Genophobia or coitophobia is the irrational psychological fear of intercourse. It is a type of a phobia and people suffering from it fill all or most of the criteria of specific phobia according to the ICD (The International Statistical Classification of Diseases). Genophobic people may be terrified of sexual intercourse or all acts involving sex. It is different from erotophobia in the sense erotophobia is the irrational fear of sexuality and not the act in itself.
- The causes of genophobia may be attributed to different experiences and origins according to different psychological perspectives. According to the psychoanalytic perspective, genophobia may be caused by the rigid or extremely religious upbringing, which affected the development of ego, making the individual fear all acts that are sexual because it causes moral anxiety and a severe clash of the superego (ethical portion of one's personality)and i'd (primitive component of one's personality).
- According to the learning perspective, genophobia may develop due to an unpleasant sexual experience such as rape or molestation. Rape Trauma Syndrome leads the survivor to relive the trauma several times and develop apprehension. They may begin to fear sex eventually by relating it to the unpleasant experience, eventually leading to genophobia. It may also be caused if the individual observes sexual acts that are traumatizing in nature, in media or otherwise.
- It may also result from severe performance anxiety, especially for those who lack sexual experience and have abstained from sex for a prolonged period of time. There is also a chance that other phobias, such as the fear of diseases, especially STDs, may lead to a fear of sexual acts. Some people might relate sexual intercourse with acquiring diseases, thus leading to the development of genophobia.
Symptoms: Symptoms of genophobia include the fear of sexual intercourse and all acts within, breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, feeling sick and fear of losing control. All these symptoms take place in the context of sexual acts.
Treatment: Genophobia is treated like all other phobias. Therapeutic technique such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (a conversation centric therapy that focuses on how thoughts and beliefs can affect one's actions) is widely used in the treatment of genophobia along with medications. The therapeutic technique varies from patient to patient. For instance, the therapeutic technique used for a rape survivor would be completely different from that which is used for an individual with a fear of STDs. With proper treatment, genophobia is curable, eventually allowing the individual to have a particularly healthy sex life.