If you’ve never heard of genophobia, you’re not alone. Sometimes used interchangeably with erotophobia, this term refers to the fear of sex and sexual intimacy. The condition varies in severity, with some people being afraid of all sexual acts while others are only scared of penetrative intercourse. If you find you relate to any of these signs, you may have genophobia. Don’t freak out, though — you can totally overcome it.
- You feel anxious just thinking about sex. People who suffer from genophobia are genuinely afraid of sex, so much so that the mere thought of being intimate with another person in this way is enough to cause you severe anxiety. It’s impossible to isolate what exactly is causing the discomfort — pretty much anything to do with sex just freaks you out.
- You avoid being alone with dates in case things become too physical. Just because you have genophobia doesn’t mean you don’t crave love and connection with another person. You likely go on dates with men or women and even connect with them, but these relationships rarely develop beyond the casual since you always make sure to meet up in public and do everything you can to avoid being alone with them. You know that if you were, they might expect things to get sexual, and that’s not something you want to happen.
- You hate kissing because you know it usually leads to more. It would be nice to kiss someone and just have it stay as a kiss. However, you can never sit back and enjoy the experience of locking lips because in your head, you know that kissing usually evolves into something deeper and the last thing you want is to end up in bed with the other person. Even if you’re really attracted to them and feel chemistry, you just can’t allow things to go further.
- When things do start getting hot and heavy, you have a panic attack. If you have tried to convince yourself that it’s mind over matter and that you can simply get over your genophobia by going ahead with sex/sexual activity with your partner, there comes a point when you can’t keep the panic down anymore and you freak out. Your heart races, you experience shortness of breath, and you start to shake. You may even begin to cry. It’s a terrible thing to experience.
- You suffer from vaginismus. Vaginismus is your body’s automatic, involuntary reaction to the fear of vaginal penetration and is a major symptom of genophobia. When your partner attempts to penetrate you, the muscles in your vagina literally tense up on their own, making sex painful or even impossible.
- You wish you could just be “normal.” While you probably hate that you have genophobia and wish you could just be “normal” and get over it, it doesn’t work like that. The only way to work through this is to seek professional help. A licensed therapist can help you isolate the reasons behind your feelings as well as give you methods on how to work through them long-term. You’ve got this.