Caligynephobia: The Fear of Beautiful Women | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
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13 November 2007

Caligynephobia: The Fear of Beautiful Women

Not many people might know this but there are people out there who are ever scared of pretty women. Defined as "a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of beautiful women", each year this surprisingly common phobia causes countless people needless distress. Known by a number of names - Caligynephobia (pronounced cal-e-guy-nah-foe-bee-uh), Venustraphobia, and Fear of Beautiful Women being the most common - the problem often significantly impacts the quality of life. It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates.

Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences caligynephobia in their own way and may have different symptoms. For anyone earning a living, the financial toll of this phobia is incalculable. Living with fear means you can never concentrate fully and give your best. Lost opportunities. Poor performance or grades. Promotions that pass you by.

Like all fears and phobias, caligynephobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking beautiful women and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.

So long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind thinks: "Ahh, this whole thing is very dangerous. How do I keep myself from getting in this kind of situation again? I know, I'll attach terrible feelings to beautiful women, that way I'll steer clear in future and so be safe." Just like that caligynephobia is born. Attaching emotions to situations is one of the primary ways that humans learn. Sometimes we just get the wiring wrong.

The actual phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Everyone has their own unique formula for when and how to feel bad. Then there is the fear of women in general, gynephobia, which could create a very scary world!


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