These terms are used in sexology, particularly among psychologists, to describe a dimension of personality. Researchers have developed psychological tests that will give an individual a score on a scale of erotophobia-erotophilia.
Erotophobes are people who feel guilty and fearful about sex. They 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.
Erotophiles on the other hand experience less guilt about sex, talk about sex more openly, and hold more positive attitudes toward sexually explicit material. The term erotophile is occassionally substituted with the term sex positive in research.
Research on this personality dimension has also shown a correlation between people who score more highly as erotophiles and those who more consistently use contraception, and have more general information about human sexuality.
- Byrne, D. Sex Without Contraception. Adolescents, Sex, and Contraception D. Byrne & W.A. Fisher. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983.
- Fisher, W.A., Byrne, D. & White, L.A. Emotional Barriers to Contraception. Adolescents, Sex, and Contraception D. Byrne & W.A. Fisher. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983.