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Fear of Sexual Intimacy: Recovery and Resources

The fear of sexual intimacy or any physical intimacy can have a massive negative effect on your romantic relationships. Fear and anxiety are also extremely challenging to regular life and can interfere with all-around health and wellbeing.

This blog post will answer frequently asked questions about the fear of sexual intimacy, its causes, and how you can begin recovering from it.

Is it normal to be scared of sexual intimacy?

It is common to be scared of sexual intimacy and touch when inexperienced or because of another condition that impairs the ease of intimacy. Although, usually fear dissipates with experience, reassurance, and often therapeutic techniques.

Avoidance of sexual intimacy is not the best way to cope with your fear of sexual intimacy. If you find that sexual intimacy causes you a great deal of distress it may be interfering with your mental and physical wellbeing.

Fear of any normal activity such as sexual pleasure inhibits you from enjoying pleasurable experiences, possibly depriving you of connection with your partner and your own sexuality.

What is the fear of intimacy called?

There are a few ways of categorizing and titling different types of fear, avoidance, and anxiety around sexual intimacy. Let’s begin with the easy ones.

Performance Anxiety - Although it is not necessarily a fear of sexual intimacy, performance anxiety gone untreated can spiral into an accumulated dismissal and panic around sexual performance. See this blog post for more on performance anxiety, causes, and treatments.

Genophobia or Erotophobia are often used interchangeably to underscore a critical condition that causes someone to have extreme fear and panic surrounding sexual intimacy. Sometimes to the point of feeling fear just thinking about sexual activity. This is not a simple “dislike” or sexual intimacy, it is a serious mental illness causing severe negative emotions and impacting regular life. Some related conditions could include:

  • coitophobia: fear of intercourse

  • gymnophobia: fear of nudity (seeing others naked, being seen naked, or both)