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Serodiscordant Relationships and Sex

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hermes:
Hey guys...

I am going through an incredibly rough time with my partner right now. I was diagnosed about 3 months ago and since then we have been struggling with conversations about sex and we haven't actually had any sexual intimacy since I found out. I tried to approach the topic again this evening and tried to provide options for us to connect but he says it's not possible for him to think of ANY sexual activity right now (whether it's completely safe or not). We're at the point where he won't even make out with me because he's afraid that his bleeding gums might make him suseptible to catching the virus from me. He's negative and I'm positive.

I'm extremely frustrated and feeling incredibly unwanted. Basically this evening he told me that he is unable to give me what I need right now and that perhaps I should just dump him.

We are currently on a waiting list to get into couples counselling at an HIV counselling unit but the waiting is 8-10 weeks. I'm really at wit's end here. Any advice or experiences of serodiscordant couples would be really really appreciated right now, especially for me to share with him since he is very scared and feeling very alone right now.

You can email me at scoutinflux@yahoo.ca

Scott

Eldon:
Hello Scott it is Eldon. I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a tough time with your lover. I'm going to Keep It Real for you. Your partner is scared to death that he might get HIV from you. Although this isn't the case as you need to protect yourself at all times when engaging in any sex.

Keep in mind that a relationship is more than just sex. It is about understanding one another and being together and sharing. Try to focus more on this rather than the sex. Sex comes naturally in a relationship. You need him more now than anything else to support you with your newly diagnosis of HIV.

Now, I understand that this may be frustrating to you. He agreed to couples counseling and it is a great place to start. We do have a lot of support also here on the forums. Again, focus on being together and what you have right now than the sex.

I'm hoping that things work itself out for you.

lydgate:
Scott,

Two good friends of mine are in serodiscordant relationships: one friend is negative (and his partner is positive) and the other friend is positive (while his partner is negative). In both cases, it's the HIV-positive partner who's been extremely reluctant to have sex, the fear of passing it on. Counselling has helped; so has time. Both couples have started having sex again, though I do get slighly hysterical IMs every now and then from one couple, asking if their recent sex act warrants PEP. Of course, it never does. I can put you in touch with the couples (one in the Netherlands, one in India) if you like.

But there are several serodiscordant couples (or one partner of the two) right here on these forums; I'm sure they'll be able to offer you specific advice and support. There are several threads on the subject here. Finally, one board at thebody.com answers questions from serodiscordant couples. On that same site, there's Dr. Robert Frascino, whose partner of 10 (or 12) years is negative; he's constantly going on about how he and Dr. Steve have bed-shattering, wake-up-the-neighbors sex.

I guess you have to be there for him in his pain just as he has to be there for you. This may sound bizarre and actually be a ridiculously counterproductive suggestion: can you guys, just holding each other, watch some movies about serodiscordant couples? One of my favorites is Alive and Kicking, a Brit film from the mid-90s. Lots of sex. Then there are all those scenes in QaF of Michael and Ben having sex. A few others I'm forgetting right now. Narrative and visuals can have an impact that rational arguments alone can not. You could also talk about, eventually, the studies done on serodiscordant couples, unless you think that would just freak him more at this point.

An unpleasant thought occurs to me in situations like these. You don't want to dump him; but is he trying to get you to dump him (without doing the dumping himself)? Out of what he thinks, with the best of intentions, is the best thing for you and/or him? Apologies if that thought is offensive.

Sorry you're going through this, in addition to everything else. Good luck with everything. And post again periodically to let us know how things are going.

Links to two recent threads in case you haven't seen them:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=1661.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=1004.0

Jay



Teresa:
Hermes,

Hubby is HIV+ and I'm HIV- and our sex life is well.....2 times since he he was diagnosed May 5, 2006. The first time wasn't completed. Talk about awkward. He said he was afraid that he would give me HIV and it would kill him if he did. I was anxious too. I was thinking about it too the whole time.

I can understand your partners fears. Has your partner read any of the lessons here at the forums? Read any of the posts here? They have certainly helped me. I'm not afraid of HIV anymore. I don't want HIV and we know what we have to do so I don't get it.

Its good that you are planning to go to couples counseling. You both need support and I hope he is giving you the support that you need. You both have to be there for each other.

There is so much more to our relationship than just sex. Try to focus on the other aspects of your relationship.
We laugh, bicker, play, talk, and do what every other couple does in their day to day life. We are there for each other...WE are in this together.

There are no easy answers. Patience, love, communication, and time.

Hope everything works out for you!

Hugs
Teresa


AIDS2HIV:
I was diagnosed in the late stages of aids, my wife is negative after unknowingly being exposed repeatedly for 5 yrs. At first i was too sick to have sex, but since than, Holy sm0kes*

now, its quite normal in a serodiscordant couple to fear infecting, and being infected. The key is to face those fears. Think back when you learned to ride your bike, your biggest fear was losing control and injuring yourself. However, the more you did it, the more you faced the fear, the more you learned to do it PROPERLY, the better you got. Having sex again, after diagnosis isnt much different. You just have to change the ways you do things, proper condom usage,etc. The key is open communication, open mind, and education. Aside from FEAR, some struggle with issues of "self" brought on by diagnosis, whether it be guilt, shame, fear, etc. And the only way to overcome them is to deal with them appropriately, with an open mind, an honest mouth, and a forgiving heart. Working, on "self" is the hardest thing one may ever have to do in thier life, i know it was for myself, and anyone else that i know has worked on "self" But the benefits & rewards are priceless

I have found that being a live example, gives them something to follow. It takes time, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, it will always materialize if you work for it. There is more than just penetrative sex, that can excite the mind body & soul. But if it does get to the point of penetrative sex, please protect yourself. For example, you masturbating him all over your chest.....is NO RISK. The skin is a great barrier to prevent hiv.

Do NOT use two condoms at once...doubling a condom can actually cause breakage, use one latex or polyurethane condom PROPERLY, and you will be 100% safe.

Always use waterbased lubricants, and always use latex or polyurethane condoms. Condoms manufactured in japan are actually the best, as they are ran through the most thorough inspections and tests, before being released to the public* Also, MALE condoms are most affective all the way around, comfort, reliability, etc.

Be sure to pinch the tip of the condom,expelling the air-pocket out of the tip before you put the condom on, and roll it down over you. The most commen contributers to condom breakage are air pockets, lack of sufficiant amount of water based lubricants, or the combination of the two.

where does doubling condoms fall into the equation? doubling a condom provides airpockets both between both : the two layers of condoms, and also between the first condom and your skin. doubling condoms, is comparable to russian roullette, you may get lucky a few times, but that luck wont last long....

In closing, never use an Oil-based/petroleum based lubricant, as they will weaken and break down the latex/polyurethane compounds, inviting breakage, and drastically increases the chances of breakage*

Some will say condoms arent 100%, however studies have proven, that when used PROPERLY, condoms do have 100% rating. Its sad that they post the stats that factor in incorrect use, when determining reliabilty ratings*

and dont forget, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY doesnt end when the condom is rolled down, it only takes a fraction of a second to check and make sure the condom is staying in place,etc....

By all means, have a wonderful time together, but from being an aids survivor, i will tell you, the best passion, laughter,LOVE, that one could give to ANYONE, especially hiv+ people....begins with the word Genuine*


Theres two things come to mind about Fear...

F alse                                       F ace
E vidance                                  E verything
A ppearing                                A nd
R eal                                        R ecover

Good Luck & God Bless*....

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