SEXUAL AVOIDANCE: PEOPLE WITH SEXUAL PHOBIAS
Most people with sexual phobias find that their aversions do indeed seem to take control of their emotional state and their actual behavior. When they do engage in sex-out of a sense of duty or a sincere desire to please their partners-men and women with such phobias may be able to calm themselves, push past their anxiety, and even enjoy sex. As one of our patients, an incest survivor, explains it, "I squeeze my eyes shut and say over and over, T am not a child. This is not my father. I love my husband. He won't hurt me.' And after a minute or two, the panic goes away. I settle down and get into making love."
Other sexual phobics never actually enjoy a sexual experience, but instead detach themselves from it, counting the cracks in the ceiling, thinking about what to cook for dinner. "I let my body do its thing," said another of our patients, a young man who suffered from severe claustrophobia as well as sexual panic. "But in my mind, I'm reciting the starting lineups of all the major-league baseball teams."
Still other people with phobic aversions to sex cannot detach and merely endure the experience. As Janet did, many people with sexual phobias experience full-fledged panic attacks when they attempt to make love. They are overcome by feelings of terror and impending doom. They experience heart palpitations, difficulty in breathing, and dizziness, sometimes fainting. Always there is an urgent wish to escape.
Men's Health-Erectile Dysfunction