Philemaphobia or phobia of kisses: how can it be overcome?

Filemaphobia is the intense and unjustified fear of kisses. This phobia originates from anxiety, and the best treatment is psychological therapy.

Last update: July 29, 2021

Filemaphobia is the irrational fear of kisses, no matter how they are given. Namely, people are unable to comfortably receive even a friendly kiss on the cheek. This is often related to anxiety disorders.

Those who suffer from it assume that all kisses carry a negative consequence. For instance, there are those who feel vulnerable, judged or with their emotions exposed after kissing. In other words, the person understands this act as an attack on their safety.

In this way, their interpersonal relationships are greatly limited. Why happens? How to deal with it? In the following space we address its main causes and some strategies to overcome it.

Symptoms of filemaphobia

In general, all phobias show similar symptoms. In this case, the focus of fear is centered on kisses; The anxiety about being kissed, or having to do it, causes distress and characteristic physical symptoms such as sweating, choking sensation and headache.

Besides this, there are also psychological symptoms that are not observable; lpeople with filemaphobia experience catastrophic thoughts. Such is the case of those who have the fixed idea that kissing or being kissed can cause them to contract serious diseases.

Consequently, patients tend to withdraw from any romantic situation in order to feel safe. In fact, in the most extreme cases, some avoid meeting people.

People with filemaphobia fear giving or receiving kisses because they consider it an unsafe act.

Why does filemaphobia occur?

Since it is a specific phobia, the causes are linked to traumatic events in relation to kissing. It could happen, for example, that after an unsatisfactory first kiss, people want to avoid reliving that experience from the past.

However, there are other situations that can lead to moving away from romantic intimacy. Next, we detail the phobias related to the fear of kisses to recognize all the scenarios related to filemaphobia.

1. Fear of abandonment

Some people associate kisses with commitment, and avoid giving or receiving them because of fear of being abandoned. In these cases, low self-esteem is implicated in the problem, as people do not consider themselves valuable enough. The thought behind this behavior is, "why would anyone want to be with me?"

2. Haphephobia

This is about another specific phobia. In this case, the focus of fear is on touch, that is, people who suffer from it have an intense fear of being touched. For this reason, kisses are a scenario that generates panic, since it is an intimate and intense contact.

3. Misophobia

Misophobia or germ phobia is closely linked to the fear of kisses. The reason for this phobic connection is that the patient considers the germs that live in saliva dangerous of others. The thought of being able to contract a fatal disease during a kiss generates avoidant behavior.

4. Halitophobia

People with halitophobia dislike smells from the mouth. Rejection is not the product of bad breath; any kind of smell coming from the mouth is cause for disgust and even fear. Until the smell from one's own mouth is unpleasant, which implies an obstacle when kissing.

There are many factors that play a role in filemaphobia. It can be fear of touch, fear of abandonment, or dislike of mouth odors.

How can you overcome filemaphobia?

Overcoming phobias depends largely on the introspection capacity that patients have. This means being able to make an objective personal evaluation, in which achieve identify irrational beliefs. Within this order of ideas, the most effective therapy for the treatment of phobias is cognitive-behavioral.

The goal of therapy is based on making the patient able to replace the mental schemes that sustain their phobias. For instance, through cognitive restructuring a person with filemaphobia might accept the fact that not all kisses pose a danger to their health.

As catastrophic ideas are dismantled, the patient begins to give himself the opportunity to experience what previously paralyzed him with fear. It is natural that, during the first experiences, people remain suspicious. However, they will eventually be able to kiss fully.

When is it really dangerous to kiss someone?

It is true that in some circumstances kisses can be dangerous, especially the most passionate. Nevertheless, under normal conditions it is unlikely to contract a fatal disease from kissing.

It can be dangerous to kiss someone when warts or sores are observed in the mouth area. This could be a sign of a cold sore. Also, people with poor oral hygiene are more likely to contract diseases through kissing. In short, you must be selective when giving kisses, but without going to extremes.

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