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Does sexual anorexia really exist?

Paul  Hokemeyer, PhD
Marriage & Family Therapy
Yes, it really does and it's a condition that limits many people's sexual lives. One of the reasons we don't hear that much about sexual anorexia is because sex is very much still a taboo topic that's mired in shame and secrecy. People who suffer from this condition basically starve their selves of sex to manage uncomfortable emotions like anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Because their emotions feel so out of control, they become rigid and hyper-controlling of their bodies. 
Four of the most common characteristics of sexual anorexia are:
  • Sexual rigidity (i.e. never having sex and/or refusing to discuss sex)
  • Anxiety and fear around sex, sexuality and sexually related issues and objects (i.e. becoming anxious when the topic of sex is discussed, when other people express their sexuality, or when sexual objects such as lingerie are shown or discussed)
  • Guilt and shame around sex (i.e. feeling “damaged” because of your sexual past or current sexual desires)
  • Self-harm to avoid appearing sexual (i.e. gaining weight to avoid sexual advances from others)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.