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Saturday, September 10, 2011

I’m still a virgin because of my phobia of MEN

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:59 AM | | Best Blogger Tips

Do You Like This Story?

Androphobia ... Emily Day

WITH clammy hands and her breath catching in her throat, Emily Day was absolutely terrified.
It wasn't a fear of spiders or flying that had got her in this state.
For Emily, 26, the fear had been brought on by a MANknocking at the front door.
The recruitment consultant suffers from androphobia — a morbid fear of men.
Emily says: "This fear has stalked me all my life. I can't pinpoint when it started.
"I'm still a virgin. I'm not a lesbian and I'm in no way sexually attracted to women.
"I can look at pictures of men with friends and appreciate they are good-looking, but if I came face-to-face with a man I fancied I'd find it hard to be in the same room without being scared."

This phobia usually surfaces after abuse — but not in Emily's case.
She says: "It's not that a man has ever done anything to harm me. I'm just scared to death of them."
Emily does not fear being attacked — she just has the irrational phobia which has haunted her since childhood.
"I grew up in a women-only household and maybe that contributed to the problem," she says. "Dad split from Mum when I was six and I didn't see him again.
"One of my earliest memories of it was when I was 13. I had to sign for a parcel and a man I didn't know was at the door.
Man-phobic ... Emily panicked when answering
the door to a delivery man
"I got myself into such a state that my sister, Sarah, thought I had a fever and made me lie down.
"When I suffered an attack caused by seeing a bloke, the effects lasted from ten minutes to an hour.
"It started with me feeling flushed. I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter and as I tried to calm down I felt as though I couldn't breathe.
"Then came a gnawing fear of the person I'd been confronted with. It took my breath away.
"I recognise now this is a panic or anxiety attack but back then I didn't have a clue and it really scared me.
"After about six of these attacks I started to realise they happened every time I met a male stranger.
Irrational fear ... Emily has suffered
attacks since childhood
"But I had no idea why and no way of controlling it. I tried to fight it but as soon as I felt the flush there was no way of stopping it."
The problem meant socialising and leaving the house were difficult.
Emily says: "If I wanted to see my friends I'd make sure they came to me so I didn't have to see their dads.
"Although I'd have public attacks, I'd become very skilled at masking it from family and friends.
"When it did happen in public I'd pass it off as me feeling unwell. I wasn't scared of boys at school but the lads my friends were dating were fast becoming men. To me they seemed big, scary, grown-up blokes."
Fortunately for Emily, her fears lessened as she grew older. "I couldn't go on living like this, I had to tell someone," she recalls.
But Emily didn't share her problems until she was 14.
She says: "After bottling it up for ages, I finally had to get it off my chest. Arriving home from school, I told Mum I needed to talk to her."
Mum Susan is now 60 and a former secretary. Emily says: "She said, 'You haven't been yourself. Is it a boy at school?'
"I burst out, 'It's not that I've broken up with my boyfriend. I've never had a boyfriend. I'm really scared of men.'
"She comforted me and said that just because her and Dad's marriage hadn't worked, it didn't mean there wasn't someone out there for me.
"I broke into uncontrollable sobbing and croaked, 'It's nothing to do with Dad. I'm terrified of all men, absolutely petrified.'
"Tears streaking my face, I said, 'I need help, Mum'.
"I could see she was fighting back tears as she told me not to worry and she would get me a doctor's appointment. My GP was one of the few men I could sit opposite without wanting to pass out. This may be because he'd looked after me from a young age.
"Mum came with me into the consulting room and I told the doctor everything. I felt a huge weight lift. Finally, I had broken free of my secret. I discovered I was suffering from androphobia.
"I was elated to have a diagnosis, but devastation followed when I was told it may be hard to cure.
"I was referred to counselling and started seeing a female specialist. I was made to understand it was a psychological problem. I was given mental exercises and breathing programmes which helped me overcome my fear.
"I now work as a recruitment consultant. The apprehension of meeting men is still there and I still get attacks when presented with new male faces to interview but I try to confront it at all times, otherwise it'll get on top of me."
But Emily's love life has suffered hugely from her phobia.
She says: "I have managed to go on a few dates with lads I've got to know gradually but it's always impossible to get past a kiss because the intimacy of touching a man is still too much for me to cope with.
"It seems my fear of men has given way to a fear of intimacy.
"I'm hoping one day I'll meet someone who will work with me to beat the androphobia and I'll eventually be able to marry and have children.
Emily, of Chelmsford, Essex, adds: "I'm going to have to conquer my fear, I know that. If I can't I'll consider artificial insemination to conceive.
"At the moment I'm just happy to be able to have a life and be accepted at work.
"I understand some people will think I'm weird but I live with a very real condition over which I have no control.
"If it wasn't for such amazing family and friends I would not be where I am today."

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