Genophobia And How to Get Over it?

Most of us are yet not aware of what genophobia is. It is the fear of sex or sexual intimacy. Genophobia is often referred to as erotophobia and is characterized more like an aversion or dislike towards sex. People having genophobia tend to get anxious or suffer from extreme fear when indulging in sexual activities. But often people with genophobia tend to become scared at the thought of having sex.[1]

Genophobia may also bring about other phobias, which can make the condition even more complicated.[2] These include

  • Heterophobia: Fear of opposite sex
  • Tocophobia: Fear of pregnancy
  • Nosophobia: Fear of being infected by a virus
  • Gymnophobia: Fear of nudity (seeing or being seen naked)
  • Coitophobia: Fear of intercourse
  • Haphephobia: Fear of being touched

A person can also have anxious feelings about being emotionally attached to someone, further increasing the risk of fear towards sexual intimacy.

Symptoms of genophobia

Phobias are often described as feelings of being scared or not liking something. Phobias may often lead to fear or anxiety. These may tend to cause psychological as well as physical damages, thereby having an impact on day-to-day functioning.[3]

Phobias are often triggered when a person finds himself in an event or situation that may increase fear. The typical reactions to phobias include the following

  • Increasing risk of fear, anxiety, and panic on being exposed to a source of the phobia
  • Understanding that the fear is increasing but being unable to minimize the feeling
  • Worsening symptoms of trigger
  • Trying to avoid the situation of fear.
  • Heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, and sweating

What causes genophobia?

The exact cause of phobias always remains a mystery even for specific ones. The primary cause has always been considered to be the most important one for treating genophobia. Genophobia may have physical and emotional causes. Some of the issues related to genophobia include the following.[4]


Vaginismus is a condition in which the vaginal muscles tend to close themselves on vaginal penetration. Not only does it make penetration impossible, but it also makes it painful. Also, vaginismus makes putting in tampons harmful. As a result, one may undergo constant pain and fear, which eventually develops to fear sexual intimacy.[5]

Past sexual abuse or PTSD

PTSD is known as post-traumatic stress disorder that can affect intimacy. A lot of people who underwent child abuse also refrain from indulging themselves in sexual activities. The survivor has a tough time coping up, and it wrecks their feeling of having sex. However, it is important to note that not every person who underwent child abuse will have PTSD.[6]

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to reach or sustain an erection. It is curable, but still, many men find it a matter of shame and embarrassment, which eventually transforms itself into stress. People with erectile dysfunction do not want to share their stories with others. As a result, the feelings become intense with time, and one becomes fearful towards sexual intimacy.[7]

Body shame or dysmorphia

Being extremely self-conscious about one’s body can make a person feel anxious. This, later on, hurts sexual satisfaction. People with dysmorphia usually avoid sexual intimacy, fearing that they may be judged for their body’s appearance. Internal shame and lack of pleasure come in between, thereby making it tough for the individual to indulge in sex.

History of rape

Rape survivors often have a tough time indulging in sexual activities. History of rape or sexual assault can increase the risk of PTSD, furthermore leading to sexual dysfunction. Rape survivors, therefore, have a fear of developing sexual intimacy with any individual.

Can genophobia be treated?

Genophobia isn’t much of a serious condition until there’s a traumatic event related to it. If genophobia happens due to physical conditions like vaginismus, it’s easily treatable. Painful intercourse is common and can be treated with the help of medicines and professional help. However, if the physical condition is left untreated for a prolonged period, it can increase the risk of avoiding sexual contact.[8]

Often genophobia occurs due to underlying physical conditions that can be treated. But, at the same time, it is necessary to address the underlying emotional component.

Psychotherapy is one of the most potent treatments for overcoming emotional trauma. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can be of great help for overcoming the different types of phobias.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is aimed at developing alternative situations for dealing with phobias or situations triggering the phobia. Furthermore, exposure to the situation can also decrease the risk of phobia.[9]

If you have had genophobia, it is better to reach out to a sex therapist. However, the kind of therapy to indulge in completely depends on the phobia, situation, and trigger.

Medical concerns

Fears that are a result of underlying medical conditions are not considered to be phobias as long as the fear of the particular situation is controlled. Different conditions, like erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disorders, can make indulging sexual activities dangerous. It is important to be cautious and fearful before indulging in these activities.[10]

Some people also become scared due to the risk involved in sexual activities. It is normal to feel anxious to indulge in sex even after being treated. If you had been suffering from a physical condition, it is better to consult your doctor before having sex with your partner.

Are there any religious causes?

Although the world has advanced, certain religious or cultural groups are apprehensive of intercourse. A large number of people following these principles can eventually develop a phobia. The phobias also develop when a person switches their belief from one practice to another. Self-doubt and fear of breaking the norms of culture can also increase the risk of phobias.[11]


When to see a doctor?

Genophobia may vary from being mild to severe, and either or it will have a significant negative impact on your life. Genophobia may negatively impact romantic relationships, increasing the feeling of depression and isolation.

But, these phobias can be easily treated with medicines and therapy depending on the seriousness of the condition.[12]

You may prefer visiting a doctor who can see if your genophobia is a result of any physical condition. The absence of physical conditions hints at mental conditions that aggravate depending on the situation.Hence, only a therapist will help you get out of the situation. You don’t have to suffer alone as you can quickly get through it with professional help.[13]




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