• En

Sexual anorexia (loss of interest in sex)

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

September 10, 2020

September 11, 2020

Sexual anorexia
Sexual anorexia

Sex, or sexual intercourse, is a biological urge. It may be performed for pleasure or reproduction. While most people—men and women—experience arousal or the desire to have sex at varying intervals, there are some people who feel compelled to avoid sexual contact.

People with no desire to have sex, those who fear sexual contact and those who wish to avoid sexual intimacy of any kind may have a condition called sexual anorexia

Sexual anorexia is a pathological loss of interest in sex. It is different from an asexual identity in that sexual anorexia is a medical condition that needs treatment whereas asexuality is a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality among other kinds of sexuality.

Anorexia usually refers to an interrupted or reduced appetite for food. The term sexual anorexia was made popular by a sex addition expert by the name of Dr Patrick Carnes.

Sexual anorexia concerns people who look to avoid having sex or anything related to it. It is also known by several other names, such as reduced sexual desire, sexual avoidance and sexual aversion.

Some people with sexual anorexia report going through periods of sex addition. According to Dr Carnes, this could be because both sexual addiction and sexual anorexia are manifestations of the same issue: inability to rein-in one's sexual desires or behaviour. While sexual addicts respond to this by indulging their desires, sexual anorexics overcome this lack of control by abstaining altogether.

In most cases, there are psychological factors behind this state. However, in some cases, this state of mind can be brought on due to a pre-existing sexual problem, such as impotence in men or loss of libido. Both men and women can be affected by sexual anorexia. Read on to know more:

Sexual anorexia symptoms

There can be several factors behind someone's reduced desire or aversion to having sex or engage in sexual activities. But the main reason behind sexual anorexia is a lack of desire, which is also known as low libido. 

It is also considered to be an addiction by some psychological experts, who consider it to be the opposite of someone who is addicted to having sex. This is because much like people addicted to sex, people who are sexually anorexic want to avoid having sex by any means.

Here are some of the common signs that can be associated with sexual anorexia:

  • Low sense of self-esteem and shame relating to physicality and sex
  • Negative or poor attitude towards sex and appearance
  • Fear of having sex, physical intimacy, sexual contact, pleasure, or even sexually transmissed infections (STIs)
  • Fear of rejection
  • Obsession with discourse surrounding sexuality, intention and behaviour of people around them
  • Self-harm to avoid having any sexual contact

Read more: Sex education

Sexual anorexia causes

The word anorexia is commonly associated with curtailed appetite. People with sexual anorexia have curtailed sexual appetite and want to avoid sex at all costs.

There could be many reasons for this. For example, someone who has had a traumatic incident in the past with respect to sex and sexual activities may become averse to sex. Someone who has been a victim of sexual or physical abuse is sometimes affected to the point of losing interest in having sex, and may not even be able to process the reason behind their low or no desire to have any kind of sexual intimacy.

Some other reasons behind sexual anorexia are:

Read more: Male menopause

Prevention of sexual anorexia

As there are both physiological and psychological reasons behind sexual anorexia, it is important to identify signs within oneself early. If the problems are psychological, one may be able to identify patterns of thought that emerge when avoiding a conversation or anything related to sex.

Read more: How to increase libido

Diagnosis of sexual anorexia

Sexual anorexia or the lack of desire to have sex may be difficult to diagnose because there may be various physiological as well as psychological factors behind it. But once a person is able to identify a pattern of thought that they resort to in order to avoid sex, it may be worthwhile to speak to a psychologist or a clinical psychiatrist. A sex therapist can diagnose the condition based on the patient's symptoms or signs.

In some cases that may involve physiological changes. A counsellor or a doctor may be able to recommend taking a few tests such as blood tests, which may be able to point towards hormonal imbalances that may be limiting or lowering your desire to have sex.

Read more: Erectile dysfunction

Sexual anorexia treatment

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), sexual anorexia is not categorised as a condition that can be diagnosed. However, counsellors and psychiatrists are well-versed with problems pertaining to a lack of interest, low desire or aversion to sex—these specialists can identify the problem.

Depending on the signs and symptoms you have been experiencing with regards to sexual anorexia, the doctors may be able to devise the correct treatment plan. If the underlying signs have been physiological in nature such as a hormonal imbalance, a doctor may put the patient on hormone therapy to boost libido and desire to have sex.

Psychological factors, however, can be present either way, which means the low desire or avoidance of sex may also be due to the underlying physiological condition, or it could be affecting the person's sex life on its own as well. Therapy and counselling is an important tool towards managing the emotional burden on a patient, especially if there is a history of sexual violence involved.

Methods of therapy include one-on-one counselling sessions with a therapist, couples counselling or even consulting with a sex therapist. Based on the symptoms the person may have been experiencing, they can make the right choice towards the kind of therapy and counselling they need.



cross
Ask your health query now and get connected with a doctor within 10 minutes!