What You Need to Know About Sexual Anorexia

What You Need to Know About Sexual Anorexia

One in three women describe being “uninterested” in sex.

But is there more to it than just a lack of interest? Sexual anorexia is the pathological fear and aversion to sexual and/or romantic intimacy, often the result of severe anxiety surrounding any or all acts of sex.

Are you experiencing a downswing in your libido or could you be suffering from sexual anorexia? (Check out three ways to bring back your sex drive here.) Some signs of sexual anorexia, also known as sexual “acting in,” include:

  • Intense shame and loathing post-sex
  • Extremely low (or non-existent) sex drive
  • A negative and/or judgmental outlook on sex
  • Excessive fear of STIs
  • Obsessive self-doubt
  • Strange and/or self-destructive behavior in order to avoid sex

The term “sexual anorexia” comes from the disordered notion that deprivation equals control. With an eating disorder like anorexia, avoiding food feels like control; similarly, sexual anorexics obsessively “starve” themselves of sexual encounters. The thought behind the evasion is to deny oneself the pleasure of any type of intimacy so as to avoid any heartbreak or hurt. It’s the most extreme version of putting up walls and keeping people out in order to evade emotional or physical upset.

Factors like the possibility of rejection, severe anxiety, undetermined emotions, and of course, past traumas can cause a person to become sexually anorexic. People often confuse sexual anorexia for asexuality, which is not an equal comparison. Sexual anorexia is an avoidance disorder, while asexuality is sometimes considered a “lack of sexual orientation.”

Sexual anorexia can manifest itself in a person based on several factors. Remember that one in three women describe themselves as “uninterested in sex” and you may just be going through a temporary decrease in libido. Regardless, it is important to deeply explore the origins of your loss of appetite for sex. If you think you may fall under the category of someone who has sexual anorexia, be sure to visit your doctor and address any medical concerns you may have.

For more information and resources, consult Sex Addicts Anonymous.

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