The term anorexia has often been related to eating, and how people with that condition deprive themselves of food. By doing that they exert control over what goes into their bodies, and for victims of abuse and neglect, that can be the only control they have.
In relation to sex addiction, this term relates to the compulsive avoidance of sex and intimacy in meaningful relationships, and possible sexual acting out or “binges” in meaningless relationships.
The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals describes Sexual Anorexia:
…while the food anorexic is obsessed with the self-denial of physical nourishment, the sexual anorexic focuses his or her anxiety on sex. As a result, the sexual anorexic will typically experience the following:
–A dread of sexual pleasure
–A morbid and persistent fear of sexual contact
–Obsession and hyper vigilance around sexual matters
–Avoidance of anything connected with sex
–Preoccupation with others being sexual
–Distortions of body appearance
–Extreme loathing of body functions
–Obsessive self-doubt about sexual adequacy
–Rigid, judgmental attitudes about sex
–Excessive fear and preoccupation with sexual diseases
–Obsessive concern or worry about the sexual activity of others
–Shame and self-loathing over sexual experiences
–Depression about sexual adequacy and functioning
–Self-destructive behavior to limit, stop, or avoid sex
Both men and women can suffer from sexual anorexia.
This condition can be treated, and individuals can learn to trust and engage in a caring relationship.
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