What is Genophobia?

An irrational and persistent fear of sexual intercourse or sexual activity is known by the Latin term Genophobia. This fear may refer to fear of all sex acts, or a specific fear of intercourse. In extreme cases, this fear can reach Agoraphobic proportions and lead to complete social isolation and associated fears, such as fear of crowds, fear of leaving home, etc.

Genophobia is also known as Coitophobia

Erotophobia, a fear of all things erotic or sexual, is closely related and may also be used when describing Genophobia.

The root word 'genos' is Latin meaning 'creation' or 'reproduction' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Genophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

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Causes of Genophobia

Genophobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public and affect men and women equally. Extreme social anxieties often start in childhood or adolescence due to social traumas, embarrassments, etc., and may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression.

The origins of social anxiety disorders are not as well-understood as specific (or “isolated”) phobias, where a direct fear of injury from some specific animal, thing, or situation forms a clear basis for the fear. Even so, hereditary factors may be present, such as a genetic tendency to be “high strung”, nervous, etc.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

Genophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious 'over protection' mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Although Genophobia is considered a social anxiety disorder, it may also have physical or medical roots related to sexual function. Medical problems such as erectile dysfunction or even non-sexual issues that might be embarrassing such as skin marks or conditions, etc., can be underlying roots of Genophobia.

For women, the fear of sex may develop to phobic degrees because the act itself is painful; a disorder known as Dyspareunia renders the act itself quite painful. Women may also suffer from a pronounced loss of libido due to changing hormone levels caused by any number of conditions such as menopause, pregnancy, or menstrual cycles can directly affect the way a woman views sexual intercourse.

Sexual abuse, as an underlying trauma, can be a direct cause of Genophobia.

No direct causes, however, are required for the development of a phobic degree of fear and avoidance.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Genophobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

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