13 Things You Need To Know About Sexual Anorexia—Do You Have It?

13 Things You Need To Know About Sexual Anorexia—Do You Have It? iStock

Sexual anorexia doesn’t have anything to do with bringing food into the bedroom. Here’s what you need to know about this very real condition, along with symptoms that could mean you might be suffering from it.

  1. You have no interest in sex. That’s one of the biggest symptoms of sexual anorexia, but it can extend to not having interest in any sexual contact, even when it comes to massage. Although it’s normal to not be in the mood for sex every now and then, someone with sexual anorexia will experience long periods of never experiencing sexual desire.
  2. You dread anything surrounding sex. Some people with sexual anorexia avoid and fear sexual intimacy. If you always try to find an excuse for why you don’t want to have sex or you feel excessively anxious when your partner strips down to their undies or initiates a makeout session because of what could happen next, you might have this condition.
  3. You beat yourself up rather than basking in the post-sex glow. If you end up having sex, you don’t feel that nice afterglow afterward. Instead, you’re full of self-loathing or shame for having had sex. This could especially be the case if you were brought up to believe that sex is something sinful.
  4. You keep your long-term relationship on ice. People with sexual anorexia who are in long-term relationships might still want to nip any intimacy in the bud. Sound familiar? To avoid intimacy, you might try to create more distance from your partner. This can lead to many destructive relationship behaviors, such as giving your partner the silent treatment, judging your partner, or finding fault with everything they do. This is more about you than them because you just want to keep them far away from you. Sooner or later, they’ll leave because it’s soul destroying to be with someone who doesn’t want any kind of intimacy.
  5. You chase the unavailable. Since you don’t want closeness with a partner, you might chase people who are unavailable that you know deep down in your heart that you won’t be able to date. Examples include celebrities or people who already have partners. This enables you to enjoy the chase from a distance without the risk of having to get close to anyone, with the bonus of avoiding sex.
  6. You might have binge sex. In the same way that some people with eating disorders will have periods of binge eating, people with sexual anorexia might go through phases where they want to have lots of sex. This can sometimes occur in the form of sexual promiscuity, resulting in people cheating on their partners. The use of alcohol or drugs can facilitate these situations by removing fixed boundaries people have around sex, making it easier for them to indulge in the sexual experience.
  7. You try to avoid rejection. People with sexual anorexia go to great lengths to prevent rejection from affecting them, such as romantic rejection. It’s just too much to deal with, so they choose to remain isolated instead. Even if they wish they had someone special with whom they could share their life, the risk is just too big for them. When they end up binging on sex, they might have it with strangers who they never have to see again.
  8. There are both physical and emotional triggers. There are physical causes for the condition, like being exhausted, taking medications like antidepressants, breastfeeding, or you’ve recently had a baby. In addition, victims of rape and previous sexual abuse are at risk of sexual anorexia, as are people who experienced strict religious upbringing that teaches them that sex is wrong or shameful.
  9. It can also be linked to fear of disease. For some people, sexual anorexia comes about because of a fear of getting STDs from partners. This causes them to completely avoid sex to keep themselves safe, even though there are easy and reliable methods of preventing these conditions.
  10. It can wreck your relationships. If you’re avoiding sex and intimacy in general, this can cause you to have a string of unhealthy relationships. For instance, maybe you always end up in short relationships that don’t last very long because you avoid building intimacy with anyone. You prefer to push them away before they can get too close, emotionally or physically.
  11. Thankfully, there is treatment. If you suspect you have sexual anorexia, you should consult with your doctor to be officially diagnosed. First, your doctor will probably test you to see if you have any medical conditions that could be causing the sexual anorexia, such as a hormonal imbalance. If it’s a mental or emotional issue that’s causing the sexual anorexia, you’ll be transferred to a mental health professional who can assist you in uncovering your issues and dealing with them. The good news is that by working with a healthcare professional, you can work through the condition and claim a happier, more fulfilling life.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.