From, the incel encyclopedia

Gynophobia is a type of heterophobia and means a fear of women. It can occur in both genders, and be so severe as to cause inceldom and/or love-shyness.

There are numerous causes of gynophobia. It is a common phenomena among males aged 3–18. Researchers found widespread adult gynophobia can be caused by a lack of available resources necessary to increase the population. Gynophobia is sometimes rational, and at other times, irrational.

A subset of gynophobia is caligynephobia, or the fear of beautiful women.[1]


Symptoms of gynophobia include:

  • Dread or worry about having to be around or interact with women
  • Guilt or shame about the fear of women
  • Inability to control or overcome the fear of women
  • Intense panic and strong desire to flee when near women[2]


Age-related changes in amygdala response to same-sex and opposite-sex faces.

Common childhood heterophobia[edit]

Before preschool, girls and boys see themselves as more or less equals. After they are sent to preschool, toddlers are taught to see themselves through a gendered worldview, and they are exposed to more gender stereotyping by adults.[3]

It is during this time that cooties emerge, and it is stronger than intra-sexual fear.[4][5]

Cooties that are stronger than intra-sexual fear continue all throughout adolescence. All throughout childhood, and with a strong effect size.

Unusual adult gynophobia[edit]

Gendered fear usually completely dissipates at around 17 years old. This was proven in a study by Eva H. Telzer and Jessica Flannery which measured amygyla response in children to same-sex vs. opposite peers.[6] Due to the strong effect size of the gendered fear shown in the study, we can assume from this that many, if not most, gynophobic adult incels fail to meet some developmental process and/or set of societal standards that rids them of their fear of the opposite sex.


Some academics have implied that adult gynophobia emerges from an inability or unwillingness to drop gender stereotyping as they age.

A possible counter-hypothesis to this dominant academic insinuation would be that children are not primarily socialized into gender roles, but that socialization brings about a natural, and unavoidable blossoming of pre-determined biological gender roles.

Another counterargument to the above academic insinuation would be that academics haven't proven that gender stereotyping lessens as gynphobia lessens, but rather the gendered fear leaves through other developmental processes, such as an ability to adapt to gender roles continuously imposed by society or biology. If this is true, then gynophobic adults could not adapt to gender roles, whereas men not afraid of women were able to adapt to such roles.

Dr. Brian Gilmartin noticed this to some extent, and proposed eliminated traditional gender roles such as sports as a way to lessen male gynophobia. Blackpillers also notice this and often shout insults at fellow teens and young adults who fail to adopt gender roles, such as, "soyboy", "beta male" etc.

Pretty much all sides acknowledge fear of women, at least, as an adolescent holdover, and often coincedes with other adolescent behaviours.

Case studies[edit]

Greg from alt.sexual.abuse.recovery.moderated Usenet Group[edit]

Greg describes his extreme fear of women, which he attributes to being sexually abused as a child. He also describes his gynophobia as causing incel and homosexuality, and recommends people read Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project. After being rejected by a man, his gynophobia intensified.[7]

I struggled with my own sexuality for a long time. Being abused as a child then as a young adult. So ashamed that the older incidents were of

my own doing. So maybe I am gay. I couldn't even talk about this to anyone even after I started my healing process. only the abuse that happened when I was younger.

The books talk about being confused about your sexuality. It's an effect of the abuse. The books talk about the kind of things you experienced creating the fear in women. For me the sexual assaults and abuse I went through created the want for gay sex it seems. it was the only sex I learned. the church talked about not having premarital sex, sex with women but not this kind. so I thought it was okay. but I didn't. and some how kept it from happening in my life.

Am I curious? sure. would I like to try it? I think so at times. But on my terms. so it hasn't happened and probably won't. until I can heal and make an adult choice. and I am fascinated by women.

But also I am terrified of women. after 7 months of therapy twice a week and writing like 15,000 pages and reading all I can find; basically totally immersing my self in healing my life totally. I saw that I was afraid of letting anyone near me physically and emotionally.

So much so that I myself have been without sex for but once in 15 years. no intimate relationships at all. and absolutely no one who seems to understand this. no books about this. ( there is a web site called Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Page for anyone who'd like to explore this issue) they all talk about difficulties with your partner this your partner that.

Do I have a phobia?... Probably. But until I get to the core issues by relentlessly inquiring and being mindful of every feeling and action. will I heal. I personally don't want drugs but thought for years that was the only way to help. Everyone is different. Every path taken is a personal journey.

When I did finally start to open up even my feelings to someone it was a man. And when this friend seemed to reject me, seemed to abandon me and I spoke of this. Spoke because if this person wouldn't be my friend no one in the world ever would be. I broke down. And saw that no woman could ever get near me because of all the abandonment issues with my own mother. No one helped me.

But more to the point it took decades for me to open up. I'm 46 and never spoke much to anyone of my abuse. And I finally spoke to some one. and they cared. And helped. If it wasn't for this friend and his wife I wouldn't be where I am today. Even this webtv internet connection was a gift from them. To help me search for help. for information.

Then I began to see how far reaching the effects of abuse are. How it effects every aspect of a persons life. How all you are going through can be healed and understood with help. I didn't believe it at first. the beginning days of healing can be pretty rough. Me a past workaholic took almost three months off because I couldn't even work. Because I began to feel all the sorrow for what I experienced. not block it out only to have it come out in all the other ways.

So to get back to your questions. Yes, it's all from the abuse. It's funny that you posted this question. as this very topic was what I wanted to pose for discussion here and will soon. It seems not many suffer from this sexual lack of experience. lack of any sex. but we are out here. and I want it talked about more. We want our own book devoted to this horrible effect of abuse. Even those who weren't abused suffer the same thing.

You are not alone with this experience. But first start you own journey

to heal. ~ greg

Native Americans[edit]

Vagina dentata, or the depiction of fearsome, toothed-vaginas, is found in Native American mythology. Among the Chaco Indians, there exists a myth that the first women among the Chaco Indians had toothed vaginas, with which they ate. In this myth, the local men were scared until a man named Caroucho, positioned as the hero of the story, knocks their teeth out.[8]

Possible societal causes of gynophobia[edit]

Population expansion limitations[edit]

Extreme examples of universal, cultural gypnohobia have been found in the highlands of New Guinea, where widespread anti-masturbation propaganda coincides with notions of, "perilous female sexuality".[9] The anthropologist Carol Ember argues that such fears were likely caused by limited availability of basic resources that would be required to increase the population.[10]

Arguably this can be seen today in the US, where gynophobia is highly present among NEET and incel men who cannot afford a dwelling with which to help increase the population.

Societal overidealization of women[edit]

Ancient mythology[edit]

In ancient mythology, woman is often presented as a vessel bearing all living things and also as a Great Goddess who destroys life. This attitude is somewhat similar to a common fear-eliciting threat modern mothers make to their children, specifically the phrase, "I brought you into this world, so I can take you out".

In ancient religious myths, woman (sometimes depicted as a Great World Tree, pomegranate, poppyhead, mountain, or goddess) literally produces all living things in her womb, and empties them out of herself into the living world. In the "vessel" analogy, the inside of the vessel is unknown, and all body orifices are special zones, each regarded as idols by artistic representation. The historical permanence of woman as body-vessel, has been artistically depicted to elicit fear. For example, the cartoonist Albert Dubout once depicted the Great Goddess as eliciting fear from a short man simply by displaying her large breasts and noting that her breast survived World War II.

Woman as Great Goddess was also depicted as a goddess of death in multiple ancient mythologies.

Ancient Indian mythology[edit]

In India, the goddess "Kali the Terrible" is both the mother of all things and a fearsome destroyer. She expresses her destruction through a wide array of female avatars (or "agents"). Kali's avatars and agents are regarded by believers as responsible for serious illnesses such as typhoid fever, whooping cough, epilepsy, delirium, and convulsions.[11] For example, Kali's agent goddess Vasurimala is mythologized as responsible for smallpox and cholera. Believers in the rural Indian town of Cranganore, make symbolic monetary offerings to Kali, to fulfill promises made in fear of being stricken with smallpox or cholera.[12]

Ancient Greek mythology[edit]

In ancient Greek mythology, at least 7 female Goddesses are depicted as both nursing mothers and as queens of the dead.

Alleged female hostility toward societal ideals[edit]

The author of The Fear of Women, Wolfgang Lederer, makes the argument in his book that gynophobia is partially the result of men and women allegedly having different attitudes toward societally-based morality. He argues that women were mostly absent and also sometimes explicitly excluded from the meaningful aspects of the creation of society. He further argues that this contributes to what he sees as historically-universal female hostility toward societal goals such as justice, goals which exist outside practical and immediate interpersonal affairs. Wolfgang argues that this is not just his idea, but projected into religion through all historical communities that have both a father-deity and a mother-deity, where, he argues, the mother-deity is always morally indifferent.

Because Wolfgang thinks that men have societal ideals, while women do not, Wolfgang argues that 'real' women 'intrude obstinately and necessarily' on an imagined ideal of women that men have of them. He states that this births a male fear that women will forever, or sooner or later, be his disappointment.[13]

Medical diagnostic test for gynophobia[edit]

Main article: SHI Inventory

There is an academic/medical diagnostic criteria for gynophobia, but it is mostly discussed in academic papers that are simply not available on the internet. It's called the Survey of Heterosexual Interactions (or SHI Inventory), created by the academic Craig Twentyman and Richard McFall in the 1970s. It's a 20 question diagnostic criteria for heterosexual heterophobia, which of course includes gynophobia. Unfortunately, most readily available references to the survey do not expound on it much. The questionnaire attempts to gauge the fear levels of survey participants at the time the survey participants want to approach a sexual or romantic interest.



  1. Belardes, Nick A People's History of the Peculiar A Freak Show of Facts, Random Obsessions and Astounding Truths, Viva Edition, ISBN 9781936740925
  3. Powlishta, K. K. (2004). Gender as a social category: Intergroup processes and gender-role development. In M. Bennet & F. Sano (Eds.), The development of the social self (pp. 103–134). New York: Psychology Press.
  4. Serbin, L. A., Powlishta, K. K., & Gulko, J. (1993). The development of sex typing in middle childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 58, 1–95.
  5. Trautner, H. M. (1992). The development of sex-typing in children: A longitudinal analysis. German Journal of Psychology, 16, 183–199.
  6. Telzer, E. H., Flannery, J., Humphreys, K. L., Goff, B., Gabard-Durman, L., Gee, D. G., & Tottenham, N. (2015). “The Cooties Effect”: Amygdala Reactivity to Opposite- versus Same-sex Faces Declines from Childhood to Adolescence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(9), 1685–1696. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00813
  8. Lederer, W. (1968). The Fear of Women. United Kingdom: Grune & Stratton., pages 44-46
  9. Ember, C. (1978). Men’s fear of sex with women: A cross-cultural study. Sex Roles, 4(5). doi:10.1007/bf00287331 page 657
  10. Ember, C. (1978). Men’s fear of sex with women: A cross-cultural study. Sex Roles, 4(5). doi:10.1007/bf00287331 page 659
  11. Lederer, W. (1968). The Fear of Women. United Kingdom: Grune & Stratton., pages 117-127
  12. Aiyappan, A. (1931). Myth of the Origin of Smallpox. Folklore, 42(3), 291–293.
  13. Lederer, W. (1968). The Fear of Women. United Kingdom: Grune & Stratton., pages 86-99

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See also[edit]