help and am SO HAPPY to hear that about your Mom. That's wonderful news. You're welcome to be here as you like, and you certainly don't have to just hang out for this stuff! :)
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

space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Fri Jan 29, 2021 1:38 am

Hello again!
I return with mainly good news, but I’m still underwhelmed.
I got a prescription for meds that will help, and a bit of a clearer idea about the type of thoughts going through my head, but the meds will take a couple weeks to kick in, and it still hasn’t settled down my overthinking, if that makes sense.
Every little symptom, every little worry, it just makes me spiral out of control.
I’m even scared of masturbation now because I might overthink something being on my hands, despite the fact that that makes no sense whatsoever. I never used to be scared of that and nothing would ever happen, so why can’t I just get it in my head that nothing will happen?
It doesn’t help that I keep forgetting specific events about the day I was with my partner and the touching was barely even over the line of sexual let alone risky.
We both had pants on. There was no genital stimulation even over the pants. It was only my nipples. That should be where I draw the line but for some reason I keep thinking that I could’ve touched something he touched when he was getting changed after swimming and into pyjamas a few hours later and whatnot if he had any form of pre-ejaculate from the “situations.” No matter what I do I just think. I just don’t want to go through the nights of crying and not being able to cope again. Rationally, I am being so dramatic and stupid it’s not even funny, but you’d be surprised how little that impacts my thoughts. If anything, it makes it worse. I know I’m being irrational, I know I’m toying with myself but the fact that I just can’t stop convincing myself of these things makes it worse.
Alas there isn’t much I can do now but sit through it and follow up with my doctor in a few weeks. Reading what you sent me helped a lot, so thank you! Genuinely, this site has helped a lot, the only good thing that came from my stupid decision to google search and overthink myself into madness.

Take care!
Space egg

space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:06 am

Other things that my brain is being stupid about that I’m going to dump here in hopes of reading back and realising how stupid I’m being
Touching a towel he may have touched after washing his hands or going swimming
Touching the same tap handle
Touching myself when going to the bathroom
Touching myself multiple hours after getting home from school and showering even though there was literally no reason or excuse I could’ve touched sperm whatsoever

What do those things all have in common?
Irrational. Could not do anything remotely risky.

We used to occasionally masturbate together over the phone and that would never make me anxious, I find it so silly how a couple months, infinite access to the internet and an already chemically imbalanced brain can do wonders :lol:

I’m on a quest to find healthy coping mechanisms, hopefully that will distract me somewhat
So far I have watching cartoons and nostalgic shows which was a strange happenstance but a good one nonetheless!

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:48 am

I'm so glad that you were able to access and start some medication. Here's hoping the first time is a charm and that your wait for some relief won't be long!

It sounds to me like you are already on top of this. You know what's going on, and you know that facts won't help here because yep -- your anxious mind is just totally ignoring the facts you and I both gave it, sticking to the mythologies it's created and keeps creating, and is NOT LISTENING TO US about the facts. Unfortunately, that's just how it goes with anxiety sometimes -- it's not about you being unable to get it in your head, it's about your anxious mind hijacking your brain, basically. You've done all you can do to try and convince it of what the facts are, truly. It's like: pffft, facts, whatever. I don't care!

This also isn't about you being dramatic or stupid: it's about your anxiety doing things quite separate from what you want and are trying to do. Don't beat up on yourself about this: this isn't about you failing.

So, we know facts won't work here. Next up, doing what you can to manage the anxiety otherwise. Sounds like you've found one way to do that with the cartoons and other shows: that's great! Now that you know distraction is something that can work for you, one thing you can do is to try and find more of them and extend the times you are distracted.

It also sounds like, for now, you'll want to see what you can do to avoid triggers. I know it sucks not to be able to be intimate with your partner or masturbate, but for right now, it sounds like those things might be causing you more suffering than pleasure or joy, you know? I'd suggest stepping away from any triggers you can right now, at least while you wait for those meds to kick in and see what they do. <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

space egg
not a newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:42 pm
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bi/panromantic (?) Heterosexual
Location: Australia

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby space egg » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:18 am

Hello again!
I apologise if this is a waste of time, I just wanted to drop in and say thank you.
I've been doing a lot better lately, and even though the anxieties and fears aren't completely gone, they're manageable now and it's a lot easier to rationalise and move on with my life.
The meds have helped a lot, as well as therapy, and so has this site. I honestly don't know how bad I would've been right now if I didn't encounter the Scarleteen forums, which was the first and best thing that helped ground me when I was really bad and helped me realise what I was going through was valid and I deserved help
School has helped and my relationships with my family, friends and partner are going a lot better. I feel physically better and a lot less tired nowadays, too.
I can't make a call for the future and say I'm gonna be fine with this forever, because I know I won't, but I just wanted to say I really appreciate the help I was kindly given. To whoever reads this, whether you helped me or not directly, you're doing incredible, and myself and so many others are so grateful for what you do.
Stay awesome :)

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8508
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: Chicago

Re: Immense fear of sperm cells (LONG)

Unread postby Heather » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:48 pm

Not a waste of time at all, this is so kind and really appreciated. I'm also so glad to hear that you have been feeling better, and that the meds and therapy and all the other pieces have been helping. Hooray!
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


Return to “Ask Us!”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests