Sexual anorexia is a disorder that affects someone’s appetite for sexual intimacy and it can affect both men and women. Those who suffer from sexual anorexia will avoid or put off any sort of sexual intimacy because of deeper issues such as a fear of intimacy, a dread of sexual contact or as a result of past sexual traumas.
Unlike those who suffer from sexual addiction, there aren’t as many resources or support groups for people with sexual anorexia because it is not as widespread, nor is it talked about as much.
The truth about sexual anorexia is that it’s awful and can be very damaging for the person suffering from it. It can affect their relationships with others and themselves, even causing them to feel things such as low self-esteem, worthlessness and loneliness by pulling them away from their intimate partners.
A person suffering from sexual anorexia won’t just avoid physical intimacy, but may also become anxious, fearful or angry when the topic of sex is brought up. The symptoms range from a non-existent appetite for sex or a consistent uncomfortable attitude towards sex. Physical symptoms of sexual anorexia include hormonal imbalance, a constant state of exhaustion and the inability to get an erection or to become aroused.
The causes of sexual anorexia can change from person to person. Often though, it is caused by previous sexual trauma or abuse. This can be anything from being conditioned by strict parents that sexual interaction is bad or sinful, a history of rape or molestation and even communication issues revolving around sex.
Other causes that are more physical can be hormone imbalances, medication or even the recent birth of a child. Even pornography can be linked to some cases of sexual anorexia by causing the sufferer to become disinterested in other types of sex. The causes are usually personal and cannot be pinpointed in any one sufferer without first delving into their history with sexual intimacy.
When it comes to diagnosing sexual anorexia, it isn’t easy for doctors to do so. There are no actual tests to determine whether a person is suffering from sexual anorexia, has a low sex drive causing them to be less interested in sex than others or another condition causing someone to lose interest in sexual intimacy. A blood test may be done to rule out other conditions, such as depression or hormonal imbalance and other ways to find out can be through therapy.
There are a few different treatments designed to help those with sexual anorexia. If it is brought on by a hormonal imbalance caused by low testosterone or estrogen or even menopause, hormone therapy will be done to correct the issue.
However, if the issue is caused by more of an emotional distress reaction to sexual intimacy, further treatment will be required in the form of extensive therapy to get to, and deal with the root of the issue.
This can be in the form of couple’s therapy if the sufferer is in a relationship and it is affecting the way they and their partner communicate or solo therapy if the sufferer is unattached but still unable to show interest in sex.
Dealing with sexual anorexia
To be able to deal with having sexual anorexia, the sufferer must first admit to the issue. Oftentimes, the person suffering doesn’t see a problem with their disorder because they brush it off as just being a part of whom they are.
Repressed issues will lead to the issue becoming more prevalent, so it’s important for those suffering to address and deal with it accordingly by first figuring out why they are sexually anorexic and then dealing with the why as opposed to the what. A partner of a sexual anorexic must help them get through the issue by being considerate, communicative and not pushing the person towards the brink of a breakdown.
How to help a partner with sexual anorexia
If you are not a sufferer, but are in a relationship with someone who has sexual anorexia, it’s important to be there for them with support and understanding. The issue isn’t just a lack of interest of sex but a deep-seeded issue that is unavoidable until whatever is causing it is addressed.
If your partner has sexual anorexia, forcing them into sexual relations or pressuring them to do their relationship duties in terms of sexual intimacy will only push them further away. A level of patience and compassion is required when loving someone with sexual anorexia.
If you think that you or someone you may know suffers from sexual anorexia, it’s important to bring up the issue in a safe space and seek help. Once help is sought, things get a whole lot easier from there. What else would you suggest for those who have sexual anorexia?