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How to get over a crippling fear of intimacy?

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Hi,

I'm 21, and I've been with my boyfriend for two years now.... I love him, but I'm scared because he obviously wants to start doing the "physical" side of the relationship (i mean he's a guy after all). Problem is I have a horrible fear of doing so.

Even him hugging me is difficult, and while i love hanging out with him and our other friends, when we're alone I feel really sick and anxious in case he wants to do anything, so I tend to make excuses/ cause arguments so i can leave. this is NOT fair on him, and i can't even relax with him on the sofa or anything... i'm always moving around to avoid this! He's completely confused by my weirdo behaviour, and gets exasperated when i can't answer his questions on it.

My problems are NOTHING to do with him, he's lovely. They're all on me, and i dont think i'll ever ever get over it. i feel horrible panic, fear, anxiety and revulsion when i think of us doing anything, and when he tries to talk about it it's hard for him because i can't really respond properly... i find the subject of physical love too hard to talk about. I DO NOT WANT to see a psychiatrist or therapist, or my GP, so could anyone recomment any anti-anxiety meds? preferably non- prescription? thanks so much xx

Also, i've had bulimia since I was about 13, and im finding it really hard to stop that as well - it would suck if he found out about that! can anyone share their recovery? did you have to see a doctor, or did you do it alone, in a group? thakns x
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First Helper kitoconnell
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replied October 13th, 2011
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Hi kitoconnell and welcome to ehealth....First and foremost, get some help with that bulimia...8 years is too long of a time without any treatment...On the intimate feelings, do you ever watch a guy and have any sexual thrill?...I mean the quivering between your legs?...You say you love him, but is this real hot sexual love?...Have you ever been sexually abused?

I say this because I dated many guys before I met my husband...Nobody, but nobody got to first base....I didn't feel the sexual urge...Yet, when I met him as well as had a sexual affair with my boss when my husband was in service (this was pre-marriage) and not full intercourse, I did have hot feelings of lust...Do you feel lust?....Take care...

Caroline
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replied October 13th, 2011
hey xx
thanks for the reply! yes i do love him, and he is the only boyfriend i've kept for more than a few weeks. what a lucky man.

and i will get help with the bulimia, i'm just hoping someone else will answer who can share their story.
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replied October 13th, 2011
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kitoconnell,

I agree with Caroline, you do need to get your bulimea under control. It can cause way too many physical health problems, from loss of your teeth to anemia to osteoporosis. There are support groups out there, both that you can go to or participate in over the internet. But, it is time to address this as a real problem.


As to your boyfriend. I understand that it is common for couple to engage in premarital sexual intercourse, and if that is what the couple wants to do, that is fine. But, in your case, you may be hesitant to become intimate, because you are uncomfortable with the physical side before marriage.

You should speak with your boyfriend about your feelings, that you, at present, do not want to engage in the physical aspect. If you truly love him, and he you, then your relationship will continue. As time passes and you find that you both truly love each other, the physical side will come. There are still many, many couples who do not have sex before they are married. It is not a problem.

However, as time goes on, you may wish to speak with someone about the situation. I know you do not want to see a psychiatrist or psychologist at the present time, but later you may feel differently. Sometimes speaking with someone can help a lot. It is something to think about.


But, again, you should at least tell your boyfriend how you feel about the physical love side of things. That way he knows the rules of the game, and is less likely to push you into something that both of you may regret later. And if he is only interested in the physical sex, then your relationship may not survive. But, usually these relationships don't last anyways, and it is better to know that now, rather than later. After you have both invested too much effort into a doomed relationship. If, as time passes, and you feel more comfortable about the physical things, you can get into the sex stuff then.

Good luck. Best wishes to the both of you.
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replied October 13th, 2011
thanks Gaelic! x

But no, the problem isn't imtimacy before marriage, it's imtimacy in itself... i dont want to marry him because then we'd have to do stuff! there isn't really a moral objection here, it's my own problem, but i NEED to get over it... i'm just not sure how to, cause yeah i really don't want to see a psychiatrist, i just don't need to, it would be a waste of time. i'm thinking of breaking up with him even though he's lovely! it's stupid x
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replied October 13th, 2011
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kit,

Yea, it's difficult to resolve these types of problems. If, as Caroline stated, there is something in your past (you don't need to tell us about anything) that is keeping you from being intimate, you may need to face that. IF there is something, then you might look into some of the support groups for those situations.

If there isn't anything in your past, that you know of, that's keeping from getting close to someone, then it is going to be a little more of a problem.

It could be that you have a disorder that is akin to a phobia. Or it could be an underlying personality disorder. Who knows. Unfortunately, these are very difficult problems to overcome. Not impossible, just difficult.

However, you have taken the first step, which is knowing that there is a problem.

You can keep on trying to figure out how to overcome this. You might look at some of the self help books out there. And again, general support groups may help.

But, usually most people need help getting over something like this. You may really need to talk with someone. It does not have to be a psychiatrist or psychologist. It could be a very close friend, your pastor, a teacher, coach, co-worker, just someone that you feel comfortable with and trust.

If all of this doesn't help at all, and you still want to get over it, then you are probably going to have to look to professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown to work pretty well in these types of cases. But, until you think it might help, it's not worth the money and effort for anyone.

Good luck, I hope you find a solution to your problem.
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replied October 13th, 2011
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Hi Kit: Never marry feeling the way that you do...You should want some touching...You should yearn to be sexually awakened...That is not only the way of love, but the key to happiness....Back when I was dating I turned down two proposals...One a doctor, actually pre-resident, that I couldn't stand the thought of going to bed with...The other a Russian Interperter who had just graduated from college...He was tempting, but he also was after I had met my sailor...Before my sailor and I even started making out, I had literally never let a man touch me...My husband did and was the first man who did...The boss was a man who saw the throes of passion emerging from a lovely young woman who both feared her job and was hot to trot...He truly awakened me...I could have said no, but I didn't...It was not intercourse, but it was hot...Despite this and my being young, I have no regrets...I learned a part of life that I needed to learn...It was wrong, but for me it was a lesson to remember...

If you feel that you would rather break up with him than have to give of your body to a man, then he is not the man for you....Either this or you should be getting some help...Kit, all women are not made to love a man...They must want to give of their body and share this special thing called "sexual love"....It's not wrong, it is right...But, you must feel this in your soul to make it right..I know the feelings of a woman...I have been in passion and love for a man for near 53 years of marriage...This was marriage...However, before we married he knew my body as well as his, but not intercourse....IMO, there is nothing wrong with you feeling like this...Each of us women are different...For you and if you keep feeling like this would be to find a man who wants a chaste life like you do...Don't let your life be miserable...Don't marry and have children just to marry and have children...This would be a terrible thing to do to a man that marries and wants sex....

Get some professional help if you think this will do the trick...Good luck....

Caroline
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replied October 13th, 2011
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Kit,

Caroline could be correct, in that, you just may not have met the right guy yet. If your current boyfriend isn't "doing it" for you, then maybe you should separate. The right guy will come along who really gets the juices flowing. Maybe you just haven't found him yet.

You don't say if your problem extends to all types of intimacy. If you cannot form any attachments to anyone (even close relative like mother, father, siblings), then you may really have a personality problem. But, if it is only with this one man, then, you two are probably just no meant to be.

Good luck.
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replied October 14th, 2011
thanks guys xx


no, as i said it's not him, and i have a lot of friends, but the problem is sexual stuff with anyone at all. though there are some reasons for it, i dont want to have to go to a psychiatrist and have them question me! i'm just not sure how else to get over things.
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replied October 14th, 2011
I love him, and enjoy spending time with him as a person; however, when we're alone and he wants more than that, that's when the horrible anxiety/ panic sets in and I hate him, I actually start to feel hate for him, and I cause problems such as arguments or reasons why I have to go. It's not fair on him but I don't know how to stop!
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replied October 14th, 2011
Kit, This all sounds too familar to me. It brings me back 20 yrs when I was your age. I did NOT want therapy, or meds, or anyone for that matter. I am still fighting some of all that now. This sickening feeling could be your gut telling you something, and I think you must have a "feeling" of what that is. I do not trust easily, so I know how that is. I think you are needing to look back to something you may have buried long ago. I threw away many years denying that. I wish you luck.
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replied October 14th, 2011
Mystic1,

i'm so so sorry for you. could you share it with me? xxx
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replied October 14th, 2011
Definately, but not on this board. Do we have im here? idk Im new
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replied October 14th, 2011
haha, me too x i'll try "sending a greeting"..
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replied October 14th, 2011
and i think we're talking about similar memories here.
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replied October 14th, 2011
yes,we are
I will not be online until Monday. Have a nice weekend!
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replied October 14th, 2011
you too!



can anyone else share their stories with me? i feel quite alone at the moment. can anyone recommend anything? has anyone suffered bulimia?


thankyou x all comments welcome, i'm at a loss here!
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replied October 14th, 2011
Hi i'm new on this forum!

Okay hun, its obvious that there is something your leaving out....... Why do you have this fear in the first place?...... Like MYSTIC1 says, there is something in your past that your not facing up to here, even though your annonymous........ I'm not sure if you've accepted it in your real life or not but it sounds like you really haven't. I think your in denial

If you've been bulimic since you were 13, well that's a definite sign because people are ususally bulimic for a reason. You know the reason I mean, and you NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT IT, talking is the only way to overcome it, drugs wont do anything..... You NEED to see a psychiatrist! this wont go away on its own. So come on please start admiting it.....
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replied October 19th, 2011
I think you're right.... I think someone with my sort of problem should see a psych but it's too painful to open up about, it's just really hard....

Well, the thing is my dad walked out when I was 13. We were very close, but probably not in the right way. He needed a parent and actually it ended up being me. The thing is everyone saw him as this funny guy with a great job, but he had it rough as a kid, he grew up in poverty is Australia and it was horrible for him... he has this dark, depressive, violent side to his personality because of that. He didn't deserve it. He used to come to me at night, after drinking, and we'd talk for hours and hours because he needed me, he needed me so badly. He used to be sitting on my bed and crying his eyes out. But other times, he would be so horribly violent, he'd just snap, always when he was in that mood, and I was scared. My mum never really saw it, but she used to cry and she needed me too, she needed protection because he could be HORRIBLE sometimes. She's glad he's gone. But he used to be crying on my bed, then he'd suddenly just want something more, and I didn't like it. He wanted sexual stuff. He'd snap and get aggressive, and he was violent with me. It was so so horrible that I still cut myself now... I hate myself. I absolutely HATE my body, I wanted to cut my chest off and get rid of my other parts, just be genderless, and I still do... but I wasn't a virgin once I had my first boyfriend, and I found the experience of sex with that boyfriend horrible. I broke up with him and hated him, though I feel s*** now.

It's embarassing, but I'm actually crying right now, I just have no idea what to do Sad I'll never, never get over this, but I CAN NOT SEE A PSYCHIATRIST. I just can't, and I can't tell my boyfriend even though he's wondering what the f***'s going on.

Anyone, anyone been through this, anyone know what to do? Sad
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replied November 16th, 2011
You don't need to see a psychiatrist if you don't want to, but please understand there is no shame in it. I was sexually abused as a child as well, and later relived that experience as a rape. The feeling of horror and anxiety that comes from intimacy after such traumatic life circumstances? It doesn't just go away with a pill - trust me I've tried. I see myself in your story and I feel the echo of the emotions you're describing even now. Be strong, you are a survivor. When you are ready to work hard to change the way you feel in order to never have to feel that way again, then I would suggest seeing a psychologist who will help you to work on it. It worked for me. I believe that when you are ready you will do this for yourself, because you deserve to let this go and live the life you want to live. You are not alone. Good luck.
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