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Afraid of Men

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I just realized today I have a serious fear of men. Any man whom I could potentially be involved with. I am 21 years old. Ever since I was small, I was told not to talk to them. My family was strict about this. Even now, I don’t tell my father if there are going to boys at a school event like a friend’s or club dinners (I have never went to a party so that’s not an issue). My younger sister has no problem talking to boys (she’s pretty…that might be a factor). I can talk to guys in a professional setting but I have never had a casual conversation related to anything outside of school work. I can’t even make eye contact…its really bad. People will say, they’re just humans…but I can’t act normal around them.

In kindergarten, there was a boy. We used to tease each other a lot (I remember it was actually fun). Once he was teasing me so I complained to my parents. I don’t remember exactly what happened but they told the teacher. In class, when he was coming to play in the same area I was in and I got really scared. The teacher told me to “grow up”.

In grade 8, a boy told me I was sexist. I didn’t think I was at the time, but looking back, I realized I was. I was never friends with the boys in middle school…we just talked and they mostly teased me.

In high school and university, I was (and am) completely segregated from boys. I neither talked to them unless I had to, never mind being friends. At least in middle school I talked to them and had fun conversations…I miss the company of guys. Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to work, I can talk no problem. But social situations are a whole different ball game.

I’m so afraid I’ll never get over this fear. My parents will probably want me to graduate and then get married. I’m 99% sure my dad would still get mad if I had any guy friends. My mom tells me: their okay to have guy friends you know…when I’m now 21. Thanks. I could have used that years ago. They just expect me to get married to a guy after 20 something years of not being comfortable with them?

Background: I am very shy (even with girls but at least I can have casual conversations with them. I am not pretty (maybe this affects my self-esteem? I am objectively NOT attractive…boys, my brother, my old friends, even my family, says it, some being mean, others not realizing it). I am Indian and I think my parents expect me to get an arranged marriage (this won’t happen to my sister and brother as they are perfectly functional and can find their own partner). I just want to be able to talk to the other 50% of the population.

Afraid of Men

Answered by on -


Since you are still in school I would encourage you to join a therapy group at the university. Group therapy is an excellent way to confront these fears in a supportive environment. The best way to cope with this is to expose yourself to a group with men in it. This will allow you to voice your concerns in the presence of a trained facilitator. I would encourage you to check this option out sooner rather than later.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Afraid of Men

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Afraid of Men. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 28 Apr 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.