Sexual Anorexia

Sexual anorexia is the other side of a very painful intimacy disorder. Individuals with sexual anorexia simply avoid and have an aversion to being sexual. They go to extreme lengths to avoid engaging in sexual intimacy. According to the research completed by Dr. Patrick Carnes, sexual anorexics often believe that sex is dangerous and are terrified of their own sexual needs. Dr. Carnes, the foremost leading researcher in the intimacy disorders arena found the following:


Anorexics often experience:

  • Dread of sexual pleasure
  • Fear of sexual contact
  • Obsessive vigilance about sexual matters
  • Preoccupation with other people being sexual
  • Avoidance of anything connected to sex
  • Obsessional self-doubt about sexual adequacy

Many sex addicts may also me sexually aversive. Here is several examples of how aversion fits with sex addiction:

  • When sex addicts act outside of their relationship easily, but find themselves avoiding sex with their partner. (Many anorexics find it difficult to be sexual with people they really care for or are vulnerable in some way).
  • When addicts binge and then go through a period in which they avoid all sex. (Addicts feel so badly about the binge, so they "diet.")
  • When long periods of sexual acting out are followed by long periods of sexual deprivation, the addiction has simply switched to the anorexic mode.

According to Dr. Carnes, 72% of addicts can identify some degree of binge-purge behavior in their sexuality. Research has found that 15% are addicts and anorexics simultaneously. The contradictory combination of addiction and sexual aversion causes severe shame and guilt on both ends of the spectrum. Yet, there is hope and help for your recovery.

"A ship in the harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are built for."