Are you erotophilic or erotophobic? You may be thinking “who cares?” But it does matter. Being chalked up as either type can say a lot about your sexual state and your sex life. These traits affect your ability to embrace your sexual desire. They heavily impact how you feel about sex, sexual response, and libido.

So important is being erotophobic or an erotophilic, that these categories have been used in scores of sexuality studies. Researchers have used these labels as a way to assess things like homophobia, the emotional tone of written fantasies, and even one’s willingness to attend to sexual details when drawing the human figure. But what does it mean to be an erotophile or erotophobe?

To be an erotophile means that you have a positive attitude and emotional feelings towards sex. Being an erotophobe means that you have a negative attitude and emotional reaction to sex. People can fall anywhere between these two extremes.

Having an awareness of where you stand on this spectrum is important since it helps to:

-- Understand whether one sees sex and sexual relationships as rewarding or not.

-- Explain why some people are better about boosting their desire.

-- Comprehend why some are more into opportunities where they can express themselves sexually.

It also gives us a great deal of insight on the following …

Bedroom Antics

Being an erotophile is going to benefit you in the bedroom. This is because erotophiles have positive views about sex and their sexual self-image. They see sexual intimacy as a means to affection, love and emotional connection. To these people, sex is a good thing that can help to maintain a relationship.

Erotophobes have trouble relating to any of this. Sex is not something to embrace, but something to be done if it must be done. Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that erotophobia is correlated to having sex to appease one’s partner. Erotophobes had sex more to avoid any relationship consequences than for any positive reasons.

Sex Communication

Being erotophilic should mean that you’re more comfortable talking about sex matters. Being erotophobic, however, can affect your ability to handle sex information. Studies in the Journal of Sex Research found that being erotophobic is associated with the belief in sex myths and the transmission of misinformation to others.

Sexual Thoughts

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that erotophiles have more sex dreams. These individuals also have more frequent obsessive thinking about sex and more frequent sexually intrusive thoughts. Signs of sexual arousal are more frequent for these individuals. Such arousal to erotica is often met with greater positive feelings.

People with erotophobia, on the other hand, respond to sexually intrusive thoughts more negatively. The feelings they experience include guilt, disapproval and a greater desire to avoid the thoughts. Signs of sexual arousal cause more sexual anxiety for erotophobes than they do erotophiles.

Sexual Health

Being an erotophobe or erotophile can impact your sexual health. Eric Labranche and colleagues at the University of North Florida found that one’s level of erotophobia influences their likelihood of engaging in sexual health care, like breast self-exams (BSE). Women high in erotophobia felt less competent in performing breast exams when shown a brochure with photos of a woman’s breasts than when shown a brochure with no photographs.

So which are you? To figure out where you stand, take the following quiz.

Do you:

1. Regard sex as something normal and natural?

2. Hold the view that individuals have the right to seek out and engage in consensual sexual interactions that are mutually pleasuring?

3. Think positively about sexually explicit materials?

4. Support the need to discuss sex matters openly?

5. See sex as an act that is uniting, supporting, and expressive?

6. Believe that sex is something to be celebrated?

7. Avoid or deny sex?

8. Feel negatively about sexually explicit materials?

9. See sexual intimacy, discussion or education as taboo?

10. Regard your sexual views as restrictive and condemning?

11. Find yourself feeling vulnerable, fearful, guilty, angry, disgusted, or shameful when thinking about sex?

12. Have difficulty opening up to your lover or expressing yourself during sex?

Note where you answered “yes.” If you have more “yes” answers for questions numbered 1 – 6, then you’re more of an erotophile. If you answered “yes” more often to questions numbered 7 – 12, then you’re more of an erotophobe.

While individuals ultimately take charge of their capacity for sexual pleasure and intimacy, how you scored has a lot to do with external factors that mold our sexuality. Erotophobes are often the victims of negative sexual messaging or experiences growing up. Survivors of sexual abuse and trauma may be, understandably, erotophobic. For them, sex has come to mean something painful, hateful, or hurtful.

Any erotophobe may feel sexually restricted by the religious and societal norms, mores, restrictions, and taboos that seek to regulate our sex lives. All of these factors make it very difficult for them to sexually connect with their partner.

Erotophiles, however, tend to have received positive messages about sex while growing up. Some may have had or have a partner who has a healthy outlook on sex – something that has rubbed off. They may also feel sexually enlightened thanks to positive sexual experiences and sex education.

In either case, which “eroto” you want to be from here on out is largely up to you.