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Phallophobia in its narrower sense is a fear of the erect penis[1][2][3] and in a broader sense an excessive aversion to masculinity.[4]


Alternative terms for this condition include ithyphallophobia[5] or medorthophobia.[6] An individual who has the condition is a phallophobe.[7][8] The term is derived from the word phallo in Greek meaning penis and at times denoting masculinity, coupled with the suffix phobia.[9][10] Medomalacuphobia, the fear of losing an erection or acquiring erectile dysfunction, is its antonym.[11] At its most extreme, phallophobia when coupled with a psychiatric condition may result in issues such as Klingsor Syndrome or ederacinism.[12]


In its broadest sense the term can be used metaphorically, for example in regards to pro-feminists.[13] However, in its narrower sense it has been described as a symptom that is more likely to be exhibited by women.[14] In sources that appear to use it in the original sense, it is sometimes nuanced as a byproduct or hyponym of an aversion, dislike or fear of the protruding appendage resemblance of the male erection, and how this symbolizes an accompanying aggression or assertiveness. This may occur in an aesthetic setting,[15] or in a sociological setting.[16] Such an aversion is sometimes extended to an unattributable cognitive process while at other times men's self and own experience.[17] In such a scenario, due to the essentiality of such reflexes for men, some correspondents have posited the feasibility of such a diagnosis if a man has relatively frequent nocturnal penile tumescence since he will probably not notice his erections then.[18] In cultures that discuss the male genitalia as a singular unit, the phenomenon of castration anxiety may overlap with phallophobia from a linguistic standpoint.[19] Although usually referring to ordinary erections, the term has also been used in toxicological and therapeutic contexts.[20]


Sigmund Freud has footnoted the possibility that this fear may be derived from a lack of ingenuity allowing one to ornamentally distance the copulatory organs from the excretory organs.[21] Such a condition can affect both men and women.[22] For others, symptoms include what characterizes a panic attack. It does not necessarily have to be induced by an uncovered penis, but may also result from seeing the manbulging outline or curvature of the penis, perhaps through clothes consisting of thin fabric. In more extreme cases it has been likened to the fight or flight response ingrained within the human body wherein an individual ceases to be intimate with their male partner and is unable to visit mixed gender establishments where people are likely to wear more revealing clothing, such as a gym, beach, cinema or livingrooms with a switched on monitor. The fear can recur through any of the senses including accidental touch, sight, hearing the word penis or thinking about an erection. The phobia may have developed from a condition such as dyspareunia,[23] a trauma (usually sexual) that occurred during childhood, but can also have a fortuitous origin.[3] In literature covering human sexuality, it is used as an adjective only to negatively allude to penetrative sex acts.[24] Men who have the phobia may try to avoid wearing sweatpants and other light fabrics, especially in public. Some analysts have purported that the condition may be inherited or may be a combination of genetic inheritance and life experiences.[25] For men with the condition, one of the byproducts is difficulty consummating with a partner due to a sense of vulnerability. This vulnerability may have developed during childhood if they grew up being told by their parents that sex and its physiological functions be evil, sinful and dirty, but were subsequently unable to detach such shameful feelings nor reverse it upon reaching adulthood, even when romantic initiatives were subsequently approved of or encouraged by their parents.[26][27]


Sometimes the word is used in a sense wherein it is metaphorical and unrelated to its etymological origins, as in for instance when a man sees another man as a rival and a potential source of infidelity for his spouse.[28] Other reviews have applied the term as a euphemism or allegory to indicate that society is in contemporary times less willing to be objective and straightforward in discussions of the physiological aspects of the young male body in general due to prudery, or a celibacist and puritan standpoint that in particular targets men and boys. For instance, Ken Corbett has theorized the fact of widespread absence of the penis as an object of discussion in children's books and parenting books as evidencing that "a kind of phallophobia has crept into our cultural theorizing".[29] In other writings it has been used as an epithet to describe the lesbian or female asexual aversion to male sexuality.[30][31] Author Fawzi Boubia defines phallophobia as a hostility towards the stronger male gender.[32] The term has also been used as a substitute to indirectly express an aversion to procreation.[33] Phallophobia has also been used as an algorithm in studies of heuristics in robotic decision making in themes related to sexual temperance.[2] In criticisms of anti-male sexism, phallophobia is used as an epithet to deride double standards and hypocrisy in the legal system, all down to the set of genitalia one possesses.[34] One of the byproducts of this phobia among women is that it may result in them faking an orgasm to mask their feeling of revulsion around their male spouse.[35] Forms of treatment may include intensive counselling and therapy sessions.[36]


  1. ^ Basavanna, M (2000). Dictionary of Psychology. p. 310.
  2. ^ a b Izbicki, M (2012). What if Aristotle had been a robot? (PDF).
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Corbett, Ken (2009). Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities. pp. 213–20.
  5. ^ "Cure Ithyphallophobia, How To Do It?". Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  6. ^ "Medorthophobia", The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2018-06-25
  7. ^ Center for the Study of Popular Culture (1992). Heterodoxy: Articles and Animadiversions on Political Correctness and Other Follies, Volumes 1-2. p. 219.
  8. ^ Scott, Jay (1987). Midnight matinees: movies and their makers, 1975-1985. p. 124.
  9. ^ Kirkpatrick, Kathryn (2015). Animals in Irish Literature and Culture. p. 5.
  10. ^ Colman, Andrew M. (2008). Phobias and phobic stimuli - Oxford Reference. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199534067.001.0001. ISBN 9780199534067. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  11. ^ Semua, Lihat (12 April 2013). "9 Fobia Seksual yang Bikin Orang Takut dengan Hubungan Intim". Liputan 6. Retrieved 21 January 2016. Medomalacuphobia ... the opposite of medorthophobia
  12. ^ Schweitzer, Isaac. "Genital self-amputation and the Klingsor syndrome." Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry 24.4 (1990): 566-569
  13. ^ Duke, Michael (1989). Modern Chinese Women Writers: Critical Appraisals. p. 253.
  14. ^ Goldblatt, Howard (1990). Worlds Apart: Recent Chinese Writing and Its Audiences. p. 56.
  15. ^ Calenza, A (2014). Erotic revelations: Clinical applications and perverse scenarios. p. 7.
  16. ^ Corbett, K (2013). "Shifting sexual cultures, the potential space of online relations, and the promise of psychoanalytic listening". Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 61 (1): 25–44. doi:10.1177/0003065112470562. PMID 23269855. S2CID 24974370.
  17. ^ Kahn, Ada (2009). The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, Third Edition. p. 308.
  18. ^ Cutler, Tom (2012). Slap and Tickle: The Unusual History of Sex and the People Who Have it.
  19. ^ Campbell, Jill (1995). Natural Masques: Gender and Identity in Fielding's Plays and Novels. p. 260.
  20. ^ Davies, Will (2014-06-09). "Brazil: No Fun for Arachnophobes". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  21. ^ O'Neill, John (2010). The Domestic Economy of the Soul: Freud's Five Case Studies. p. 54.
  22. ^ Ngo, Denise (2010). "12 Crazy Phobias That Make Sex Sound Terrifying". Tango Magazine.
  23. ^ Reamy, Kenneth J. "Meeting Sexual Dysfunction Again for the First Time." Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 27.2 (2001): 197-201.
  24. ^ Whitechapel, Simon (1997). Intense Device: A Journey Through Lust, Murder & the Fires of Hell. p. 29.
  25. ^ "Cele mai ciudate fobii sexuale". (Comunicat de Presă). Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  26. ^ Adnamazida, Rizqi. "9 Fobia seksual teraneh yang pernah ada |". Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  27. ^ "Waduh, Banyak Wanita Gemetaran saat Melihat Mr P Ereksi! - Tribun Lampung". Tribun Lampung (in Indonesian). 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  28. ^ Balbert, Peter (2013). "From Panophilia to Phallophobia: Sublimation and Projection in D. H. Lawrence's St. Mawr". Papers on Language & Literature. 49 (1): 37.
  29. ^ Lubart, WD (2011). "Can We Speak of the Penis?". Contemporary Psychoanalysis. 47 (3): 447–454. doi:10.1080/00107530.2011.10746470. S2CID 143553452.
  30. ^ Keesey, D (2011). "Intertwinings of death and desire in Michele Soavi's Dellamorte Dellamore". Horror Studies. 2. CiteSeerX doi:10.1386/host.2.1.105_1.
  31. ^ Hetchegoyen, Horacio (2005). The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique. p. 194.
  32. ^ Boubia, Fawzi (1997). Hegal's Internationalism: World History and Exclusion. All of this leads to the belief that Hegel is haunted not only by the monstrosities of this “Feminine State,” but equally, by this “phallophobia,” this hostility declared toward its “strong” sex.
  33. ^ The Cincinnati Lancet-clinic - Volume 76. 1896. p. 446.
  34. ^ Barnes, Alexander (2000). The Book Read Backwards: The Deconstruction of Patriarchy and the Wombanization of Being. p. 430.
  35. ^ "Ithyphallophobia, Fobia Melihat Penis yang Ereksi - Banjarmasin Post". Banjarmasin Post (in Indonesian). 2015-06-04. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  36. ^ "SEXUAL HEALTH: A most unusual phobia". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2018-06-25.