Working Through Philematophobia
Have a dreamy first-date planned, but unlike your romcom-loving friends, you are absolutely dreading the idea of the date ending up with a kiss? Welcome to the world of philematophobia.
Contrary to popular belief that all youngsters find their first kiss very exciting with butterflies running in their tummies, many of us are of the opposite belief. For some, kissing induces panic attacks and excessive sweating, and they may also find the full display of affection distressing and outlandish.
If you fall in the latter group, there is a high probability that you have philematophobia.
Philematophobia is treatable. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and self-help techniques can help with the condition and enable you to lead a normal life.
To know more about this irrational aversion to kisses, what causes the fear, the treatment options available, and how to overcome the fear effectively, keep reading this comprehensive guide.
Some Things You Need to Know About Philematophobia
Also known as philemaphobia, philematophobia is the fear of kissing, generally found in people who have no experience or interest in this form of endearment. This phobia is more relevant in youngsters compared to older people who have had experiences with kissing and overcoming the anxiety and nervousness that kissing can cause.
The biggest downside of this fear is that it can hamper relationships and also impacts the sufferer’s ability to form and retain relationships.
Some people develop this phobia out of the fear of catching a disease that may be transmitted from the mouth. Some are concerned about bad breath problems, while others simply cannot stand the idea of physical affection.
Let us read in detail about what causes this inexplicable fear and easy ways to help you overcome it.
What Can Cause Philematophobia?
As mentioned above, philematophobia causes are aplenty. Sometimes, this fear can be an extension of other fears like Bromidrophobia, which is the fear of bodily odors; mysophobia, which is the fear of germs, or fear of intimacy, affection, and attachment.
Like all other irrational phobias, philematophobia may result from a past traumatic event around kissing. Past acts of sexual violence, including rape or sexual assaults, or an act of kissing without the victim’s consent, can also lead to this phobia.
The underlying fear of not meeting their partner’s expectations when it comes to a kiss or fears that arise due to cultural beliefs where a kiss is termed a sinful act can also be a few causes of philematophobia.
Philematophobia can also develop in people who have attachment issues. Failed relationships or the fear of getting emotionally attached to someone can also make the person withdraw themselves from acts of kissing or showing physical affection.
What Is Philematophobia Akin to?
Being nervous about an upcoming kiss is different from growing the irrational fear and horrors of indulging in a kiss. People who go through philematophobia are not just fearful of indulging in a kiss themselves, but even the sight of seeing someone else kiss can make them panic and feel dreadful. They perceive kissing as an act of intimacy, and the act makes them feel vulnerable and unsafe.
Secondly, philematiphobia can have a profound effect on relationships. People start distancing themselves from their partners for fear of having to participate in the act of kissing. They avoid socializing and like to maintain their distance from anyone they meet.
Symptoms Of Philematophobia
Most symptoms of philematophobia are similar to any other phobia that one might have. Some of the psychological and physical symptoms of the phobia are as follows:
● Severe anxiety
● Panic attacks that usually develop during social events
● Lack of focus and concentration
● Lack of confidence in being around others
● Loss of breath
● Increased heartbeat
● Dry mouth
How Can You Deal with Philematophobia?
If undealt and not treated at the right time, philematophobia can also result in genophobia, which is the fear of sexual intercourse. Such fear may have a more detrimental impact on a relationship.
When dealing with a fear like philematophobia that creates the risk of impairing relationships, you must first garner the courage and strength to accept and acknowledge your fears.
If you live with your partner, it is advisable to discuss your fears openly. This is so that you can comfortably continue being in a relationship with them without fearing creating an intimate relationship until you are comfortable about it. Make sure to coach them on your aversion to kissing so that you do not have to be a part of any act that is against your wishes and consent.
Make sure to educate yourself on aspects of kissing. Do not run away from your fears. Do not run away from the scene if you are scared that you might encounter someone indulging in such an act. Get your brain used to the concept of kissing until you are completely over your aversion to it.
Early diagnosis and treatment are viable options for any phobia, especially philematophobia. If you are fearful that your irrational fears are getting in the way of your relationships, here are a few treatment options to consider:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy involves sessions with your therapist where you talk about the source of your fears and the root cause of your fears. The therapist helps identify objects and reasons that have led to the building up of your phobia. They then offer advice and easy ways and methods that can help you overcome them.
2. Exposure Therapy
Through exposure therapy, the patient is slowly and gradually exposed to their fears, keeping their comfort in mind. The therapist may talk about your fears to you in detail or expose you to visuals of kissing and teach you techniques to become comfortable with them.
Tips for Coping with Philematophobia?
Wondering how to overcome fear of kissing? In order to cope with philematophobia and overcome its symptoms, you can employ the following tips and techniques in your daily routine. Make sure to be consistent and diligent with every step that you follow.
● Practice breathing exercises that you can resort to when you get anxious and fearful of being exposed to your source or object of fear.
● If you have a partner who is understanding of your concerns and fears, you can practice kissing with them in a quiet and comfortable environment.
● Determine the root cause of your phobia. If it’s hygiene, risk of diseases or any other factor causing it, try to work ways on overcoming it.
● Include meditation in your routine to make yourself feel calm and composed in the event of getting anxious about kissing.
● You can join group counseling sessions where you get a platform to discuss and talk about your fears in the open without any judgments.
Some Final Words
As much as it is difficult to have an irrational fear, there are many ways to overcome them. Self-love and seeking help at the soonest before your fear aggravates is the best possible route to a phobia-free life.
Make sure to get help from a competent therapist who is understanding of your comfort and creates a safe space for you to share and talk about your fears.
And, once you successfully overcome your aversions, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back.