Do you fear your own belly button?

Tummy button phobia can be treated >   Several callers pointed out that we missed one important ‘button’ in yesterday’s Posting about koumpounphobia. And that is the fear of tummy buttons, or omphalophobia if you want another grandiose word.

This phobia involves being afraid of having your belly button touched or tugged either by yourself or others. It is also the fear of seeing others touch their own bellybutton. Most suffers are able to look upon an untouched belly button, but become uncomfortable, nauseated and anxious when one is being touched, especially their own. Others may become nauseous from just a picture of a navel.

As for most phobias, therapy – especially hypnotherapy – can be very effective.

Maybe the best way to describe the misery caused by this fear is to quote from a sufferer …  “I really freak out thinking about belly buttons being touch.  Sometimes I even think I will vomit if I think too much about it. I cannot stand someone touching their belly button and worse of all if someone would touch mine – not that there is any reason why they should! I feel a freak and would never tell anyone for fear of being laughed at.  Even my parents don’t understand it.” 

Omphalophobia is a serious phobia, but it IS treatable.  Often the cause is that that there was some sort of traumatic event in the sufferer’s life. Also the body’s skin is thinnest there, so it feels like a super-intimate place for someone to be allowed to touch.

The most important points to remember is that there is nothing to be ashamed of, you are not alone in having this phobia and it can be treated easily.

25 thoughts on “Do you fear your own belly button?

  1. I can’t believe this is an actual thing!! i have had a strong dislike for my b-button all my life but I’ve never know why. I’m also surprised that people feel the same way about them that I do. I also think that they are dirty and gross. I try not to tell anyone – even my family (especially my mum!) has always made fun of me because this is a phobia that even I don’t understand. All I know is that they make me feel sick! Hopefully soon we can find a reason why because I would love to know why I’m disgusted by something so harmless.

  2. I can look at mine or someone else’s belly button, but I can’t touch mine. Can’t bear having mine touched by someone else and I can’t stand someone else touching their own.
    Piercings etc are fine, as long as they’re not being played with.

    • Emileigh says:

      I really want mine pierced but I hate the thought of my belly button being touched

  3. little jo says:

    For some people this is a really scary thing. I got a lot of help from Facebook > http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20412580864
    but I still cannot stand to have mine touched – it freaks me out and really pisses me off!
    i get a terrible sinking feeling in my stomach and a strong ache on the inside of where my bellybutton is even just writing this. I wish someone would further look into the psychological aspects of this and where it might stem from.

  4. pillowgirl says:

    I think you are right Tonic – the problem can stem from something that happened in your childhood. I was traumatised by a story my mother told me when I was very young; it was about a person having their guts come out of their belly button. My brother heard the story as well and we all all terrified. I have dreams of my bellybutton unravelling if I touch it. Yuk!

  5. Georgie G says:

    My friend has a serious case of Omphalophobia and I want to understand it more. I am told that no one has done a study of patients who have it – is that right?
    From what I have seen on-line most people with is are most afraid that their belly buttons will be pulled out, along with their guts (is what you think pillowgirl?).
    My friend says he is convinced that all of his insides would fall out if anyone touched his belly button. He says he *knows* that isn’t the case, but the fear is too strong.
    He is most afraid of sharp or pinching things going anywhere near his belly button – even the sight of someone poking their belly button with a finger makes him gag and panic. I’ve tried to work with him on it, and now he can sort of clean his belly button in the shower if he doesn’t look at it.
    He doesn’t know what caused his fear particularly, but he remembers when it started. Apparently when they removed his umbilical cord when he was a baby they did a crappy job and deep inside of his belly button there is a tiny, dry, black piece of it still connected.
    I don’t know if everyone who is omphalophobic had some traumatising experience like this?

  6. I have a bad case as well. I wonder how to pronounce my fear now that I know it has a name! If I see a belly button it worries me, but I can usually control myself. But my friend has a bb piercing and she always plays with it which winds me up. I get freaked out by people touching them, showing them, even talking about them.
    I hate my own. It is so annoying to have this phobia because every time my stomach hurts and my boyfriend rubs it I can’t relax because I am simply terrified he might accidently touch it! Uh!!!

  7. Janice Ford says:

    There may well be many different forms of Omphalophobia, but I am not personally afraid to see a belly button at all. It’s only when someone touches theirs that really bothers me, or even worse tries to touch mine. I also don’t like it when someone talks about touching one.
    Honestly, I wish I didn’t even have a belly button

  8. Jayne in Portishead says:

    I also have a fear of belly buttons. I can’t touch mine, let others even close to touching mine, or see others touching their own. Vile, vile, vile! Even talking or thinking about it makes me squirm and I feel sick. Everyone I confide in about this looks at me as though I am crazy. My brother used to chase me to try to poke me in the belly button when I was young, and I would become hysterical. Even my parents at times thought I was just pretending, so I am glad to see there are others out there with this same fear.
    So great to found other Omphalophobic people!

  9. The closest thing to a cure for a phobia would be therapy – in the same way some people with arachnophobia expose themselves to spiders to try and conquer their fear.
    Other therapists use a lot of different methods to try and conquer phobias… hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the best two. Good luck.

  10. shannon says:

    I used to pull out fluff from my dads belly button when he came home from work haha i was like three haha but my uncle no longer has a belly button, it was removed after he had an operation 🙂

    Fear of belly buttons – options are as follows
    – worry about your lil’ bb
    – removal hahahaha!

  11. i cannot believe that there are people out there with the same thing as me !! i didnt even think that it was a phobia and whenever i told anyone, they would use it to their advantage and touch it when i was around which was totally not funny. i never heard of anyone else who has the same phobia as me and honestly even just writing this, i am beginning to get the ‘yuck’ and ‘gaggy’ feeling. i start to feel like something is stabbing my belly button and i want to vomit. i really hope that i can get over this and i will try to get as much help as i can

  12. My husband made me watch a scene from married with children where….Al is…In a baby pool…splashing water out of his belly button by poking it!!! So gross to even think about. He also has our young kids poke his belly button in front of me. One day I did something that I felt bad about and “to prove my love for him”, I did it. I poked his belly button. I’ve done it quite a few times since then. It seems to actually help if you approach it slowly and carefully with the one you love. Lol. What does NOT help is when he thinks he’s funny and he grabs your hand while you’re doing this and he… shoves your finger in further. Vomit. Love him but sheesh… Men sometimes…. Nonetheless, I’ve made significant progress with him over the years. Still can’t… clean my newborn’s bellybutton…with a q-tip without gagging.

  13. What a relief to know I am not the only one! The thought of, to even type this out and think of my * drives me into a state of panic. Seeing anyone touch theirs, or having my touched at all will cause me to have a total panic attack. Im sweaty right now reading this website. wtf is wrong with me? I have virtually no fears, no phobias, but belly buttons are just too much for me. The terror! lol. Anyone know any good hypnotherapist in the chicago area ?

  14. I’ve literally had this since I was a kid, and until recently I didn’t realize this was a legitimate phobia. People think it’s hilarious to play with their belly buttons in front of me once they find out and they don’t realize I’m on the verge of vomiting when they do. Or worse they try to touch mine, and I legitimately cannot handle that. Good to know I’m not alone though!

  15. Wow! I really can’t belive that this is a real phobia, but i don’t think i have it as bad as others., because i can touch my children’s belly buttons our even clean them when i bath them, but no one can touch mine because i feel like I’m being stabbed in the stomach with a knife. It hurts so much. My husband thinks I’m silly and he’ll tease me and acts like he’s going poke it then it makes me want to vomit if he just points at it. I also fear that when I’m showering someone is going stab my belly button, so i always have to face the water, it feels safe there. I’m just glad too know that I’m not the only one with this strange fear.

  16. I feel really sorry for people with this phobia. I actually have a navel fetish and I find belly buttons extremely sexy. My navel is a very sensitive erogenous zone and when touched and played with by the right person, I find it to be very arousing and is a major sexual turn-on. I also find women’s navels as much of a turn-on as their breasts. For me, navel play is a big part of sexual intercourse.

    If you poke me in the navel without any warning, I’ll get a strange and pleasurable sexual impulse as though my belly button is connected to my genitalia.

    These people are missing out on a lot of pleasure and they have my deepest sympathy.

  17. I think I have only recently developed this phobia, as I had my belly button pierced about 7 years about and don’t remember any discomfort/ distress. However, over the last 2 years I have become increasingly aware of my discomfort when others touch my belly button, when I touch my belly button and this week I almost spewed when I saw a close up photo of a belly button. UGH! I just feel so consumed by anxiety and panic when I concentrate on belly buttons. My partner thinks it will help if I confront my fear and so maybe once a month or something we sit down and I let him touch it, but I always end up crying. Well, I thought it was just a strange quirk of mine at first but it’s becoming a lot worse so now I agree with my partner, I need to confront my fear. I’m going to pull back a bit and just think about belly buttons each day and look at photos, etc. til I’m comfortable.

  18. Lucy Willamina says:

    I struggle with this disease, I am not able to lay on my back because of the area being exposed. I am aso fourteen and my parents think I am being dramatic. I struggle to clean out the area, but now i have a brown ring in it. I trued ti clean it today and it was a big struggle. Looking at the area is very upsetting and I immediately feel as if I were to throw up. I am worried about getting an infection, I don’t want to deal with this problem any more. Does any one have any suggestions of what to do? Most parts of the body upset me but this one is the most serious, when my hand is any where near my stomach I get the feeling as if I were to throw up. Can some one please help me? MUCH APPRECIATED!!!

  19. Is it just me that’s got a bellybutton fetish? What scares you guys, actually turns me on. I like to see it done to females.

  20. The last time I remember trying to clean my belly button was about 20 years ago. It literally me throw up.
    I asked two different surgeons when having other operations if they would clean it out for me while I was under anesthesia. They didn’t take me seriously.
    I recently had another surgery and asked 5 different ppl caring for me to please, clean out my BB – to no avail.
    FINALLY, just to days ago I had a procedure that required me to be under/in a drugged twilight and SOMEONE listened to me and got it cleaned out! They thought a Q-tip would do the trick. Nope. Tweezers. I remember hearing someone say “Man, another chunk!”
    And yes, I had them save it for me so people would realize my phobia was real. There was about 1/4+ teaspoon of hard, crumbly pieces from years of belly button buildup
    The struggle is real. I almost want to put tape over it so I don’t have to deal with it ever again.

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