Childhood abuse prevents couple from being intimate

Posted: April 08, 2013

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with the man of my dreams for five years. Everything is great except for one huge thing - we are no longer intimate.

I have recently come to the realization that this isn't the first time I have had this problem. I always thought it was an issue with the relationship, but now I suspect it may be linked to molestation I suffered when I was a child. At that time I was told "people who love you don't touch you like that." Logically, I know this situation is different, but my partner tells me I just freeze up when we are together.

I think I need professional help, but I'm embarrassed and don't know where to start. Do I need a therapist?

- Reaching out in Cleveland

DEAR REACHING OUT: Please accept my sympathy. Considering your history, what you're experiencing is understandable, and yes, you need to talk with a therapist. The therapy should have started at the time you were molested. Ask your physician to refer you to several so you can find a person you feel comfortable talking with.

Please do not be embarrassed to be frank, because most therapists have heard everything. It isn't their job to judge you, only to help you. None of this was your fault, and your problem is fixable.

DEAR ABBY: Every year, my workplace sponsors a community blood drive. I am invariably asked by co-workers if I am going to donate. Because I am HIV-positive, I answer no. Then the person asks me why.

Abby, it is no one's business. There could be many reasons - ranging from health to religious to personal. Or a person may simply not want to donate.

I would give if I could. Please ask your readers not to question others about whether they will donate blood. Have you any suggestions about how I should respond?

- On the Job in Idaho

DEAR ON THE JOB: A polite deflection would be to make light of it by saying, "I just don't."

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