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
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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.
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"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