The Best Ways To Cope With Fear Of Sexual Intimacy

By Michael Arangua

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Tonia Cassaday


Sex runs our society. It's a great way to sell your product, it motivates many people to succeed, and it's on the minds of most people, whether you're male or female.

Despite this, our society has this taboo with sex. For some reason, we just don't like being open about our sex lives, and even though many things in our society are sexualized, there's a limit, and when that limit is crossed, trouble arises.

Case in point, talking about the downsides to our sex lives. No man wants to talk about how they couldn't get it up one night, and no one likes talking about the fear of having sex.

The Fear Of Sexual Intimacy

This is called genophobia, (also known as coitophobia.) The "geno" in the word means "offspring." Everyone has had fears and anxieties when they're about to have sex with someone. They wonder if they'll be good, and this can be kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy known as performance anxiety.

However, genophobic people are scared of sexual intimacy all the time. They may have intense panic attacks or fear when they're confronted with a sexual situation, and even have episodes when they think of the idea of sex.

This can lead to the person feeling lonely and wanting to avoid relationships. Most people need a sex life to have a good relationship, so you can see why genophobia is troublesome.

Other symptoms include:

Increased heartbeat-If your heart speeds up when you think of sex; you may be genophobic.

Shortness of breath-This can be a symptom of a panic attack too.


Avoiding others-You may end up avoiding other people, even those you won't have sex with, for fear of possibly discussing sexual intimacy.

The Causes Of Genophobia

With many fears, there is usually some trauma that makes the fear develop. Here are a few reasons genophobic people may be the way they are.


Rape is one of the most emotionally traumatizing events that can happen to the average person. As you probably know, rape is when someone forces you to have sex with them without consent, and it tends to be violent. It's a subject no one wants to talk about, but it affects millions, and its effects can be emotionally draining.

Everyone handles the aftermath of their rape differently. Some people may become more promiscuous to cope with their trauma, while others may do the opposite. If you're a rape victim, you may become less trusting of people, especially those who are similar to your rapist, whether that means their gender, hair, etc. You may experience genophobia. Even if the sex is consensual, you may feel that it's wrong or may worry that you'll be in the same situation. Those who trust their partners completely can have genophobic episodes.

And this is okay, and nothing to be ashamed of. Rape is a horrifying experience, and it will take time for you to heal. You may never fully heal from experience either, but instead, learn to make it easier.

Childhood Trauma


This can be similar to rape, but there are some differences. For one, you may not even remember the experience you had, but have an unconscious fear of sex due to it. Two, childhood trauma doesn't just mean you were molested or sexually assaulted as a child. Childhood trauma can be caused by hearing about sex, watching pornography as a child, walking in on your parents having sex, etc.

If you haven't been raped, think about your childhood. Is there any event that could have been the catalyst to your genophobia? You may have mentally blocked it off, or you may have to do a little mental digging.

There are some less traumatic causes of genophobia as well, including:


Everybody has their insecurities. Both men and women can worry about their body image, and if they look good for their partner. Men may worry about their penis being adequate, while women may worry about how their genitals look too. It's common, and most will go through it. If you have gender dysphoria, you may understandably worry about your entire body.

The problem with genophobic people is that they'll think about these insecurities constantly, and it will be at the forefront of their minds as they're having sex.

Religious Upbringing

Sex is a taboo in many religions. If you were raised to believe that sex is something that should only be reserved for procreation, and the idea was hammered into you, you may find it popping up when you try to have sex.


Even if you don't participate in that religion anymore, or are moderate, you may have those fears when you're trying to have sex for the first time.

Different Fear

Sometimes, genophobia will be a byproduct of another fear you have. For example, you may have a fear of nudity, or a fear of contracting an STD, despite your partner being clean. There may be a fear of becoming pregnant, fear of touching, the list goes on. We don't have enough space to delve into every single fear, but if you feel like you may have one of these, it may be one of the causes of your genophobia.

So How Do You Get Over It?

There is no magic pill to get rid of your genophobia. Like most fears, it takes time to alleviate. Some never completely get over it but can be able to manage it and live a healthy sex life. Others have such a big fear that they may never function. Here are some ways to help relieve it.

Find The Reason

Look at these causes above. Have you had an experience, insecurity, that aligns with the above, and may be the cause of your genophobia? Even if you can't think of anything, your trauma can be hidden. Talk to your family or friends and try to figure out a cause.

Dealing With Insecurities

If you feel like the reason for your genophobia is because of your insecurities, try improving yourself. There are some things you can't fix, such as the appearance of your genitals, (despite what a porn site would tell you,) but if your insecurity is your weight, try losing some and getting physically fit. Not only will you feel more confident, but you will have more stamina, too.

If it's something beyond your control, surround yourself with people who won't put you down for your insecurity. Talk to others who may suffer from the same insecurities, and learn different coping mechanisms.

Also, don't be afraid to talk to your partner about your insecurities. If they care for you, they'll understand.

Get To Know Your Body

Sometimes, you may want to know your own body better. What makes it feel good, what are your turn-ons? In other words, masturbate. Don't be afraid to use toys, watch something erotic, and explore yourself. This can help to quell your fears, as you'll know more about what turns you on.

Find Someone Who Knows Your Trauma

If your genophobia is due to past trauma, make sure your partner knows about it. Your partner should assure you that everything is going to be okay, and if there's anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, let them know, and they'll dial back. Having someone who doesn't respect your trauma can worsen your fears, but if you have someone who is truly caring, you'll learn to make coping with those fears a little bit easier.

Of course, we realize dealing with your past can be difficult, and ordinary people may not be trained to help you. In a case such as that, your best bet for conquering your fear to

Seek Therapy

Don't feel afraid to seek therapy when dealing with genophobia. Getting advice from your friends or loved ones is great, and all, but a true professional can help you to figure out the exact cause of your genophobia and figure out the steps you can take to be on your way to fixing it. This is especially important if you've suffered from trauma, as a professional can help you cope without triggering an episode.

We don't feel like we're well-equipped to give rape victims advice, but someone who is trained in the field can. While many may feel weird talking about their sex lives to a therapist, they can help you. It doesn't have to be a therapist in your town, either. There are online therapists who can help you from the edge of your seat, and they can be affordable and helpful. To learn more, click here.


Genophobia doesn't mean that you have to have a bad sex life. Like all fears, you can cope with them, or learn to conquer them altogether. Talk to people who care about you, whether that is friends, family, or a professional. You can conquer this fear and move on to have a fruitful sex life.

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