Sexual Anorexia: Characteristics, Causes, and Treatment
Men and women have the same probability of suffering from this very low level of sexual desire. Most of the time, the causes are related to psychological and physical traumas or even low self-esteem.
Characteristics of sexual anorexia
People with sexual anorexia experience much less sexual pleasure and arousal. Here are six diagnostic aspects:
- Little to no interest in sexual activity.
- A lack of sexual or erotic thoughts, or very few of them.
- Rarely or never initiating sex, and generally not being interested when a partner tries to initiate it.
- Little to no sexual pleasure and arousal during sexual activity. This happens almost every time (around 75-100%) that a couple has sex.
- Little to no sexual pleasure and arousal when it comes to any internal or external invitation to sex (written, verbal, visual, etc).
- Very few genital sensations during sexual activity. This happens almost every time (around 75-100%) that a couple has sex.
These symptoms have to have gone on for at least six months. Also, they have to cause a lot of discomfort. Lastly, the sexual issue shouldn’t be better explained by a non-sexual mental disorder. It shouldn’t occur a result of a serious relationship change or due to a substance or medical condition, either.
Causes of sexual anorexia
Some experts say that the people with the highest risk of having sexual anorexia are those who have experienced physical or psychological abuse. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only cause. Having no sexual desire can also occur due to other things.
Stress, boredom, arguments, and cohabitation issues can also lead to sexual anorexia. Erectile dysfunction, impotence, and anorgasmia can also lead someone to develop this condition.
It can even have its roots in specific religious, cultural, and political environments. These “social scenes” are sometimes so against free sexual expression that they’re repressive. The sexual education a person receives as a child or teenager can also lead to future sexual anorexia.
There’s another cause, and it comes from the media. The problem is that media floods our lives with explicit images, messages, and stimuli that sexualize every aspect of our lives. That can stop people from getting a proper sexual education and make them have unrealistic expectations about sex.
When having no sexual desire becomes a problem
Having no sexual desire usually goes with problems having an orgasm, or pain during sex. That usually means that sex will become very uncommon in a relationship. But it’s only a problem if one person in the couple has more of a sexual desire.
Relationship problems and mood disorders can also go hand in hand with sexual anorexia. Unrealistic standards and expectations about the “proper” level of sexual interest and arousal are a big challenge for people with this condition.
There are some other things that play a part too. Not having a lot of sexual experience or information about sexuality can be a big problem. Alongside gender roles, it’s actually a very important thing to keep in mind.
Important factors when it comes to treating sexual anorexia
There are 5 big factors that are really important when it comes to the treatment of low sexual desire. They are:
- Couple-based factors. Like sexual issues, or the health of one partner.
- Relationship-based factors. Like problems communicating, or when one person has more or less sexual desire.
- Individual vulnerability-based factors. Like negative body image, a history of sexual or emotional abuse, depression, anxiety, stress, losing a job, pain…
- Cultural and religious factors. Like not having sex because it’s taboo or having a negative attitude towards sex.
- Medical factors. They’re especially important when it comes to the prognosis, or how they’ll treat the disorder.
Treatment for sexual anorexia
The first thing someone with this condition has to do is get diagnosed.
They should make changes with their partner. The key is to awaken their sexual desire again. That’s why it’s so important for a couple to create a relaxed, intimate environment with no judgment or pressure. Another important thing to keep in mind is that sexual activity is not just penetration. There are a lot of different ways to have sex.
In the end, the best thing to do is see a specialized psychologist. They’ll be able to give you the best possible treatment there is.