How I FINALLY Overcame My Crippling Fear Of STDs

Photo: Kotin / Shutterstock
couple kissing in bed

Most of us know we should ask a potential sex partner if they have an STD before engaging in the act. Sometimes rather than ask, we just go the condom route and hope for the best. But honestly this is like playing Russian roulette.

Why won't we just ask? Out of fear.

I've been there. And though it took a long time, I learned how to use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to reduce my anxiety when asking.

Here's my own story:

When I was 17, a popular senior athlete asked me to come over to hang out at his house. His mom was home. This is the thing — he was the first boy I was ever with. He moved fast, kissing and then feeling me up. Soon his mouth went below my belly button, and then he positioned himself on top of me to be in the 69 position. At this point I was trying to keep up and for the first time I found myself giving a blow job.

It all lasted just 15 minutes, ending with his mom calling us to come eat some snacks. I put my shirt back into my skirt, which never came off. I pulled up my panties, then rushed down with him to the kitchen.  

Talking pleasantries with his mom, I thought I was now his girlfriend — until just before I left when he asked me not to tell anyone.

About two weeks later, I got a call from him to meet him in the center of town for some ice cream. Finally, a date? Instead, over ice cream, he had some news.

"You need to get checked for VD," he said.

"What's that?" I asked.

"A sexual transmitted disease. I got tested and I had it. I had to get penicillin. I also told (other girl's name here) and (other girl's name here) because I was with them and I think (yet another girl's name here) gave it to me," he said.

I was thrown. A disease, even when I hadn't had intercourse? He did seem sincerely sorry. He wanted to make sure I knew that I had to get checked right away. That's what I told myself. Again, before he left, he asked again that I not tell anyone.

I went to Planned Parenthood alone. I was given penicillin and asked if I wanted birth control pills. I got them and took them without telling my mother or sisters. From then on, I would do all this alone, so as not to bring shame to anyone. I would hold on to this shame.

I obsessively would get checked every year for all STD's — all of them.

The shame from this experience resulted in an inability to talk about it with a potential new partner, or ask any questions of them. My two M.O.'s with new partners was either to be a prude until they proved themselves committed or I would jump right in blindly from the beginning and pray for the best.

Years later, I was with a new partner. We had sex and used a condom. When he took it off, he went to the bathroom to put cream on his penis. I asked what he was putting on. He said nonchalantly, "My herpes cream."

Did you hear that scratch on the chalkboard just now? That's how I felt. 

I asked him why he didn't let me know. He said everybody had herpes and besides, "You didn't ask."

That was the final straw.

The stress around asking and trusting was too much to handle, so I just ignored potential romantic and sexual relationships all together. I became sexually anorexic for two years out of fear of an STD. Then fell into more unhealthy patterns of sex and dating revolving around my fears and shame.

I found myself in yet another new relationship, and finally did something to change my patterns. I turned to EFT to tone down the anxiety and stress that came up from the thought of asking about a partner's sexual past. Tapping into my fears and acknowledging them, I found relief, comfort and safety in my own skin. EFT is amazing for that.

When the new man in my life came over to make dinner, I felt free to discuss.

I started to share how I had a fear from my past around STDs. I tapped out the shame of the conversation so l was able to have it. I shared my vulnerability, which opened us both up to a full conversation about our sexual history. Sex was no longer about slapping on a condom anymore. I needed to have an open conversation and feel safe before having sex. I needed to to feel comfortable before, during and after sex. For the first time, I didn't jump in and hope for the best later.

Thanks EFT, and thanks for listening.

If you too need extra support book a session with me here.