Your phobia has to have a source, an origin. Most likely, there was an event or an unpleasant experience that precipitated it. If I could speak to you in person, I would explore how this specific phobia developed over time.
By their very nature, phobias are irrational. Despite knowing this, many people have trouble overcoming a phobia. They can cause significant distress in a person’s life. The good news is that they are highly treatable.
The quickest way to overcome a phobia is to directly engage in the behavior you fear (i.e. face your fear). Though highly effective, that type of exercise should be avoided until you are actively working with a mental health professional. In your case, that would involve deliberately sitting next to a man and enduring the anxiety that arises from being so close. Yes, your anxiety levels will increase but they will eventually dissipate. Resist the urge to escape. Your therapist will design a treatment plan at a pace that is not overwhelming and that meets your needs. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle