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Fearful I'll suffer a STD like HIV. Do I need professional therapy or counselling for my fear?

Tagged as: Health, Sex, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (7 November 2015) 7 Answers - (Newest, 9 November 2015)
A male Australia age 30-35, *lue_warrior writes:

As the previous questions that I've posted on this site indicate, I was previously in the habit of patronizing the services of sex workers on a regular basis. However, about a year ago, I gave up this past time, largely due to my fear of contracting a deadly STD like HIV. Nevertheless, I discovered that I still required some type of sexual stimulation from external parties in order to maintain my state of emotional satisfaction. Even now, when I am occasionally forced to forego the erotic services of a professional over a prolonged period of time (about three weeks or so), I end up becoming sullen and ill-tempered. Rather than place myself in a risky situation again by having sex with street prostitutes, I selected a less hazardous option by opting to use the services of female masseuse instead who offer erotic services. The latter are skilled at using their massage techniques to induce ejaculation in their male clients but strictly do not offer any type of oral, anal or vaginal intercourse.

Unfortunately, I have begun to develop an irrational phobia that even in the absence of any type of penetrative sex, I might nevertheless still be at risk of acquiring HIV and other deadly STDs.

Most recently, after experiencing a prostate massage, I became almost hysterical with fear simply because the masseur had neglected to use a glove.

I'm beginning to live my life under a dark ominous cloud of fear, despite rationally being aware that I'm at virtually no risk of contracting any deadly STDs.

I just can't stop the cycle of fear and obsession from recurring and it's beginning to affect me emotionally.

Should I seek professional therapy? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

View related questions: ejaculation, hiv , period, prostitute, std, vagina

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A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (9 November 2015):

chigirl agony auntYour doctor will treat you physically, not mentally. When you're trying to battle urges and compulsions, you need someone who helps you build that mental strength. A doctor is a physician, mainly. Your doctor might be able to refer you to a therapist, but my suggestion is that you find a private practice, because they have the time to give you sessions right away (instead of waiting in line for a year like for cheaper ones).

There are people who go by without sex just fine! It's not a need! So this idea you have that you "need" it in order to survive and focus and not lose your temper is something you need to find a way around. Because it just isn't true that you need it. Tons of people, with high sex drives too, learn to go without when they're not in relationships. May I remind you that buying sex is illegal in several countries, including my own, so for many it's not even an option and you do not see them going crazy about it. They cope, they adapt, they masturbate.

You found an outlet that felt nice. Now you can't use that outlet any longer. People who give up smoking face the same ordeal, and they too feel like they NEED to smoke. But fact is, you don't.

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A male reader, blue_warrior Australia +, writes (9 November 2015):

blue_warrior is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I greatly appreciate them. Just to update everyone on my current situation, I consulted a doctor earlier today to assuage my worries. Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news. He stated that while my current sexual practices shield me from the the most deadly STDs like HIV or Hep B, I'm nevertheless still vulnerable to other diseases like syphilis or gonorrhea. So I now find myself in a difficult position where I have to decide between satisfying my sexual urges or protecting my physical well-being. While I'm not especially keen on the idea of becoming a depository for various STDs, I can't help but dread the mental agony that will be certain to ensue if I decide to forego any commercial sexual pleasures. I just hope that I have enough mental strength to make the right decision.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (8 November 2015):

Honeypie agony auntSo with the update (and thanks for that OP! it's always nice to get a little more details).

I do think some Cognitive-behavioral therapy would do you good. I have OCD and went through some pretty effective CBT therapy in my late teens. It didn't "fix" the OCD, but it gave me the tools to deal with it a lot better than I was.

The fact that you say you feel like you obsess over the possibility of STD (which honestly is a pretty reasonable fear to have when dealing with women who trade in sex) that is why I mentioned OCD. There are SO many varieties of OCD but CBT can be directed at which kind you have.

As for not wanting to end up in a relationship like your brother, again I get it. There are no guarantees in life. Specially not when it comes to those we surround ourselves with and then add your Aspergers and it makes SO much more sense. The thing is though, that many Aspies can have working relationships so I don't think you are "doomed" to only get personal contact through sex-workers.

One thing at the time though. I'd start with the CBT and go from there.

Maybe cut the paying for sex while you undergo therapy?

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A male reader, blue_warrior Australia +, writes (8 November 2015):

blue_warrior is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi there, this is the OP and I thought it might be help readers better understand my situation if I were to clarify a couple of things about myself. Honey Pie, I actually do have tested myself on a regular basis for STDs. Three months after the incident with the masseur who neglected to use a glove, I subjected myself to an extensive STD test and the results were negative for pretty much everything.

As for my general attitude towards women, that's a little ambiguous I suppose. To be honest, a committed relationship has never really been a viable option for someone in my situation . As someone with an Aspergers spectrum disability, I've always been somewhat socially inept, especially with the opposite sex. Moreover, throughout the past six years of my life, other more important obligations have also absorbed most of my attention, leaving me with little time to dedicate myself to actively seeking out a romantic relationship (My main priority is to complete my honors degree with outstanding results so as to facilitate my dream of going on to enroll myself in a P.hd program at a reputable university and I'd rather not have any distractions that might derail me from my chosen path). Lastly, I'm a bit wary of romantic relationships in general after having witnessed the disastrous failure of my brother's previous relationships. Unfortunately, in my particular case, regardless of whether I've developed romantic feelings for someone or not, the need to satisfy my sexual cravings is an ever constant urge that I cannot afford to neglect for too long. And paying for sexual gratification seems to me the most honest means of getting what I want since it doesn't require me to employ coercion or deceit against women.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (7 November 2015):

Honeypie agony auntYes I do think you should talk to a professional. I think it's part OCD and part something else. I actually think your view of women is the bigger issue here.

Is there a reason that you only see woman as someone or should I say "some thing" to service you? I mean I am presuming you are single.

I have read that prostitution is legal is parts of Australia and regulated not only by the health department but in a sense by IRS. The statistics show that sex-worker do in fact NOT have a higher (than the average Australian) level of STI/STD's.

However, WHAT is important for YOU to do is GET some help and GET tested and then in 6 months re-tested.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (7 November 2015):

chigirl agony auntWhen faced with anxiety or fears that have an impact on your daily life, I will always recommend therapy. If you can afford it, naturally, as it can be quite expensive. Although in your case, I see a second good reason for entering therapy. Not only is your fear of HIV interrupting your life, you compulsion to have sex appears to have an even greater power over your actions. This is a compulsion, not a need, that you have. Your body does not need sex in order for you to breathe. There is something else driving you towards this, and this drive is even stronger than your anxiety!

A good therapist can help you understand not only what causes your anxiety, and how to cope with it, but also what causes your compulsion and how you can cope with this "addiction" you have. An addiction, in any form or shape, is unhealthy and limits your life. No one needs to see prostitutes any more than one needs to drink alcohol. If you experience a bad temper when you go without, then consider how to cope with this bad temper. You are responsible for your emotions, and you DO have the tools to cope with them, and be the boss of your own emotions and spirit. You are not a slave to sex workers.

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A male reader, Garbo United States +, writes (7 November 2015):

Garbo agony auntThe fact that nowhere in your post is there a hint that best, safe sex can be obtained by establishing a monogamous, loving relationship it leads me to believe that, in addition to possible phobias, you may also have emotional attachment issues or why else would you not have considered a relationship and instead prefer to pay for sex. So, by all means, do seek professional help because, besides phobias and attachment issues, I suspect there are other psychological problems. Please do not delay.

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