Death Stranding is a new Playstation 4 action game starring Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead. Reedus plays as Sam Porter Bridges, a highly revered porter tasked with the daunting quest of reconnecting the fractured and isolated colonies in the United States. What makes this task difficult for Sam is the fact that he has Aphenphosmphobia – a morbid fear of intimacy and being touched. About nineteen million adults are affected by a specific phobia in their lifetime; that is about eight percent of the United States population! So it is understandable if you have not heard of Aphenphosmphobia before.
Death Stranding Aphenphosmphobia Guide
While some people might cringe at the idea of someone they are not comfortable with touching them, a person with Aphenphosmphobia is not comfortable with any form of intimacy – that includes physical contact, emotional bonds, and love. Symptoms of Aphenphosmphobia include physical pain, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, and an increased heart rate at the thought of experiencing intimate affection. The individual’s fight or flight response triggers as soon as they are put into an intimate situation.
That is why you see Sam wince every time someone gives him a hug – he wants nothing more than to run away from the moment. The condition is only mentioned in passing, but Sam’s reactions throughout the game give the audience a clear understanding as to how hard reconnecting America is for a man that is afraid of intimacy. This is also shown in gameplay, as you are never fully sure how the relationships you are forging will matter to the world. As the game plays out, you will understand more of how Sam’s Aphenphosmphobia developed as you get to know him more. This will ultimately become one of Death Stranding’s most important themes.