This blog will take us through the causes, symptoms and treatments of Kolphobia.
Kolpophobia is an irrational fear of female genitals. The person who is suffering from Kolpophobia may experience a high amount of anxiety when thinking of the female genitalia. They will find it difficult to endure a physical relationship with women as the sight of the female private parts can make them go through a full-blown panic attack.
The people who suffer from Kolpophobia may not even want to get married as to consummate the marriage they will have to be exposed to the female genitals. It does nto mean that they are gay, but this fear makes them suffer immensely.
Kolpophobia is an intense fear of the female genitals. The sufferer will be in such a high anxiety state that marriage will not even be the last on his to do list. He suffers immensely and would require psychotherapy to enjoy life like others.
Symptoms of Kolpophobia
Different people display the symptoms of the same phobia differently; with varying degrees of severity. There are two types of symptoms; Physical symptoms and Psychological symptoms.
The Physical Symptoms include those that involve changes in the bodily sensations and are physically felt by the sufferer. Examples are:-
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- hot flashes or chills
- ringing in ears
- Sweating and trembling
- dry mouth
- raised blood pressure
- feeling faint
The Psychological Symptoms include those that impinge on the mind and are visible through a person’s behavior. Examples are:-
- feelings of dread with the thought of female genitals
- fear of losing control
- fear of harm to self
- fear of illness
- feeling of helplessness
- mood swings
- Feelings of shame
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling a disconnect
Causes of Kolpophobia
Kolpophobia may be caused due to the following factors:-
- Genetic Predisposition
Every person has a genetic tendency to contract a disease or go through a mental illness. This predisposition is embedded in our DNA and is handed down to us over the generations. If the person’s ancestors suffered from anxiety disorders, phobias, mental illness or even Kolpophobia, then chances are higher for him/her to suffer from the same or from either of these.
Phobias are familial and most often than not run in families. Their intensity may vary from person to person, from one relative to the other.
- Biological Cause
Hormones play an important role in causing anxiety disorders, specifically phobias as well. Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH) is directly related to the etiology of anxiety related problems that occur. Symptoms that indicate a Thyroid malfunctioning are:
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Nervous demeanor
- Losing or gaining weight
Low levels of Testosterone (male hormone) can also lead to anxiety. Serotonin, is also called a happy chemical and depletion of this hormone can also cause anxieties of varying levels.
Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemical or neurotransmitter is involved in happiness and a state of elatedness. When the levels of Dopamine drop anxiety and a feeling of dread become a common forte.
Adrenaline rush is another biological factor that emanates the ‘flight or the fight’ response. This response is triggered when the brain suffers from a threat. This threat may be caused by a stimulus that causes anxiety. This stimulus is the very stimulus that initiates a phobia fear. In the case of Kolpophobia, this stimulus will be the female genitals.
- Behavioral Cause
Children learn behaviors and attitudes from people around them. These people may be their parents, siblings, extended family members like uncles or aunts, grandparents or any significant others they are attached to.
- Traumatic Experience
The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have been raped and develops a fear of the genitals. There have been cases where young boys have been forced by older women to indulge in sexual activities, like the paedophiles as well as sex slavery in a very crude term. These boys develop an aversion to the very part of the females that is to provide them pleasure.
According to the psychoanalytic model, the person who is suffering from Kolpophobia may have had negative feelings for his mother or even wanted to retaliate against her and couldn’t. Now this negativity towards women may be exposed through Kolpophobia. This can be an extension of the Oedipus Complex and thus reaction formation takes place.
People may also be afraid of losing control because this is something that is not in their hands and not controlled by them, no matter how powerful a person is. Thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Kolpophobia, he feels totally helpless, aggravating their already hiked anxiety.
Treatments of Kolpophobia
Kolpophobia can be treated through different treatments. These include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) and forms of meditation.
- Systematic Desensitization
This is one of the most common therapies used in treating phobias and an effective way to desensitize the person suffering from phobia. In this therapy the client with phobia is exposed to the stimulus gradually with varying degrees of severity, varying durations of time. The degree of severity is hierarchical, ranging from low to high. Every time the ‘exposure’ of the feared stimulus is increased.
In Kolpophobia the client is exposed to images first. For the fear to be invoked during therapy, the patient must be exposed to an intense stimulus (one that is feared). The aim of Systematic Desensitization is to remove the ‘feared stimulus’ and substitute it with a ‘relaxation response.’
Initially a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing is taught to the client. Then the client is asked to present a list that has a hierarchical presentation of his fears, starting from the least fear evoking situation to the most.
The therapist takes the client through these situations via two methods:
a) In vitro – where the feared stimulus is made to imagine
b) In vivo – where the client visits the the feared place in reality
The exposure to the phobic stimulus is of varying durations, where the client exercises relaxation techniques and can revert to a previous non-threatening situation any time.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
When phobias start to prevent the daily activities of the person, therapy becomes inevitable.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one such approach that shows the relation between thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors. It alters the way of identifying and substituting destructive thoughts and emotions that have a negative impact on behavior.
In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved. This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior. It helps the person change the way he thinks.
The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought and behavior that follows. This therapy is goal oriented and short termed. Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels. CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation.
Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations. Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior. Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” This is what subjective perspective is.
REBT is the dictum that it is our beliefs that makes us experience emotions like anger, depression, anxiety and not the events happening in our lives. Changing irrational beliefs positively impacts on reducing emotional pain.
REBT’s ABC Theory: The Diagnostic Step
Based on Ellis’ theory, the ABC Model was proposed:
A – Activating Event: an event that takes place in the environment
B – Beliefs: the belief one has about the event that happened
C – Consequence: the emotional response to the belief
Not the event but beliefs cause emotional pain.
c) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment. We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us.
We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions.
In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!
For meditation to be effective during treatment, the mind is cleared off all the clutter of random thoughts. The mind and body are made to be ‘in sync’ with each other, so that the feared stimulus does not invoke a negative thought. The client will meditate during the thoughts of death and concentrate on his breathing patterns in the presence of the feared stimulus.
e) Group Therapy
Self Help groups are an effective type of therapy, in which the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer. These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias.
They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping strategies. This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.
f) Changing Lifestyle
Breaking down the dullness of the daily, helps break down anxiety as well.
• Take up jogging or go for daily walks:
Developing a walk routine can damper the way our negative thoughts control our behavior.
• Indulging in an exercise regime:
Vigorous exercise like aerobics has proved to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Exercise helps the mind to cope with stress and stressful situations better. This is what the American Psychological Association has to say about inducting exercise to eliminate stress or phobias.
• Altering eating and drinking habits:
Cutting down on fatty foods and caffeine can improve self-image, that in turn leads to a raised self-esteem. This finally diminishes the symptoms of stress to a bare minimum. With high intake of caffeine, the body resembles a ‘fight or flight’ response, thus giving way to anxiety.
• Improving the sleep cycle:
When we get proper rest, our concentration improves.
g) Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Kolpophobia are severe.
- Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.
These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of Kolpophobia as well as other phobias. Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kolpophobia?
Kolpophobia is an irrational fear of female genitals.
What are irrational thoughts?
Irrational thoughts are those where the person evaluates himself or others rigidly and without perceiving the facts.
What are rational thoughts?
Rational thoughts are those where the person evaluates the facts, data and the relevant information to reach to a conclusion.
What are phobias?
Phobias are irrational fears that stem from various factors, hereditary and environmental. Treatments are available for treating phobias.
Are medications always recommended in phobias?
No. Medications are not always recommended in phobias. If the symptoms worsen only then the doctor may prescribe them.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.
Titles to Read
- Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts by Sally M. Winston PsyD and Martin N. Seif PhD
- Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans
- The Happy Mind: A Simple Guide to Living a Happier Life Starting Today by Kevin Horsley
- Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels by Loretta Graziano Breuning
- Believe It and Behave It: How to Restart, Reset, and Reframe Your Life by Kate Harvie