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How to overcome a fear of intimacy?

Community Member

I’m 20F, and I’ve never been in a relationship before, almost solely because I have such an intense fear of physical intimacy. In my head, I think it’d be nice to have a partner and I occasionally like people (maybe twice ever), but whenever it becomes anywhere close to a reality I panic and back out and often cut off the person involved. I’ve been asked out, or any basic act of intimacy suggested, and I completely panic and find any possible way out of the situation every time. I do have diagnosed anxiety, which could be related, but it seems so much deeper than that, and it’s really just related to the physicality aspect more than anything else. I thought it might just be because I’ve had very little experience, but I’ve asked a lot of friends and they all said they weren’t scared before their first times, they were thrilled. I don’t understand why I’m like this, and it’s ruining not only the potential for romantic relationships but it gets in the way of platonic relationships too. I hate that I’d be happy to live alone, even if I’d be cripplingly lonely, and I don’t understand where it comes from. I wasn’t abused as a child, I’ve not had any toxic partners. I struggled to put how it feels into words, but I hope someone can understand and could help me be more normal about it all.

1 Reply 1

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi welcome,


I'm 67yo and can recall the fear of girls at a young age and I put it down to an all boys Technical school I attended. Then I joined the Air Force at 17yo and was still struggling with that aspect.


You as a female might need to set clear boundaries for any prospective future lover. You shouldnt set your behaviour towards those that date you based upon what others do be it sleeping with them on the first date of 3 months later. If its a long time then they just have to wait. Wait for what? Well wait until you are comfortable and that includes a number of things. Based on your post it could mean friendship has to develop, trust, humour, fun and above all comfort. Once you are relaxed and comfortable it will all fall into place.


So on a side topic, At 54yo after 3 long term relationships that fell apart, I decided to 1/ build my own home and 2/ not get too heavily involved with another lady unless she showed clear signs she could become a soul mate.


I invited a female friend I'd had for 27 years to my new home. I'd match made her with my BIL many years earlier and was their best man. Anyway it dawned on me that I had deep feeling for her. We married 2 years later and been together 13 years now. 


Such boundaries or dreams we should not cheapen them or compare with others practices. Have your own standards and rules, express them calmly and tactfully. If that person is who you think they are then they will wait and treat you special. If not they might leave or push the issue. Understand that some people get frustrated that the relationship isnt going forward quickly enough for them, thats understandable, so explain it to them that you simply are not ready but you do have strong feelings for them and be patient.


So this is more a future communication problem rather than a fear of intimacy issue imo  along with indirect peer pressure or the "normal" expectations.


Your anxiety could also be playing a part. So try to relax and enjoy others company.