I think I may be haphephobic, but im not sure. I did not even know it was a legitimate phobia until very recently, and I think I may have it. To my knowledge I never had any trauma in my childhood that could have prompted it, and I cant be sure exactly when it started, but the first time I noticed it was around 14/15 years of age. It was around then that I first started to have serious thoughts about being intimate with someone of the opposite sex (not that it was an option for me at that age), but every time my thoughts wandered in that direction I would start to sweat, become short of breath and enter an irrational panic. That feeling has followed me throughout my teens and to the present day. Regretfully I tend to avoid contact with the opposite sex and and only have a couple of friends who are girls, (and I hardly ever see them).

I hate crowded places, i wait till films have been out at the cinema a couple of weeks so i am not surrounded by strangers. I only live 30 mins away from London, but I never go because I inevitably will end up on a crammed underground train. I don't have a problem shaking men's hands though, but that may be because I have played racquet sports since I was 12 and it is expected at the end of the game. I do not feel comfortable hugging people. I have not hugged my dad or sisters for as long as I can remember, and the only times I have hugged my mum is when she is very sad. fortunately my friends are not big huggers, but I do remember one time when i had not seen my oldest friend for about 6 weeks and he walked over and gave me a massive bear hug (their arms wrapped around your arms so you cant move them). For the first couple of seconds I just felt extremely uncomfortable, but then a wave of panic passed over me and I used every ounce of my strength to try and break free. Fortunately he just thought I was messing around and we just laughed it up. I generally avoid physical contact as much as possible, and on those occasions when some one does touch me, it feels kinda wrong and unnatural.

this may be completely unrelated, but i also have problems maintaining eye contact with people, especially girls. My natural instinct is to look down, but seeing as I am 6'3 it leaves me looking straight down at women's cleavage. I have no doubt that this makes women feel very uncomfortable, but believe it or not, it makes me feel worse.

Looking through all the other stories, I think I may be haphephobic, but I would appreciate a second opinion if anyone has a few minutes spare.

Andy977 Andy977
26-30, M
1 Response Aug 28, 2014

I would say that there is definitely some haphephobia in there, though other issues might be in play, too. I also suddenly developed the phobia without previous trauma or warning signs around the same time as you (I was 13). I'm glad you shared you story, too. Stay strong. :)