Gynophobia was previously considered a driving force toward homosexuality. In his 1896 Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Havelock Ellis wrote:
It is, perhaps, not difficult to account for the horror – much stronger than that normally felt toward a person of the same sex – with which the invert often regards the sexual organs of persons of the opposite sex. It cannot be said that the sexual organs of either sex under the influence of sexual excitement are esthetically pleasing; they only become emotionally desirable through the parallel excitement of the beholder. When the absence of parallel excitement is accompanied in the beholder by the sense of unfamiliarity as in childhood, or by a neurotic hypersensitiveness, the conditions are present for the production of intense horror feminae or horror masculis, as the case may be. It is possible that, as Otto Rank argues in his interesting study, "Die Nacktheit in Sage und Dichtung," [sic] this horror of the sexual organs of the opposite sex, to some extent felt even by normal people, is embodied in the Melusine type of legend.
In his book Sadism and Masochism: The Psychology of Hatred and Cruelty, Wilhelm Stekel discusses horror feminae of a male masochist.
In The Dread of Woman (1932), Karen Horney traced the male dread of woman to the boy's fear that his genital is inadequate in relation to the mother.
The symptoms of Gynophobia are similar if not the same symptoms associated with other social phobias. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
The inability to articulate words or sentences – limited speech or being completely speechless. (gynophobics are often just thought of as shy)
Shaking or trembling
Uncontrollable desire to flee
Feeling of tightness in the throat or chest
An itching sensation
A person suffering from Gynophobia may display any of these symptoms. However, individuals generally react differently based on the situation and thus some symptoms could be missed or not displayed.