So recently (about two months ago) I had a freak out that my girlfriend was pregnant. I know (stupid teen mistake) but she had two periods and the test said negative, but I still couldn’t stop freaking out about it. I would think about it every second of the day and it finally is leaving my thoughts but we recently slept together again (using birth control and condoms) but now I’m freaking out again. I cannot describe what I am feeling but it’s a mix of extreme dread, anxiety, sadness, and anger. I have been lashing out at nothing and have this pit-like feeling in my stomach. I don’t know if my ADHD has something to do with this but this feeling is awful and has been weighing me down for months now and I can’t get rid of it. I feel like giving up some days and have extreme sadness yet I never cry. I just feel extremely anxious and dreadful. Can someone please help.

The name for fear of pregnancy is called tokophobia ,and it is mostly something discussed and understood as a woman’s fear of pregnancy. However, men are also prone to tokophobia, but, instead of fears of carrying or delivering the baby, the anxieties can have a wide range such as your ability to be a parent, decisions surrounding parenthood, finances, commitment, and medical treatment. Part of this is very understandable as you’ve stated your age as 16. The responsibilities, burden, and financial demands that would be levied on you would be significant — not to mention the psychological overwhelm. This is why the age of consent (the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity) is set at 18. While there are exemptions in some states for a “close in age” exemption or what is called the Romeo and Juliet laws that allow for consensual sex between partners it doesn’t typically remove the potential for the psychological fear of pregnancy.

The best way to manage the fear is for the two of you if you are both of consensual age to discuss the real risks of pregnancy and if you decide to go forward to take the necessary precautions each time. Some fear is warranted and necessary for making good decisions because the anxiety helps you be prepared. The more you can rely on this preparedness the greater the likelihood the excessive fears will be tempered. Added to this is the fact that according to this description of the age of consent anyone under the age of 18.

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