The Extreme Fear or Disgust of Male Genitalia
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, shaking with fear, thinking about penises, disgusted by male genitalia?
Do you find it difficult to get into relationships with men because you fear penises?
If so, don’t worry. We’ll go through all the details surrounding this confusing and potentially embarrassing fear – and help you understand how to manage and get past it.
What Is the Phobia of Male Genitalia Called?
The fear of male genitalia or the fear of an erect penis is called Phallophobia. It is also known by other names such as Ithyphallophobia and Medorthophobia. As a sufferer of Phallophobia, you might have experienced a trembling sensation all over your body.
You may also have felt hopeless, ashamed, and withdrawn. However, all hope is not lost. Phallophobia, like any other phobia, is completely curable. It is important though, to accept that you have it in the first place.
What is Phallophobia: A Guide
The word ‘Phallophobia’ is derived from the Greek words ‘phallo’ meaning ‘penis’ and ‘phobos’ which means ‘fear’. While Phallophobia impacts both men and women, the latter are more likely to suffer from it. Although Phallophobia is not rare, it can develop all of a sudden in some people while in other cases, the symptoms take time to become severe.
People suffering from Phallophobia might experience a heightened sense of anxiety or a full-blown panic attack, even by thinking about a penis. Women suffering from Phallophobia often find it hard to form relationships with men. They may even refuse to get married or become physically intimate with a man, due to the fear of male genitalia. However, the symptoms of Phallophobia don’t appear only when exposed to an uncovered penis.
The phobia gets triggered simply by looking at the outline or curvature of the penis through clothes or something that resembles a male appendage. Sometimes, Phallophobia also gets triggered by accidentally touching a penis, or talking about or listening to someone discuss male genitalia. Men who suffer from Phallophobia might avoid wearing clothes or light fabrics that can reveal the curvature of their genitalia.
They may also fear getting into relationships with other men. When coupled with severe psychiatric conditions, Phallophobia may result in issues such as Klingsor Syndrome, or the amputation of the penis by oneself.
There are various reasons why people suffer from Phallophobia. Let us take a look at some of them:
● Family history of mental illnesses and anxiety disorders.
● Sexual abuse or rape at the hands of a man.
● Fear of male aggression and masculinity.
● Embarrassment of one’s genitalia owing to being made to feel ashamed of it by others.
● Cultural and religious factors.
Some cultures and religions frown upon sexual intercourse and propagate that sexual acts should only be performed after marriage or for the purpose of procreation. As a result, parents and family members might teach their children that sex is something that is dirty and shameful. They may also refuse to discuss genitalia and sexual abuse, which can develop into Phallophobia simply due to unclear or nonexistent sex education at the right age. Women who have been taught to abstain from sex or forming relationships with men before marriage may begin to think that penises are something to be afraid of, which, in turn, makes them fear sex as well.
Symptoms of Phallophobia
Now, let us understand the psychological and physical symptoms of Phallophobia.
● Feeling hopeless and worthless
● Feeling disconnected
● Mood swings
● Lack of concentration
● Uncontrollable anger
● Feeling guilty and shameful
● Fear of dying
● Feelings of dread and an impending doom
● Fear of losing control
● Feeling withdrawn from others
● Feeling incapable of having healthy relationships with men
● Hot or cold flashes
● Excessive sweating
● Shortness of breath
● Rapid heartbeat
● Feeling faint
● Dryness in the mouth
● Ringing sensation in ears
● Increased blood pressure
If you are still unsure of whether you have Phallophobia, it is best that you take a Phallophobia test online, and see if your symptoms match with those listed here. If you seem confident that you have the phobia, it would be prudent to consider the following treatments:
There are a variety of treatments available to cure Phallophobia. You can either overcome it through different self-help techniques or through professional help.
Let us understand these treatments in detail:
What to Do to Help Myself With Phallophobia?
In case you might be wondering how to get over Phallophobia on your own?’, there’s a wide set of potential activities that can help you recover. You can start by incorporating certain physical activities into your schedule. Vigorous exercises such as jogging, fast walking, and aerobics are beneficial in reducing anxiety, stress, and improving concentration. They also help divert the mind from intrusive and disturbing thoughts, guiding you closer towards more positive ways of thinking. Cutting down on caffeine and foods rich in fat can also aid in reducing anxiety and aggravating the symptoms of Phallophobia. Moreover, following a particular schedule or exercise regimen can improve your sleep cycle and self-image. This, in turn, helps boost confidence in overcoming your fears.
In case you believe that seeking professional help is the best way to overcome Phallophobia, therapists use several methods including exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).
Exposure therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat anxiety disorders and phobias. Under exposure therapy, a patient is repeatedly exposed to their fears, with the objective of desensitizing them. In the case of someone battling Phallophobia, the therapist will start by showing them images or videos of male genitalia, to the point they start viewing a penis as a part of the human body and not something that will cause harm.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
In CBT, the therapist helps the client to replace their irrational thoughts with something positive and logical. The process begins with the therapist helping the patient trace the root cause of their phobia, why they have a fear of someone or something, and find ways to deal with their issues. CBT is a short-term process and aims to change the mindset of individuals in response to certain situations or stimuli.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR is an eight-week evidence-based program that offers secular and intensive mindfulness training to those suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental disorders. Individuals with Phallophobia can expect to learn a wide range of skills and techniques that will help them overcome the phobia even after the program is over.
How to Avoid Phallophobia Altogether?
If you feel that Phallophobia is debilitating your life, then it may be in your best interest to avoid dealing with it altogether. You can start by avoiding movies or TV shows that depict sexual acts, and refrain from looking at photos or reading about male genitalia. Try to keep your conversation with men as minimal as possible, and communicate through calls or virtually than having to meet in person. You should also avoid going to places that may have a large number of men and look for professions dominated by women. For girls, it may be better to attend an all-girl school or university – just remember that there is a fine line between maintaining a healthy space, and isolating yourself. Nevertheless, if interaction with men is something you can’t avoid, then you need to equip yourself with skills that can help you overcome Phallophobia, as suggested above.
People suffering from Phallophobia might be under the misconception that they are alone and no one would understand them. As a result, they often isolate themselves and tend to avoid social gatherings.
This, in turn, further aggravates anxiety and even depression. However, like any other phobia, Phallophobia is curable. So, don’t feel ashamed, get help, and very soon, you will have a normal and healthy life.________________________________________