Erotophobia is a term used by psychologists to describe sexuality on a personality scale. Erotophobes score high on one end of the scale that is characterized by expressions of guilt and fear about sex. Erotophobes are less likely to talk about sex, have more negative reactions to sexually explicit material, and have sex less frequently and with fewer partners over time. In contrast, erotophiles score high on the opposite end of the scale, erotophilia, which is characterized by expressing less guilt about sex, talking about sex more openly, and holding more positive attitudes toward sexually explicit material.
This dimension of personality is used to assess openness to sex and sexuality. It is an important dimension to measure because of the health and safety risks associated with poor sexual education. Research on this personality dimension has shown a correlation between high erotophobia scores and a less consistent use of contraception and a lack of knowledge about human sexuality. The word erotophobia is derived from the name of Eros, the Greek god of erotic love, and phobia, Greek ????? for fear".
The word erotophobia has been used by anti-oppression activists to describe sex negative attitudes as a form of discrimination and oppression (akin to homophobia). In "Disability, Sex Radicalism, and Political Agency," Abby Wilkinson argues that "constraints on sexual agency should be recognized as a hallmark of oppression." In "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Sexual Conservatism" (after Peggy McIntosh's influential "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"), TJ Bryan says, "Since power-based hierarchies in society form a matrix of domination, I understand that erotophobia occupies a supportive space adjacent to isms and phobias like classism, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia."
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