Kissing phobia (philemaphobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

Philemaphobia, also known as filematophobia, Is the phobia of kissing. Phobias are anxiety disorders in which those who suffer from it experience great fear upon contact with the phobic stimulus, which causes them great anxiety and, therefore, the attempt to avoid this stimulus.

Kisses are a great sign of love, but people with this type of phobia feel rejection of these loving acts. In this article, we’ll talk about philemaphobia and review its causes, symptoms, and consequences.

    What is kiss phobia

    Philemaphobia or extreme fear of kissing can develop in people who think they are not kissing well (for example, due to a bad experience) and are afraid to do so for others can think of them. It causes them anxiety and discomfort and that is why they avoid such situations.

    Kissing phobia can cause serious problems in interpersonal relationships, as this can make the person reluctant to have intimate or romantic relationships with other people and hamper their social interaction. This phobic disorder can be part of erotophobia or sexual phobia.

      Other associated phobias

      However, philemaphobia can also be linked to other phobias, which would make the person suffering from this disorder refusing to kiss others to avoid certain phobic stimuli like bad breath or physical contact.

      1. Phobia

      Sometimes philemaphobia can be related to the fear of germs, which leads the person to think that kissing can spread to certain illnesses. Logically, this refers to “kissing in the mouth” because the individual thinks that there may be germs or bacteria in the saliva that are harmful to their body.

      2. Halitophobia

      Fear of kissing can also be linked to halitophobia, which is the smell a person emits from their mouth. Not just the smell and bad breath of other people, but yours as well. this condition may be linked to bromidrosyphobiaIn other words, the fear of body odor.

      3. Haphophobia

      Haphophobia is the fear of touching or the fear of touching and negatively affects the person who suffers from it. These people can feel great anxiety with every kiss, even those on the cheek. This greatly complicates interpersonal relationships.

      4. Fear of intimacy and vulnerability

      Kissing is an intimate act in which love is shown to a person. But some people can feel great fear in these situations. Fear of intimacy may be associated with low self-esteem and a negative self-image.

      On the other hand, the fear of vulnerability is often linked to the fear of abandonment or the fear of not loving others.

      Causes of philemaphobia

      Faced with a specific phobia its development generally originates in associative learningAs numerous studies have shown, the vast majority of phobias are learned through classical conditioning.

      This is so because a traumatic experience from the past causes it a strong emotional reaction and that it is not originally related to the phobic stimulus, i.e. kissing (or intimacy, physical contact, etc.), causes a connection between the two.

      If this stimulus was originally neutral, after the strong emotional reaction, it becomes a fear-conditioned stimulus, And causes great anxiety and a strong desire to avoid when the person thinks or experiences this phobic situation.

      But in addition to this learning as a cause, other authors claim that there are also biological origins, And that humans, due to genetics and the evolutionary need of the species, are inclined to undergo this conditioning in the face of certain stimuli, because fear helps us to be alert and to survive (or at least has us helped in the past).

        Symptoms of phobia in kissing

        Kissing phobia has the same symptoms as other phobiasThe only thing that changes is the stimulus that causes the reaction. In other words, what causes discomfort and anxiety is kissing.

        Anxiety is therefore the characteristic symptom and therefore belongs to the group of anxiety disorders. However, the symptoms also include:

        • Physical symptoms: sweating, hyperventilation and shortness of breath, Increased heart rate, tremors, chills, chest tightness, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, headaches ….
        • Psychological symptoms: thoughts that the person may be infected with life-threatening diseases, that is, distorted thoughts.
        • Behavioral symptoms: avoidance of the feared situation or stimulus, i.e. kisses.

        How to overcome the fear of kissing

        Philemaphobia negatively affects the life of the sufferer, especially their interpersonal relationships. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome this disorder with psychological therapy.

        Like any phobia, the form of psychotherapy that has proven to be the most effective for this pathology is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which targets an intervention focused on changes in mental processes (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc.) and behaviors. and behaviors that the person performs that may be maladaptive and dysfunctional.

        Cognitive behavioral therapy includes cognitive therapy techniques and behavioral therapies, and may include, among others, cognitive restructuring techniques, social skills, Training in problem solving, relaxation techniques and exposure techniques. The latter two are very often used to treat phobias.

        In terms of exhibition techniquesSystematic desensitization has been shown to be very effective and consists of gradually exposing the patient to the phobic stimulus. This technique also promotes coping skills that are more useful for the patient when he is in the situation that causes him anxiety or discomfort.

        But cognitive behavioral therapy is not the only form of treatment, but mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) also appears to work very well for this type of disorder and other anxiety disorders.

        In extreme cases, administration of anti-anxiety drugs it is also a therapeutic option; however, it should always be combined with psychotherapy.

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