Itifalophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

The Iopalophobia Is a specific phobia that is characterized by fearing sexual erections. Thus, a person who has this type of phobia has very high levels of anxiety when suffering from a sexual erection in your body.

This psychological alteration causes a high discomfort in the person who suffers from it, since it constantly fears the possibility of having an erection. Likewise, this peculiar fear originates a more than evident sexual problematic.


In this article we will talk about this peculiar type of phobia, we will explain its characteristics, its symptoms and its causes, and we will discuss the psychological treatments that can be used to intervene in this type of problem.

Characteristics of itifalophobia

It is a psychological alteration that is part of anxiety disorders known as specific phobias.

Specific phobias are characterized by intense and persistent fear in relation to a specific situation or object that usually causes extreme discomfort.

In the case of itifalophobia, this fear is limited to situations in which the person experiences an erection in their sexual organs, that is, in the penis.

In this way, the person suffering from itifalophobia does not have a sexual disorder but an anxiety disorder.

This first conceptualization is important, because due to the characteristics of this specific phobia, the terms can be confused and associated anxiety experienced with a disorder of sexual origin.

Thus, while the Phobia The the blood If they are diseases that are easily associated with anxiety states, itifalophobia may be somewhat more ambiguous.

In fact, when a person suffers from this type of phobia, it is also important to take into account the consequences at the sexual level that contracted anxiety experienced at times when an erection occurs.

However, the origin of the anxiety is not based on a sexual alteration but on an anxiety disorder, so the sexual alteration suffered in these situations should be interpreted as a consequence of the disorder rather than as a cause or the disease itself.

Thus, when we speak of itifalophobia, we refer to a specific phobia of situations in which an erection is experienced in the penis.

Now... What exactly is a specific phobia? What are the characteristics of these anxiety disorders?

What are specific phobias?

Before explaining the term of specific phobia, it should be noted that the experience of fear is very common in humans and, in addition, it is a totally normal situation with a high adaptive component.

In fact, most certainly, without the experiences of fear and pain, the human species as well as many other species would not exist today.

In this way, fear, together with other emotions such as anger, has an important preventive value in the face of harm that can be suffered by the individual.

When we speak of adaptive fear we mean a set of sensations that are set in motion as a normal response to real dangers.

However, when the fear response appears in situations where there is no real threat, we can no longer talk about adaptive fear.

It is precisely at this point that the term phobia appears, that is, when we describe undesirable reactions of fear.

Specific phobias can be of many types: phobias to animals, environmental phobias such as atmospheric phenomena, precipices, etc. Phobia to the blood or the wounds, phobia to concrete situations like elevators, airplanes or closed enclosures and other type of phobias like Phobia to vomit , Contracting diseases, etc.

As we said, some specific types of phobias are more known and more prevalent than others.

In this way, the phobia of spiders, blood, airplanes, or To the heights Are popularly known alterations, while other types of phobias such as itifalophobia that affect us in this article may be stranger and more ambiguous.

However, the characteristics of all types of phobias are virtually identical and the only thing that varies is the feared object.

Therefore, while in the phobia of spiders the object is feared spiders, and in the phobia of blood is the blood itself, in the case of itifalophobia the object is to experience a sexual erection.

Characteristics of specific phobias

The fear that you experience all types of specific phobia possess a number of common characteristics:

  1. It is disproportionate to the exigencies of the situation. Here it is considered that the reaction does not correspond to the existence of a particularly dangerous or threatening situation for the individual.
  2. It can not be explained or reasoned by the individual.
  3. It is beyond voluntary control.
  4. It leads to avoidance of the dreaded situation.
  5. It persists over time.
  6. It is maladaptive.
  7. Not specific to a particular phase or age.

In addition, this denomination of specific phobias is used to refer to all those phobias in which the reaction of fear is circumscribed or focused on specific objects or situations.

Specific features of itifalophobia

However, it should also be noted that the level of impairment of this anxiety disorder may be minimal or can be very high.

Thus, a spider phobia can produce a minimal disturbance to the person who suffers from it, since it will only experience a type of fear like the one we discussed earlier when you see or are near a spider, a fact that can happen in very Few occasions.

Instead, other types of phobias can be much more disabling. A clear example is the type of specific phobia we talk about here, itifalophobia.

The person with itifalophobia will not present the extreme fear response occasionally as a spider phobia, but may experience it much more often.

Thus, itifalophobia produces extremely high anxiety feelings every time the person suffers from an erection, a fact that may be more or less frequent in each person, but which results in a sexual alteration more than important and incapacitating.

Likewise, phobias are characterized by accompanying avoidance behavior, that is, the phobic person systematically tries to avoid the feared object.

This aspect of the disorder can also have minimal repercussions, for example, on the person suffering from spider phobia, since it will simply be limited to avoiding these animals, a fact that in principle does not have to have repercussions in the life of a person.

However, in itifalophobia this aspect becomes more incapacitating since the person who suffers from this alteration will systematically avoid any sexual practice and any situation that can induce a state of excitation that translates into an erection.

Thus, phobias, although very similar, may also be very different in terms of their impact on the life of the person who suffers them.

In this sense, itifalophobia is one of the most incapacitating specific phobias, which produce more discomfort and which can have a negative impact on the quality of life as well as the functionality of the person.

Symptoms of itifalophobia

The itifalophobia is characterized by experiencing an extreme anxiety reaction in those situations in which the person has an erection.

Thus, in order to speak of itifalophobia, the symptoms of anxiety that we will discuss below must occur in these specific situations.

The main symptoms of an itifalophobic person in situations in which they have an erection are the following:

  1. Anxiety symptoms

An activation of the Sympathetic nervous system As a response to coping or anticipation of an erection.

In this activation, palpitations, sweating, trembling, dyspnea, nausea, feelings of unreality, feeling of instability, fear of dying, fear of going crazy or chest discomfort are common.

A person with itifalophobia will not normally present all these symptoms when exposed to their feared situation (erection of the penis) but will experience most of them.

  1. Avoidance

The other main symptom that presents people with itifalophobia is the avoidance or minimization of contact with the dreaded situation.

The person will try to avoid at any moment any situation that can produce an erection with the objective of avoiding the appearance of the symptoms of anxiety, which are lived as unbearable for the person.

This fact causes that the person with itifalophobia is totally incapable of having sexual relations since this practice involves an erection of the penis, so as we have remarked the itifalophobia is a disorder that implies a high deterioration.

Likewise, situations and times in which a person can suffer an erection are usually not completely predictable, so that the person with itifalophobia may have a fairly high state of vigilance during a large number of situations in order to avoid their phobic object .

How is it diagnosed?

Although itifalophobia is characterized by the presence of anxiety and avoidance behaviors in situations in which an erection may be present, the following criteria must be met in order to make the diagnosis:

  1. Presence of an accused and persistent fear that is excessive or irrational, triggered by the presence or anticipation of the experimentation of an erection.
  2. Exposure to phobic stimulus (erection) almost invariably causes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situational distress crisis or more or less related to a given situation.
  3. The person recognizes that this fear is excessive or irrational.
  4. The phobic situation is avoided or supported at the cost of intense anxiety or discomfort.
  5. Avoidance behaviors, anxious anticipation, or discomfort caused by the dreaded situation interfere sharply with the person's normal routine, labor or social relationships, or cause clinically significant discomfort.
  6. In children under 18 years the duration of these symptoms must have been at least 6 months.

What are its causes?

Nowadays, there is no known factor that causes the appearance of itifalophobia.

It is argued that there is a certain genetic load in this disease, however this factor does not explain the entire pathogenesis of itifalophobia.

On the other hand, the presence of learning factors is defended. It is postulated that classical conditioning (pairing of an initially neutral stimulus with an aversive stimulus) plays an important role in the development of itifalophobia.

Likewise, it is postulated that specific phobias can also be acquired through verbal information and vicarious learning.

In general, itifalophobia is understood from a biopsychosocial point of view in which phobic fear is the result of the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors.

How is it treated?

The itifalophobia is a psychological alteration that can be approached through the psychotherapy.

In this sense, the Cognitive behavioral treatment Have shown to be effective as they reduce the fear experienced in phobic situations.

Usually, these treatments have two main techniques: relaxation and exposure.

The relaxation Allows to reduce the activation of the body and the nervousness, reason why the person obtains a state of calm that gives him a greater capacity to face his dreaded situation.

The technique of exposure on the other hand is based on the theory that the fact that maintains the phobia to the erection is not the fear itself, but the avoidance behaviors that are realized with respect to the phobic object.

In this way, if the person manages to approach the dreaded situation and learn to control their anxiety states through relaxation, the phobia ends up disappearing or diminishing.

Also, in some cases, cognitive techniques are also used to eliminate false beliefs about the phobic object.


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