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Medorthophobia (from Greek ortho, "erect") is the fear of penis being erected. Sufferers of medorthophobia often get embarrassed and feel vulnerable, especially if the man is sending the wrong signal to women he may encounter if it is observed that his penis may be erect. For women there may be the fear of observing something that they may feel they should not notice. This can be rooted to parental instruction that sex is somehow dirty or wrong. A woman may feel threatened if she observes a male with a visible erection and a man may feel he is sinning whenever an erection takes place. This causes individuals of both sexes to feel as if they are somehow violating the will of their parents or guardians – even if they haven’t lived at home for a long period of time.
An individual who has been sexually molested may have personal reasons to internalize or fear an erection. They may have flashbacks of their traumatic experience. Some may have religious background that taught them that intercourse is wrong. Symptoms may include staying away from social settings or staying away from people or any sexual encounters.
Therapist assistance may be essential to overcoming the fear. They may help understand the natural function of the human body and why erections take place, what they mean and what they may not mean.