World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sexual anorexia

Article Id: WHEBN0003346716
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sexual anorexia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anorexia (disambiguation), Sexual and gender identity disorders, Alexandra Katehakis, Ray Donovan, Human sexuality
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sexual anorexia

Sexual anorexia is a pathological loss of "appetite" for romantic-sexual interaction, often the result of a fear of intimacy to the point that the person has severe anxiety surrounding sexual activity and emotional aspects (i.e. an intimate relationship).[1]


  • Sexual addiction and sexual anorexia 1
  • History of the term 2
  • Treatment 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

Sexual addiction and sexual anorexia

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 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.

History of the term

The concept of sexual anorexia was first mentioned by psychologist Nathan Hare in 1975, in an unpublished dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment for a Ph.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco. Ellen Goodman, the nationally syndicated columnist, wrote about psychiatrist Sylvia Kaplan's use of the concept in 1981 and this was noted in the editor's "Notes" in the journal Black Male/Female Relationships.

A book by psychologist Patrick Carnes called Sexual Anorexia was published in 1997. Hare's Ph.D. dissertation on Black Male-Female Relations (1975) as well as the now defunct journal called Black Male/Female Relationships (1979–1982) are available in University Microfilms, from the University of Michigan. See also Nathan and Julia Hare, "Sexual Anorexia," Crisis in Black Sexual Politics, published in 1989 by The Black Think Tank, San Francisco, pp. 137–140, ISBN 0-9613086-2. Julia Hare has also used it in a book, The Sexual and Political Anorexia of the Black Woman (June 2008, ISBN 0-981-7999-09).


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 their 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 deeply felt than for the sex addict.

Treatment is aimed at helping the person see where their fears lie 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.


  1. ^ Douglas Weiss Ph.D., Sexual Anorexia, Beyond Sexual., Emotional and Spiritual Withholding (1998)

Further reading

  • Nelson, Laura (June 2003). "Sexual addiction versus sexual anorexia and the church’s impact" (PDF).  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.