Androphobia (Fear Of Men)

Overview: What is Androphobia?

Androphobia is the uncomfortable uncontrollable fear of men and masculine presences. Not to be confused with misandry, the hatred of men, androphobia is a fear of men in general. This includes actual men and the idea of men. Sufferers of this phobia may experience anxiety, panic, or discomfort when they have to interact with men. This phobia is more common in women, but young boys and other men can have the condition as well.

For people with androphobia, the idea of running into a man is terrifying. They may feel like the man is going to hurt them somehow, and they may go to great lengths to avoid interacting with men. This anxiety is usually caused by a past trauma and is rarely inherent to the person.

Because half the world’s population is male, victims of androphobia can have a hard time moving through life. Even going outside can bring them great panic, and they may avoid real-life interactions on the off-chance that they may encounter a man. While it is rare, this phobia is both frightening and debilitating.

With counseling, therapy, and management exercises, those with androphobia can begin moving on with their lives. Some begin their treatment by addressing the root of the issue, which may be a past trauma or abuse at the hands of a man. From there, they can find closure and begin building healthy friendships with other men.

This phobia is often mocked or seen as a ‘women’s issue’. However, boys and other men can also suffer from androphobia. In any case, this phobia is real and deserves respect. If you know someone with androphobia, do not hesitate to support them and offer a helping hand. Encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional, and do not pressure them into interacting with men.

Symptoms of Androphobia

Like many other phobias, androphobia can seem strange or humorous to an outsider. To the person experiencing the fear, this is anything but funny. A person suffering androphobia may feel like every man is out to hurt them. Because of this, they may feel panic or anxiety when they have to interact with a man.

No person experiences fear the same way. While one person may panic and try to run away, another may simply shrink back and make themselves unnoticeable. While this list is in no way exhaustive, these are a few common symptoms of androphobia.

  • Feeling anxious at the idea of interacting with men.
  • General avoidance of men or male-dominated situations.
  • Physical anxiety symptoms like sweating, fidgeting, or shaking.
  • Uncontrollable thoughts about men harming you or your loved ones.
  • Inability to befriend men or have relationships with them.
  • Serious distrust of men and their intentions.

A common fear shared by those with androphobia is the idea of being trapped in an enclosed space with a man. This includes subways, elevators, and bathrooms. Those suffering from androphobia may go to great lengths to avoid situations where they may be forced to interact with a man.

While some only feel anxiety while interacting with men physically, some sufferers of androphobia may feel anxious at the idea of speaking to men over the phone or through text. They avoid friendships and relationships with men and usually have strictly female friend groups.

Androphobia is not always obvious. Some people cope quite well and may appear outwardly confident and unafraid. However, they are struggling internally, and it takes great willpower to overcome their phobia.

Causes of Androphobia

There many different causes of androphobia, the most common being trauma.

Trauma can include domestic violence, sexual assault, or abuse. Women are more likely to experience these abuses at the hands of men, and therefore have a higher rate of androphobia. A woman who was raped and/or beaten by a man may feel scared of men for years afterward. While androphobia is not inherent to abuse victims, it is more common among them.

This fear is not limited to women and can occur in anyone. While male cases are rarer, all groups are susceptible to androphobia. Men and boys who were abused as children are more likely to suffer the effects of this phobia and usually have a deep-seated reason for feeling this way.

Androphobia can also be caused by learned behavior. Different from trauma, learned behaviors are developed for protection or survival. These behaviors are not caused by a singular event but rather learned over the course of many years.

For example, a woman may develop a fear of men after living with an aggressive man for many years. Men raising their voices, throwing things, or slamming doors may invoke a serious fear response, even if the victim has never been physically or sexually abused.

Despite the rarity of these cases, androphobia can also be inherited. While phobias cannot be passed on genetically, a parent with a phobia of men may instill this fear in their children. The child may grow up afraid of men and develop androphobia as a result.

Treatment of Androphobia

Because phobias are mental, treatment can vary from person to person. There is no cure-all medication or treatment for androphobia, but sufferers of this condition can overcome it. The first step should be to seek help from a therapist, counselor, or psychologist. From there, androphobes can begin recovering from their fear.

In order to tackle a phobia directly, the root issue must be addressed. Patients are encouraged to talk about their previous interactions with men, including traumas or other negative experiences. If the phobia is trauma-based, a patient can treat their phobia by recovering from their abuse.

After the root issue has been addressed, other treatments can be used. A few examples include:

  • Anxiety management. Deep breathing, relaxation, and other coping methods can be used to manage the patient’s fear. After calming themselves down, patients can think clearly and handle situations better.
  • Exposure therapy. It may take some time to reach this point, but exposure therapy can encourage patients to have healthy interactions with men. They can start off texting or calling a man, and move on to interacting with them tangibly. By building a healthy friendship with a man, they can begin recovering from their phobia.
  • Positivity training. Patients are encouraged to focus on the positives. This includes happy memories involving men, friendly men they know, and nice things men have done.
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. With the help of a psychologist, patients can “re-program” themselves to eliminate their phobia. This can mean compartmentalizing their issues and stifling their fear responses.
  • Every person is different, and every person recovers differently. While some people may find it easy to overcome their fear of men, it may be extremely difficult for others. However, with proper treatment, anyone can healthily manage their phobia.

Prevention of Androphobia

Phobias aren’t always rational and may develop for no reason. Because of this, there is no definite prevention for androphobia. However, people with male role models, friends, and partners are less likely to develop this phobia. By forging healthy relationships with men, you can adopt a positive outlook on them.

After a traumatic event involving men, victims are advised to seek therapy. If they overcome their traumas early, they are also less likely to develop androphobia.

If you know someone who might be suffering from a fear of men, lend a hand and offer support. Men are almost impossible to avoid, making androphobia extremely debilitating. Do not mock or taunt those with androphobia, and try to take their fear seriously. To an androphobe, every man is a potential threat.

If you are a man, don’t feel offended or upset by their fear. They cannot help how they feel, and they cannot control these reactions. Respect their space, and try to avoid making them uncomfortable. Be kind and friendly, and don’t give them a reason to fear you.