also known as thixophobia, aphephobia, haphophobia, hapnophobia, haptephobia or haptophobia. A rare specific phobia that involves the fear of touching or of being touched; the fear of physical contact. It is an acute exaggeration of the normal tendencies to protect one’s personal space, expressed as a fear of contamination or of the invasion, and extending even to people whom its sufferers know well.
Sometimes the fear is restricted specifically, or predominantly, to being touched by people of the opposite sex. In women, this is often associated with a fear of sexual assault. Dorais reports that many boys who have been the victims of sexual abuse also have a fear of being touched, quoting one victim who describes being touched as something that “burns like fire”, causing him to freeze up or to lash out.
Etymology: from Greek haphe, “touch” + phobia, “fear”.