Sexual Anorexia: The Opposite Of Sex Addiction?

Sexual Anorexia: The Opposite Of Sex Addiction?

Sexual Anorexia: The Opposite Of Sex Addiction?

sex addiction vs sexual anorexia
Is sexual anorexia the flip side of sex addiction? We asked the experts.

Can you compare our desire for sexual intimacy to, say, our need for food? And, if so, is sexual anorexia the opposite of sex addiction?

Believe it or not, even though "lack of sex" isn't an official cause of death, experts are divided on this issue. The question recently popped up in the New York Times: A reader asked whether willingly "starving yourself" with too little sex is a real disorder (not just something that happens when you're too depressed to leave your house because you've just been dumped, it's snowing and Real Housewives of Dallas is on. Why isn't there a Real Housewives of Dallas yet?) 1 In 4 Americans Are Too Tired For Sex

Quoth the reader: "It strikes me that having little or no sex, denial of eroticism, placing life-curbing restrictions on sex or sex partners should be considered just as much of a problem as too much sex."

Dr. Drew Pinsky (of VH1's Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew fame) chimed in that, yes, so-called "sexual anorexia" is a real and serious problem. It's the flip side of sexual addiction, in fact: "Many times patients with sexual addictions and compulsions will have a 'bipolar,' so to speak, swing to their sexual desire, in which they may move between periods of intense sexual activity followed by periods of sexual anorexia." 4 Things You May Not Know About Sex Addiction

There is no direct biological or medical explanation for the symptoms of sexual anorexia, says Drew, but "certain medications, the recent delivery of a child, breast-feeding and perimenopause or menopause are terribly common culprits and have medical treatments." Postpartum Depression: How To Beat The Baby Blues

YourTango's Director of Marketing & Business Development, Melanie Gorman, a former relationship counselor, agrees with him.

"I absolutely think it exists," she says. "It's just as hard for a loving couple to have the absence of intimacy in their relationship as it is when someone is crippled with the need (or addiction) for more intimacy than they can find in the relationship. If you think of the sexual energy between a couple as the water that keeps them hydrated, the absence or the inclusion of too much will cause something between them to die." New Hope For Women With Sexual Dysfunction

Interesting. So at what point does a compulsion become an actual medical problem? After all, this is the country that declared "binge shopping" a disorder. Am I sick for really liking Diet Coke? Can sexual anorexia credibly be called a medical disorder the way real anorexia obviously is?  Don't Settle For Pleasure-less Sex

Internationally renowned sex coach Dr. Trina Read thinks not.

"There is no scientific or empirical evidence to prove that there's such a thing as sex addiction," she says. In other words, there is no such thing as "normal" when it comes to the frequency of having sex.

Ladies should also dispel the notion that "sexual anorexia" is what's ailing them if they haven't had sex for months or even years, says Trina. While men are biologically predisposed to ejaculate every 24 to 48 hours, the longer a woman goes without sex, the less she needs it. So long as you're cool with that, well, that's cool! (Hmmm. OK, Dr. Trina. We're not going to question that. You're the expert.)

Another expert pointed out that Dr. Drew may even be using the term "sexual anorexia" incorrectly. 

Dr. Ava Cadell, a clinical sexologist and loveologist to Hollywood stars, says the correct definition of "sexual anorexia" is a disorder experienced by "people who prefer to fantasize and have sex with others rather than their partner," in other words "starve" their partner sexually and "binge" with someone else. The actual flip side of a sex addict is someone who is asexual, she says, not somebody with sexual anorexia.

The conclusion seems to be: Names and terms aside, if you're having more or less sex than you're comfortable with, and this dearth or excess is causing problems for your own well-being or in your relationships, you might want to investigate further. And, professionals can definitely help.

Do you think sexual anorexia is a real disorder? Have you ever experienced anything of the sort?

If you are interested in professional help regarding a sexual disorder, find experts through YourTango's ProConnect who can meet with you via phone or in-person.

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