3. What is Sexual Avoidance/Anorexia?

Some of us have experienced the avoidance of sex as addictive, in some cases choosing to identify as “sexual anorexics”…afraid of sex because of its association in our minds with our addiction or with past sexual trauma, or because of a fear of intimacy and vulnerability. Trying to control our sexuality in this way is just another symptom of our disease. The solution lies in turning our will and lives over to the care of our Higher Power.

— Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 72

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Sexual anorexia is another way of describing compulsive sexual avoidance. It refers to starving oneself of sexual nurturing and affection as a means of controlling a situation, another person, or one’s own sexual addiction.

“Some of us have experienced the avoidance of sex as addictive, in some cases choosing to identify as ‘sexual anorexics.’ In the same way that compulsive starving of oneself, or anorexia, is considered an eating disorder, avoidance of sex can be seen as an addictive sexual behavior. Some of us have found ourselves ‘shut down’ sexually in recovery, afraid of sex because of its association in our minds with our addiction or with past sexual trauma, or because of a fear of intimacy and vulnerability. Trying to control our sexuality in this way is just another symptom of our disease. The solution lies in turning our will and lives over to the care of our Higher Power, knowing that however unfamiliar we are with the challenges of healthier sexuality, we can put our trust in the God of our understanding.”

(Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 72)

“Many sex addicts compulsively avoid their feelings or have difficulty being emotionally vulnerable with others.  When this intimacy avoidance becomes focused on avoiding anything to do with sex, it’s sometimes called, ‘acting in.’”(Intimacy Avoidance – Another Aspect of Sex Addiction)

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