Sexual phobia (erotophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

Sex is one of the greatest pleasures a human being can experience, and it is not only beneficial on a physical level, but also promotes well-being. However, many people have a great fear of sex and sexuality, what is called erotophobia or sexual phobia.

Erotophobia is an irrational fear of anything to do with sex and sexuality, and is a complex disorder whose symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Some feel great fear in contact with sexual objects, others panic at sexual intimacy and others at penetration. People with this phobia may experience high doses of fear of any kind of sexual act or the possibility of intimacy with another person.

    Types of sexual phobia

    When it comes to irrational fear, anxiety, and avoidance in people with erotophobia, the object or situation that causes the phobia may vary from case to case, as well as its severity.

    Erotophobia is a complex disorder which encompasses other specific sexual phobias. They are as follows.

    1. Genophobia

    Also known as coitophobia, Refers to irrational fear and spikes in stress about sex. People with this condition may initiate romantic relationships, enjoy activities such as kissing or cuddling, but experience great fear of intercourse and penetration.

    2. Gymphobia

    Also called nudophobia, it’s the fear of nudity. It is a complex disorder in which people are afraid of being naked, just like the people around them.

    This fear may indicate body image issues or feelings of inadequacy, although this could also result from a traumatic experience.

    3. Fear of privacy

    This fear has nothing to do with the sexual act, but with the fact feeling close to the other person both emotionally and physically.

    4. Paraphobia

    The fear of sexual perversion is also a complicated phobia. Some people are afraid of perverting themselves, while others fear the perversions of others.

    Some people with paraphobia are able to enjoy traditional sex that fits well with their personal moral code, while others fear that any form of intimacy could be perverted.

    5. Haphophobia

    This phobia is characterized by the fear of physical contact, i.e. To be touched, And often affects all relationships, not just those of a romantic nature. Some people experience it with minimal contact, while others have longer contact.

    6. Phobia of vulnerability

    Much like the extreme fear of intimacy, the fear of vulnerability is often linked to the fear of abandonment. many people they are afraid to show themselves as they are, As they believe that others will not like it that way. Fear of vulnerability can affect many relationships, both sexual and non-sexual.

    7. Philemaphobia

    Also known as filematophobia, it is fear of kisses. It can have many causes and is often linked to physical problems, such as a worry about bad breath or even a phobia about germs.

    Causes of sexual phobia

    Sex and sexuality are very important aspects of the human condition, and erotophobia can have a devastating impact in those who experience it. Some people who suffer from this phobia choose to live their lives asexually, that is, without having sex, and others have serious difficulty maintaining intimate relationships with other people in a satisfactory manner. .

    Usually, the cause of this phobia is associative learning or the classic conditioning that occurs when a person experiences a traumatic event related to sex and sexuality, for example having had a bad sexual experience in the past or being teased about the size of their genitals (in the case of men).

    However, irrational beliefs and poor sex education can also cause the person to develop this phobia. Some authors claim that some people are more likely than others to develop this type of condition due to genetics.

      Symptoms of erotophobia

      Due to the variety of phobic disorders related to sex and sexuality, the object or situation causing the phobia may vary. However, the symptoms are generally the same:

      • Intense fear of objects, situations and thoughts related to sex and sexuality.
      • extreme anxiety in the presence of the object or the situation which causes the phobia or towards the thoughts or images of this one.
      • Avoidant behaviors.
      • Shortness of breath and hyperventilation.
      • Hyperspiration.
      • Dry mouth.
      • Disorientation and lack of concentration.
      • Tension in the muscles.
      • Anxiety.
      • Increased heart rate and increased heart rate.
      • Stomach pain and headache.


      Phobias are common disorders and there are many types of phobic disorders. But even if the objects or the situations at the origin of these phobias are different, the procedure is generally similar in most cases.

      On the other hand, since sex is a very important part of a person’s life and often affects relationships, treatment usually includes a boost to improve self-esteem and correct beliefs that interfere with patient well-being.

      Patients with a certain type of phobia respond well to psychotherapy, and scientific studies indicate that cognitive behavioral therapy is really helpful in treating this disorder. Relaxation techniques and exposure techniques are the most used.

      An exhibition technique that has proven to be really effective in the treatment of phobias is systematic desensitization, which gradually exposes the patient to the sexual situations that he fears while providing him with adaptive tools to cope with the phobic stimulus. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis or mindfulness has also been shown to be effective.

      In extreme cases, that is, those in which the patient suffers from great anxiety, can use drugs. However, always combined with psychological therapy and never as the only treatment option.

      “Applications” for the treatment of phobias

      Today, new technologies are part of all areas of our life. We can shop online, train at universities remotely, and even receive therapy online.

      Outraged, the mobile also serves us as an aid or therapeutic tool in the case of phobias, because there are different “applications” that help patients with phobic disorders through virtual reality or augmented reality.

      • You can read more about these apps in this article: “8 apps to treat phobias and fears of your smartphone”

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