I’m afraid of my own boner! Ask a counsellor

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“I’m, uh… frightened of my own boner. What the *%& do I do?”

Well. Let’s just put it out there that this one is rare. That being said, it’s still possible to have any one (or more) of a number of sex-related phobias, which can certainly lead to decreased self-esteem and heightened anxiety, among other issues.

Specific phobias (not just the sex-related ones) are relatively common in the general population; around five per cent of people will develop at least one in their lifetime. If you happen to have a phobia of erections, don’t fret – there are some options for getting help, though it may be a bit hard at times.

It’s important, first and foremost, to recognize if what you are experiencing can actually be considered a phobia.

Everybody has aversions, which are things that we tend to avoid (for example, trying not to walk into the locker room immediately following your grandma’s sexual fitness class). And everybody has fears, which are things that have a legitimate or very real basis for causing nervousness (such as wanting to back away from a grizzly bear that is showing you its, um, member).

A phobia, however, is an irrational fear that almost invariably triggers an anxious – fight or flight – response, sometimes even by just thinking about it and can sometimes lead to panic attacks, as well (becoming scared to the point of fainting every time you get aroused is a perfect example). Many phobias are, by their very nature, avoidable – unfortunately (in this case), your own penis is not.

The best way to deal with any phobia is by talking with a professional.

Medical professionals may be able to prescribe some medication that deals with the anxiety itself, which sometimes helps with tempering the response so that you’re able to manage or work on the fear. Even if you do find that medication helps, speaking with a mental health professional is often best for addressing the fear itself.

One popular therapeutic method involves addressing and possibly changing the thoughts associated with the fear. Another involves incrementally increasing your exposure to the trigger… for the record, we generally don’t use this method when it comes to the sex-related phobias!

In any case, if you feel that you may be behaving a little irrationally around your (or your partner’s) erection, or suspect you may have any of the phobias listed below, please feel free to contact a counsellor to set up a firm appointment time.

Phallophobia

(fear of penises, in general)

Ithyphallophobia

(fear of seeing or having an erect penis)

Medomalacuphobia

(fear of losing an erection)

Medorthophobia

(fear of erect penises – as in, “ah, it’s trying to eat me!”)

Eurotophobia

(fear of vaginas, in general)

Gynophobia

(fear of breasts, menstruation, or vaginas)

Coitophobia

(fear of intercourse)

Erotophobia

(fear of sex, in general)

Parthenophobia

(fear of virgins)

Gymnophobia

(fear of nudity)

Malaxophobia

(fear of foreplay)

Pternophobia

(fear of being tickled by feathers)

As per usual, feel free to talk with a counsellor about any issues you may have! If you have a question for a counsellor, you can also e-mail it to sjcounsellor@unb.ca, and see it featured here!