Are you afraid of sex? I am.

Even though I have been married, I consider myself in some respects to be a virgin. I still have not had sexual intercourse that rocked my world, make me go “Wow!”, or otherwise convinced me that sex was actually worth all the hullabaloo people make out of it. I hardly ever engaged in such activity, and if I did it was to make my (now) ex-wife stop asking for it (that is, I rarely did anything that excited me but rather focused on what she liked, for the most part).

Now that I am no longer married, I feel no rush to lose my virginity to someone I am actually attracted to. At first, I thought this was because I was comfortable with being single and a virgin, and because one-night stands are not something I approve of or feel the urge to engage in. But upon further introspection, it seems to be that the real reason I am still a virgin (living near a large city, it would not be difficult, I believe, to explore options for sexual activity if I really wanted it) is because I am scared of sex.

I am scared that it will be smelly, messy, unpleasant, uncomfortable, painful, or I might catch a disease. Or that the person I would sleep with would turn out to be a psychopathic homocidal maniac of some sort. A friend of mine who was sexually active says that sexual activity is messy, indeed, but that’s nothing that gets in the way.

By the way - this has an impact - the reason my friend is no longer currently sexually active is because he is waiting until he is in a relationship before engaging in sexual activity. He had his phase during which he slept around quite a bit. What shocked him into a different paradigm was reading in the newspaper that someone he knew from a one-night stand was stabbed to death near the person’s home. The person was last seen leaving a bar with another person, presumably for a night of action. That jarred him (and me) - that, truly, going off with someone one hardly knows is an invitation for much trouble. Not to mention the possibility of a person having some disease and intentionally not informing one’s partners or potential partners thereof.

So . . . am I paranoid or something? Irrationally afraid of sex? Am I alone in this situation?


I don’t think you’re alone in it, and all those fears are really common and I’ve heard them, severally or in groups, from many many people, and gods know many of them are justified. However, fear is an impediment to having good sex, in my opinion. On nights where I’ve felt those fears, I’ve had terrible sex; and my best sex has been when I have been as comfortable as possible with myself, my partner, the circumstance, my feelings, my physical sensations, etc.

Some things require accounting for: the catching a disease one, for example, is best gotten over by learning how to prevent this from happening. Others are best gotten over by simple acceptance: fluids are involved, it will be messy, sheets can be laundered.

Ask lots of questions, become comfortable with your body and learn what you like to do, and once you find a sexual partner (whether temporary or ongoing), make sure you communicate with him/her enough to ensure that he/she is as comfortable and secure with what is going on as you would like to be. You can know the Kama Sutra inside out and be able to get your ankles behind your ears, but for both of you to be comfortable in all ways is what makes it possible for sex to be good.

IMHO. And good luck!

I don’t understand what the fears you express have to do with when you were married and having sex. :confused:
[sub]Could you be using those fears as a cover for some other deeper problem concerning sex?[/sub]

I feel the same way, actually. I’m not hugely experienced, and when I do it, I tend to be nervous that I’m not good enough, that I’m not pleasing the other person, that they want me to do something I’m not doing, etc. I’m also somewhat insecure about my body, which doesn’t really help either. It’s something I’ve just been dealing with recently, as a matter of fact.

In my younger days, I was a Gay male slut whore.

It is a miracle that I am still alive. Went home with psychopaths, cruised through areas that make Baghdad look like Beverly Hills, got syphilis and crabs and would sometimes have sex several times a day with multiple partners.

Do I regret it? Nope. Not for a minute.

I also met some great people. Had insanely wild sex for days in a row and kept those partners as friends for years and years. Mind you…a lot of this took place before AIDS and a lot of it was simply a horny dude having a good time when the opportunity arose, so to speak.

But I did eventually find the right guy…and we have been together now for almost 24 years. Stopped all that whoring around and never looked back.

Sex can be really great, and it should be. But you have to really want it, and you have to have a partner who wants it as well…and there has to be that chemistry…an elusive factor that can be anyone, if you are horny, or has to be the “special one” if you are selective. In either case, you have to feel a connection.

My story is by no means a map for others to follow. But if I learned anything, you have to relax, feel comfortable with a partner, and just allow yourself to be totally honest about what you want. If you want someone to suck your toes, then damn it, go find someone to suck your toes. Don’t hold back. Sex should be fun and a connection to another human being that will hopefully lead to something more.

I hate to have to break it to you, but sex is inherently messy and smelly. There’s this stuff, and this other stuff, and some of the stuff is all slimy and running down some part of your body, and then if you’ve used any props those are smeared all over the place. You’re both sweating like pigs (if you’re doing it right, anyway), and you’re both putting off this musky smell, and sometimes somebody will fart. Never include beans in a romantic dinner, btw. (There are worse smells in the bedroom, though; a friend of mine once vomited having sex after a night of drinking. Right there in the bed.)

As your friend said, though, these things are not at all a barrier to having sex. Even if you don’t like the mess and the smells, what’s the worst that could happen? You might have to shower or change the sheets in extreme cases, and you might have to air the room a wee bit the next day. Is that really such a big deal?

As for the worries that it will hurt–sex should never hurt, unless you’re into that sort of thing. If you’re in pain and don’t want to be, something is very, very wrong. If you’re that concerned about diseases, don’t have sex outside monogamous relationships. That should also weed out the homicidal maniacs, btw.

I gotta ask: are you talking about sex in general, or are you talking about sex with other men? All this talk about “the person” makes me think you’re trying to avoid sex-specific pronouns, and the only reason I can think of for that is trying to avoid admitting to being gay. If so, you might as well quit beating around the bush and go on and say it loud and proud. It’s not like anybody around here’s gonna get their panties in a twist about it.

I also have to agree with Matt that you simply cannot have good sex when you’re worrying about stuff like diseases or discomfort or whether your ass looks big from that angle or whether you’ll have an orgasm or not or what kind of cleanup you’ll have to do later. If you’re not comfortable with yourself and your partner and what you’re doing, you’re not going to have any fun.

Groucho Marx: “When it’s good, it’s very very good. When it’s bad, it’s still very good.” OK, flippancy over. It really does sound if you have real issues with the act itself - having said that you’ve been married, I’m ASSUMING you identify as being straight. If you genuinely don’t like sex, that may be fine from your point of view, if you plan on being single and celibate all your life, but it’s going to be an issue if you’re in any form of relationship.

Some of your concerns do seem a little worrisome - fear of disease, distaste over the act of sex itself. Not to sound off on what’s “normal” and what isn’t, but these do seem to be considerable impediments for a mature adult. I have no idea of your age - if you’re relatively young, it may just be a matter of accruing more experience: no idea about the other side of the fence, but most mature women, and probably men, are quite aware of the “squelchier” aspects of sex - it’s all part of being a mammal.

If these issues are major hang-ups for you, I would seriously recommend seeking some kind of professional help - a sympathetic counsellor is probably a good place to start.

You know, I’m vaguely the same way. I’m 31 years old, and in May, it will be 10 years since I’ve had sex. Not because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but mainly because of other reasons.

I do know where my fear comes from - it’s not the sex itself so much as the fear of intimacy. I like sex, I enjoy sex - I’ve had very good sex in my life, but I’ve always seen it, in my mind, as the purpose of relationships - the point after which things don’t get better, and typically get worse. Yes, I do understand that it shouldn’t be like that (in a relationship), and that’s one reason why I’ve chosen not to have sex - I understand that it can just be about sex, but for me, a one night stand that was just that, with no further commitments would reinforce that idea that sex is what it’s all about. (No, that doesn’t fully make sense to me either, but I’ve rewritten it several times and it still doesn’t come out right.) I’m not even sure I can really call it a fear of sex, but an avoidance, perhaps.

It doesn’t help that I was forming my ideas about sex in the 1980’s, as AIDS was hitting the media. Even if I wasn’t having sex then, it still affected how I think about sex, and I think that I will always have a worry that sleeping with someone could kill me - no matter what precautions are taken or how safe I know both of us have been.

There reaches a point where, if you want to have sex, you have to decide that you have taken sufficient precautions and that the tiny proportion of risk you have left is deal-withable. I decided on this point for my own sex life in consultation with my doctor and with gay and HIV/AIDS community organizations, and it’s worked nicely so far. As far as I can see, the alternatives to this would be 1) never have sex, 2) wrap yourself up completely in Saran Wrap à la Jeffrey, neither of which work for me. (I mean, it’s fine for that guy who was into Roy Orbison, but for me not so much…)

Do you have a normal sex drive?

I used to be terribly afraid of sex, but I was a female and was afraid that it would hurt a lot. I also worried about STDs and pregnancies. I ended up in a relationship and wanted to take things further so I took the plunge and found it amazing. One of the best ways to cure yourself of fear of sex is to get good and horny and meet someone you want to fuck who wants to fuck you.

But you are just afraid of all the different aspects of sex?

No problem. First, educate yourself. Take a ‘human sexuality’ course at your local community college, go to the library/bookstore and get all the books on sexuality they have. The Guide to Getting It On! is simple basic and has illustrations to help those of us who get confused by long, wordy directions. If you aren’t sure which books are best, go to your local bookstore and hang out in the sex section and just read a bunch of them until you find books that you like.

Secondly, figure out your own body. Sex is most pleasurable when you can get yourself off. Occasionally you can find people that will know how to please you better than you can, but most people have to be taught. That’s okay, someone you teach how to please you can be amazing in the end. Go get sex toys, porn videos, whatever you need to help you along. Vary your routines and masturbate into different objects so that if you have a partner, you’ll be better able to judge what works and what doesn’t. If you can have amazing orgams during masturbation, then you can have amazing ones during sex.

Thirdly, find a partner. This is the hardest part, IMHO. If you want, you can hire a professional who ‘show you the ropes.’ Most people find it best to simply fall terribly in love with someone. Once you get your partner COMMUNICATE! I had bad sex for two years before I finally learned to open my mouth and JUST TALK. After you start talking with each other sex with a person can go from bad to awesome in a few days. You can tell you have a good partner when they listen to you and work to make you happy. If a person isn’t willing to help you in bed, then they aren’t good for you to stick around with in life.

Tell your partner about your fears, or, if you are too embarassed, just say you like to take it slow. When you have sex, talk a lot. I know it’s embarassing, so it might help to get yourself really really horney first. It’s okay to be selfish in sex. If you didn’t get off, don’t feel bad about masturbating yourself afterwards. If your partner cares about you, he or she will want you to have good sex so don’t feel bad about putting in special requests or using toys if that’s what you need. Don’t neglect your partner’s needs, but compromise. If you like it doggie and she/he prefers missionary, do it half and half.

It’s probably not going to be good the first time, but that’s perfectly normal and fine. Think of it like a skill, you can’t just sit down at a piano and play or pick up a brush and paint a perfect picture. Sex like everything else is a skill that you can work on and perfect.

If you are scared of STDs, get the both of you tested before you have sex or have sex only with a person you are in a dedicated relationship with and who you can trust when you ask/talk about such things. STDs aren’t the end of the world!! I have known tons of people who’ve had rampant crazy sex and walked away perfectly fine. If pregnancy is your fear, then use condoms, birth control, etc. I have done plenty of stupid and risky sexual practices and have never once gotten pregnant.

If it is something beyond what I’ve touched on here, you might consider seeing a sex counselor and talking with them. They have plenty of good advice.

Oh, wow. Thanks for the responses! :slight_smile:

Well, part of the reason I did not enjoy sex while married is because sex between a man and a woman would probably work for someone who is heterosexually oriented. I, it happens to be, am not. (Why I got married is a long and convulted issue.)

(Side note: I prefer to use non-gender-specific pronouns because, in the end, whether I’m talking about a man or a woman is irrelevant. I accept and very much appreciate and like who and what I am.)

Now, granted, I have felt some stuff that’s amazing. The thrill or rush that runs through me when I have the attention of someone I’m attracted to is one of them. It’s like a high. Or the hot flash-like feeling when I see someone absolutely amazing and I really, really want that person. I mean, if sex is better than these fleeting feelings, then I will sooooo be looking forward to doing it someday. :slight_smile:

Probably part of my hang-up is cultural and religious. I have never dated. My mother was so proud that I did not date. (Although if she found out why - because I am not interested in girls - her pride will fall flat on its face.) I still feel awkward considering even dating, let alone actually having sex. It was drummed into my head early on (through Islam and Christianity) that extra-marital sex is bad, bad, bad. I no longer believe in that, but it’s still hard to get over it.

Of all the little sexual activity I have participated in that I actually enjoyed (which is very little, really), I was always fully clothed (with one exception). The concept of exposing my body to someone else horrifies me. (Maybe if I lose weight, which I need to anyway, this can be overcome.) I mean, I don’t even wear shorts. (It’s somewhat of a cultural thing.)

I was a student health educator in college, so that might have helped make me paranoid about diseases and stuff. But, risks need to be taken anyway, otherwise I’d never get out of bed for fear of falling through the floor or something. I should not let something that’s preventable hinder me, right? (I would actually bore my ex-wife with long explanations of human sexuality. Maybe I’m taking this a bit too rationally and need to just plunge into it emotionally rather.)

WRS - I’m larnin’ lots.

My trick is that when I get nervous, I just picture the other person naked :slight_smile:

Sex, like anything, gets better with practice. The first few times are awkward, fumbling and sometimes embarassing. As you get used to it its easier to sit back and enjoy, and be able to concentrate more on interacting with the other person. Starting with someone that really cares about you and is understanding can really help with this.

Barring that, there’s always alcohol. It’s probably not what a responsible psycologist would suggest, and it’s dangerous to get completley plastered and end up forgetting protection or going home with someone really sketchy, but a few drinks have made have helped many a young lad or lass forget thier worries and enjoy themselves.

Sex has always kinda been my Happy Place. When I’m not having it, I feel good thinking about it and writing about it. Maybe if you work at making it a mental Happy Place, the Real Thing will work better for you, and be easier to get to.

I’m a guy in a situation vaguely akin to yours. I find sex to be a sticky, messy, smelly, tiring, and rather unpleasant affair. To me, at least, the few seconds of intense physical pleasure are not worth all the hassle and buildup. However, I have a low sex drive, and so am not particularly inclined to do anything about this sex aversion, and have contented myself with being celibate. These days I would probably describe myself as an asexual. I can appreciate physical beauty on an aesthetic level, and I certainly can be occasionally attracted to people, but this is more of a mental (for lack of a better way to describe it) attraction than a physical one. I would have no problem being in a romantic relationship, just without the sex.

I guess the question to ask yourself is if you really want to have sex, or if you are wanting to want to have sex. If you’re really wanting to have sex, then go with what other people are suggesting. If you don’t really want it, but the lack of wanting it is causing you distress, I suggest not stressing over it. Sex is not the the meaning of life, and there are plenty of us who, for various reasons, choose not to partake of it and are happy with that decision. It certainly frees up much time and money for other pursuits.

Oh, no wonder… I didn’t know you were not attracted to women. Well, of course you wouldn’t like sex then. I mean, really, man! Yeah, you talk of that feeling when you see that someone special is interested in you? That is a nice feeling, and sex is much better. Its not about the physical sensations, so much, but the fact that you are with another person that is doing it because they like you. Or they at least like you enough to have sex with you, which is a different barrier for some people, but its just the way it is.

Messiness? Having sex with guys could be considered “messy” but don’t let that bother you. I am a messy person by nature, so the fluids, etc don’t bother me. And yes, I don’t really mind santorum that much either, although it comes from girls in my case. I have had sex before with a girl that I wasn’t in love with and it isn’t the same, honestly. I imagine having sex with someone that isn’t of your preference, would be like that but even worse. I mean, having sex with someone that you could care less if they liked you or not isn’t something that’s going to make you happy.

I don’t know about your culture, but it can be a huge barrier. I have had some much less serious barriers to work through myself, and it isn’t easy.

But if you have a partner that knows who you are, don’t be embarassed by your body, or anything about it. If they truely like you (or love you) you won’t really have to worry about that. Its a feeling of total acceptance by another person and it is as good as it gets, espcecially how we all have a few flaws.

So yeah, those feelings you get now, will be MUCH better. My favorite time is right after having finished sex. Its weird because I’m a straight guy, but honestly, if you know someone feels good about you then, then it makes you feel really good too.

It sounds like you may be either:

  1. asexual, as someone else said
  2. have a physical problem that could be remedied with hormones
  3. have emotional issues that are tied to your religious beliefs and overbearing parents

4) you’re one of those people who has to be in love to have good sex

My guess is that it’s a mix.

See a shrink. It’s amazing what they can do to help you over a roadblock. Therapy will help you understand yourself better. I think that’s the biggest problem you have right now.

Good luck!

Or else he’s not into girls, and he’s been trying to have sex with girls, like he said. No wonder he hasn’t been having good sex!

Read up on the subject, ask us any questions you like, and then get yourself a dude, dude. Discovering what turns you on is an amazing trip.

I thought about adding that to the list, but he has already pretty much said he isn’t het, so I assume he’s considering the possibility he’s gay. However, I don’t think it’s as simple as “gay.” He’s already expressed that his mother will be disapproving…hell…she didn’t want him to date AT ALL, much less within his own gender! It’s quite possible he is gay, but that may not make sex any more appealing to him if he’s ooog’d out by the sex act. He’s also not comfortable in his own body. It’s possible everything stems from his coming to terms with his homosexuality, but it just all seems waaaay more complex than “gay” or “straight.”

True, but “asexual” was covered in the preexisting list, and he did mention being attracted to people, so I just thought I’d put in an extra word of encouragement. As I said, WeRSauron, if you find a decent person who’s willing to experiment and put in a bit of patience while you figure out what turns you on, you’re golden. I hope all goes well.

I don’t want to step on any toes, here, but don’t seem to have really embraced your sexuality on a visceral level. You don’t use gender-specific pronouns because gender doesn’t matter, but being nonspecific is rather more work than being specific. If it really, truly, in your heart of hearts doesn’t matter, why bother? Why not just go with what’s easiest and avoid the verbal gymnastics, since it doesn’t matter? I have to think that it does matter to you, at least a little bit.

You don’t even use the words “gay” or “homosexual” or say that you like guys; the closest you’ve come so far is to say that while sex with a women is probably fine for someone who is heterosexually oriented, you are not such a person. Again with the making things needlessly verbose and complicated.

It comes across like you’re actively avoiding referring to yourself as gay, and it’s been my experience that when people actively avoid such basic descriptors, it ain’t because it doesn’t matter. From what I’ve seen, they’re avoiding it because it matters a whole lot, and not in a good way.

I may be way off base, but there’s a lot in your posts that reminds me of people I know, some of whom are uncomfortable with their sexuality, others who are struggling against something they don’t want to be true.