Most men love attractive women but in case of some individuals, the very thought of seeing a beautiful woman, let alone speak to her, can cause a full blown panic attack. The scientific word for such a fear or phobia is Venustraphobia or Caligynephobia. Venustraphobia combines two Greek words: Venus which is the Greek Goddess representative of women and phobos which means deep aversion or fear. Likewise, Caligynephobia is comprised of Greek words: calos meaning good or beautiful, gyne meaning woman and phobos which is fear. Caligynephobia takes the fear of beautiful women beyond the normal levels of fear as the individual has full-blown panic attacks and may embarrass himself at the mere thought of meeting or talking to good-looking women.
Let us study the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for the fear of beautiful women.
Causes of Venustraphobia
Scientists and researchers have spent years trying to figure out where phobias occur and start from. Most often, there isn’t a simple answer as there are many factors we need to account for when trying to diagnose the exact cause behind this anxiety disorder.
For some men, the phobia or fear of beautiful women is inherited. One might simply develop the personality-type that is more reactive, sensitive, fearful or anxious.
Many doctors believe that phobias can also arise when one has had a direct negative experience with an object or a situation. In this case, a man who has been rejected by a gorgeous woman or has been ridiculed, teased, insulted/shamed publicly, or laughed at, has greater chances of developing Venustraphobia. The phobic then starts associating every beautiful woman with that negative experience. They feel that every good-looking woman would be dangerous or threatening, even though that is not the case. Naturally, not every man that has been jilted by a beautiful woman would develop such a phobia. Only a few develop this type of conditioning by association. Typically, this association can be made after one painful experience or several less severe experiences.
Sometimes, a phobia may also be observed and internalized. A boy might see his friend, brother, or father being afraid of a beautiful woman and unknowingly learns to do the same.
Media and information can also contribute to extreme fears. The phobic may not have had a direct experience with a good-looking woman and might still become afraid of them. Parents, teachers, friends, and people close to the individual might have given him some well-meaning advice or helpful warnings, sometimes exaggerating or lying in the process. Many of these warnings may be unrealistic, but to someone who is impressionable and also has low self-esteem, these suggestions can seem very real and could trigger a deep rooted aversion or fear of beautiful women.
Another factor that can trigger Caligynephobia is stress. A small amount of stress can be good for us; it may even be necessary to help us move forward, work hard, and be more productive. But too much stress can start to affect all other areas of life. It can cause someone to get overwhelmed and without the energy and mental resources to manage it, it can trigger a phobia.
In short, Venustraphobia can arise from various factors, like:
- Genetic inheritance
- Direct negative association
- Observation and learning
- Amount of experience
- Level of stress
Symptoms of Caligynephobia
All phobias give rise to different kinds of symptoms in varying degrees, including physical, emotional or psychological reactions.
- Shaking, trembling
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty hands
- Gastric disturbance: nausea, vomiting, headaches
- Gasping for breath, choking
- Crying, screaming
- Feeling like running away
- Loss of reality
- Feeling like being choked
- Fear of embarrassing yourself
- Thoughts of death or dying
- Feeling as if you will pass out, have a stroke or go blind
- Feeling that you will act foolish and be unable to control yourself
In extreme cases, the fear can impact the Venustraphobe’s relationships and self-esteem. He may not be able to perform well at work or school. This fear may even lead him to be ridiculed by people who do not take his phobia seriously. In some cases, the Venustraphobe may remain single his entire life.
Treatment for fear of beautiful women
Most phobias are treatable if you take action and follow the right procedures. Here are some steps that will bring you in the right direction.
The best way to beat Caligynephobia is through building of self-esteem. There are several ways to do that:
- Taking care of yourself
- Developing a support system
- Positive self-talk, changing self-talk and negative self-beliefs
- Dealing with feelings
- Positive visualization
- Setting personal goals and accomplishing them
Desensitization therapy works by reducing the panic a phobic feels towards an object or situation. In this case, the Venustraphobe is gradually exposed to meeting or talking with beautiful women, in a controlled manner, until he learns to deal with each situation without experiencing anxiety or panic attacks. In the beginning, you can also use imagery desensitization where you start with progressive relaxation. This is followed by visualizing yourself in the phobia situation. It helps to repeat calming affirmations or coping statements like “I am fine, I am safe” and so on. The Caligynephobe is encouraged to practice imagery desensitization for at least 15 minutes each day. Later on, he is encouraged to meet and talk to women. You can also practice saying exactly what to say to a woman and that can greatly help with self-esteem. Being prepared – mentally, physically, and emotionally, before meeting the woman, can also help. Over time, with gradual exposure, you can overcome the phobia for good.
Cognitive behavior therapy
CBT or cognitive behavior therapy focuses on identifying and countering false beliefs that lead the phobic to overestimate the threats posed by the situation or object they are terrified of, in this case beautiful women. The risk of talking to or interacting with good-looking women is actually very low; much lower than what the phobic estimates. CBT teaches the individual several panic control strategies as well. In short: this therapy helps the phobic individual change his negative thought patterns that cause the anxiety.