A sexual phobia might seem like something that is very odd, but the truth is, all phobias are odd. They defy what we generally perceive as normal and see nothing to fear about. Phobias are often even defined as irrational fears. However, they are not irrational. They have a root cause, and once that is figured out by someone who specialises in psychology, they can even be cured.
The fear of sex and anything that is related to sex is clubbed under the umbrella term of sexual phobias or genophobia, or erotophobia. It’s not just an extreme dislike, but a real sense of panic and fear about sex that is involved.
As we just mentioned, sexual phobias are not just a single phobia. It’s a group of fears that can be related to sex. Some of the common sexual phobias include:
1. Haphephobia or Chiraptophobia
This is a fear of being touched. The touch does even have to be a sexual touch, thus is phobia is something that is not just a subcategory of sexual phobias. However, since touching is the whole deal when indulging in sex, this phobia is also included in the category of fear about sex.
People suffering from haphephobia are extremely uncomfortable and in fear when they are in crowded places, because of the high chances of getting touched or brushing against someone.
One of the very first steps of actually getting ready for sex is getting naked. If someone has gymnophobia, they are scared of being caught naked or seeing someone else naked too. This fear prevents people from indulging in sex and is hence put under the group of fears which can be termed as sexual phobias.
It is important to understand that this does not necessarily have to do with the idea of being body-conscious not being okay with their body shape.
No one likes a pervert. Okay, maybe some prefer some perversion when they are in bed. We mean, a pervert is someone who is unconventional to the acceptable norms of the world. Things like BDSM qualify as perversion at many levels too.
People who suffer from papaphobia fear any sort of perversion. Not only are they scared of the idea or a person belonging to the idea, but they also fear themselves turning into one.
This is included under genophobia as they fear a perverted sexual partner. They are rather by the book, and might not complete fear sex. There is a fear of sexual intimacy if they think that the sexual partner is unconventional in bed.
Nosophobia is the fear of getting diseases or viruses. Since sexual intercourse leads to an exchange of bodily fluids, the chances of sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs) can be an adverse effect of unprotected sex are quite high. They are of course something everybody should be careful of, but in people suffering from nosophobia, this becomes a fear. This can lead to the fear of sexual intimacy too.
This could even lead to the fear of kissing, i.e., philemaphobia, because of the fear of germs. However, philemaphobia doesn’t necessitate that the person with has any fear about sex.
5. Ithyphallophobia or Phallophobia
If you read phallo in the above word, you guessed what phobia this is about. This is a fear of penis, and hence can be linked to being one of the sexual phobias.
Men with the phobia are scared of their erection, and women are scared of touching or even seeing one.
This is another one of the sexual phobias which is directly related to genitals. Eurotophobic women are scared of any sensation or sexual stimulation of the vagina, and men fear touching or even seeing a vagina.
This fear becomes a fear of sexual intimacy for heterosexuals. Heterophobia is fear of the opposite sex. It doesn’t have to do with the genitals like the last two just mentioned. This phobia is a man being scared of women, and a woman being scared of men.
This is going to become a sexual phobia for heterosexuals, those who are attracted to the opposite sex but fear them. Quite irrational, but that is how phobias are.
This fear about sex is so intense that it can lead to disruptions in a person’s sleeping patterns and thus affect their well-being. People who suffer from oneirogmophobia fear having wet dreams. In some people, the experience of wet dreams can almost traumatise them, making them hate going to sleep as they fear they could get one again.
Coitophobia is the fear of sex in the way we would generally perceive sexual phobias. People suffering from coitophobia fear sexual intercourse. It could be the fear of just having sex, or could be the result of one or an amalgamation of multiple sexual phobias listed above.
Treatment of fear of sex
All phobias are fears that are psychological in nature, and hence need to be treated by a psychologist and psychiatrist. Treatment of genophobia is similar to any phobia. The doctor will try to figure out the root cause of the phobia. This could be a biological condition or a past experience which has led to the trauma.
An example of a biological condition being a cause behind them can be vaginismus in women which causes extreme pain upon penetration; or erectile dysfunction in men which keeps them in fear of sexual intimacy.
Social and moral or religious conditioning can also give rise to sexual phobias in a person. For example, paraphobia or even oneirogmophobia can be caused due to social conditioning which installs the idea of sexual intercourse as something negative, especially before a social sanction, i.e., marriage.
Another reason for genophobia could be a history of sexual assault or rape. Victims of such crime could develop sexual phobia as sexual intimacy could serve as a reminder to the trauma – both physical and mental.
In conclusion, even though most of us view sexual intimacy as something all love and crave, it might not be the case for all. If you have a partner suffering from any of these, be kind and considerate. Give them the space they want. If you really love your partner, you’ll make it work.