I’m sure by now you have heard of or know of someone who suffers from a sex addiction; but do you know or have even heard of its polar opposite, Sex Avoidance?
Sex Avoidance (SA) is a topic that is hardly ever discussed, yet it is more life altering than most sex addictions. Reason being a person with sex avoidance shuts out and shuns intimacy and sexual enjoyment that comes with having an intimate connection.
While Sexual Avoidance can be disconcerting on its own, it is commonly a side effect that indicates a anxiety disorder related to intimacy. Things like lack of information, truthful education, experience, performance fears, being stressed, upset, and low libido can make people even more anxious and could lead to the avoidance of sex and intimacy altogether.
You may be asking; what is Sex Avoidance?
Typically, the aversion toward sex is a defense mechanism. When thinking of intimacy or engaging in sex, the person with sexual avoidance feels emotional distress and could manifest physical symptoms, such as nausea and tensed muscles, or even may have a panic attack. Some may also experience humiliation, shame, and low self-esteem for rejecting their partner.
As with any condition, there are people who fall on either side of the SA Coin. Sex Avoidance can come in the form of sexual anorexia, which happens when sex and intimacy are obsessively evaded in the same way anorexics shun food. In some cases, the sexual anorexic may enjoy physical intimacy once it has been initiated but may not be able to instigate or initiate sex. Some take it a step further and frequently turn down their partner’s desire for physical closeness which creates emotional distancing between partners.
On the other side of the aforementioned SA Coin, the American Psychological Association (APA) has classified an actual disorder called ‘Sexual Aversion Disorder’. With this disorder the individual actively seeks to avoid genital sexual contact with a sexual partner. Often, the person will even avoid genital contact related to a gynecological exam or procedure which could lead to infection and sometimes death. With some people a Sexual Aversion Disorder can be so traumatic that the person won’t allow any physical touch or kissing at all.
Reasons for Sex Avoidance
There are numerous reasons for avoiding intimacy and sex. The most obvious is the case of a person who has suffered sexual abuse and now dodges anything that brings the trauma back up. However, not everyone who has been abused will avoid sex, just as not every person who shuns physical intimacy has been abused. In some cases, people with anxiety disorders also shun sexual encounters. When a person has an anxiety disorder, they suffer physical effects along with their mental stress…
Physically, the Mayo Clinic reports people with an anxiety disorder may experience the symptoms of:
You may be asking; “Why would these symptoms cause someone to avoid the comfort of a physical relationship?” Well, the act of intimacy raises your heart rate, induces heavier breathing, and makes you sweat and these bodily reactions mimic the physical “fight or flight” responses people experience during a panic attack and some individuals will go to great lengths to avoid feeling like these at all.
Furthermore, people who already suffer from anxiety may choose to forego intimacy altogether, so they don’t have to add more fears to their list of concerns. Engaging in sexual activity can bring up worries about their attractiveness, their ability to perform, or may increase their feelings of shame or guilt.
Sex Avoidance Treatment
Depending on its root cause, Sex Avoidance can be effectively treated, and sexual function can often be improved with the use of therapeutic and sometimes pharmaceutical assistance. If you are already on anxiety disorder medications, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medicine so it has less effect on or could help with your individual condition.