Lack of desire for sexual contact? Are you always avoiding sex? Then, it’s a possible case of sexual anorexia. Anorexia is a word that means limited or interrupted appetite. In such a case, your sexual appetite is restricted. Individuals with sexual anorexia fear, dread, or avoid sexual intimacy. The condition is inhibited sexual desire/ sex aversion or avoidance. It can even be a signal of impotence in men. Often, sexual anorexia lacks an obvious or apparent cause. Read this article to find out more about this condition.
Causes of Sexual Anorexia: Physical and Emotional
Individuals with sexual anorexia go to great lengths to avoid sexual contact. The main symptom of this medical condition, therefore, is a lack of sexual interest or desire. Individuals (both men and women) may feel afraid or even angered when sex comes up. Someone with this condition could also become obsessed with avoiding sex, and this urge may dominate their lives.
Physical and emotional issues can lead to sexual anorexia.
1. Physical Causes
Physical causes of sexual anorexia include hormonal imbalances, recent childbirth, medication use, breast-feeding, and exhaustion.
2. Emotional Causes
Common emotional causes range from rape to sexual abuse(1), a negative approach to sex, and religious reservations about sex. Power struggles or communication problems with the partner/spouse could also form the basis of sexual anorexia.
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Symptoms of Sexual Anorexia
Individuals with sexual anorexia don’t only avoid sex. In some cases, they may go through cycles of sexual addiction, as well. In many individuals, sexual anorexia or addiction emerges from the same belief system, namely, to control one’s life. Avoidance or preoccupation with success is present in both conditions. Sex addicts are promiscuous and compulsive. They cannot deal with negativity in life. Sexual anorexics gain control by rejecting sex.
Sexual anorexia has even been likened to sexual addiction. Anorexia means sans appetite. It is derived from the Greek word orexis. Sexual anorexia refers to the loss of sexual desire. This disorder is a compulsive avoidance of sex such individuals build their lives surrounding.
Symptoms in question can range across the following:
- Persistent fear of intimacy, sexual contact, sexual pleasure or STDs/STIs
- Excessive obsession or preoccupation with sex, including sexual behavior of others, sexual orientation, intentions towards sex, and sexual adequacy.
- Judgmental, rigid, or negative attitudes about sex, sexual activities, or bodily appearance.
- Self-loathing and shame over sexual encounters.
- Self-destructive behavior to limit, stop or avoid sex.
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How to Treat It
This condition is tough to diagnose. A single test to study or diagnose this condition does not exist at present. If you suspect you have sexual anorexia, talk to your counselor or doctor. A counselor, sex therapist, or psychiatrist/psychologist can help diagnose your symptoms.
Health teams can also check for underlying medical conditions causing this problem, such as infertility. Hormonal imbalances can also interfere with the libido. Therefore, sexual anorexics may be recommended to undergo hormonal tests.
Hormonal therapy remains a valid form of treatment for sexual anorexia. Adults suffering from inhibited desire due to low testosterone or estrogen levels benefit from medical cures. This step may be critical for men facing the loss of sexual interest due to erectile dysfunction(2). Little desire in menopausal women can also be treated through hormone therapy for boosting sexual desire.
Treatment from the emotional side of sexual anorexia is also critical. Sufficient conflict resolution and communication skills can help couples address such problems. Relationship training, couples therapy, or counseling sessions can help. Work with your professional therapist if you’ve faced sex trauma or been brought up to think sex is wrong. In some cases, pornography and excessive use of porn at an early age can cause a loss of interest in real-life sexual situations.
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Sexual anorexia impacts men and women. According to experts, victims of sex abuse or sexual rejection are most effected and often unaware of reasons for their problems with the opposite sex. Individuals with sexual anorexia also have other addictions like OCD/obsessive-compulsive disorders, food or substance abuse problems, or generalized anxiety. Individuals with cultural, social, or religious groups that demonize sex may also be vulnerable to sexual anorexia.
Sexual anorexics may be prone to random promiscuity, but it is much like a binge-purge syndrome characteristic of food anorexia/ eating disorders. Sexual anorexics may abstain from food except when intoxicated. Rigid boundaries disappear when alcohol lowers inhibitions. Despite an aversion to sex, such individuals may be in a marriage or relationship impaired by sex avoidance of one or both partners. Sexual anorexics can also act out by entering into relationships with sex addicts.
While sexual anorexia is not included in DSM-V of the APA or ICD-10 or other classification systems, problems of sex avoidance are well recognized by couples counselors, sex therapists, and psychologists. If you or your partner has issues with sex or sexual expression, get a referral from a doctor regarding sex therapists and enter into couples counseling to cope with the problem. Contact your APA website for a psychologist. NPOs like the Society for Advancement of Sexual Health can also help.
Outlooks for individuals with sexual anorexia vary greatly. The medical part of the equation can be fixed depending on primary and underlying health conditions. Profound, psychological aspects of the state are tougher to treat.
Centers treat sex addiction and offer treatment for sexual anorexia. Ask your doctor or your counselor about the treatment options. Keep channels of communication open with the partner and prevent rejection. Focus on touch and affection to work through sexual challenges.
In the end, it is essential to feel connected and hopeful about the future together. Sex anorexia is as big a problem as sex addiction. It is necessary for a human being to fulfill his/her sexual needs. It is a critical component of self-confidence and reproductive health in a marriage/relationship. So, do seek immediate help to cope with the problem.