Fear of boys

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I am 20 years old and remember the first time I liked a boy. His name was Ryan. But instead of telling people I liked him, I told people I liked this other boy, Jordan. There wasn’t anything essentially different between the boys to make me say this (like Jordan being more popular or anything), but I just didn’t like the idea of telling people whom I really liked.

With every additional boy that I liked, I did something similar. The first true time I told someone I liked a boy was in September of 2004, to my friend about a boy who had liked me for quite some time. I cried telling her. The boy and I ended up dating for three and a half years.

The relationship was wonderful and awful at the same time. It was perfect for me because it gave me someone to care for, someone to care for me, and it was such a casual relationship- we never had a single dress-up type of date other than school dances.

He broke up with me two days before going back to college for my sophomore year (his junior year). My life after that was weird. I, still a virgin, made out with another boy that liked me, but when I got negative reactions from that, I decided to just stay away from boys all together. I secretly made out with another boy in February the next year, and then two other boys this summer (the two over the summer ones that I actually liked, the other two boys I could care less about).

I liked this one boy for the longest time, liking a few others here and there. But I never told anybody. I finally told people about the first boy I made out with this summer, but that really gave me hope in a hopeless relationship (I never told the guy I liked him and so we only had that one incident).

I really fear people knowing my true feelings for people. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s really hindering my friendships. It also, I think, hinders my chances at a relationship because I push boys away instead of letting them guess that I like them. People think I’m asexual, bi, or just scared of boys. And while I’m definitely scared of boys, I don’t really think that’s the only thing. Some of the people I work with try to point out “cute” boys, but I don’t really know what the meaning of “cute” is.

I don’t really know what my question is. I just want to understand why I’ve always had this problem of not liking boys or wanting to get close to them even when I do like them.

A: I am glad you chose to put this issue out there. Here are my thoughts.

This is a situation that calls for group therapy because you have several descriptions that can best be treated simultaneously in group. First, the difficulty in talking about your feelings is directly addressed by the process of being in a group. A good facilitator will help you cope with the anxiety and help you find your voice in group. In this instance the very process is the intervention for your condition. The find help tab at the top of the page can direct you to therapists in your area who can help you find a group. You may also want to search here.

Secondly, you’ve mentioned that others interpret your behavior as being asexual, bi, or just scared of boys. The fact that you give off this vibe will be an important dynamic to understand. Being in group is like standing in front of those multi-angle mirrors that show you how you look from different directions. Learning how you come across to other men and women will be important, because the members of the group can give you the specifics of not only what they feel around you, but why they are feeling it. It will also give you a chance to talk about your feelings about having sexual relations.

Finally, be sure to join a group with men in it so you can find out directly both how you feel, and how they feel. There is no better way to learn.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Fear of boys. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/19/fear-of-boys/