Sexual anorexia, a term made popular by sex addiction expert Dr. Patrick Carnes, is the compulsive avoidance of sex and sex-related matters. The word anorexia means without appetite anorexia being derived from the Greek word, orexis , so sexual anorexia refers to a lack of sexual appetite. What makes it a form of addiction is the compulsive avoidance of sex that sexual anorexics build their lives around. Sexual anorexia can affect men and women alike. According to Carnes, victims of past sexual abuse or sexual rejection are most often affected and are often unaware of the reason for their difficulties with sex.
Since the moment Tiger Woods slammed his SUV into a tree, we've been hearing a lot about sex addiction. What's less talked about, but may be just as common, is "sexual anorexia," which is the compulsive avoidance of sex and sex-related situations. Does this mean if we're occasionally not " in the mood " we've all been there that we might have deeper issues with intimacy? Also called sexual "acting in," sexual anorexia is characterized by severe anxiety and fear of sexual contact and the obsessive avoidance of sex, according to Katehakis. This can make the sexual anorexic feel powerful and protected from harm.
As an eating disorder, anorexia is defined as the compulsive avoidance of food. In the area of sex and love, anorexia has a similar definition: Anorexia is the compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual or emotional nourishment. Below are 10 of 50 questions excerpted from the pamphlet Anorexia: Sexual, Social, Emotional.
While the impact of sexual addiction is becoming more widely understood, and treatment for sexual addiction more widely available, the issues associated with sexual anorexia are often overlooked. Sexual anorexia is a compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual, or emotional nourishment. This is much like a food anorexia, in which a person refuses all nourishment through food, but instead of refusing food, people with sexual anorexia refuse to fulfill their need for intimacy. Sexual anorexia and sexual addiction could be considered to be on opposite ends of the same spectrum.