Sex Phobia or Erotophobia: How to Overcome It

Do you always make excuses for not having sex, or do you dread the thought of sex? Perhaps you suffer from what is known as "erotophobia".
Sex Phobia or Erotophobia: How to Overcome It
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 May, 2023

Being afraid of spiders or enclosed spaces is something we assume to be normal. However, if we mention sex phobia, then we would generally get some strange looks. Is it possible to be afraid of having sex with a partner? Although it may seem unlikely, the answer is yes.

Sex phobia, or erotophobia, appears progressively, because it’s the fears, insecurities, and expectations that gradually shape this phobia of sex. It will manifest itself at some point, when it’s least expected.

How does erotophobia manifest itself?

Sex phobia has more to do with intimacy than with the act itself. In fact, people who have been diagnosed with erotophobia can masturbate and have sexual desire. However, the problem appears when they are going to have sex with their partner.

The most common symptoms that should be interpreted as warning signs are boredom at the prospect of sex, feelings of repulsion and discomfort, and making excuses for not having physical contact. In some cases, people with sex phobia avoid having a partner.

Tips to overcome sex phobia

Studies in Spain have reported that, between the years 2011 and 2017, there were almost 200,000 cases of registered phobias. However, we must still wait to know the most recent information to draw any conclusions.

Although it may seem an impossible task – and people with sex phobia see it that way – there are ways to overcome any fears you have. But it should be clear that this won’t happen overnight. It will take a lot of effort, desire, and patience.

A person with sex phobia.
Erotophobia is more a fear of intimacy than of the act itself, so you try to avoid the moment of closeness.

Question your beliefs about sex

Wrong expectations or incorrect information about sex can lead to erotophobia. A person who has not yet had a sexual encounter with anyone may be afraid of being hurt. To avoid this ending in frustration and limits to desire, it’s essential to compare information.

There are sexologists who can answer any question you may have. Considering friends’ experiences as absolute truths is not recommended.

Overcoming traumas

Many people have some kind of trauma and sex phobia may be related to a painful experience, due to a vaginismus problem in the past, for example, or an extremely painful first experience of sexual intercourse. To resolve it, it’s necessary to turn to a professional.

Psychologists who are experts in trauma of this type can contribute to significantly improving sexual relations. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most recommended, although there are so many possibilities that the important thing is that everyone chooses the type of therapy that works best for them.

Learn to relax during sex

A wise piece of advice is to learn to relax during sex. Tantric sex can be a great help for this. It’s a slow way of having sex that pays attention to smells, touch, and body sensations.

The rush of everyday life, stress, or anxiety can make sex something mechanical, full of fears and we end up not enjoying it. That’s why having sexslowly and calmlyy is an option. The weekend is a good time to do it.

A couple with sex problems.
If there’s no relaxation, it’s difficult to achieve pleasure and enjoyment in relationships. This is something that must be implemented consciously and little by little.

When to seek professional help if I have a phobia of sex?

In psychologists’ and sexologists’ clinics, it isn’t uncommon to find people with problems related to frustrations and insecurities during sex. Believing that the sexual act is something dirty, having had a painful experience, or thinking certain practices aren’t correct can all do a lot of damage.

Sexual relations can be satisfying, and pleasurable and can bring two people closer together in their relationship. But, in order to do that, you have to learn to overcome sex phobia, which isn’t always easy to admit in the first place.

Facing your fears head-on is frightening. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start making steps towards enjoying sex and your partner today.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Favero, M., & Costa, S. (2019). Erotofilia e erotofobia.
  • Ramírez Barajas, M. F. (2019). Sexo, tipología de género, erotofilia-erotofobia y asertividad sexual en estudiantes universitarios (Doctoral dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.