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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Phallophobia (Fear of an Erect Penis): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The penis is an important part of a man’s body. For this reason, it may seem impossible for a person to develop phallophobia or the fear of erect penis.

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Nonetheless, acknowledging the fact that we all have one fear or another, and the intensity of our fears vary as individuals, it is safe to say that phallophobia or the fear of erect penis phobia is valid and worth discussing.

Understanding the concept of phallophobia

Phallophobia,  originating from the Greek words “phallo” which means “penis,” but time is used to denote the word “masculinity” and “phobia” which stands for “fear” but is used to denote “aversion” sometimes.

Phallophobia, also known as ithyphallophobia and medorthophobia, may be defined as the fear of erect penis, but that is only on a narrowed down sense. Phallophobia can also be defined as an extreme antipathy towards masculinity, and that is in the wider sense.

A person with this condition can be called a phallophobe.

Different from what most people believe, this condition can affect both females and males, but it affects females more. A person who is a sufferer of this condition is scared of seeing an erect penis, whether it is covered by clothing or not.

Some persons with this condition are also very much afraid of touching a bulging or erect penis.

Possible Causes of phallophobia

Same as most other phobias, specific or not, there is no single accepted cause of phallophobia.

This means that the disorder can be a result of one or more events, situations, or environmental attitudes. This disorder this fear is one that is gradually developed; it tends to cause mild to serious harm to an individual’s daily life as time progresses.

The following are some possible causes of phallophobia:

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An unpleasant past event can result in a particular phobia. In this case, women are mostly victims. The issue of rape and other sexual abuse always has more effects on women than it does on men.

A woman who may have been raped in the past or may have experienced someone else get raped or sexually abused may feel threatened at the sight of an erect penis.

Even when the penis is erect but is seen through clothing, the woman may experience panic attacks at such sights.


In this case,  men are the victims here. Men can develop this disorder because of the shame he feels by his own penis standing erect, especially in public places.

A young boy child may start developing this disorder when being teased or shamed because of his erect penis.

This can occur when the young boy child is being rebuked for having an erection. Most children grow up with this indelible mark, which may result in this disorder.

Religion and culture

Religion and culture influence people’s minds s and mist times to a fault. Most religions and cultures view sexual intercourse as sacred and should only be practice under marriage; however, they also view sexual intercourse as evil, dirty, and perverted when being practiced outside marriage.

That is why young boys and girls are highly discouraged against premarital sexual intercourse. The girls are taught not to give in to sexual intercourse, and the boys are frowned upon at the sight of their bulging penises.

Most of them, according to their homes, have shame and fear used against them in order to enforce these societal and religious constructs. Many religion teaches that sexual intercourse is only required for reproduction and not for pleasure.

Thereby painting sexual intercourse and other related teems as immoral. This can ruin a child’s mental view towards one of the most basic sexual functions, which is an erection. Most children grow up with this mentality and then develop this disorder.

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Men feel ashamed and afraid to have an erection while women feel immoral for witnessing one.


In a much wider sense, phallophobia can also be defined as the fear of masculinity. The society constructs, in most societies, deemed that masculinity is somehow related to “aggression” or rather sensed by women as “aggressive.”

A penis (which is viewed as the ultimate symbol of masculinity) is believed by many to be uncontrolled once erect

Women in such societies are afraid of male aggression as well as erect penises; many tend to develop this disorder.

Gene and personality

So many times, a phobia is a result of our adrenal gland secreting adrenaline, which produces the fright, flight, or flight response.

Our genetic makeup also plays a role in the way we react to things and situations. Somehow,  some people are unfortunate to be more prone to phobia more than others due to this reason.

Personality also plays a massive role in phobia development in an individual. Unusually people who are highly sensitive and worry too much can develop and suffer from such disorders.


Stress is one thing that causes and skyrockets anxiety in an individual.  If someone is getting stressed and fails to deal with it,  then the individual is more likely to develop a phobia, including phallophobia, after a long time.

Symptoms of Phallophobia

Men with this disorder are scared of having erections and may stay away from wearing light or transparent fabrics,  sweat pants, or any wear that may expose when they have an erection.

Women with this disorder may avoid specific places such as beaches, gyms, and swimming pools where there are increased chances of seeing men in revealing wears.

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Many phallophobes are nervous about getting into any romantic relationships because they are afraid to get involved in any form of sexual intimacy.

The physical and emotional symptoms of phallophobia include :

  • Blurry vision
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Cold, clammy hands
  • Stiff muscles.
  • Hyperventilation
  • Light-headedness
  • Feelings of unreality

Hyperventilation or shortness of breath that comes with a panic attack often leads to the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Intense fear
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Paralysis of muscles
  • Severe vertigo

Phallophobia normally comes to the realization that their response to their fear is irrational. Most often than not, they experience intense fear of loss towards not being able to control themselves. This is also as a result of the irrational belief that they might end up disgracing themselves.

Many times, this becomes a frequent occurrence that always keeps thinking about their encounter with the object or situation which they fear.  This makes them get triggered at the thought of coming encounter with their object of fear later in the future.

This is a gradual process where the intense fear and anxiety build-up and keep the sufferer in a persistent state of phobia. Running away from their fears becomes their only escape, and this affects their lives adversely.

However, unlike some other phobias, men with this condition can not run away from their fears.


Phallophobia Fear of an Erect Penis

Phobias are known to severely and adversely affect the normal day to day activities of the sufferer.  Thus,  like every ailment should be treated once diagnosed.

Phallophobia is no different; it severely affects the individual and should be treated as soon as possible.

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The following are techniques that can be applied for yo help in the treatment of this disorder:


Self is an envelope term for how well you treat yourself and improve your well-being. One of the most important parts of treating phobias is relaxation. Relaxation helps you be in control of your emotions, heart rate, and breathing.

Daily yoga-practicing which involves deep and mindful breathing to ease stress and anxiety. You can do a simple deep breathing every single morning by simply inhaling deeply for about 6 seconds, holding your breath for a little while, and then exhaling for about 5 seconds.

Stress management

Preventing stress, managing stress, and time management can be used as tools to manage anxiety and prevent this disorder.

Daily exercises, meditations, and adequate relaxation can help in the identification of negative thoughts, management of stress, and prevention of panic attacks.

This aids in the building of your confidence and self-esteem, thereby making you less prone to developing this disorder.

Talk therapy and support groups

This is a vital part of treating phobias. Phallophobia are advised to speak to a person they find trustworthy; a friend or your therapist.

It could be better you join support groups that are available online or offline. These support groups connect you with people with the same issues as you are and help you overcome the disorder.

Cognitive behavior therapy or CBT

CBT is a vital technique applied in the treatment of severe phobias.

This technique involves helping the person identify those negative thought patterns that promote the phobia that they go through and influencing them to change into positive thought patterns.

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One of the methods used in helping you overcome the disorder is by gradually exposing you to your object of fear and let you know that they are not that harmful.  In this case, pictures of erect penises may be shown to you to show you how harmless they are.

However,  this cannot be done anyhow; thus, It is done under a safe and controlled environment until you have overcome this, and you are unable to experience panic attacks after seeing an erect penis or after seeing your erect penis.


This is only applied when other treatments are not effective.  This has proven to be highly effective in treating various phobias. This works by reprogramming the person’s subconsciousness to defeat the negative thinking that caused the fear.

Critical cases of phallophobia need medication treatments, such as the use of tranquilizers or antidepressants.

But then, these medications can manifest significant negative effects that may affect the normal day to day lifestyle of the individual thus, they are not to be used for a long time

A final thought on Phallophobia

If your fear of Phallophobia is bothering your daily life, kindly seek help from a professional.

Kindly leave a comment below.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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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