Fear of Feeling Pleasure

Intimate moments can provide intense moments of pleasure that are often welcomed by couples. There are caresses and touches that leave an individual experiencing great enjoyment. These moments are often sought out intentionally and welcomed simply because of the pleasure they can bring. However, there are those who do not welcome these feelings. They look to avoid this feeling and fear the potential of experiencing pleasure. This fear is known as Hedonophobia.

Yes, a big part of this fear is related to the experience of intercourse or sexual release, but in some cases it can include fearing the joy one might experience in the birth of a baby, the satisfaction of doing a job well or even enjoying a joke. Believe it or not there are those that will experience fear simply by laughing because the joy they may feel in that moment leaves them feeling out of control and that’s when fear grips them.

What Causes the Fear of Feeling Pleasure?

This fear may be linked most likely to verbal discussions with a well meaning older adult. They may convince a young person they are attempting to help avoid intimacy at a young age that sex is dirty and should be avoided at all cost. Comments like, “Only bad girls have sex” or “Personal pleasuring is a sign of weakness” can lead an impressionable young person to conclude that intimacy is wrong because it leads to pleasure.

An older adult can also seek to suppress enjoyment (pleasure) from everyday experiences. When this happens a young person can believe that anything they enjoy is always off limits. They don’t want to offend even the memory of the older adult so as they enter their adult years they struggle with enjoying life to any great degree.

The fear can be troublesome on a personal level if an individual enjoys the feeling of pleasure so much that they are embarrassed by their behavior during those moments of the most intense pleasure.

Symptoms of Hedonophobia

A person who struggles with this phobia will not typically engage in dating relationships and will often be a very somber individual. They may not attend sporting events and will not likely watch comedy television or movies.  This individual will avoid anything that may bring pleasure and then struggle with guilt if they do experience pleasure.

Other symptoms may also include:

  • Air hunger
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Self-loathing
  • Elevated heart rate

Dealing with this fear may require someone who can help the individual deal with multiple issues.

How to Overcome Hedonophobia

Therapy may be required in this phobia because in most cases the reason for the fear is based on a lie believed as truth some time in your past.It may take some time to go back far enough to uncover that lie and then set the record straight. There is nothing, rationally speaking, wrong with feeling intense pleasure, but the fear and guilt you may experience when you do can hinder living a full life and enjoying the company of others.

The fear of feeling pleasure is also referred to as:

  • Feeling pleasure fear
  • Hedonophobia
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