Virginitiphobia (Fear of Rape)
Virginitiphobia is a mental condition characterized by an extremely irrational fear of rape. Fearing rape is a rational stance to take for obvious reasons. However, someone suffering from full blown virginitiphobia may become so anxious at the mere thought of rape that they may hyperventilate or experience panic attacks when thinking of it. This phobia should not get confused with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as someone who is a rape survivor will likely experience symptoms of PTSD, as opposed to experiencing virginitiphobia.
Someone with this phobia may be so irrationally fearful of rape that it may be very difficult for them to be around large groups of people or to even leave the house as they may fear getting raped. Unless you live in an area where rape is very common, such as in the Congo, then being extremely fearful of getting raped on a daily basis is likely to be irrational.
Someone suffering from virginitiphobia may experience a fight or flight response by merely thinking of rape or of getting raped. The intense emotions they experience, as well as their inability to cope with the very strong emotions that are associated with this condition may only exacerbate their symptoms, thus reassuring themselves of their fears.
It is important to note that virginitiphobia is not merely an aversion to rape, but rather it is a mental illness associated by irrational fears of rape. However, they themselves will likely be unable to discern this difference.
Symptoms of Virginitiphobia
Someone with this condition will experience intense bouts of anxiety at the mere thought of rape, let alone if ever encountered with it. Their impending fear of rape may be so intrusive and overbearing that their day to day thoughts may be consumed with it. They may become overly anxious around men or may be overly concerned with the location of escape routes when in any given situation.
Someone suffering with virginitiphobia may also struggle with forming and maintaining new relationships with others as well. This should come to no surprise as someone with this condition may become overly weary of other people and may feel as though they cannot trust people they once trusted before.
Their inability to maintain healthy relationships with other people, as well as increased paranoia may lead someone with virginitiphobia to isolate themselves. Such behavior may lead them to feel sad and apathetic. Depending on their genetic makeup, this may also increase their chances of developing depression.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of virginitiphobia:
Intense anxiety when thinking of rape
Overly concerned with being raped
Avoiding large groups of people
Avoiding going out at nighttime
Difficulty with trusting other people
Unable to cope with strong emotions
Shakiness, sweating, and muscle tension
Causes of Virginitiphobia
There is no known cause of virginitiphobia. This is unfortunately the case with most mental disorders. However, genetics and one’s environment may play significant roles in the development of this condition. For instance, someone may be at risk for developing this phobia if they have a family history of mental illness, especially of anxiety disorders. If this were to be the case, then it may only take them experiencing some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown virginitiphobia.
A traumatic event that may cause someone to develop this condition may be that they knew someone who was brutally raped before or that they themselves were once threatened of being raped. Such experiences may be enough for someone to develop virginitiphobia insofar as they have the genetics to do so.
Though we do no know definitively what causes virginitiphobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and environmental factors play crucial roles in the development of virtually any given mental disorder. With that being said, it may be beneficial to take a close look at your own family history, as well as your current and past environment as these things may shed some light as to whether or not you may be at risk for developing this illness.
Virginitiphobia Treatments (abridged)
Treatments for virginitiphobia include exposure therapy and talk therapy (e.g. CBT), among others. Exposure therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for those suffering from most phobias. This form of treatment works by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to that which they fear over a given period of time. With regards to virginitiphobia, the therapist could expose the patient to their fear of rape by discussing with them the statistics of rape or engage in some other productive, relevant conversation with them.
Upon doing so, the patient can expect to experience a great deal of anxiety. Though this may sound counterproductive at first, it is actually very beneficial if implemented correctly. This is due to the fact that exposure therapy works by desensitizing the patient to their fear by repetitively exposing them to their fear over time.
As you can clearly see here with virginitiphobia, exposure therapy is obviously not going to include being exposed to their actual fear head on. The same can be said for several other phobias where actual contact with the thing feared can mean serious danger for the patient, such as the case with selachophobia (fear of sharks) for example.
Anti-anxiety medication may also be advantageous for someone suffering from virginitiphobia. Doing so may help to relieve some of the symptoms associated with this condition. However, it may be much more advantageous to also engage in some sort of therapy as opposed to merely taking medication alone, but this is something you should first discuss with your doctor.
If you think you may be suffering from virginitiphobia or if you are experiencing some of the symptoms outlined in this article, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can be properly diagnosed. Upon seeing your doctor, she may refer you to see a specialist such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist for further treatment. Doing so may be necessary depending on the intensity and diversity of the symptoms experienced.
Yoga Poses for Virginitiphobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from virginitiphobia. 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia.
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 virginitiphobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Virginitiphobia
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 virginitiphobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Virginitiphobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from virginitiphobia. 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia, 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 virginitiphobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Virginitiphobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as virginitiphobia. 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their virginitiphobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with virginitiphobia 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 Virginitiphobia
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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 Virginitiphobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of virginitiphobia.
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 virginitiphobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Virginitiphobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including virginitiphobia. 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia, 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 virginitiphobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Virginitiphobia
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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Virginitiphobia
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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia 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 virginitiphobia. 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 virginitiphobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.