We all want to feel loved and desired. To feel the delicious anticipation, the electric touch, the joy of giving, the freedom of spontaneity, the eroticism of a shared fantasy — and, yes, sometimes the uninhibited thrill of the taboo.

It’s a natural human drive. Sex and sensuality have the power to give you a sense of intimacy with your partner that nothing else can. It’s your unique and secret bond. And of course it’s also a lot of fun!

Which is why it’s so upsetting when fear gets in the way. It’s like some of the colour has been drained out of the world, some of the joy of life stolen from you. It can make you feel like just the husk of the self you wish you could allow yourself to be, the self you wish you could share with your partner.

Instead, you find yourself dreading your partner’s touch, you feel guilty and inadequate, and you may even invent grievances and conflicts as a way to disguise or rationalise your avoidance of sexual intimacy. And the whole time, you’re constantly reminded of your fears by our hyper-sexualised culture and media.

This sort of fear, and the relationship difficulties it causes, is usually the result of a sexual phobia.

Do I have a sexual phobia?

Most people are a little inhibited and self-conscious when it comes to sex. But if the prospect of sexual relations or sexual intercourse makes you feel anxious and inhibited, then you may have a sexual phobia.

The scientific name for a sexual phobia is ‘genophobia’, ‘coitophobia’ or ‘erotophobia’. This fear is usually caused by something that happened in your past, something that led to a subconscious fear of intimacy or losing control, an aversion to being touched, body image issues or low self-esteem. This affects how you see your relationship, and how you see yourself and your partner within that relationship. For example, you may have an unconscious wish to withhold enjoyment from yourself or your partner (or both) — even if your conscious mind wants anything but that.

Alternatively, your sexual phobia might be the result of performance anxiety. In either case, therapy is one of the best ways of assessing the problem.

NOTE: Many people assume their sexual phobia was caused by some forgotten or repressed sexual abuse, but that’s not always the case. It might, for instance, simply be the result of encountering sexuality too early — either directly or vicariously. This can leave a mark, even if the emotional response isn’t registered at the time. It’s common for the unconscious mind to assign retroactive meaning to the encounter years later.

Whatever the cause, the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to put up with your sexual phobia for the rest of your life…

How do I overcome my sexual phobia?

Treatment for your sexual phobia is pretty straightforward. It usually involves hypnotherapy, counselling or psychotherapy.

At Bayside, we have qualified, highly skilled practitioners in all of these disciplines. Our goal is to uncover the deep-seated, unconscious desires and conflicts that determine your unique view of sexual relations — the meanings you ascribe to sexuality, and the roles you see yourself and your partner playing. Then we work with you to resolve those unconscious conflicts so that you can move forward with confidence.

In other words, we treat the cause of your sexual phobia, not just the symptoms. We don’t generally treat sexual phobia with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), for example, because it focuses on behaviour and conscious thought, which are both just symptoms of the underlying problem.

What do I actually have to do?

While there’s no ‘quick fix’ for any psychological issues, you won’t usually have to do any difficult, exhausting mental exercises or ‘homework’ as part of treatment at Bayside. Our therapies mostly involve exploring and sharing your feelings, childhood memories, experiences, dreams and sexual fantasies.

Typically, though:

  • Hypnotherapy involves safely entering a relaxed trance and challenging embedded, unconscious beliefs and inhibitions. (Note that it’s not a quick fix. Hypnotherapy works best when combined with other methods, such as counselling.)
  • Counselling is a short-term talk therapy where you talk to your therapist about things you’re consciously aware of, and they suggest strategies to help relieve your symptoms. (You can do this online if you’re not located near us, or if you’re not comfortable talking face-to-face.)
  • Psychotherapy is a longer-form therapy which involves speaking in great depth about your early childhood memories, dreams, daydreams and sexual fantasies. It’s all about exploring your deep-seated, unconscious desires and modes of enjoyment.

Depending on your unique situation and personal preferences, we may also use Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Art Therapy, Person Centred, Psychotherapy, Counselling, Couples Counselling and Psychoanalysis. We have qualified practitioners from all those disciplines.

How long will it take?

Everyone’s different. The causes and severity of your sexual phobia are unique to you, so your treatment and timeframe will be unique to you too. Some people take just a few weeks, some a few months, some years.

But the commitment is worth it. You’ll be working towards a future where you feel liberated and shame-free about sexual relationships, where you can relax and let yourself enjoy sex, sensuality and everything surrounding it.

Is it a permanent fix?

There are no guarantees in psychotherapy, but we do know that the more effectively you treat the cause of your sexual phobia, the better the chances of achieving long lasting recovery.

Who would I be working with?

We have six trained therapists comprising counsellors, hypnotherapists and psychoanalysts on staff here at Bayside Psychotherapy. Until we know more about you and your situation, we can’t say exactly who you’d be working with. But rest assured, they’re all qualified, highly experienced professionals — and compassionate, understanding people. We operate in a completely non-judgemental environment.

What if I’m uncomfortable talking about this stuff?

Many people are uncomfortable talking about sex. Particularly people with sexual phobias. That’s a completely natural feeling.

Fortunately, you can still take action to overcome your sexual phobia. You just have to take it one step at a time. Your first step would be some talk therapy, where we identify which initial treatment would be most effective for your particular situation.

Often the answer is hypnotherapy. This is a very easy and non-confrontational way to start examining your drivers. (In fact, you can even begin to do it at home, by yourself, with the help of our sexual phobia hypnotherapy audio download.)

Hypnotherapy is a good way to ease into the therapy process, but it won’t overcome your sexual phobia by itself. However, starting out with some hypnotherapy can often make people more comfortable sharing their feelings with a counsellor or psychotherapist. We also offer both face-to-face and online counselling, so you can choose whichever is more comfortable for you.

What’s the first step?

You’ve already taken step one, that is reading this page. Step two is to call and make an appointment to commence therapy. Everyone’s situation is different, so your treatment will be unique to you.

Contact us now

To enquire, Call (03) 9557 9113 or email us now. Anything you share with us is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

Or, if you are ready to schedule your initial session, you can book now online.

Note: Whilst we will do our best to assist you, we will rely upon your commitment and collaboration to the treatment process to optimise results. Although some of our therapists work with people presenting with this condition, no guarantees of any outcomes can be made.

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Call us

03 9557 9113

Reception phone hours

8:30am – 5:30am
Monday – Friday

(closed on public holidays)

Choose your own date and time for an online session

Therapist Hours

  • Monday 8:00am to 8:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Thursday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Saturday 8:00am to 6:00pm