November 2019

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Erotophobia is a generalized term that encompasses a wide range of specific fears. It's generally understood to include any phobia that is related to sex. Erotophobia is often complex, and many sufferers have more than one specific fear. Like any phobia, erotophobia varies dramatically in both symptoms and severity. It is a very personalized fear, and no two sufferers are likely to experience it in the same way. You may recognize some of your own fears in this list.

As a highly personalized fear, erotophobia may have innumerable causes. In some cases, it may be difficult or impossible to pinpoint a specific cause. Nonetheless, some people may be at a higher risk due to past or current events in their lives.

Because erotophobia is so complex, professional treatment is generally required. Sex therapists are licensed mental health professionals who have completed additional training and certification, and many people feel that they are the best choice for treating sexual concerns. However, it is not generally necessary to seek a sex therapist, as most mental health professionals are capable of managing erotophobia. Erotophobia generally responds well to treatment, although complex erotophobia may take time and effort to resolve.

Depending on your therapist's style and school of thoughtyou may need to face difficult and painful memories in order to heal and move forward. Because the nature of the fear is so personal, it is critical that you find a therapist with whom you truly feel comfortable. Your therapist may also use a technique called cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT to address sexual difficulties.

Although beating erotophobia is never easy, most people find that the rewards are sex the effort. Be patient with yourself, and honest with your therapist. Over time, your fears will lessen and you can learn to enjoy your personal range of sexual expression.

Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign sex to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter. On the relationship sex social anxiety, intimacy, sexual communication, sex sexual satisfaction in young couples. Arch Sex Behav. Wohl A, Kirschen GW.

Betrayal of the body: group approaches to hypo-sexuality for adult female sufferers of childhood sexual abuse. J Child Sex Abus. Zoldbrod, AP.

Sexual issues in treating trauma survivors. Current Sexual Health Reports. Automatic and deliberate affective associations with sexual stimuli in women with lifelong vaginismus before and after therapist-aided exposure treatment. J Sex Med. Cognitive behavioral therapy for sexual dysfunctions in women.

Psychiatr Clin North Am. More in Phobias. Genophobia: Also known as coitophobia, this is the fear of sexual intercourse. Many people with sex are able to begin romantic relationships, and may quite enjoy activities such as kissing and cuddling but are afraid to move into a more physical display of affection.

Fear of Intimacy: The fear of intimacy is often, though not always, rooted in a fear of abandonment or its twin, the fear of engulfment. Paraphobia: The fear of sexual perversion is itself a complicated phobia. Some people are afraid that they might be perverted themselves, while others fear sex perversions of others. Some people with paraphobia are able to enjoy traditional sexual relationships that fit well within their personal moral code, while others are afraid that any form of intimacy might be perverted.

Haphephobia: Also known as chiraptophobia, the fear of being touched often affects all sex, not just those of a romantic nature. Some people recoil from even passing contact by a relative, while others are afraid only of more protracted touching.

Gymnophobia: The fear of nudity is often complex. Some people are afraid of being naked, others of people being naked around them. This fear may signal body image issues or feelings of inadequacy, although it may also occur alone. Fear of Vulnerability: Like the fear of intimacy, the fear of vulnerability is often tied to a fear of abandonment or fear of engulfment. Many people are afraid that if they are totally themselves, others will sex like them. Fear of vulnerability may affect numerous relationships, both sexual and non-sexual.

Philemaphobia: Also known as philematophobia, the fear of kissing may have many causes. It is often tied to physical concerns, such as a concern over bad breath or even germ phobia. Sexual Abuse: Although not everyone with erotophobia has been raped or sexually abusedthose who have been traumatized are at increased risk for developing some form of erotophobia.

If the trauma was physical, you may be more likely to develop a touch-related erotophobia, while those who have been through psychological or emotional abuse may be more likely to develop intimacy or vulnerability-related fears. However, many people experience difficulty when trying to balance sex and current beliefs. Performance Anxiety: Sometimes, it isn't actually sex that we fear at all. Instead, we may worry about our own ability to please a partner.

Sex Concerns: Some people worry that sex will hurt. Some wonder if they will be able to perform due to a physiological condition. Fears that have a legitimate medical basis are not considered phobias. If your fear is inappropriate to the current risks, you might have a phobia. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our sex accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 4th Ed. Washington, DC: Author. Continue Reading. Related Articles. Coping With Gymnophobia or the Fear of Nudity. How to Overcome a Fear of Kissing. Are You Afraid of Sexual Intercourse?

What Is the Fear of Knees?


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