Gynophobia (Fear Of Women)

The term originates from two Greek words ‘Gune’ and ‘Phobia’ which mean woman and fear respectively. This condition typically affects men.

Overview

Gynophobia (fear of women) is the medical problem when a person (usually a man) develops a ridiculous fear of women. This problem is also called Gynephobia or Feminophobia. People with the fear of women develop fear or even hatred towards their own sisters, mother or other female relatives. The Gynophobia stops them from having a relationship of any kind with women.

Gynophobia shouldn’t be mistaken for hatred, misogyny, contempt and ingrained prejudice against women, but some people may use these terms interchangeably to refer to social negative mind-sets towards women.

Symptoms of Gynophobia

Gynophobia symptoms vary according to the original cause.

  • Fear of women may turn some people into homosexuals. But this doesn’t mean that all male homosexuals are Gynophobic. Some individuals may not fear relating to women as long as there’s no sexual contact involved.
  • Some Gynophobics don’t fancy a relationship of any sort with women.
  • Some Gynophobics tend to be afraid of having sex with women because they can’t get an erection.
  • Some men may develop disdain against women thinking that they are liars, cheaters, filthy and stupid.
  • Severe symptoms of fear of women include sweating, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, panic attack on sighting a woman, difficulty breathing and so on. Even the thought of coming across a woman can cause these symptoms.
  • In children, the fear of women can manifest as tantrums with crying, clinging or refusing to approach a woman or leave a man’s side.

Mental Gynophobia symptoms include:

  • Persistent fear in the mind
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Haunting images and thoughts related to women
  • Feeling unreal and lonely
  • Inability to control the mind

Emotional symptoms of Gynophobia include:

  • Terror – extreme phobia for facing women
  • Anticipatory anxiety—having a fear of meeting a woman in the future
  • Urge to flee – an inclination to run off from the situation

Physical symptoms of Gynophobia include:

  • Sweating
  • Pain in the chest
  • Tingling sensations or numbness
  • Stomach distress or nausea
  • Cold or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Inability to stand still
  • Feeling of dizziness or fainting
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Feeling of choking
  • Increase in heart rate with pounding heart and palpitations

Causes of Gynophobia

It’s commonly believed that factors like genetics, heredity and brain chemistry have a huge role to play when it comes to the development of fears (phobias). Traumatic events and life experiences are also other common factors that may lead to the development of phobias in people.

Furthermore, Gynophobia causes may include light interaction with females. One significant factor that can cause the development of fear of women can be a harrowing experience associated with a woman, most likely in adolescence or early adolescence.

The fear can stem from a traumatic event involving sexual, physical or emotional abuse by a woman.

Gynophobia may also develop from a previous relationship with a female that was full of negative behavior like abuse, mistreatment or domination.

Growing up with hardly any contact with females can lead to a situation where a man is not comfortable being around women. He may get confused about the differences between men and women and slowly begin to develop Gynophobia over time.

Peer pressure over a sexual relationship may also be another cause particularly among teenagers and young men. If a person hasn’t had as much progress with females as his mates, he may be pilloried and mocked. This can make him consider a relationship with any woman a challenge. The longer he stays without physical contact with women, the more severe the symptoms can become.

Treatment options for Gynophobia

Most people with Gynophobia are treated with therapy sessions. The fear of women is mainly treated with psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. Behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are the two leading types of psychotherapy for treating Gynophobia. Medicines can also be used with these therapies to treat Gynophobia.

Talk therapy

This therapy is basically several counseling sessions with a therapist who can take one’s mind from the virtual space into the real world. It’s a slow process and one needs more sessions to notice any improvements in their behavior or capacity to deal with fears.

A vital factor that determines how effective talk therapy can be is to find a quality therapist with whom one can talk freely and air their fears. No therapy can work until one is comfortable with their therapist. Therefore, it’s vitally important to use a good therapist.

Exposure therapy

One can alter the way they respond to females by learning to change their behavior. Exposure therapy can help an individual do that. During a session, the therapist repeatedly and gradually exposes the patient to things about women. Just before the end of treatment, one is actually exposed to a woman or women.

Gradual exposure to a woman or women helps one cope with the feelings, sensations, and thoughts related to their phobia for women. For example, the therapist can begin by showing the patient pictures of women. The therapist will then ask the patient to listen to audio recordings of women. Lastly, the therapist will show the patient videos of women. After that, the therapist will have the patient try to approach a woman in some neutral space, like outdoors.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy involves several sessions with an expert who works to cause changes in an individual’s behavior by exposing them to their fears, with an increasing extent in every new session. The therapist helps the patient learn to control their anxiety with the aid of relaxation techniques.

Every new session has an increased degree of exposure to the phobia. The first sessions can involve imagining a meeting with a female and then exposing the patient to a real-life woman. The therapist tries to convince the individual’s mind that their fear is unrealistic and therefore teaches them to cope with the fear of women. The patient applies this lesson in the real world and is in a better position to face his fears.

Cognitive behavior therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy, CBT, involves using exposure therapy together with other therapies to teach the patient different methods to view and deal with their Gynophobia. Some basics of cognitive behavior therapy are learning how to:

  • View your fear of women in a different light
  • Emotionally handle the effect of your phobia on your life
  • Deal with the physical sensations related to your phobia

At the end of the CBT sessions, the patient should have more confidence and feel like they’ve mastered some of their feelings and thoughts instead of feeling powerless to stop them.

Hypnotherapy (Hypnosis)

Hypnotherapy, also called hypnosis, is a method that’s used to access one’s subconscious mind. Using hypnotism, hypnotherapy tries to determine the potential causes of one’s fear of women deeply ingrained in their mind. The therapist tries to reach these fears and remove them from the mind.

Hypnotherapy may be used with other techniques such as relaxation and visualization to bring better results within a short time.

Medications

In most cases, psychotherapy alone is good enough for treating Gynophobia. But sometimes it can be wise to also use medicines designed to reduce panic attacks or feelings of anxiety related to fear of women. Such medicines should be used only at the beginning of treatment to speed up recovery.

One can also use these medicines on a short-term, infrequent basis. For instance, in situations where one’s Gynophobia prevents them from doing some important task such as going to the emergency room or receiving medical attention from a woman.

Medications used for treating fear of women include:

Anti-depressants: Anti-depressants help to suppress feelings of depression caused by fear of women. The FDA has approved three of these medicines, including Zoloft, Paxil, and Effexor.

Benzodiazepines/sedatives: Benzodiazepines can help to calm the body by reducing one’s anxiety. These medicines are extremely addictive and need to be used carefully. If you’ve got a history of drug abuse, you shouldn’t take Benzodiazepines.

Beta blockers: These medicines help control the impact of adrenaline on your body. Adrenaline usually rises when the body has anxiety, and this may lead to uncomfortable and sometimes serious physical problems such as a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, shaky voice, shaky limbs and heart palpitations.

Prevention of Gynophobia

It’s vitally important to have any symptoms of Gynophobia treated, especially if you’ve got children. Children learn fast by observing how adults react to situations. Therefore, there’s a great risk of children developing Gynophobia if a family member shows such behavior.

Any kind of Gynophobia symptoms must be reported to a doctor right away. The best method to keep Gynophobia at bay is to tackle it in its initial stages when it’s only a fear.