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Coitophobia (Fear of Sexual Intercourse): Causes and Treatment

If you have heard of coitophobia, you may be tempted to ask the question, “who doesn’t like sex? “. Coitophobia, also known as Genophobia, is the irrational fear of sexual intercourse.

People who have this fear may be terrified of all sex acts or scared of only intercourse itself. While it is common for the term erotophobia to be sometimes used interchangeably with genophobia or the fear of sexual intercourse, but the two conditions are indeed entirely different.

Genophobia is explicitly used to describe the fear of getting intimate or engaging in sex acts, while erotophobia is more of a term used in reference to the general fear of sexuality.

Possible causes of coitophobia

Like all other phobias, the fear of sex phobia, also known as genophobia or coitophobia, is beloved to likely develop after a person suffers a severe trauma.

Though there is no specific cause that has been connected to this phobia, Rape and Molestation are the most common triggers for coitophobia.

However, other possible causes that have been identified include cultural upbringing and certain religious teachings, which may increase the risk for such intense fear.

In some cases, coitophobia can be linked to insecurities or body image problems, as well as some medical concerns. Additionally, it is not uncommon for fear of sex phobia to sometimes occurs independently of any identifiable causes.

Rape Trauma Syndrome

Rape is one of the common issues our society faces on a daily basis, and this fundamental violation of the person’s body and mind has caused more damage to the lives of victims than we can imagine.

In the aftermath of a rape event, virtually every survivor will undergo a profound psychological reaction. Even though it is true that not everyone will react in the same way, most victims of such unfortunate events follow a particular loosely organized three-stage path.

One of the approaches to conceptualizing the journey that people go through from acute trauma through reorganization and eventually resolution is called rape trauma syndrome.

Similar to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), rape trauma syndrome is known to dramatically elevates a person’s risks of developing related mental health conditions.

Phobias for sex or even genitals will most likely occur during an individual’s reorganization phase, as survivors will try to rebuild their lives, Even though they could quickly develop at any time of the day.

The identified path through rape trauma syndrome is mostly personal and can not be measured time wise as it may take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years for it to resolve fully.

Cultural and Religious Fears

For people who are members of a cultural or religious group that frowns at sexual intercourse, such teachings may cause an avoidance behavior. Still, the fact that you follow the teachings does not mean you have a phobia.

However, it is not uncommon for phobias to develop when a person transitions from one set of practices and beliefs to another. Self-doubt, lingering guilt, or fear of breaking the old ways may increase the risk for phobias.

Performance Anxiety

Many individuals, particularly people who are less experienced sexually, fear that they may be unable to please a partner. Although these fears are generally self-limiting and mild, but they can also become more severe.

In some cases, people who have performance anxiety may develop coitophobia or genophobia.

Fear of Disease

One of the major fears that may cause people to develop coitophobia is fear of diseases. Sexual intercourse is generally believed to carry the risk of numerous diseases, such as Staphylococcus and HIV.

Most people have been able to successfully balance the risk of getting infected by using such precautionary measures like monogamy, condoms, and STD testing to reduce the risk to a personally acceptable level.

If you suffer from hypochondriasis, nosophobia, mysophobia, cyberchondria, or another related disorder, you may not be able to weigh the rewards and risks logically. You may begin to feel that sex is dangerous, whether you are single or married, and it is never worth taking a small chance of infection.

Additionally, some people are scared that sex might be very painful, especially after reading, hearing, or watching clips of sex involving blood stains or bleeding.

Medical Concerns

Any fears that may arise as a result of legitimate medical concerns are usually not considered as phobias, as far as the person’s level of anxiety is proportionate to the existing situation.

Numerous medical conditions may lead to fear of sex phobia, from erectile dysfunction to certain heart disorders that may make sexual activity challenging, impossible, or possibly dangerous. In such situations, caution and even fear may be considered prudent.

Nonetheless, some individuals develop fears that are entirely out of proportion and irrational to the level of risk.

For instance, if you have been cleared by your doctor to return to normal activities after a heart attack, it is entirely reasonable to feel some trepidation before the first post-attack sexual experience you will have.

Deciding to fear or entirely forego sexual activity would be a very unnecessary and disproportionate reaction in such a case.

Always make sure that you follow the advice of your doctor when you have to deal with any medical condition, and do well to seek assistance for any kind of fear that seems long-lasting or unusually severe.

Treatment for fear of sex phobia (coitophobia)

Coitophobia , Genophobia , fear of sexual intercourse.

Sex therapists usually treat Coitophobia or Genophobia, but only those who are mental health professionals and have undergone advanced training and certification in sex-related matters.

However, it is also possible for most cases of genophobia to be treated by traditional therapists who do not have additional certification.

Furthermore, people who often experience pain or any other medical difficulties during sexual intercourse should make sure to seek advice from a qualified medical doctor

It is never an easy task to battle genophobia. Many people feel embarrassed and ashamed of this fear; this they become reluctant to share their thoughts and experiences with other people or even their doctors. Yet treatment is most successful, and we can say that the rewards are well worth the challenging and often emotionally painful healing process.

While people may be in search of medications to treat the fear of sex phobia, it is essential to note that no drug has been created for the treatment of this or any other type of phobia.

Allow your therapist to decide what treatment option is best for you according to your symptoms and level of fears.

Coping with coitophobia

For all living things, especially man and other animals, sex is an integral part of existing and staying sane, and coitophobia or genophobia can have some devastating impacts on those who experience it.

Out of fear, some people decide to live asexual lives and do all they can to find meaning and fulfillment in things entirely unrelated to a sexual experience.

However, people who choose asexuality out of irrational fear, rather than a deliberate clear-headed choice, often end up feeling unfulfilled and lonely.

Coitophobia is also deserving of immediate attention as it can wreak havoc on any romantic relationship, particularly if you have a partner who’s level of interest in sexual activities differs from yours in many ways.

If you feel like you are suffering from genophobia, it is best that you speak with a trusted therapist.

Final thoughts on coitophobia

While not very common, coitophobia affects a lot of people who are mostly too ashamed to talk about it or seek professional help.

We advised that if you notice that your phobia for sex and sexual activities disturbs your daily life and activities, you immediately seek professional advice and open up to a therapist you can trust.

We hope that this has been a good read. Do well to leave your comments and questions below, as we look forward to hearing from you.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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