Philemaphobia (Fear of Kissing): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Celine Saade
By Celine Saade
Philemaphobia Fear Of Kissing Symptoms Causes Treatment

The fear of kissing is known as philemaphobia or philematophobia. Young and inexperienced kissers who are fearful of making a mistake frequently experience it. When this happens, the anxiety is often modest to moderate and quickly goes away as the person gets more practice. However, philemaphobia can happen to anyone at any age and can occasionally be more severe.

The causes and signs of kissing phobia are covered in this article. It also looks at treatments that might be of aid and coping mechanisms you can employ.

Symptoms of Philemaphobia

This phobia shares many of the same symptoms as other types of specific phobias. Depending on how intense your fear is, your personal experience may differ, however some typical physical signs include:

  • Chills
  • Higher heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Sweating

Additionally typical are behavioral and emotional issues. When you consider kissing, you could have thoughts of dread or panic.

In such circumstances, you might avoid any occasion where there might be kissing. For instance, you might steer clear of dating and relationships out of concern that you'll have to kiss your significant other as a result.


People may become isolated and lonely if they avoid relationships due to a fear of kissing. Because they are concerned about the intimate elements of a relationship, such as kissing, touching, or sex, people may seek a close love relationship yet avoid interacting with others.

Philemaphobia may make it difficult for you to carry out daily tasks. If you're afraid of being kissed or running across individuals who are kissing, it could be difficult for you to work, attend school, or go out and socialize.

Philemaphobia Diagnosis


Your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis.

The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition" (DSM-5) is the instrument that healthcare practitioners and mental health professionals use to diagnose mental disorders, although it does not identify phlemaphobia as an unique diagnosis. You could be identified as having a particular phobia if the symptoms fit certain criteria.

There is more to a phobia than just terror. One must go through the following in order to be identified as having a particular phobia:

  1. Unjustified and excessive fear
  2. An immediate feeling of anxiety
  3. Extreme angst or withdrawal

    These symptoms must be potentially fatal and impair a person's capacity to carry on with daily activities in significant spheres of life, such as job, school, and home. They must not be brought on by another mental health problem and must endure at least six months.


In the DSM-5, philemaphobia is not included as a separate disorder. However, signs of a kissing phobia might fit the bill for a particular phobia. A medical professional can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose the problem, and then give therapy suggestions.

Philemaphobia Causes

Causes, Triggers, and Risk Factors

Because it can interfere with social interactions and the development of love relationships, this dread is particularly harmful. People who are afraid of kissing may also be afraid of having sex.

Fear of Germs

The fear of germs can occasionally, but not always, be linked to phlemaphobia. While some people find the idea of saliva repulsive, others are concerned about contracting a disease. Many people who find saliva repulsive also feel this way about other physiological fluids.

If your fear of kissing is related to a concern of germs, you might prefer pecks on the lips or cheek kisses over "wet" kisses.

Fear of Bodily Odors

It is common to worry about your breath, particularly if you want to kiss someone significant. Normal apprehension could transform into horror in contrast for persons who have bromidrophobia, or the fear of bodily scents. You might worry that your breath is unacceptably bad no matter how much mouthwash or breath freshener you use. Or that the breath of your companion might not be.

Fear of Touch

Even though it is uncommon, persons who experience touch phobia might suffer terrible repercussions. Kissing may not seem enjoyable if you are battling a fear of contact. Instead, it could feel like a violation.

This can cripple someone who desires a profoundly intimate relationship with a romantic partner and prevent them from having one

Unaddressed Trauma

Although it is rare, people who have a touch phobia may incur catastrophic consequences. If you are struggling with a contact phobia, kissing can not seem enjoyable. Instead, it could feel like a breach of trust.

This may make it impossible for someone to have the very intimate relationship they so desperately want with a romantic partner.

Fears of Intimacy and Vulnerability

Kissing phobia could be a symptom of a deeper fear of intimacy or vulnerability. This apprehension can have its roots in a fear of rejection, which makes people anxious about not being good enough, disappointing others, or coming off as nasty. As a result, they can shy away from kissing to avoid being perceived negatively or wounded.

Some people feel more at ease having sex because they think it's more impersonal than kissing because they think it's more personal.

Because these problems are so complicated, working with an experienced, compassionate therapist is the best option. When the philemaphobia-related worry is gone, kissing can be a delightful, rewarding experience.


Fear of kissing may be related to a fear of germs, bodily odors, touch, or intimacy.


Cognitive behavioral therapy is a sort of psychotherapy that is frequently used in the treatment of specific phobias (CBT).  This strategy alters the underlying fear-inducing negative ideas. With the help of a therapist, you may be able to pinpoint the anxious-inducing thoughts you have about kissing and work to change them with more empowering ones.

Exposure therapy is a treatment strategy that can help with phobias. This procedure entails exposing yourself to the thing you fear gradually. You'll exercise relaxing methods concurrently. Anxiety and terror feelings start to lessen with time.

Antidepressants or anxiety drugs may also be beneficial in some circumstances. These drugs can aid in treating some of the more severe symptoms of dread that you might be going through.

Because fear of kissing may also be related to other emotional concerns such as problems with intimacy, treatment may also involve working with your therapist to address those issues.

Prognosis and Prevention

The majority of the time, phobias like philemaphobia respond well to therapy. According to research, CBT is quite effective at treating the symptoms of specific phobias, whether it is used alone or in conjunction with another therapy. It is also effective to use technology-assisted CBT, which frequently makes use of virtual therapeutic tools.

The advantage of virtual therapy is that it typically causes less stress than real-world exposure. Additionally, it provides possibilities for people to obtain exposure without engaging in the behavior, like in the case of a fear of kissing.

Psychoeducation may be beneficial in preventing or reducing anxiety because the fear of kissing frequently results from a lack of experience or concerns about performance. People can feel more at ease by learning more about kissing and comprehending the root cause of their phobia.

Seek treatment for your fear of kissing. A therapist can help you retrace the origins of your fear and eventually assist you in overcoming it.


There are steps you may do to control your fear of kissing and reduce your anxiety. When you're feeling anxious, relaxation techniques like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can be useful. These methods assist in reducing some of the physical signs of the terror response and calming the body.
If your fear is little and mostly brought on by inexperience, you might discover that it gradually goes away as you expose yourself to more kissing.

You can either practice the sensation on someone you feel secure with who is aware of and sensitive to your phobia, or you can choose to educate yourself about kissing, interact, and gradually allow yourself to explore and practice kissing.

How Can Online Therapy Help?

Online therapy can help just like physical therapy. In fact online therapy can make you feel more comfortable,allow you to get in touch with your therapist on an emotional level,as well as it can be an overal more comfortable experience for you,since you will be doing the session from the comfort of your home or any other place you are in,


  1. Eaton WW, Bienvenu OJ, Miloyan B. Specific phobiasLancet Psychiatry. 2018;5(8):678-686. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30169-X
  2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.
  3. Thng CEW, Lim-Ashworth NSJ, Poh BZQ, Lim CG. Recent developments in the intervention of specific phobia among adults: a rapid reviewF1000Res. 2020;9:195. doi:10.12688/f1000research.20082.1
  4. Freitas JRS, Velosa VHS, Abreu LTN, Jardim RL, Santos JAV, Peres B, Campos PF. Virtual reality exposure treatment in phobias: a systematic reviewPsychiatr Q. 2021;92(4):1685-1710. doi:10.1007/s11126-021-09935-6
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Celine Saade
Celine Saade

Celine is a psychologist and a researcher. She likes delving into new topics and her main focus is on developmental and clinical psychology. Her motto is “I don’t empower you,I recognize you are powerful”

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