Erotophobia: The Variety of Fears Related to Sexual Intimacy

Maybe you’re scared of intimacy or kissing someone new, well, there’s a general word for that. No, it’s not called being a tease, it’s erotophobia.


Most of us call people who are scared of intimacy or relationships either assholes, teases, or commitment-phobes. I mean, I’m not saying that those are incorrect terms, some people may not have an actual phobia but would rather taste all the ice cream flavors before getting emotionally involved with someone. Which isn’t too bad, however, it usually ends up hurting someone.

Point is, if they’re not playing games with you, they may have actually have a form of erotophobia. Erotophobia is an umbrella term that involves a variety of fears related to sex and sexual intimacy. You may think that this is not a huge problem, however, it’s usually tied to more complex fears. And, if left untreated, people with erotophobia will be unable to have romantic relationships.

Erotophobia 101

Whether you have it or know someone who does, you should know what it’s really about. So here are 11 things about erotophobia that you need to know. [Read: 20 downright strange but true phobias about love]

#1 Erotophobia varies for everyone. If you have erotophobia, it’s not going to be the exact same for everyone. Some people will have mild cases, while others have extreme cases of erotophobia. Also, it depends on the type of erotophobia you have since it’s an umbrella term for multiple phobias related to sex.

#2 Genophobia. This is the fear of sexual intercourse. Now, you can still be affectionate with someone and you can also be in a relationship while having this fear. Many people have romantic relationships while suffering from this – they’ll be able to kiss, hug, and cuddle, however, when it’s time to progress into more intimate displays of affection, they close up.

#3 Paraphobia. This is the fear of sexual perversion. It’s a complicated phobia, that’s for sure. This could be the fear of being perverted themselves or the fear of others being perverted. This doesn’t mean you can’t have sex.

However, many people with this phobia do prefer traditional intimate relationships that fit the moral code that they established in their mind. But, there are also people that feel that any sexual intimacy is perverted. [Read: How to talk about sex without sounding like a pervert]

#4 Haphephobia. This is the fear of being touched. Of course, this is a huge problem if you’re wanting to be in an intimate relationship and even for non-intimate relationships. Some people can even feel pain when people graze by them. This is a psychological defense mechanism, and it’ll take time to overcome, but you can treat it.

#5 Fear of intimacy. Or also known as the fear of abandonment. The two are very much related. People who fear intimacy are not always scared of the sex itself, but they’re afraid of the emotional attachment that comes with it. You can see this with a couple of your friends who are chronic serial daters or one-night stand enthusiasts. [Read: Fear of sex – understanding genophobia and ways to get over it]

#6 Gymnophobia. Or also known as the fear of nudity. This isn’t a light phobia either. Personally, this one relates to me because I have a fear of being naked in front of someone. This is tied to body image issues and feelings of inadequacy. This isn’t about sexual intimacy as many people with this fear enjoy sex, they’re just insecure with their bodies.

#7 Fear of vulnerability. It’s similar to the fear of intimacy because it’s tied to the fear of abandonment. Many people are scared to open themselves, maybe because they have the fear of not being liked or the fear that they’ll become emotionally attached and then left. This is a serious phobia for many relationships because it prevents the relationship from developing. [Read: Vulnerability and the reasons why you should wear your heart on your sleeve]

#8 Philemaphobia. The fear of kissing. I know, many of you may be surprised by this, but it’s an actual phobia. However, this is usually connected to physical concerns like having bad breath or germ phobia. So, this isn’t about kissing itself.

#9 Erotophobia is highly complex. And when I mean complex, it’s complex. You won’t be able to treat this by talking to your family or friends, you need to seek professional help. Sex therapists are specialized in erotophobia, so they’ll be able to give you the tools to treat yourself.

#10 It is possible to cure it. Once you have erotophobia, it’s not a dead end. In fact, erotophobia is highly treatable, however, it takes time and work.

It depends on the type of therapist you have, but, they’ll be able to help you face difficult memories that you’ll need to overcome in order to heal. Sure, there are going to be some tears and obstacles, but once you overcome it, the reward it well worth it. [Read: 10 naughty ways to get over a sexual dry spell quickly]

#11 Why do you have erotophobia? There are many reasons as to why erotophobia is a part of someone’s life. They could have had previous sexual abuse, other major traumatic incidents, religious conflictions, performance anxiety, or physical concerns. But, these issues will be taken apart and analyzed by your therapist.

[Read: Fear of intimacy – The hardships of being afraid to love]

If you’re feeling that you’re suffering from erotophobia, don’t worry, you can get yourself out of it. But, you’ll need to talk to someone who will be able to provide you with the right tools.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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