What is Philematophobia?

Causes of Phallophobia

Philematophobia, also spelled “philemaphobia”, is the intense and irrational fear of kissing. It is classified as a specific phobia whose subjects tend to be germaphobic and sexophobic as well. Philematophobia is also related to malaxophobia, which is the fear of love play. Sufferers may also have an intense fear of bad breath or fears about body odors, etc.

Its origin is from the word “philema”, Greek for “kissing”.

Symptoms of Philematophobia

Sufferers may show signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder such as persistent mouth wash use, extreme attention to oral hygiene, etc.

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Philematophobia

Philematophobia often arises from cultural or religious beliefs (that the act is sinful). Fear of kissing may stem directly from past sexual violence or abuse or failed relationships.

This fear can also develop from avoidance of emotional involvement. A history of failed relationships can also contribute to this fear, and problems with past intimacy (even from issues such as body odor or bad breath) may contribute.

People with an excessive fear of germs, disease or illness could also find kissing repulsive enough to be disgusted or fearful.

Philematophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Philematophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Philematophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.