Sexual Anorexia | Sex Addiction | Sex Addiction Australia
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Sexual Anorexia

Private Counselling For Sex Addictions and Sexual Anorexia in Sydney & Online

Sexual anorexia is an aspect of sexual addiction. Sexual anorexia is a term describing escalations of compulsive sexual avoidance behaviours. Psychologist Nathan Hare first mentioned the concept of sexual anorexia in 1975. Psychiatrist Sylvia Kaplan made use of the concept in 1981, and this was published in the editor’s ‘Notes’ in the journal Black Male/Female Relationships. Dr Patrick Carnes, authority in sex addiction research, published his book ‘Sexual Anorexia’ in 1997.

Sexual anorexia can be defined as fear of sexual intimacy. Persons with sexual anorexia may experience severe anxiety surrounding sex with intimate emotional attachment.


Sexual anorexia can suddenly flip over to extreme sexual promiscuity with acting out compulsive sex to fill needs for sexual lust with absolutely no emotional attachment, not dissimilar to sexual addiction. Acting out behaviours can vary and may include engaging in paid sexual activities, anonymous sex, pornography, Internet sex, flirtation, seduction, or frequenting pick up joints.


Sexual anorexics do not have an aversion to sex itself, but suffer severe fear of intimate attachment. Sexual anorexia follows a cycle of acting in and acting out, in similar ways as sexual addiction. The anorexic cycle involves stages of preoccupation with severe sexual fears and planning forward strategies of avoiding any possible intimate sexual encounter.

Symptoms include;

  • Distortion of thoughts
  • Obsessional self-doubt about sexual adequacy
  • Distortion of body image
  • Obsessive exercising
  • Unattractive self-presentation
  • Self-destructing sex-avoiding behaviours
  • Extreme shame and self-loathing over sexual experiences
  • Psychosomatic illness that preclude sexual activity
  • Extreme loathing of body functions
  • Eliminating anything that could possible stimulate sexual arousal
  • In extreme cases – self-mutilating of body parts to make oneself unattractive
  • Occasional periods of sexual binging and extreme promiscuity

Sexual anorexics may compensate their lack of intimacy with a number of compulsive behaviours;

  • Chemical and behavioural addictions
  • Compulsive cleaning
  • Compulsive money behaviours
  • Compulsive hoarding
  • Phobias


Professional counselling and sex therapy can assist the sexual anorexic to address and overcome their sexual fears and intimacy aversions, and developing ability to engage in healthy intimate sexual relationships.

Please contact Sex Addiction Australia in our Sydney office for further information and booking a confidential consultation, call Heide (+61) 02 9380 4486 or email