Phallophobia is the morbid and irrational fear of penises. This does not refer to those people, both men and women (more so women), who are just “turned off” by the thought of a penis, but rather those who are legitimately afraid of them.
Some people are considered asexual, where they experience no sexual attraction whatsoever. Many may consider this a fear of penises, but this is not the same either.
Phallophobia is a condition where the sufferer experiences extreme terror with the thought of or exposure to a penis. Even a mere photograph or mention of one may “set them off”.
Symptoms of Phallophobia
Symptoms of Phallophobia will vary from one person to the next depending on three factors; state of mind, level of fear, and personality characteristics. Some people are more susceptible to fear and phobias than others.
General symptoms of Phallophobia, however, include a lack of sexual desire, extreme terror when faced with these type of situations, and general anxiety or feeling uncomfortable. Entering a sexual situation, or even just the mention of it or penises, could cause these feelings.
If faced with a situation involving a penis, and if the level of fear is high enough, a full blown panic attack may set in. Panic attacks, in general, are heightened levels of fear and anxiety marked by their own set of (mostly physical) symptoms. Symptoms of panic attacks include difficulty breathing, fast heart beat, weakness, fainting, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, excessive sweating, chills, an extreme sense of terror, death, or impending doom, feeling a loss of control, and chest pain.
Causes of Phallophobia
Just like symptoms, cause of Phallophobia can vary from person to person. Most often, though, phobias, especially ones of this nature, are caused by trauma. Furthermore, this trauma usually occurs during childhood, when people are more susceptible to fear and emotional scarring. A very common cause, trauma-wise, of Phallophobia is sexual abuse or molestation by an older male. The men that abuse young children, both male and female, are typically people than the children know very well, such as close family friends, or even family members. This not only leads to the fear of penises, but also a severe lack of trust concerning males. This is also why people with Phallophobia lack a significant amount of sexual desire.
Going with a completely different reason, many women suffer from sexual disorders which make intercourse extremely painful. Some women are even allergic to semen and/or sperm. The association between pain, or bodily danger, and penises can lead many women to become deathly afraid of them.
A lack of self-esteem or high level of insecurity could also be the cause of Phallophobia. Sexual desire often dwindles in those who do not think very highly of themselves, and this shows in their fear of the opposite sex, namely men and their penises.
Treatment for Phallophobia
Many types of treatments are available to those with Phallophobia. Medication can be used to treat the anxiety and fear (anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication). Medical treatment can also help for those discussed previously with painful or even life-threatening sexual disorders.
Most commonly, though, therapy is the option that people with Phallophobia choose. Therapy can both help to get to the bottom of the phobia, understanding the cause of it, and treat the phobia. Cognitive-behavioral and shock or exposure therapy is helpful in desensitizing people or changing the way they react to a stimulus. Social therapy can also be very helpful in showing people that not everyone is out there to hurt them.