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Alarming Childhood Issue

Question:

Dear Dr. Schwartz Hopefully you can help me out with this… When I was around 6-8 years old I played "sex games" with my male cousin. We both found it very pleasureable. It included touching of each other’s genetals by our hands and also touching them together. We did this quite often and I remember I used to think about it a lot and anticipated it when it would happen. It seems I enjoyed it far too much. Gradually I lost to urge to play this and so did he, I cant quite remember when, why and how… And would love to have that answered. When I was about 9-11 I had a male friend who tried to do this to me again and I was repulsed, not into doing it at all, and quite bothered by it and felt very awkward. I did however, at the same time have some weird obsession with this other male child that involved some emotion as I related him to a cartoon character, yet when I discovered he had a masculine voice that died. Ever since age 11 I have been sexually attracted to women and in no way homosexual. I have heard that this is very normal among straight children and up until now it didnt bother me. Yet it began to bother me again when I had an erectile dysfunction that was inexplicible as I can’t quite justify this why it felt good then and now I’m not into that. This has gotten me to the extent that I seem to have complete erectile dysfunction and lack of libido and is becoming quite harmful to my relationship. I am 19.

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Answer:

You are correct when you state that childhood sex play of a heterosexual or homosexual nature is normal and common. Children are what as referred to as polymorphous perverse and that simply means that they have lots of sexual feelings that are directed in many directions without it being mature heterosexuality or mature homosexuality. It is also common for children to lose interest in continuing that behavior but that varies from one child to the other.

Without knowing you and all the details of your life I can only put forward some ideas about why you are presently having problems and make some suggestions about getting help:

1. I have the impression that you feel either guilty or anxious or both about your childhood sexual experiences.

2. I am guessing that your anxiety/guilt (and I am guessing about those emotions) are related to fears that you may have that you are homosexual (I agree that you are not because you know that you are not).

3. Anxiety, guilt and fear all can add up to having difficulty getting and keeping an erection and to low libido.

4. We should never rule out physiological causes of libidinal and erectile problems.

Some Suggestions:

1. You should see your MD and discuss the libidinal and erectile problems you are experiencing. He can give you a complete physical examination. Some of the types of problems that can interfere with sexuality even in a young person like yourself are Diabetes, Underactive Thyroid Gland, Other types of Endochrine problems or some neurological problem.

2. If you are found to be in excellent physical health it is time to see a mental health specialist because you may be experiencing depression along with anxiety and both can interfere with sexuality.

If you are depressed then anti depressant medication may help but you would be better of with psychotherapy. Anti depressant medications can further lower libido so you need ot keep that in mind. I would suggest a good clinical psychologist or licensed clinical social worker with whom you can discuss your issues and work through the feelings that may be hampering your sexual feelings and intimate life.

It would be good if your girlfriend went with you to some of these medical appointments so she can begin to understand that you are not deliberately doing something to avoid her.

Best of Luck

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