Building intimate relationships is a delicate process that can be broken at one minute, and the reason for this may well be the fear of intimacy. Studying the causes and types of such fear, awareness of these limitations, doubts, and anxieties is vital to help people avoid mistakes in the development of intimate relationships.
The personal life issues of people become more and more complicated, and it depends, first of all, on the individual psychology of each person. One of the most common fears in interpersonal relationships is genophobia or fear of intimacy.
Genophobia Is a Common Psychological Problem
The fear of emotional intimacy, from a psychological point of view, is characterized as a condition of a person, manifested through the fear of a long and trusting relationship with a partner (sexual or just close). This fear is peculiar to both men and women. Fear of physical intimacy is connected with a natural desire of a person not to show their true “I” of their personality due to negative expectations that might be associated with unpleasant acute situations, experienced in the past. It should be noted that fear as such is a natural and normal reaction of a healthy organism. However, the biological nature of a living creature does not imply and rejects the presence of fear of sex. Fear of sexual contact is not a protective “idea” of nature. Genophobia is an irrational, baseless, inexplicable fear, devoid of good reason.
However, such a disorder exists, and almost 15% of the inhabitants of the globe show fear of intimacy signs. And this figure reflects only the number of people who overcame their shame and shared the existing problem with the doctors. However, we cannot know for sure how many people actually have an obsessive and uncontrollable fear of sex life. Genophobia is a rather peculiar phenomenon. This term means various anomalous states related to human sex life. This disorder may manifest as a hypertrophic fear of having sex for the first time. Such a phenomenon is typical for young girls who had no previous intimate experience.
Also, genophobia can manifest itself in the fear of sex life in general. A man or woman suffering from this type of disorder usually has sexual experience. But due to any conscious or not well-understood circumstances, they tend to panic at the very thought of potentially possible sexual intercourse.
What Causes Fear of Intimacy
There is no specific answer to what causes fear of intimacy as the emergence of a fear of sex does not depend on the temperament of a person. Almost always psychological and social aspects are the reasons for the formation of phobias.
- Behavior patterns implanted by parents
Often caring grandmothers and mothers transmit mythic tales filled with prejudices about intimacy. Often, the desire to protect their children from unhappy love makes mothers tell all sorts of nasty things about men who communicate with ladies with supposedly one goal - to satisfy their lust. A little girl grows up surrounded by stories about how an unhappy woman was used and left alone with her child.
Such an evil atmosphere and ill will towards the opposite sex is often present in families where the child is raised without a father. From an early age, the girl is imbued with the idea that having sex is equivalent to crippling her own destiny. She is afraid of communicating with men, is afraid of unwanted pregnancy and worries about being abandoned.
- The lack of truthful knowledge about intimate life
Very often, young girls are sure that sexual intercourse is necessarily associated with pain. They are convinced that sex life is a source of health problems and various intractable diseases. Fear of experiencing pain and the fear of infection are the foundation for the formation of genophobia.
- Sanctimonious model of raising children
Many strictly devout parents brainwash their children, teaching them that sex is an unnecessary, shameful and immoral act. Ascetic-minded moms and dads convince their children that first sexual contact is possible only after the marriage ceremony.
- Negative personal experiences
Experience of sexual abuse is a real cause for the start of the disorder. However, fear of sex can also occur in those individuals who face physical aggression or moral violence from the opposite sex. Mental injuries received from communication with partners form a “protective” program, and the body thinks that to be safe, it must avoid all contacts with the opposite sex. This may also work as a reason for the fear of intimacy in men.
- Painful or uncomfortable first sex
It may have happened with an inexperienced, careless, inattentive, overly persistent partner. Unpleasant experiences and painful feelings experienced during sex force a person to fear and reject all further offers of a life partner.
- Person’s inferiority complex
The individual, who considers themselves a worthless and useless creature, is confident that there can be no normal relationship with the opposite sex in their future. They are convinced that they will surely endure a fiasco at an intimate meeting. They believe that they will not be able to satisfy their partner. Such a person is very afraid of being ridiculed, criticized, rejected. Insecurity leads to the fact that a person simply does not dare to make contact with the opposite sex. And the pathological fear of sex is a kind of argument that “calms” a person and gives them excuses for inaction.
- Signs of Fear of Intimacy
The first one among the fear of intimacy symptoms and general condition of this disorder is manifested by the obsessive fear. Among other both women’s and men's fear of intimacy symptoms are the following:
- Panic anxiety covers a person not only directly at a meeting with a member of the opposite sex.
- A phobia “awards” a person with painful sufferings when they hear any talk about sex, watch intimate scenes on the TV screen or read stories describing intimate connections.
- Panic horror paralyzes a person when they have thoughts about the upcoming "bed-rest" continuation of relationships even with person they find cute or their beloved partner.
- Such an individual can wake up in a cold sweat if scenes of intimacy appear in their dreams.
Genophobia is a strange phenomenon even because a person suffering from it may have tender fiery feelings for their chosen one, but they cannot decide on the logical continuation of love relationships because of increasing and uncontrollable fear.
Genophobia both complicates a person’s life and makes it impossible for them to experience the whole range of sexual feeling and intimate emotions. Obsessive fear of intimate life prevents normal relationships with the opposite sex, does not allow to create a lovely family and have children. Genophobia often deprives a person of the meaning of life and forces one to reflect on the meaninglessness of being, causing the patient to think about suicide.
Another danger of this disorder lies in the fact that the pathological fear of sex life cannot be overcome by using will power. Fear of sex is firmly rooted in the subconsciousness of the individual, and, as you know, it is not possible for an individual to manage consciously and purposefully the processes occurring in this layer of the psyche. That is why to eliminate the fear of sex and return a person to a normal existence, it is necessary to promptly consult a doctor. If you have noticed any of the symptoms in yourself or you have thought that you may have this disorder, turn to a professional as soon as possible. They will scan your psychological condition and conduct a fear of intimacy test. The first step to learning how to get over a fear of intimacy is confessing that you have a problem and asking for the help of doctors!
Dating Someone with a Fear of Intimacy
When being in a relationship with someone who is overcoming the fear of intimacy, it is vital for their partner to support such a person and help by all means possible.
For example, a partner of a person suffering from the fear of intimacy should be more gentle and show that there is nothing to be afraid of in sex. They will need to cheer up and reassure the person they love, let them know it with the tender kisses, create all the conditions to make them relax, and everything will work out.
Focusing on the problem and actively discussing it to identify possible causes is not the best strategy of dealing with a person that is scared.
If the fear was developed after several fails and negative sexual experiences, it is worth being tactful and attentive to the state of your beloved. Tell them you will wait until they are ready, you are willing to help and teach them to please you and get pleasure too. Practice makes perfect, so if something does not go right from the first try, if you and your partner approach it slowly and surely, the action will soon replace the fear and shyness.
The only possible way to rid the person you love of such complexes is your sincere interest in them. Arrange a surprise for your partner: create a romantic atmosphere, tell them about the undeniable merits and how much you appreciate them. Focus not only on their personal attributes but their body too, make them feel special and beautiful, gently explain that you enjoy spending time with them and would like your relationship to be close and intimate.
How to Overcome the Fear of Intimacy
1. The first technique on how to overcome the fear of physical intimacy is to transfer your fear onto paper
Take a sheet of paper and write down everything you feel about your fear. It is necessary to be completely honest, no one except you will read this, you have nothing to be afraid of. You can make it even easier - draw your fear. Then write your merits or solutions near each paragraph or simply draw your spirit animal near the fear monster. As if there is a superhero inside you that is capable of defeating any of your inner traumas. All this will help reduce the internal tension, initiate positive emotions. The procedure can be repeated as many times as needed until a positive result is achieved.
2. Working on self-esteem
The goal is to feel like a complete personality. This technique is focused on working out negative thoughts and prejudices about yourself. It is necessary to remember situations where a person felt full confidence in their abilities and most positively assessed themselves, their own behavior, as well as people who gave high marks to a person, praised them. As soon as uncertainty and a negative assessment of oneself arise, focus on the positive situations and convince yourself you are strong and beautiful.
3. Direct “meeting” with fear
A person must deal with what scares them. The more they resist and avoid the coitus, the greater the fear gets. So, explain your condition to the partner you trust and slowly start practicing.