Fear Of Sexuality (Erotophobia): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Psychological Studies

The fear of sexuality, also known as Erotophobia, is a term coined by several researchers in the late 1970s and early 1980s to describe a pole in a continuum of attitudes and beliefs about sexuality. The continuum model is a polarized baseline, with Erotophobia (fear of sex or negative attitudes about sex) at one extreme and gerontophilia (positive feelings or attitudes about sex) at the other extreme.

The word Erotophobia derives from the name Eros, the Greek god of erotic love, and Phobos, Greek (φόβος) for “fear.”

You could also read Fear Of Loud Sounds: Classification, Characteristics, Treatment.


  • Erotophobia has many manifestations.
  • An individual or culture can have one or multiple erotophobic attitudes.
  • Erotophobia includes fear of nudity, fear of sexual images, homophobia, fear of sex education, and fear of sexual speech.

Clinical diagnosis

  • As a clinical phobia, Erotophobia describes an irrational and potentially debilitating fear of some object, person, or act related to sex.
  • This fear affects a person’s desire or ability to have sex or entirely impedes a person’s ability to have sex.
  • In some (but not all) individual cases, Erotophobia can also be part of broader patterns of psychological problems: social phobia, avoidant personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or general social anxiety problems.
  • Erotophobia can also, for others, be very specific to making love with someone else and not be related to any of these other disorders of social anxiety.
  • In the case of a specific erotophobia, only the fear of something related to sex would be present without other worries or syndromes.

Psychological studies

  • In psychological studies, the term is often used to describe the degree of (general) sexual aversion versus (public) interest in sex.
  • In this sense, Erotophobia is descriptive of one’s place in a rank on a continuum (theory) of sexual feeling or aversion to texture.
  • Erotopes score high on one end of the scale characterized by expressions of guilt and fear about sex.
  • Psychologists sometimes try to describe sexuality on a personality scale.
  • Erotopes are less likely to talk about sex, have more negative reactions to sexually explicit material, and have sex less frequently and with fewer partners over time.
  • In contrast, europhiles score high on the opposite end of the scale, erotophilia, which is characterized by expressing less guilt about sex, talking more openly about sex, and having more positive attitudes toward sexually explicit material.
  • This dimension of personality is used to assess openness to sex and sexuality.
  • It is an important dimension to measure because of the health and safety risks associated with poor sex education.
  • Research on this dimension of personality has shown a correlation between high erotophobia scores and less consistent use of contraception, and a lack of knowledge about human sexuality.
  • It’s also essential because Erotophobia has created difficulties in relationships and marriage in multiple studies dating back to Kinsey.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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