It’s common to get nervous when you’re forced to interact with someone you find attractive. But what would happen if that nervousness turned into a full-blown panic attack that left you unable to move? Unfortunately, this is what happens to people who suffer from venustraphobia.
The world of phobias is immense, diverse, and downright fascinating. There are innumerable phobias, from the classic arachnophobia to the complex hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, the fear of long words. Among the rarest phobias, you will also find venustraphobia, the fear of beautiful women.
People suffering from venustraphobie or caligynephobie are afraid of women they find attractive. The presence of an attractive woman alone triggers intense feelings of fear in those affected. You don’t even have to interact with this woman directly. In addition, they do not need to have any particular emotional or sexual interest in the object of their phobia.
The term venustraphobia is a combination of the words “Venus” (the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and fertility) and “phobia,” which means fear.
As you already know, a phobia is an intense and irrational fear. People often go to astounding great lengths to avoid what panics them. Those who cannot avoid the object of their phobia often live with constant strong feelings of fear.
Venustraphobia is generally more likely to occur in heterosexual men, although there have been cases in homosexual and heterosexual women as well. In addition, this phobia can appear in both adults and children.
Signs and Symptoms of Venustraphobia
As I mentioned earlier, the main symptoms of phobias generally include excessive and irrational fears of a phobic stimulus. In the case of venustraphobia, this is a woman the person concerned finds attractive.
Avoidance behaviors and feelings of panic and great discomfort usually accompany this fear. In addition, the person concerned could experience the following other symptoms:
- Tachycardia (accelerated heart rate)
- Trembling legs
- Cold sweat
- Irrational thoughts about the extent of the danger involved in being close to an attractive woman.
- Those affected can experience dizziness, nausea, and vomiting in severe cases.
Like many phobias, venustraphobia can have massive effects on the lives of those affected and severely limit them.
Once a person has had such an episode, it often leads to the development of anticipatory fear. This means that the person concerned will try at all costs to avoid further such situations. Efforts to avoid any situation in which this person might encounter an attractive woman can go so far as to isolate themselves completely from others.
What are the causes of venustraphobia?
Although the causes of venustraphobia are not fully understood, they appear to be multi-causal in nature. In addition, it is believed that this phobia could be a result of traumatic childhood experiences.
These experiences can range from divorce or a bad parenting separation to living with a negligent, indifferent, or abusive mother. In this case, the person concerned associates a beautiful woman with pain, suffering, and discomfort.
If straight men or homosexual women are affected, this phobia may be more common in people who are shy and struggle with low self-esteem or inferiority complexes.
These people are often embarrassed to interact with attractive women for fear that they will make fun of them. In heterosexual women, venustraphobia can arise from a feeling of competition.
Solutions to combat of venustraphobia
The best form of treatment for any phobia is progressive exposure to the dreaded stimulus. First, the person creates a list of all the situations in which he feels uncomfortable and arranges them according to the degree of intensity of the discomfort. He can then face every situation successively.
By doing this, the sufferer will gradually get used to the fear they feel in these situations. As a result, these feelings should subside over time as the patient realizes that none of his or her fears come true.
If, at some point, a person becomes overwhelmed by fear or has a panic attack, they should be allowed to evade the situation. However, this should only be temporary, and the new confrontation must take place as soon as possible.
In addition, experts recommend that patients learn relaxation and breathing techniques that they can use in situations where they experience intense anxiety. This gives them coping strategies that they can apply instead of simply withdrawing from the situation. However, it is imperative to ensure that these techniques do not become a form of covert avoidance.
In addition, therapists should work with those affected to identify the irrational beliefs and cognitive biases that make the patient feel extremely threatened. These thought patterns can be addressed and processed with cognitive techniques. In addition, patients should learn to think more rationally about such situations. This can be done by encouraging them to look for specific evidence that will help them determine the veracity of these thoughts.
Treatment of related disorders
If the venustraphobia is so severe that the person has developed a social anxiety disorder, as a result, this must also be treated. So it is not enough just to treat the phobia.
This also applies if the person concerned has developed depression. In such cases of comorbidity, the only way to improve the person’s overall quality of life is to treat the symptoms of both disorders.
It’s true that we live in a world where outward appearances are revered, and ideals of beauty are often unattainable. Physical attractiveness is sometimes seen as one of the most important symbols of success. These pressures encourage certain beliefs, such as the assumption that an attractive woman should have a partner who is at least as attractive as herself.
The comparison with a certain ideal of beauty leads to dejection and frustration for many people. It can also have a huge impact on your self-esteem. Everyone should therefore learn to appreciate their own unique qualities because the features and characteristics that you see as imperfections in yourself are often things that other people admire or find beauty in you.
In addition, you should always remember that physical beauty does not last forever. When you are old and gray, and your youthful beauty has faded, your heart and soul will still be just as beautiful!