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What is Sexual Anorexia & How Does One Overcome It?

by | Health & Wellness

Feb 23, 2023

Sexual anorexia is not so common a term, and this is why many people who experience it are not even aware of what it means. In this article, we make things a lot clearer as we explore the condition of sexual anorexia, suggesting ways through which you can deal with it. 

What is Sexual Anorexia? 

The term anorexia is used to describe a defect in appetite. It describes a marked decrease in appetite towards food or an activity. Sexual anorexia, therefore, is a marked decrease in appetite to have sex. 

It is also called sexual avoidance or sexual aversion. 

To some, it is often looked upon as a reduction in libido. But sexual anorexia usually goes beyond that. 

With a reduction in libido, there is usually no avoidance. But sexual anorexia presents with a marked increase in avoidance. 

Many times, sexual anorexia is associated with some form of sexual trauma. Please note that in this context, trauma does not necessarily mean forceful sex. It can mean anything that makes a person dread sex. 

No doubt, sexual anorexia has been said to include marked fear of sexual activities. 

Viktoria, a 24-year-old nursing school student who recently defeated sexual anorexia, told us this: “I felt some type of way about sex. I really cannot describe it. But sex felt different for me. I was afraid to have sex with anyone.”

Sexual trauma may also involve a bad experience with an STI. In fact, many people who contract an STI for the first time are going to come down with some sexual aversion, howbeit mild. 

Whatever the cause of your sexual anorexia, it can definitely be managed and overcome. You just have to take it slow and understand your body more. Allow your body and mind to work together to help you truly enjoy the very essence of sex. 

Read: 15 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

How does One Overcome Sexual Anorexia?

Overcoming sexual anorexia is not as hard as it seems at first. These few steps should help you work your way into amazing sexual health once again:

1. Identify the Trauma Source and Heal From it

As I have mentioned in the above paragraphs, sexual anorexia is almost always going to be associated with some trauma. 

Trauma is, however, quite difficult to identify sometimes. Latent trauma may need to be resolved with the help of a therapist. 

If, however, you can identify the source of your trauma yourself, find ways to heal from it. You can talk to someone or just read books about people who have dealt with and overcome similar problems. 

One should not underestimate the power of hope and motivation when they are trying to heal from traumatic experiences. Motivate yourself with the stories of other people. {Read: 11 Demisexual Signs and How to Connect With One}

2. Treat Underlying STIs

As long as STIs are there, as long as they are the source of the trauma associated with your anorexia, you will have a hard time putting your dread of sex away. 

Don’t feel bad about opening up to your healthcare provider. 

Tell him or her just which STIs you have so that treatment can begin at once. 

STIs, thanks to the advance in sexual health and medicine, can be managed relatively easily these days. 

Just a few tabs or an injection for a few days is able to treat gonorrhea. The same can be said about syphilis. 

Even if you do not have an STI, you should talk to your healthcare provider about your fear of STIs. 

There are a number of prophylactic medications which can offer some vaccination against certain STIs. 

For example, a class of drugs known as PrEP, or Post-Exposure-Prophylaxis, an antiviral drug, can be taken to prevent the spread of HIV in any population. 

PrEP is not sold over the counter. So if you want to get some, just visit your local health clinic. 

Read: 10 Reasons Why Men Pull Away

3. Overcome Shame Around Sex

Irrespective of which community you belong to, sex is to be enjoyed. 

Your sexual anorexia may be associated with what is known as toxic shame. 

Some people feel weird about wanting sex. They feel as though it is a bad thing to want someone else lying next to them. 

I promise you; it is not bad. 

Each and every one of us has a right to desire sex. It does not in any way make us less than we really are. 

4. Understand Your Body

In cases where sexual anorexia is a result of pain during sex, understanding your body more may offer you some relief. 

Ask yourself this: why does sex hurt me? If you are honest, you will arrive at either of two possible outcomes: you do not know, or it hurts you for a reason. 

It is fine if you do not know the reason. This is where a sex therapist comes in, as I will discuss later. 

If the pain associated with sex for you comes from an issue that can be fixed, then by all means, fix it. 

For example, women who experience pain during sex as a result of friction can always turn to lubes. Lubes can help people who have difficulty getting wet becomes a lot wetter.  

Check out this article to see a list of oil-based lubes we have recommended for people trying out lube for the first time. 

5. Talk to a Sex Therapist

This is often a last resort. And it does prove very helpful. Talking to a sex therapist or counselor is going to help you deal with whatever sexual trauma you are experiencing. 

First, it will bring the trauma to your face so that you can see the trauma for what it is and then appropriate suggested ways to deal with it. 

6. Try Again

Try to have sex, and try to get into the mood of it all. 

Sexual anorexia can be managed alone. But often, one will need to seek the help of a sex therapist. 

Was this article helpful? Follow us on Twitter to get more relationship and lifestyle tips.

By Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps others feel their best through individualized lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. She covers topics ranging from health and productivity to relationships.

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