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Arrenophobia (phobia of men): causes, symptoms and treatment

Arrenophobia (phobia of men): causes, symptoms and treatment

July 13, 2024

How many people do we meet each day? We go out into the street and we find hundreds, maybe thousands, of people circulating around us. Among them we find men and women of very different ages, races, conditions, preferences and tastes.

Most people do not have any problem, but there are people who experience feelings of intense panic when they see someone with specific characteristics. Some people have such feelings when they face, for example, a man. And not with one in particular, but anyone. This is what happens to people with arrenophobia , a very limiting phobia that we are going to talk about in this article.

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What is arrenophobia?

It is understood by arrenophobia fear or irrational panic and extreme toward the set of men . It is a specific phobia in which an aversion, fear and uncontrolled and disproportionate panic appears to men in general, continuously and persistently for at least six months. In the presence of a man or the possibility or thought that one appears the affected person may suffer alterations such as tachycardia, hyperventilation, dizziness, sweating and tremors, nausea and vomiting, may end up suffering from an anxiety crisis. Due to this fear, the subject will systematically avoid his approach to men and places where they may be especially prevalent.

This phobia is unusual and occurs mainly in women , but it can also in men who fear exposing themselves to other men. It is important to bear in mind that we are dealing with a real and totally involuntary problem, not with a chosen contempt towards the masculine figure. That is to say, it is not a question of that person not liking men, but feeling an atrocious and uncontrollable panic every time he sees one approaching.

Unlike other phobias, which although limiting as a rule do not pose a great threat in day to day (for example, we usually do not have to take a flight or get blood every day), the phobia of men or arrenophobia, also known as androfobia , it supposes a severe limitation in all the vital areas, already in practically all activity that we carry out we are going to find both men and women. School, work, leisure ... all this will be experienced with a very high level of anxiety on the part of the affected people, who will often have to endure contact with men with great anxiety.

The avoidance that takes place can lead to employing strategies such as working from home, going to gyms or environments just for women, isolating themselves and / or avoiding intimate contact and relationships. And this also affects, obviously, affective level and couple, avoiding intimate contact and commitment. Many of these people choose to stay single because of the panic that the male figure generates. This does not mean that they do not want a partner or that they do not appreciate men, but simply that their own suffering reaction prevents them or makes it very difficult to be close to one. And this can lead to deep suffering.

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What causes androphobia?

The causes of arrenophobia are not, as is the case with the rest of phobias, something clear and known. However, in this particular case there has often been a relationship between the emergence of fear of men and the suffering of some type of trauma or extremely aversive experience that has caused a man to the affected person.

In this way it is common (though not necessary) that we are talking, both in women and men suffering from this phobia, of people who have suffered sexual abuse or kidnappings, intrafamily violence (whether this violence is directed against one's person or towards another) or parental abandonment. It is also important to distinguish arrenophobia from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can also appear due to the experience of these traumatic events: if post-traumatic stress explains the alterations better we would not be talking about this phobia.

It is also associated with culture: the figure and role of traditional gender of man can generate panic in educated people so that they have to be submissive and obedient. Men who suffer from this phobia they can feel it when they consider themselves inferior to what a man should be to them or what he considers the other males are.


Arrenophobia is a condition that implies a severe limitation for the person who suffers it and that can be very painful. That is why treating this phobia is something necessary, and fortunately there are a lot of methods to do it.

As in other phobias, Exposure to the feared stimulus without employing avoidance strategies for enough time for the level of anxiety to diminish until it becomes imperceptible is something that can be very useful. It is recommended the use of systematic desensitization, making a gradual exposure to stimuli increasingly phobic. If the level of anxiety is very high you can start by making an exhibition in imagination, to gradually approach the exhibition live or as an alternative in itself.

But in this phobia, and especially in those cases that have arisen due to the experience of some type of abuse or negligence, It is also essential to work on dysfunctional beliefs that the person can have respect to the men and regarding itself. Cognitive restructuring is a great help for this.

Likewise, the learning of relaxation techniques can serve the patient to alleviate the tension he feels when exposed. Hypnotherapy has also been used in some cases.

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