Sexual Aversion: when Sex turns terrifying

Sex, for the majority of human beings, is an ocean of endless pleasure. It is quite natural that people thrive for sexual pleasure as sex is an inborn instinct that sets fire in everyones veins. But at least for a few people sex is not as thrilling and pleasurable as the majority, but a horrifying experience that they always want to hide away from it. It is relevant at this point to ask that why few people enjoy sexual pleasure and at the same time few hate it? Why some strain to have sex and few try to flee from sexual activities?

Psychology may give a better answer as this is more over a disorder than an illness. The fear for sexual intercourse or sexual activities is called 'Sexual Aversion'.


Sexual aversion could be defined this way that 'a person with a sexual aversion disorder has an intense aversion to sexual contact or related experiences, for example seeing a penis, a vagina, seeing sperm or being touched. The aversion to sex is an extreme form of disorder in sexual arousal and is often combined with a reduced interest in making love'.

Affected by sexual aversion people may experience intense anxiety even panic at the thought of any sexual interaction. Others feel fear, terror, or disgust about a specific kind of activity, such as sexual intercourse or contact with genitals. While some of these people enjoy hugging, kissing, and similar touching, others find that their feelings of revulsion or anxiety extend to all physically intimate contact. For men and women who were sexually abused, raped or otherwise traumatized, fear or disgust may be an understandable reaction to being violated and hurt. Others who are fearful or averse to sex have no history of trauma, but may have learned negative sexual attitudes, heard scary stories, or have frightening images relating to sex. These fears may intrude and prevent them from enjoying a healthy sexual relationship.

How to diagnose

Sexual aversion could easily be diagnosed by a health care professional. For some people the symptoms may be limited to disgust, queasiness, fear or shame. But some may go to the extent of panic attacks with faintness, breathing difficulties or dizziness and feelings of terror. Sex therapists work with each person in an individualised manner to know the reasons behind the phobia and root out the aversion. Sexologist will determine what the problem is, how long it has existed and if certain unpleasant sexual events have happened in the past.

Treatment includes setting goals and doing at-home exercises individually and, when appropriate, with their partner. It is not only the mental realms responsible for this disorder, but some hormonal regulation also plays a role in Sexual Aversion. Aversion need not be towards the complete sexual act rather it may be a specific aversion like to sperm, penises in erection, etc. Sexual violence, during childhood or at a later age, is often the cause of sexual aversion. Stress, alcohol and drug use, fear of pregnancy, depression and relation problems can cause aversion to sex.

Sexual Aversion Symptoms

  • An intense antipathy or aversion to various forms of sexual contact, like caressing, seeing sperm,
  • kissing, seeing sex, etc.
  • The wish to end every sexual contact as quickly as possible.
  • Dizziness when engaged in sexual activities.
  • Body reacting indifferently to sexual act.
  • Thinking of excuses to avoid or postpone sex, and feeling ill just prior to sex and somewhat depressed afterward.

How to overcome?

The aversion is often treated as anxiety attacks, that is through exposure. This means that they are exposed, little by little, to their fears so that these go away or gradually disappear under professional guidance. Psychological treatment that tries to influence the thoughts and feelings about sexual contact is also used. Stress can be reduced by doing relaxation exercises and dealing with the causes of the stress. The easiest way to overcome aversion is that to associate sex with a state of relaxation and pleasant feelings. Know that sex is the hardest art for any one to master over and aversions and difficulties are normal in lovemaking. Learn more about sex, understand it deeply and enjoy sex to the peaks of pleasure.

Story first published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007, 10:33 [IST]
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