Understanding Philemaphobia: The Fear of Kissing

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Understanding Philemaphobia: The Fear of Kissing

A guy doesn't want to be kissed / Photo by Shutterstock


Ninety percent of the world engages in kissing, according to livescience.com. As for the 10%, some of them prefer not to engage in it because it actually induces fear in them. Their fear may be attributed to the fact that a ten-second kiss which involves tongues transmits approximately 80 million bacteria, as shown by the study found in a Microbiome journal. The individuals who are afraid of kissing are those who suffer from a condition called Philemaphobia. Numerous experts have shown that those who have Philemaphobia may not only be caused by fearing the act of kissing itself, but it may be connected to a host of other phobias. In the following sections, the definition, causes, symptoms, and treatment of philemaphobia will be explained.


Definition of Philemaphobia

To start, Philematophobia is the irrational fear of kissing according to mentalillnessdidorders.com. Those who suffer from philemaphobia may find kissing a disgusting form of affection. They may also feel dread and anxiety when they are in a situation where they have to kiss someone.

According to verywellmind.com, this is common among those who are inexperienced when it comes to kissing. This phobia can range from mild to moderate and may disappear when a person gains experience.

However, they also noted that in some cases it may be so severe that it may cause them to have difficulty in social interactions and having romantic relationships.



In connection to this, mentallillnessdisorder.com mentions that one factor that could cause a person to have philemaphobia includes:

1. Genetics

If a person’s family has a previous record of family members suffering from the fear of kissing, anxiety disorders and other phobias, that individual will have the tendency to suffer from the same condition.

2.  Traumatic experiences

Negative past experiences such as being kissed without one’s consent can trigger a person’s fear of kissing.

3. Other underlying phobias and disorders

According to verywellmind.com, this fear can be rooted in other phobias and disorders such as:

- Mysophobia or the fear of germs

The person may dislike the idea of getting saliva on themselves or eventually getting a disease as a result of kissing.

- Bromidrophobia or being afraid of bodily odors

They may also fear that while kissing, their breath or their partner’s may smell bad.

- Haphephobia or the fear of touch

The idea that an individual’s lips will be touched by another may make this person feel violated rather than pleasured since someone with the fear of touch views any sort of hand and body contact unwelcome.

- Fears of Intimacy and Vulnerability

The person may fear showing their true self together with their weaknesses, being abandoned or having another person get too close to them.

- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

An obsessive compulsive person is afraid of situations that they cannot control.

Therefore, if Philemaphobia is coupled with OCD, this may mean that the person may fear that if anything goes wrong in the event that they have to kiss someone, they may be afraid that they could not handle it.




Furthermore, mentalillnessdisorder.com also states the signs someone is suffering from Philemaphobia. These symptoms are:

- When kissing someone, they get the feeling of extreme anxiety and panic

- Being anxious at the thought of kissing

- Avoiding intimate relationships

- Not getting emotionally intimate with others

- Being overly concerned with germs


In addition, common-phobia.com lists the symptoms of someone with this condition going into a panic attack:

- Shortness of breath

- Rapid breathing

- Having an irregular heartbeat

- Excessive sweating

- Dry mouth

- Nausea

- Being unable to articulate words or sentences



Since having philemaphobia makes it difficult for one to form relationships, it is advised that they try treatment methods that may help reduce the symptoms linked to it.

Below are recommendations by common-phobias.com and mentalillnesdisorder.com of the therapies and medication that they can avail. Here are some therapies they can be subjected to:

- Exposure therapy

- Talk therapy or counseling

- Hypnotherapy

- Pyschotherapy

- Neuro Linguistic Programming

For the medication, they may try anti-anxiety medicine. However, it is being discouraged because it does not often help in the long-term and is shown to have side effects.



Kissing can transmit 80 million bacteria and sharing that bacteria with a partner can help boost the immune system. The reason for this is your body becomes exposed to more types of bacteria, this trains your immune system to fight against them, which results in being better at countering illnesses.

While kissing may not be inherently sanitary since, according to Bustle, kissing partners share saliva, germs, hot breath and leftovers of what they ate, it may actually be healthy. Other than that, once a person learns to overcome their fear of kissing, it may actually turn out to be an enjoyable and satisfying activity.


A couple kissing / Photo by Shutterstock




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