Regret Regarding Teenage Fantasies

Reader’s Question

I am a man in my mid twenties. I regret an incident in my life which happened when I was a teenager. I am really ashamed and I feel depressed when I think about that. I was sexually attracted to a cousin of mine when I was a teenager. Although I never had sex with her, the thought was always there in my mind. We used to sleep together whenever she came to my house. I have tried to get close with her many times, even touched her. I am not sure whether she is aware of such a behavior from me. She never complained about it to me. But I did not cross the limit and never had sex with her.

I don’t have fantasy thoughts about her anymore. It really pains me, even now when I think about those susceptible days as a teenager. She is married now and has settled into a new life. I also want to move on in life and I wish I could erase such bad moments in my life. I feel ashamed about the fact that I had such feelings toward a girl whom I should have considered as my sister. Sometimes I feel extremely low and I always feel that I am a disgrace to my family.

I am currently dating a girl and we are planning to get married soon. I have not told her about these incidents, fearing the worst. I sometimes feel that I am betraying my girlfriend. I want to become a good person and I don’t want the past to dictate the future of my life. Please help me with the current situation.

Psychologist’s Reply

The sexual fantasies you describe are common in teenage males. The fantasies are a combination of sexual awakening, curosity, fantasy, and hormones. Puberty sexual fantasies are often connected to individuals in our environment including relatives, teachers, neighbors, relatives of friends, etc. It’s important to note that you did nothing wrong, no one was abused, and the fantasies were not acted upon. Both lives have continued without a problem. Having a fantasy is not a crime.

I am concerned about your self-esteem however. I sense that you are from a family or background where conversations about sexual matters are rare. You are not a disgrace to your family and in truth, your moral concerns about normal fantasies, the family reputation, and your relationship with your girlfriend reveal you to be a very moral person. My thoughts:

  • Accept that you experienced sexual fantasies and curiosities that most teen boys experience. You behaved in an appropriate manner however.
  • You have behaved well and have done nothing to damage the family reputation or relationships with relatives.
  • You are not obligated to report your history of teenage sexual fantasies to your girlfriend. Having those fantasies in the past will not harm your upcoming marriage. Fantasies are evidence that your sexual interest is alive. Any by the way, don’t ask your girlfriend to share her early sexual fantasies.
  • Read my article on Emotional Memory on this website. It describes how an uncomfortable past memory can be changed and managed in the present.

Your concerns are actually evidence that you want to be the best possible husband for your girlfriend. This is very positive. Let the past remain in the past and look toward your future.

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