As a therapist that specializes in trauma and addictions (namely sexual and relationship addictions), I have come across a multitude of issues that people face related to their sexuality. During the last few years, there has been a lot of media attention on pornography addiction and other sexual addictions. However, there has not been a lot of press on Sexual Anorexia or Sexual Aversion Disorder. I am seeing an increase in both of these in my practice, as well as an understanding that in one’s sexual addiction, they can have periods of sexual anorexia (usually after they sexually act out due to guilt and shame).

The question is, what exactly is Sexual Anorexia? What is Sexual Aversion Disorder? Finally, could you or your partner have one of these issues?

Sexual Anorexia:

Avoiding anything sexual due to a fundamental terror of one’s own sexuality; this includes a deeply felt hatred for one’s sexual feelings.

Classic components of sexual anorexia include a history of trauma along with deprivation from primary care-givers.

A person with sexual anorexia may have episodes where they “binge” which include acting out sexually. This is often followed by sexual anorexia due to feelings of guilt and shame for acting outside of one’s value system.

Sexual Aversion Disorder:

Sexual Aversion Disorder in the DSM-IV-TR (2000) is defined as: A persistent or recurrent extreme aversion to, and avoidance of, all (or almost all) genital sexual contact with a partner. The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

Typically, with Sexual Aversion Disorder, there is a pattern of resisting anything sexual, continuing this pattern even though the person knows it is destructive, going to extreme efforts to avoid sexual contact at all costs including self-mutilation, distorting one’s appearance, aversive behavior; rigid, judgmental attitudes toward their own sexuality and the sexuality of others, extreme shame and self loathing of sexual experiences, the aversion affects relationships, work, friends, well-being, they obsess about sex so much that it interferes with daily living, they may have episodes of sexual bingeing and sexual compulsivity.

Could you or your partner have sexual anorexia or Sexual Aversion Disorder?

This is a great question and one that can only can be answered through obtaining a thorough assessment with a trained professional. I am shocked at how many therapists treat sexual addictions and Sexual Aversion Disorder while lacking any adequate training in this very specialized field. Make sure you seek help from someone who specializes in the field of sexual addiction.

Treatment Options:

At Namaste Consulting, LLC, I provide individuals with a thorough assessment process to determine early childhood trauma and current trauma bonding behaviors. Clients are administered the Post Traumatic Stress Inventory-Revised created by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., and we explore the significant factors in one’s current relationships that may be impacting sexuality. Client’s are also encouraged to meet with their primary care physician to rule out any medical issues. Couples therapy can be useful in exploring the relationship dynamics that may be impacting the primary client’s aversion to healthy sexuality.

If you would like to schedule an assessment, please contact Candice at 240-257-6463. Healing is possible!