Sexual Anorexia is defined by a set of characteristics:
1. A pattern of resistance to anything sexual
2. Continuing that pattern of avoidance, even though they may know itÕs self-destructive (ie: harm a marriage, prevent relationships)
3. Going to great lengths to avoid sexual contact or attention
4. Rigid or judgmental attitudes toward sexuality - their own, and others
5. Resistance and avoidance of deeper, more painful life issues
6. Extreme shame and self-loathing about their bodies, sexual attributes and experiences
7. Obsessing about sex and how to avoid it, to a point where it interferes with normal living
8. Possible episodes of sexual bingeing or periods of sexual compulsivity
9. Desire to control oneÕs body, sexuality and environments
10. Terror and high anxiety of being sexual or appearing sexual in any way
11. Anger and self-hatred that goes back to childhood and their relationship with one or more parents or other influences in the home.
The sexual anorexic's primary goal is to find ways not to combine intimacy with sex. Both men and women can suffer from this disorder, and most keep silent about it. They initially feel out-of-sorts and don't speak openly about their apathy for fear of being judged negatively in today's society, which values sexual behavior so very highly.
Sexual Anorexia Wikipedia
Other practitioners have applied the term in their own way. In the view of some practitioners, corroborating the seminal work of Patrick Carnes, there are people who appear to have a sexual addiction which is expressed through a variety of behaviors such as the compulsive use of strip clubs, prostitutes, cyberporn sites, etc. but more accurately fit the definition of sexual anorexic in that they seem to lack the ability to have a relationship of a sexual nature beyond a paid-for or anonymous experience. The person does not have an aversion to sex but to intimacy.
A sex addict is more likely to be capable of being in a more intimate relationship and is often married or in a committed relationship when deciding to get treatment for his or her addiction. A sexual anorexic may have a social phobia or be so fragile emotionally that the risk of rejection or criticism is far more frightening than being isolated. Narcissistic traits are often seen in both sexual anorexics and sex addicts, but in the sexual anorexic, the traits are considered far more "brittle" and the pain of rejection and criticism is far more excruciating than for the sex addict.
Treatment is aimed at helping the person see where his/her fears really are and to see the world in less black and white terms. The patient is encouraged to take calculated risks with social activities and distorted thinking is gently challenged with facts and reality.
The goals for both sex addicts and sexual anorexics is to learn to have healthy sex and get emotional needs met in direct ways, and to set healthy boundaries. This is an issue that requires ongoing treatment in planned stages with the end goal of autonomy, independence, and improved social relationships.
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