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Philemaphobia: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Philemaphobia is a condition that is described as an irrational fear of kissing. Someone with philemaphobia or kissing phobia may find kissing a strange and repulsive expression of affection. The mere thought of kissing can evoke feelings of anxiety and fear in the person with this phobia.

A person with philemaphobia is likely to have difficulty forming and maintaining romantic relationships due to an intense fear of kissing. Because of this, the individual may appear conceited or disinterested in engaging in a special relationship. It’s not uncommon for people to label him “cold-hearted” because he’s so cool.

Philemaphobia Symptom


The symptoms of philemaphobia share a pattern that is similar to other types of specific phobias. Each individual’s experience may vary depending on the severity of the phobia. However, some common symptoms that may be seen, namely:

  • Experiencing hot and cold sensations when dealing with situations that will lead to kissing activity.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Unbearable feeling of nausea.
  • Body shaking.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic when thinking about kissing

In some cases, the person with philemaphobia may choose to stay away from any situation that involves kissing. Examples include avoiding dating and romantic relationships for fear of the consequences of kissing other people.

Philemaphobia Risk factor

The exact cause of philemaphobia is not yet known. It is believed that genetics and environment play an important role in the development of this phobia. Meanwhile, if mental illness is hereditary, then there is a possibility of an increased risk.

Another reason philemaphobia develops is having a mental disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If these are triggers, over time the individual may develop more specific phobias, including philemaphobia.

In addition, there are several risk factors that have been associated with the cause of philemaphobia, such as:

  • Traumatic experiences such as being kissed without consent or in more extreme cases having experienced an incident of sexual assault or rape.
  • Feeling disgusted at drooling concept.
  • Excessive fear of germs in the mouth area that can transmit disease.
  • Excessive fear of body odor (bromidrophobia).
  • Phobia of touch.


It is important to understand that a phobia is a condition that is much more than fear. This needs to involve a medical professional to help establish the associated diagnosis. The requirements for the diagnosis of specific phobias are:

  • One must experience excessive and unreasonable fear.
  • Immediate anxiety response to triggers.
  • Experiencing many difficulties in life due to extreme fear or avoidance.

Philemaphobia is not recognized as an independent condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). However, a healthcare provider can help determine the diagnosis with a number of procedures. This may involve a thorough medical history review, physical exam, or laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.


There is no treatment method that is specifically designed to overcome philemaphobia. However, sex therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medications may help reduce symptoms associated with this condition.

The other treatment and treatment options that doctors may recommend are:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) structural program.
  • Meditation practice.

Coping mechanism

Philemaphobia can cause a person to avoid relationships. Of course this will increase the risk of isolation and loneliness. In addition, another impact is interfering with the ability to function in daily life.

There are practical options that can be done to help manage fear and reduce anxiety related to philemaphobia, namely by implementing relaxation strategies.

The strategies to choose from are deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. This technique can have a positive impact by calming and relieving some of the physical symptoms of an exaggerated fear response.

Basically, philemaphobia can be overcome by several methods based on the individual or involving other people (medical professionals or loved ones). The key to coping mechanisms is escaping to things that are healthy and positive. However, if the impact of philemaphobia is felt to be very complex, involving a medical professional is highly recommended.

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