What is sexual anorexia and why do so many sex addicts have it?

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Answered by: Jennie, An Expert in the About Sex Addiction Category
A common problem for many sex addicts is a condition known as "sexual anorexia." This term describes the behavior of withholding sexual and emotional intimacy from one partner or spouse by the other.

Many sex addicts attempt to protect their secret infidelities from their partners by hiding behind the walls of sexually anorexic behaviors. These behaviors usually confuse the addict's partner or spouse, who cannot understand why there is no interest in nurturing a romantic relationship together. Over time, most partners of sexual anorexics end up feeling lonely and rejected. In many cases, this situation continues for years before the sex addiction is discovered. After the sex addiction is discovered, the addict's sexually anorexic condition sometimes wanes because the need to hide behind this behavior diminishes. However, in many cases, the damage has already been done so it is almost impossible for the addict and partner to begin a romantic relationship together again, right away.

Sexually anorexic behaviors cause heartache for both parties. When it is present in the relationship, it is almost impossible for the sexual anorexic to just pretend that everything is okay and participate in sexual activity in order to keep the partner happy. Sexually anorexic behavior is characterized by the active withholding of all sexual and intimate connections with spouses and primary partners.There are several common behaviors that indicate sexual anorexia might be present in a relationship.

1. Absence of Sex: The largest indicator of this condition is the withholding of sex from one spouse or partner by the other. If the sexual anorexic does feel obligated to engage in sex with the primary partner, it lacks true intimacy.

2. Absence of Emotion: Most sexual anorexics are not able to share their real feelings with their main partners or spouses. They stubbornly refuse to unveil any true feelings of intimacy because they cannot risk revealing their secrets. If the sexual anorexic is also a sex addict, this behavior is almost guaranteed to be present.

3. Absence of Approval: Because sexual anorexics suffer from an intimacy disorder, they have a difficult time letting down their guard long enough to show tenderness and approval to their main partners. Because of this, most sexual anorexics are much more comfortable criticizing their partners and blaming them for the problems in the marriage or relationship.

This condition can be resolved, but it requires a great deal of work for both partners. Tearing down invisible walls that have been protecting the sexual anorexic for many years, in some cases, is a task that requires courage and humility. The sexual anorexic needs to have the courage to expose closely held secrets that have been kept hidden from the partner. Most of the time, shame is really at the root of this intimacy disorder. Because of this, the act of revealing intimate truths about themselves to their partners can be both frightening and humiliating. It can be done, but this intimacy disorder can only be resolved if both partners make the commitment to be rigorously honest with each other.

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