Updated: JULY 9, 2018

Agrexophrenia is the inability to perform sexually because someone is or may be nearby.

It’s unknown when the term originated, but one of its earliest publicized appearances was in 1967, when Jacob E. Schmidt included it in his “Lecher’s Lexicon: A Sexy, Sizzling Erotic Dictonary.” He said agrexophrenia occurred when people knew other people were close.

Peter Novobatzky and Ammon Shea expounded on the term in their 1999 book “Depraved English,” noting that people with agrexophrenia struggle to perform because they fear being overheard. This may be a legitimate concern, because people are nearby, or not.

More About Agrexophrenia

People experiencing agrexophrenia have several symptoms. Men may struggle to obtain or keep an erection while women may not produce sufficient lubrication for comfortable intercourse. Both genders may struggle to relax enough to orgasm or enjoy themselves if sex does occur.

Whether agrexophrenia is a problem depends on its severity and the circumstances. If agrexophrenia only occurs when people are nearby, couples may simply decide to delay sex until they are not near others. This may be impractical for people living with friends or family members, including children. If people have struggle to perform sexually because they fear being overheard even if it’s unlikely they will be, then agrexophrenia may also be problematic.

When agrexophrenia interrupts normal sexual function, couples may undergo counseling to help them forget about their concerns and enjoy sex, despite knowing others may hear them.


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