Parthenophobia (Fear of Virgins or Young Girls)
Parthenophobia is the irrational fear of virgins or of young girls. Someone experiencing this condition may experience a great deal of anxiety when near a young girl. They may feel extremely uncomfortable and they may even experience a full-blown panic attack due to their fear. Regardless of whether or not they realize that their fear of young virgin girls is out of touch with reality, their intense anxiety will often supersede their ability to think rationally.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms, someone with parthenophobia may find it very difficult to go out in public due to the fact that they may come into contact with a young girl. So, in an attempt to avoid their fear, they may isolate themselves from society to a certain degree. Though they may feel as though that doing so will correlate to decreases in anxiety, taking such an action will only worsen their parthenophobia in the long term.
Being horrifically terrified of a virgin girl is not even close in comparison to a real threat. So, someone experiencing parthenophobia may have a much deeper reason as to why they are fearful of young girls than what meets the eye. However, the exact reasons as to why someone may develop one phobia over another is not entirely understood.
Symptoms of Parthenophobia
There are many different symptoms of parthenophobia that can bring forth discord into one’s life. As is the case with virtually every known phobia, intense anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of parthenophobia. Other than this, someone experiencing a deep, intense fear of virgin girls may also suffer from a very low self-esteem.
Having such a low self-esteem may also open the door to other mental disorders such as major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, there are many other factors that would come into play before someone would develop these disorders in addition to their parthenophobia.
Depending on the severity of their condition, they may experience full-blown panic attacks that may leave them hospitalized. Such an occurrence would only be exacerbated with the addition of another mental disorder such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or GAD for example. For instance someone with OCD in addition to their parthenophobia could expect their symptoms to be even worse due to them becoming obsessed about it.
They may also isolate themselves from society in an attempt to “protect” themselves from being around or from seeing young girls. Such consistent isolation comes with its own set of issues as well as the ones they will already be facing from their parthenophobia.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of parthenophobia:
Intense anxiety around young girls
Anxiety when thinking of young girls
Muscle tension and shakiness
Inability to cope with emotions
Low self-esteem and confidence
Causes of Parthenophobia
The exact cause of parthenophobia is not known. However, genetics and one’s environment may play a significant role in the development of this mental disorder. For instance, someone with a family history of mental illness may have an increased chance of developing parthenophobia, especially if the types of disorders suffered where anxiety disorders. However, the specificity of parthenophobia renders one to believe that environmental factors may play an equal or even a stronger role than genetics alone.
If such were the case and they had the genetic predisposition to develop mental illness, then it may only take a traumatic experience of some sort for them to develop full-blown parthenophobia. Such a traumatic experience may be that their young daughter was taken away from them in some capacity or perhaps they had their heart broken by a young girl when they were an adolescent and it was such a heartbreaking experience that it has affected them to this very day.
Other reasons as to why someone may develop this phobia may be due to the fact that they already where suffering with an anxiety disorder beforehand, such as GAD or OCD. For instance, if someone was diagnosed with severe OCD, it would not be implausible for them to then develop parthenophobia due to a bizarre obsession they withheld about fearing young girls.
The truth of the matter is there is no known cause of any given phobia. However, some may be more evolutionary than others (e.g. ligyrophobia (fear of loud noises)). The reality is that the causes of phobias can be quite complicated, especially when we look at specific phobias such as parthenophobia.
Parthenophobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no known treatment method specifically designed for pharthenophobia. However, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medication may be able to help. Talk therapy may be able to help reduce the symptoms of this disorder by helping the patient to better understand the root of their fears, as well as by learning new and effective coping mechanisms for when their anxiety flares up.
Exposure therapy is another very effective form of treatment for people suffering from virtually any given phobia. With the context of parthenophobia, the therapist may have the patient look at a picture of a young girl or have them walk outside where other young girls may be. The goal with this form of therapy is to try and desensitize the patient from their fear. Theoretically, the more they will be exposed to their fear, the less their fear will bother them due to them becoming more comfortable with it.
Anti-anxiety medication may also be able to help minimize the symptoms of this condition. However, taking medication alone may not be enough for them to successfully improve their symptoms in the long term. To do this they may need to partake in some sort of therapy. If you think you have parthenophobia, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can get properly diagnosed and treated.
Yoga Poses for Parthenophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from parthenophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with parthenophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with parthenophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with parthenophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of parthenophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Parthenophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from parthenophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with parthenophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of parthenophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Parthenophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from parthenophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from parthenophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with parthenophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of parthenophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with parthenophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Parthenophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as parthenophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with parthenophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with parthenophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their parthenophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with parthenophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Parthenophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with parthenophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with parthenophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with parthenophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with parthenophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Psychiatric Medications for Parthenophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe parthenophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their parthenophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as parthenophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of parthenophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of parthenophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Parthenophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including parthenophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of parthenophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of parthenophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with parthenophobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Parthenophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with parthenophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with parthenophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Parthenophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like parthenophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with parthenophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with parthenophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with parthenophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your parthenophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.