What is Pornphobia?

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In this blog we will discuss what Pornphobia is.

We will also explore the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia. 

What is Pornphobia?

Pornophobia refers to ones fear of pronography or adult sexual content. It is a relatively common phobia and it is marked by a response of fear or anxiety when posed to porn, adult seucal content, or even the thought of porn. 

It is believed that this fear develops as a result of indoctrinated beliefs that push porn, sexual content, or sexuality as something “bad”, “evil”, and all in all negtiave. 

So it has a lot to do with morality that is pushed on to people by others who tend to occupy positions of authority like parents, religious leaders, religious cousnellors, or even secular counsellors and leaders who have an irrational bias against porn or sexual conduct. 

Most of these beliefs are based off of personal and religious context and not so much scientific understand of sex, the natural progression of sexual maturation, or that of pornography. 

At least one problem associated with the fear of pornography (although the opposite) is that of the over-use of pornography in what has been labelled at porn addiction.

Indivdiauls affected by pornography would struggle with this fear of coming across or being exposed to porn or adult sexual content and this fear would often lead them to become anxious.

In severe cases, individuals with this fear would struggle with a lot of anxiety regarding the content, the act of being subjected to watch it, being addicted to it, and being caught watching it and these fears would be so immense that it could lead to a panic attack. 

It is likely that individuals with Pornphobia would often obsess over the issue and might engage in precautionary behaviours such as continuously clearing their search history, avoid social situations where individuals talk about porn and sex, as well as abstain from social media for the fear of being exposed to adult sexual content. 

While it is possible that this particular phobia can be a result of prior negative expwerinces related to porn or beign indoctrinated with negative beleifs about porn and sex, it is also possible that this fear might arise without any negative experiences as listed above and this fear might have developed due to other causes, such as witnessing another indidviaul who is afraid or addicted to porn. 

What are the symptoms of Pornphobia?

When it comes to pornphobia, the most prominent symptoms that are usually observable by the individual as well as others around them include anxiety related behaviours. 

When Individual feel threatened or triggered by external stimuli that resembles porn or other sexual content as well as discussions related to porn, they might experience the following physical symptoms:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation

In severe cases, it is also possible that such individuals might also be triggered into full blown panic attacks when they are under severe stress related to their fears of being forced to watch it, being addicted to it, or being caught while watching or talking about it, which might require medical assistance in some cases. 

It is also important to mention that when it comes to phobias, it does not only include physical symptoms but also symptoms related to their psychology. 

These individuals affected by this phobia might engage in avoidance behaviours which involve them doing whatever they can, knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, to ensure that they do not come in contact with their fears.

They might also engage in repetitive behaviours to ensure that they do not come across porn by clearing their search history over and over again, and lose sleep over it.

They might also be so occupied with this fear and doing many things to prevent it from happening such as avoiding the use of social media or the internet as a whole that they neglect their other areas of responsibility like their work, their personal relationships etc. 

At some point they might develop other phobias, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social phobias, as well as agoraphobia if their symptoms cause much dysfunction in their lives, and because of this they might also develop a sense of hopelessness and eventually, depression. 

What causes Pornphobia?

It has not been clearly determined what causes Pornphobia however, it is suspected that the phobia is caused by the following factors:

  • Genetic vulnerability to anxiety and other mental disorders.
  • Family history of anxiety disorders
  • Past negative experiences, usually during developing years, related to porn, watching porn etc. For example, getting caught watching porn and being shamed or physically abused for watching porn. 
  • Parenting where parents have indoctrinated them with the idea that porn is immoral, sex is shameful or dirty, and condemming them to life long suffering if they watch porn etc. 
  • Past porn addiction could also lead to a fear of or anxieties concerning coming in exposure to porn for fear of becoming addicted again. 
  • Negtaive experineces with sex or sexual encounters.
  • Past sexual abuse and assault that has lead to negative associaltions with any and all kinds of sexual content.
  • Witnessing or learning this fear from someone else who also has this fear. 

How to cope with Pornphobia?

Here are a few things that you can do to cope with Pornphobia, provided that it is not causing any dysfunction of your day to day lives, and it is mild or manageable. 

  • If you are triggered by any content that is sexual as well as porn, you can set your devices as well as streaming platforms to be child friendly. 
  • Learn about sex, enagege in sex education as well as taking time to understand what porn is and it’s pros and cons. 
  • Engaging in Rationalising your thoughts related to your fears and anxiety by making use of worksheets and workbooks related to anxiety and phobias while also putting forward real evidence to calm your anxieties.
  • Exercises to help you calm down, expel excess energies, and to maintain an elevated and happy mood. 
  • Joining support groups, both online and offline related to pornphobia so as to understand what it is, how to cope, and manage.
  • Seeking out support from friends and family in the case that you find yourself extremely distressed. Reaching out to them, via phone call or asking them to be with you on days that the anxiety is really overpowering can be a good way to cope. 
  • Setting boundaries with the people around you about your level of comfort when it comes to sex, conversations about sex, and porn. 

What are the treatment options for Pornphobia?

If your symptoms are debilitating or severe to the point where it is getting in the way of your day to day life, the most advisable thing you can do is to seek treatment from a mental health professional.

The treatment options for this particular phobia follow the same treatment as most Specific phobia treatments go.

You will have the option of engaging in Behavioural change techniques used in behavioural therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy techniques which have enough evidence that set them as good treatment options for anxiety and specific phobia disorders. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy

In terms of Cognitive behavioural therapies your therapist will teach you how to regulate your negative and irrational thoughts when you come across triggers. 

This form of therapy and counselling will also involve a psychoedcuation related to sex, porn, and how to develop a healthy understanding of what these topics are. 

As you engage in therapy you will start learning to alter your thoughts, develop an awareness of how you feel, and as a consequence the way you react in situations where you are faced with a real or imagined trigger. 

Rational Emotive Behavioural therapy

REBT is an action-oriented type of CBT that addresses unhealthy or irrational beliefs and attitudes that influence thoughts,  emotions, and behaviours. 

It follows the ABC model of developing an awareness about the processes that influenced the development of the phobia such as the activating event, the beliefs that were developed as a result and the consequences of those beliefs. 

It uses a method known as “disputing” to assist individuals develop realistic and healthy beliefs and as a consequence develop the ability to rationalise their thoughts and their emotional and behavioural responses as well. 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Scelerophobia

MBSR is an evidence-based program that involves mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues. 

MBSR could be helpful in helping individuals deal with their phobia as it has been found to be effective in tackling anxiety issues in most cases. 

The program involves teaching and training individuals to develop skills to cope with the ansirty or to reduce the intensity of the anxiety. 

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy involves you being placed in a non-dangerous state that allows you to come in contact with your triggers and trigger a phobia response. These situations differ in intensity and the constant explorer has been hypothesised to help you develop familiarity and reduce fear. 

Pharmacological treatment

If your anxiety is extremely severe your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants or an anti-anxiety medication to assist your phobia treatment, your panic, and other physical symptoms.

These medications will most probably be prescribed to you in the case that you have been diagnosed with Specific phobia disorder, meaning that the phobia has now affected your life significantly. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what Pornphobia is.

We have also explored the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia. 

FAQ related to Pornphobia

Does watching porn create anxiety?

It is possible that watching porn too sexcessively can lead to anxiety stemming from the guilt of watching porn due to underlying baises and beliefs that one may hold regarding porn and sex. 

What is erotophobia?

Erotophobia is a phobia that involves excessive and irrational fear of sex in one way or the other and can involve either the fear of intercourse or the fear of being touched.

One of the major causes of this phobia is past experiences of sexual encoruters that were negative, traumatic and this can lead to PTSD like symotoms related to sex. 

What causes Gymnophobia?

Gymnophobia refers to the fear of vulnerability or the fear of intimacy.

How can I overcome coitophobia?

If your symptoms are debilitating or severe to the point where it is getting in the way of your day to day life, the most advisable thing you can do is to seek treatment from a mental health professional.

The treatment options for this particular phobia follow the same treatment as most Specific phobia treatments go. 

You will have the option of engaging in Behavioural change techniques used in behavioural therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy techniques which have enough evidence that set them as good treatment options for anxiety and specific phobia disorders. 

References

Fear of Pornography. Transformance therapy. Retrieved 2nd February 2022. https://www.tranceformpsychology.com/mental-health-problems/phobias/fear-of-pornography-psychotherapy.html

What is Pornophobia? (An Overview). OptimistMind. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://optimistminds.com/pornphobia/

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