Sexual anorexia: a fear of intimacy

Having sex certainly isn’t a must. And for some people, a lack of desire is something absolutely normal. It can fit into the sphere of sexual orientation. In other cases, however, sexual abstinence can have a different root, linked to trauma or psychological disorders that lead to an avoidance of intimacy as a means of keeping anxiety and emotional imbalances in check. Psychologists have nicknamed the disorder “sexual anorexia,” a problem which has much in common with its better-known counterpart, sexual addiction or hyper sexuality.

If those who are addicted to sex exceed in satisfying their instincts, the sexual anorexic does the opposite, and avoids all forms of contact and physical and emotional intimacy. For both, they represent a pathological state aimed at managing stress or personality or mood disorders. How sexual anorexia develops is unclear, but it is thought to be arise from sexual abuse or to be a form of dysmorphobia, which is the inability to accept one’s own physical appearance. In other cases, patients suffering from sexual anorexia come from highly religious or very strict families and feel their sexuality to be a source of embarrassment and guilt. Shame is a symptom in nearly all cases.

Sexual anorexics try to hide their condition in every way possible. They isolate themselves, creating excuses to avoid any type of social gathering, even to the point of changing work or city in order to have no bonds to anyone for fear of rejection. Sometimes, sexual anorexia can come later in life, even to those who are involved in a romantic relationship. In this case it takes on different forms, from forced abstinence on the partner to avoidance behaviours such as working late and inventing excuses to avoid intimacy. The good news is that it is a disorder that is often curable. For those who think that they suffer from sexual anorexia, it is advised to see a specialist, sexologist or psychologist, who will know how to better help you face and overcome your fears.

HFTHQ 20-17