Gynophobia is a term that describes one of the specific phobias, which is characterized by a strong fear of women. Men and women can struggle with this disorder, and for both genders, the problem can significantly interfere with their daily functioning. Read about the causes of gynophobia, see what symptoms this type of disorder may indicate, and learn about the methods used to treat the fear of women.
One possible cause could be inherited genes – it appears that if a member of a human family struggled with a specific phobia, the risk of developing a similar type of anxiety disorder is somewhat increased.
Situations related to contact with women throughout life have a great influence on the occurrence of fear of women in people. It may involve childhood contact with an arrogant, emotionally cold mother and experience of sexual abuse by a woman.
Unpleasant events that occur in adulthood can also lead to the development of gynophobia – it happens that gynophobia develops in men who are somehow humiliated or simply mocked by their partner during their first sexual intercourse.
The essence of gynophobia is the occurrence of a feeling of fear when in contact with women, but not only that – unpleasant feelings can occur already at the mere thought of contact with a woman. Patients may also be concerned when looking at objects that women typically use, such as lipstick or high heels.
However, worries are not the only symptom of gynophobia – it happens that somatic manifestations of anxiety appear in patients who are struggling with this problem, which can include:
- increased sweating,
- shortness of breath,
Although it is a relatively rare situation, it also happens that people with gynophobia, when they meet a woman, even experience a panic attack. A patient with gynophobia is aware that their fears are unfounded and that contact with women should not lead to any problems, but the feeling of anxiety they experience is so strong that it can significantly interfere with their daily functioning.
This type of phobia, like other specific phobias, can be successfully treated. Psychotherapy plays a crucial role in this. Various techniques are used, and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is especially recommended.
Psychotherapy can help patients with gynophobia to the fullest extent possible, but it takes time for the treatment to take effect. In fact, there are no medications that can lead to the resolution of gynophobia – this outcome can be achieved through psychotherapy. Yes, pharmacological treatment is sometimes offered to patients with a fear of women, but this approach is used in strictly defined cases.
The use of medication may also be recommended for people with psychiatric disorders other than gynophobia (e.g., depressive disorders) and patients whose fear of women is associated with panic attacks.