It’s an awkward problem to share. That’s probably why I feel so trapped. I think I would’ve done it by now, if I knew I wouldn’t be letting so many people down. The thing is I really enjoy my life, although it may not look all that fulfilling from the outside. It’s just lately things—very specific things—have been getting in the way. I don’t have much of a sex life. I’ve only had sex once and it was more than two years ago. Back in July I had an ingrown hair on my penis that really freaked me out. I thought I had an STI. That one girl I slept with had a questionable background; I wore a condom but still, that night goes down as my biggest regret. The doctor told me that it was not any type of an infectious disease and it was an ingrown hair. She was correct, and soon a hair emerged and the bump disappeared. Since then I have become obsessed with my penis. I notice bumps and red spots all of the time. I’ve seen close to ten doctors in the last four months. In every case they have told me my worries were unfounded and that the spots I’ve noticed were normal and show up in normal healthy people. Still the fear has taken over my life. I can’t focus on school. I’m scared to go out on weekends in case I find myself in a situation where I might have to disclose that I may have an STD (even though the pros say I don’t). It comes in cycles: I feel fine for a few days, then I notice something new, I spend a few days very worked up, and then I see a doctor. The doctor usually puts my fears at ease but it never lasts. Just today I discovered something new after close to two weeks of relative stability. The thing is that it isn’t that I’m imagining symptoms—the bumps I find are new and often look irritated. To me it looks sinister and awful, but I know the doctor tomorrow will tell me it is nothing. I am sure something is wrong with me and the doctor just isn’t sure what it is. I will be left battling this fear my entire life and I can never tell anyone why I’m not approaching women, or have no ambitions to get married. If I carry something contagious I can never risk passing it on. The trouble is I’ll never know for sure. I can’t face a life of uncertainty. I need help but I don’t know where to turn. Dying seems like a welcome escape. I want it to happen sincerely; I just can’t do it myself. I would be disappointing the people who have done so very much for me.