Malaxophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Consequences

The malaxofobia is a type of phobia is characterized by the suffering of an irrational, persistent and abnormal fear was the love games.

This alteration, also known as sarmasophobia, implies the presence of a phobic fear towards all behaviors that have to do with seduction in a loving context.

In this way, people suffering from malaxophobia experience elevated feelings of anxiety when exposed to situations related to the game of love.

It consists of a rare disorder among the population, however there are individuals who may present this type of fear of seduction.

Currently, this psychopathology is well described and documented, and has interventions that allow the achievement of optimal recovery.


In this article we review the information that is available today of malaxophobia. Its characteristics, symptoms, causes and diagnoses are discussed, and what interventions can be performed to overcome the fear of seduction are reviewed.


Often, malaxophobia can be perceived as a sexual disorder or a relational disorder.

However, this psychopathology consists of an anxiety disorder, resulting from a specific type of phobia.

In this case, the feared element is the game of love or seduction. That is, all those behaviors that people perform with the aim of establishing a relationship with another.

Seduction encompasses a large group of actions and activities, which can be markedly ambiguous. There is no manual that defines what behaviors are part of the game of love.

In fact, seduction is not so much described by the action undertaken, but rather by the intentions or purposes pursued by the behaviors.

Thus, the element feared in malaxophobia consists of the performance of any activity that has seductive purposes towards another person.


The symptomatology of malaxophobia appears when the individual suffering from the disorder is immersed in a situation of amorous play. That is, when he starts seduction activities with another person.

Faced with these situations, a series of manifestations appear related to the fear caused by the situation itself.

This symptomatology responds to a high increase in tension and nervousness, which can be classified as  anxious symptoms.

In general, three main types of anxiety signs can be established in malaxophobia.

Physical symptoms

At first, the manifestations experienced by the person with malaxophobia are expressed through the physical functioning of the body.

That is, a series of changes in the body are produced as a result of the fear that seduction causes.

This symptomatology appears immediately when the love game begins. Or it can even be witnessed in the previous moments, when the person anticipates that the action of seduction will begin imminently.

The specific signs may vary slightly in each case, as there is no single pattern of physical symptomatology in malaxophobia.

However, all manifestations occur through an increase in the activity of the central nervous system. So, the group of physical symptoms of anxiety that can be experienced are:

  1. Increase in the cardiac rate
  2. Increase of breathing
  3. Palpitations
  4. Hyperventilation or choking sensation.
  5. Pupillary dilation
  6. Muscle tension.
  7. Headaches and / or stomach
  8. Excessive sweating and / or cold sweats.
  9. Feeling of unreality or depersonalization.
  10. Dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Psychological Symptoms

The appearance of physical symptoms is motivated by fear of such situations of seduction. That is, to a series of fearful thoughts about these elements.

Thus, together with the physical manifestations, a series of cognitive symptoms, a series of thoughts, are experienced.

These thoughts are characterized by negatively characterizing the game of love and seductive behaviors. They are always irrational and provoke a high fear of these situations.

Keep in mind that the thoughts of malaxophobia are irrational but not delirious. So the person is unable to think consistently about such situations but never reaches delirium.

In this sense, the subject with malaxophobia can develop thoughts such as: “if I try to seduce this person I will make a fool of myself”, “whatever I do I will not be able to like it” or “I can not expose myself to performing seduction behaviors”.

All these thoughts about the feared element and the null personal abilities to face it originate the phobic fear and the physical symptoms. When the latter appear, they motivate an increase in negative thinking about seduction.

Behavioral symptoms

Finally, the discomfort and high anxiety caused by the fear of seduction leads to an intense alteration in the behavior of the person. The two most important behaviors of malaxophobia are avoidance and escape.

Avoidance defines all the behaviors that a person with this disorder performs with the objective of not exposing themselves to their feared elements.

Put another way, the subject with malaxophobia will do everything he can to avoid any situation of seduction or love play.

The escape instead appears when a person with this psychopathology is immersed in a loving play activity.

In these situations, the individual tends to perform escape actions in order to alleviate the discomfort that is causing seduction with another person.

Malaxophobia vs social phobia

Malaxophobia has a number of similarities with a well-known disorder such as social phobia However, they form pathologies and different diagnoses.

Social phobia is defined as a disorder in which the person fears irrational, excessive, uncontrollable and persistent social activities.

In this way, both the fear and the symptomatology of social phobia is comparable to that of malaxophobia. However, both disorders differ in the feared element.

Although in malaxophobia the situation that is feared constitutes a type of social activity, the phobic fear does not extend to the rest of social situations.

In this way, malaxophobia is a less serious psychopathology since it is limited to social situations of seduction. Other types of activities such as public speaking, socializing with friends or establishing relationships with other people are not feared elements in malaxophobia.


Malaxophobia can be a highly disturbing disorder for the person suffering from it, or a remarkably insignificant alteration.

The repercussions of psychopathology depend in large part on the individual’s personal situation. That is, if he is “forced” to perform seduction actions to achieve desired elements in his life.

In other words, malaxophobia is a very disabling alteration for those people who want to establish a relationship with someone.

In these cases, seduction behaviors and love games can be essential or necessary activities to achieve the goal of having a partner.

And is that the main consequence of malaxophobia is the complete avoidance of seduction activities.

People with this disorder persistently avoid such situations, so getting to establish a relationship with someone can become highly complicated.

This fact can negatively affect the psychological state of the person beyond the symptoms of anxiety that originates the disorder.

The low self – esteem, personal dissatisfaction, alteration of mood or emotional disorders are problematic to which a person may be exposed to malaxofobia.

For this reason, intervening the disorder is highly important. Especially in those people to whom the phobic fear causes negative consequences in a serious and direct way.


Not all fears of seduction and / or love games have to be attributed to malaxophobia. In fact, in order to establish this diagnosis, a series of requirements must be met.

These diagnostic criteria must be specified by a medical professional, through a complete psychological evaluation of the individual. The seven key points to detect the presence of malaxophobia are the following:

  1. The person experiences intense fear or anxiety for any situation and activity related to seduction and the love game (phobic elements).
  1. Exposure to phobic elements always or almost always causes fear or immediate anxiety.
  1. The phobic elements are completely avoided or actively resist with fear or intense anxiety.
  1. Fear or anxiety is disproportionate to the real danger posed by the activities of seduction and amorous play.
  1. Fear, anxiety or avoidance is persistent, and typically lasts six or more months.
  1. Fear, anxiety or avoidance causes clinically significant discomfort or deterioration in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
  1. The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder, such as fear, anxiety and avoidance of situations associated with panic symptoms or other disabling symptoms (as in agoraphobia ); objects or situations related to obsessions (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder ); memory of traumatic events (as in post-traumatic stress disorder ); leaving home or separation of attachment figures (as in separation anxiety disorder ); or social situations (as in social anxiety disorder).


Malaxophobia, as happens with the rest of specific phobias, does not present a single cause that gives rise to the pathology.

In fact, multiple investigations have shown that the development of this disorder responds to the combination of different factors.

The different elements that are related to the etiology of the disease do not appear in all cases. In fact, it is usual that in each case there are more factors than others.

In general, the elements that have been identified as potentially causing malaxophobia are:

Direct conditioning

Having lived bad experiences related to seduction seems to be the most important causal factor of malaxophobia.

In these cases, the individual can condition their emotions with regard to this type of situation and develop a phobic fear towards seduction.

Vicar conditioning

It is often not necessary to live a situation in the first person to condition or modulate the response to it.

In this sense, vicarious conditioning, that is, acquiring information through visualization, can be equally important in the development of the phobia.

Specifically, visualizing negative or traumatic experiences related to seduction in nearby people can lead to malaxophobia.

Verbal conditioning

On the other hand, acquiring negative information about love games and seduction can also predispose the person to fear these situations.

In this case, the education received during childhood plays a particularly relevant role. Educational patterns that place special emphasis on the negative consequences of seduction can lead to the development of malaxophobia.

Genetic factors

It seems that genetics can play a more or less important role in the development of the disorder. Although the current data are not very clear, presenting a family history of anxiety disorders may be a risk factor for malaxophobia.

Cognitive factors

Cognitive elements such as unrealistic beliefs about the damage that could be received if exposed to the feared stimulus, attentional biases towards threats or low perceptions of self-efficacy are factors that can contribute to the development of the pathology.


To intervene properly malaxophobia is necessary psychotherapy. This treatment has shown much higher efficacy rates than pharmacological interventions.

Also Read: Odontophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Specifically, cognitive behavioral treatment has been shown to be the intervention of first choice for the treatment of malaxophobia, since it allows the overcoming of phobic fears and the reversal of the disease. The most used techniques are:

  • Exposure: is to expose the individual in a controlled way to their phobic elements with the aim of getting used to them.
  • Relaxation techniques: it reduces the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Cognitive therapy: focuses on restructuring dysfunctional thoughts about the game of love and seduction.