Sexual Anorexia

Sexual Anorexia, also known as Sexual Aversion Disorder, is almost the opposite of sexual compulsion. It is a state of aversion and avoidance of being sexually intimate with another person. It’s typically a reaction to previous trauma where the abused had no control.  This individual may not trust others and does not allow others to be close to her or him (physically, emotionally, or sexually). The sexual anorexic may also avoid masturbation.  They find it difficult to have sexual pleasure and can be sexually apathetic.

Sexual Anorexics have a pattern of resisting anything sexual.  They continue this avoidance even though they may know it’s self-destructive to their significant other or marriage.   These individuals go to great lengths to avoid sexual contact or attention to their sexuality.  Often having negative attitudes or judgments toward sexuality–their own or others.  They may experience extreme shame and self loathing about their bodies, sexual attributes and experiences. They have difficulty mixing intimacy with sex. It’s common for individuals to flip flop back in forth from sexual compulsion to complete avoidance of sex, having difficulty with balance, moderation and intimacy.

Sexual Anorexia is not related to low sexual desire.  Those who have inhibited sexual desire have a low libido and may simply avoid sex with their partners. This is very common in couples. They simply have no interest, because their desire has been extinguished.  Those who have low sexual desire may be intimate with their partner, but avoid becoming sexual because they are unable to stimulate sexual desire within themselves.  They may be avoiding a partner who wants sex more than they do, but they are also trying to avoid having to face low sexual pleasure.

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Signs of Sexual Anorexia

  • Extreme discomfort when talking about intimate topics
  • Stiffing the body when touched
  • Difficulty with generating natural lubrication (not better accounted for by a medical problem)
  • Disgust and dislike of touching yourself sexually
  • Feeling an extreme disgust of having sex with someone
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Difficulty tolerating closeness and intimacy with others