What is Androphobia?
Androphobia is the fear of men. It is not as common as some other phobias, but it does exist. For some people, any interaction with a man can trigger anxiety or a full-blown panic attack. This fear can keep people from going to work, school, or social events where there will be men. Some people may only be able to tolerate being around certain types of men, such as their father or male friends.
Medical definition of Androphobia
Androphobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of men. Sufferers experience anxiety even though they may realize they face no real threat.
- “Androphobia” is derived from the Greek “andros” (man) and “phobos” (fear). “Andro-” enters into a number of other biomedical terms such as, for example, androgen (a male sex hormone like testosterone) and an android pelvis (a pelvis shaped like a man’s).
- Terms pertinent to androphobia include gynephobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of women; and pedophobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of babies and children.
Is androphobia a mental illness?
Androphobia is an extreme and unreasonable phobia of men. Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder and are one of the most common mental disorders.
What is the outlook for androphobia?
Androphobia can negatively affect your quality of life. Possible complications include social isolation, mood disorders, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.
It’s important for you to seek help if you need it, especially if you have children who are, or could be affected by, your phobia. With treatment, you can reduce your anxiety and live your life to the fullest.
How do you know if you have androphobia?
The symptoms of androphobia may include: an instant, intense fear, anxiousness or panic when you see or think about men. an awareness that your fear of men is irrational or inflated but you feel like you cannot control it. anxiety that worsens as a man gets physically closer to you.
Androphobia and sex life:
Androphobia can gravely affect the personal life of an individual particularly his/her sex life. Androphobic women intentionally keep away from male company which definitely has a negative impact on their sex life. Even mildly androphobic women are known to feel uncomfortable while talking to men.
The androphobics are generally depressed individuals who prefer to keep to themselves. In spite of having feelings for a man or having the urge to have sex, an androphobic woman will hardly be able to convey her feeling because of her intense fear of manliness. The loneliness and alienation which is associated with this kind of phobia often prompts a woman to contemplate suicide.
What is a phobia?
A phobia is a common type of anxiety disorder. It causes you to develop a significant fear of something that isn’t consistent with the actual danger of the feared item. Androphobia falls under the category of a specific phobic disorder.
This means that you are afraid of, or anxious around, a particular entity (in this case, males). As a result, you may avoid situations involving men or experience strong anxiety when these situations occur.
What is the difference between androphobia and misandry?
Misandry is hatred of men. Its counterpart is misogyny, hatred of women. Someone with androphobia doesn’t hate men (misandrist). They are afraid of men (androphobic).
How common is androphobia?
Experts aren’t sure how many people have androphobia. But as many as 12% of American adults and nearly 1 in 5 teenagers experience a specific phobic disorder at some point.
Who is at risk for androphobia?
Women and those designated female at birth (DFAB) are twice as likely to develop a specific phobic disorder like androphobia. You’re more likely to develop a phobia if a parent or close relative has a phobia or another type of anxiety disorder.
Spending a lot of time with someone who has androphobia may lead you to start having the same fears. Experts believe some people have genetic differences that make them more likely than others to develop an anxiety disorder.
Other risk factors for androphobia include having:
- Another phobia
- Anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Substance use disorder
What are androphobia causes?
There is not always a clear cause for why people develop phobias. Often, a fear of men starts in childhood and may persist into adulthood. For some people, a past harmful or frightening experience with a male during childhood may cause androphobia. These situations may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as a fear of men.
You may have a direct experience or witness an event, such as:
- Child abuse, domestic abuse or other violence
- An intimidating or overbearing authority figure or bully (teacher, parent or boss)
- Sexual assault, harassment or rape
What are further causes of phobias?
- Past incidents or traumas
Certain situations might have a lasting effect on how you feel about them.
- Learned responses from early life
Your phobia may develop from factors in your childhood environment.
- Reactions and responses to panic or fear
- Experiencing long-term stress
- Genetic factors
- Biological or environmental
There are many different causes of androphobia, which is the fear of men. It can be caused by biological or environmental factors. Some people may be born with a higher sensitivity to testosterone, which can cause them to feel more anxious or scared around men.
Other people may have experienced a traumatic event involving a man, such as being physically or sexually assaulted. This can cause them to associate all men with danger and lead to a lifelong fear of them.
What do people with androphobia fear?
Androphobia affects everyone differently. You may be:
- Able to be around men you trust like a relative or spouse, but not other men.
- Unable to be around any men without experiencing panicky symptoms.
- Anxious just thinking about being in close proximity to men or seeing visual images of men.
- Avoiding any situation that puts you near men.
Symptoms of androphobia
Physical and emotional
Androphobia is a term used to describe a fear of men. It can manifest itself in physical and emotional ways. Physical symptoms can include a racing heart, sweating, and feeling out of breath. Emotional symptoms can include feeling tense, anxious, or scared when around men.
People with androphobia may avoid social situations with men, or they may go to great lengths to avoid them. They may also feel very uncomfortable or unsafe when interacting with men. This fear can lead to significant distress and interfere with daily life activities.
A child who fears men may scream, cry, run away or try to hide from a man. These reactions may improve as a child gets older. Adults with androphobia are often aware that their fear of men is irrational, but they can’t control their physical responses.
Androphobia symptoms range from mild to extreme. They can include:
- Dry mouth
- Extreme feeling of dread or terror
- Inability to speak or stuttering
- Stomach pain
- Profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Shaking or trembling
- Muscle tension
- Aching or tense muscles
How is androphobia diagnosed?
There isn’t an androphobia test, but the pattern of symptoms common to androphobia are diagnosed in the same way as other specific phobias. A mental health professional like a psychologist can evaluate your symptoms and make a diagnosis.
The following factors need to be present for a specific phobic disorder diagnosis:
- An intense fear of men is present for at least six months.
- Symptoms almost always occur immediately when you are near men or think about being near men.
- Anxiety or fear causes you to avoid situations where men may be present.
- The fear affects your ability to work, socialize and enjoy life.
- Feelings of fear or anxiety don’t match the actual danger.
What are androphobia treatments?
Many people learn to overcome androphobia with the help of a mental health professional and psychotherapy (talk therapy). You may benefit from one or more of these treatments:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
With CBT, you learn to change your perceptions and responses to situations that cause symptoms. For people who have been through traumatic events leading to a phobia of men, this therapy can also address thoughts and beliefs about your history and experiences.
Cognitive behavioral therapy uses exposure combined with other therapeutic techniques to teach you different ways to view and deal with your fear of men. Your therapist will teach you how to:
- View your fear in a different way
- Cope with the bodily sensations associated with your fear
- Emotionally deal with the impact your fear has had on your life
CBT sessions will help you gain a sense of confidence or mastery of your thoughts and feelings instead of feeling overpowered by them.
You gradually face your fear through continual exposures to images or situations that cause symptoms in order to learn how to tolerate and eventually reduce symptoms of anxiety. Exposure therapy helps up to 90% of people who have specific phobias.
Anti-anxiety drugs may be helpful for short-term use while you’re getting psychotherapy. The medicines can make it easier for you to make the transition to being near men while minimizing symptoms. For other people, long-term medication use is needed to manage their anxiety symptoms. Medications commonly used for treating androphobia include:
- Beta blockers: Beta blockers control the effects of anxiety-induced adrenaline in the body. Adrenaline can cause uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous, physical symptoms including increased heart rate and blood pressure, a pounding heart, as well as trembling voice and limbs
- Sedatives: Benzodiazepines help you feel calmer by reducing your anxiety. These drugs should be used with caution because they can be addictive. Benzodiazepines may not be right for you if you have a history of alcohol or drug use.
Psychotherapy is usually very successful at treating androphobia. But sometimes it’s helpful to use medications that can reduce feelings of anxiety or panic attacks associated with androphobia. These medications should be used at the beginning of treatment to help facilitate your recovery.
Another appropriate use is for infrequent, short-term situations where your anxiety prevents you from doing something necessary, such as seeking medical treatment from a man or going to the emergency room.
Treatment for androphobia
Counselling and medication
Androphobia is the fear of men. It can be a debilitating condition, making it difficult for people with androphobia to have close relationships or even leave their homes. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for androphobia, counselling and medication can be very effective in helping people overcome their fear of men.
How do you get rid of androphobia?
The primary treatment of androphobia is psychotherapy, also called talk therapy. The two most common forms of psychotherapy used to treat androphobia are exposure therapy and behavioral therapy. In some cases, medication is also used as a part of the treatment plan.
What are the complications of androphobia?
People who have an extreme fear of men may find it difficult to function in society. You may develop depression or have panic attacks. Ongoing panic attacks, or worries about having an attack, can lead to panic disorder. Many of the therapies used for androphobia can also be used to treat panic disorder. You may also need anti-anxiety medications.
Panic attack symptoms include:
- Non-cardiac chest pain
- Racing heart rate
- Symptoms like a heart attack
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, unsteady or faint
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of choking
- Stomach pain
- Profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Shaking or trembling
- Numbness or tingling (paresthesia)
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
- Feeling that things aren’t real (derealization)
- Feeling that you are outside your body (depersonalization)
When should you call the doctor?
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Panic attack
- Persistent anxiety that interferes with daily life or sleeping
- Signs of depression
- Substance use problems
What questions should you ask your doctor?
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is causing this phobia?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- Should I try exposure therapy?
- How long will I need therapy?
- Should I watch for signs of complications?
- Should you see a doctor?