I Freak Out & Think I Might Be Pregnant Every Time I Have Sex

I don’t have a lot of sex because every time I do, I’m terrified that I’m automatically pregnant. I’m on birth control and I use the usual precautions, but I also know no method is fool-proof. There’s an actual name for the fear of pregnancy—tokophobia—and while I’m not entirely sure if I’m quite that far gone, I do take at least three pregnancy tests every time I have sex even without symptoms or a missed period. WTF?

  1. I’m not in a long-term relationship. I think part of the reason why I’m straddling the line between fear and actual medical phobia is because the sex I do have tends to be casual because of my long-term single status. The idea of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy after getting knocked up by a guy I barely know is pretty much my own personal version of a nightmare. I don’t want to be a single mom—though they certainly have my utmost respect—I just don’t think I’m cut out for it.
  2. The sex I do have is hardly enjoyable. Because it’s always in the back of my mind that I could get pregnant if I’m having sex, I’m always at least slightly distracted during the act. I can never just let go and be in the moment because I’m always thinking, “Oh crap, did the condom break?” or “Did I forget my pill today?” It’s all just so exhausting to be so focused on not getting pregnant that I can’t enjoy sex at all.
  3. I wasn’t always like this. When I was younger and more carefree, at the point in my life when an unplanned pregnancy would be far more devastating than it would now, I didn’t think twice about it. I never worried about an unplanned pregnancy and thankfully it never happened, but I don’t know how I got this way. It’s especially weird that I’ve developed this fear because now that I have my life and career sorted out, it wouldn’t be even remotely as hard as it would’ve been had it happened to me back then.
  4. I don’t even know if I want kids at all. I used to smile at the idea, and every now and then I catch a whiff of baby fever, but for the most part I’m just not sure. When I think of having a child that I wasn’t sure I wanted in the first place, it just makes me think I’ll be a terrible mother, and I wouldn’t want to bring someone into the world to just download a bunch of crap onto them so that when they grow up they have weird fears just like me.
  5. Pregnancy itself really freaks me out. It’s not just the idea of becoming pregnant without having that whole family dynamic set up or even becoming a mother itself that freaks me out, it’s the actual thought of pregnancy that gives me the creeps. It’s like an alien being has implanted itself inside of you and feeds off your body until one day it rips itself out from the inside. It’s all so sci-fi to me.
  6. What if it’s a really bad pregnancy? What if I’m sick all the time and become a completely useless human being for a whole nine months? My life would be turned completely upside-down if that were to happen, and then I’d have to take care of a whole other person while trying to get it all back on track. I know so many women in the world deal with that every day, but I’m just not sure I’m strong enough to handle it.
  7. I feel like a freak. Genetically speaking, women are supposed to have that maternal instinct and subconscious desire to have children. I know that not all women do and that times are different than they were 20 years ago, but it’s not societally engrained. It’s on a more physiological level. And, because I do have that terrible fear of the whole getting pregnant/having a baby thing, I feel like there might be something wrong with me.
  8. I do love babies, so that’s not the problem. Babies are adorable little creatures that I love being around. When my brother had kids, I cried when I held them for the first time and I jump at every opportunity to be around them. Still, when I think about going through all that myself, it’s a whole different story.
  9. I really don’t want to be this way. I wish I could be more normal in the sense that I could trust that I’m taking all the right precautions to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. I wish that I could enjoy sex without it always hovering in the back of my mind that this time is the time it’s going to happen, but I just can’t get my mindset right. It’s starting to make me wonder if I’ll be this scared even when I’m with someone I love and I’m ready to start making babies.
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at AngelicaBottaro.ca. She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.