I am at a phase where I am essentially unable to approach women, and I have no sex life as a result.
In my adult life I have been in about 5.5 years of steady relationships - I met them accidentally, either through friends or work. I have never had to be proactive in my approaches, but now i absolutely must because my social circle has run dry and my current job doesnt provide social opportunities.
I go to clubs 2-3 nights a week to try and apply exposure therapy, so I can work my way up to being comfortable enough to approach girls consistently, but my fear is too great. I know the common recommended antidote is "you just have to do it, and it gets easier from there", but this is not viable advice when your fear level reaches a certain point.
My primary fear is having a higher rejection rate from women than I am expecting and realizing that my sexual market value/my looks are not as good as I think.
I was in a relationship with a couple of very attractive women, and although I shouldnt have, I derived confidence from that that I must be a desirable/attractive man.
The problem is ive internalized that notion and become extremely dependent on my looks. As sad as it is to say, my biggest fear is finding out that im not as good looking as I judge myself to be. Like, putting my photo on the website hot or not would be literally one of my biggest fears. I think id rather bathe in a pit of snakes.
I'm tall, fit, and a good dancer, and maybe about 50% of the time when I go out, have alot of girls giving me looks or trying to dance up to me, so I feel validated and confident and feel like my self-perception must be accurate, but im still too scared to keep conversation or dancing going in case they "discover the real me" and lose interest. But the other 50%, I dont seem to get much interest or attention, and i tell myself that maybe im not attractive, and that the times they give me attention it must be because im tall/dancing well, and my fear of that realization takes over.
I know this is all an incredibly unhealthy mindset.
I've tried to expose myself gradually, by starting with small exposures: i.e. making eye contact, making conversation with guys, high fives, stuff like that. But my emotional volatility makes it extremely hard to be consistent with this approach and I havent found success.
It doesn't help that Im not sexually active. Honestly, if I had just one cute girl who I was actively sleeping with, I would have a lot more confidence with other women (eliminating the scarcity/starvation mentality), but of course I cant really find a girl like that if I cant talk to them.
I'm also kind of working on CBT and evaluating my beliefs, and have tried framing approaches in many different mindsets (i.e. go with the intention of getting rejected, look at the girl as practice, etc.), but nothing has helped so far.
At this point im considering medications: Maybe mixing alcohol with L-Theanine and propranolol before I go out to try and facilitate my exposures, but im also posting this as a last ditch effort in the hopes that someone might have some kind of creative suggestion.
I would be eternally grateful for any suggestions that could get me talking to girls and sexually active in the short term - I just need to get over the hump of sleeping with the first few women, and then I should be ok.