Hola mi Gente,
I didn’t watch last night’s republican travesty/ debate, but from the clips I have seen… just… wow. The media isn’t even pretending to take the electoral process seriously. It’s solely about entertainment.
* * *
The other day, while researching for the sex blog, I came across the term, sexual anorexia. I was intrigued by it that I decided to post on this little-known phenomenon. Sexual anorexia is an obsessive state of mind in which the task of avoiding sex dominates one’s life. Similar to self-starvation with food or compulsive dieting or hoarding with money, sexual deprivation can make an individual feel powerful and protected against emotional pain. I believe I have observed this behavior in more than a few people who seem to be both repulsed by and in thrall of their sexuality. Some people hide behind the term “celibacy” but I think there’s more to it than that.
Reading through several case studies, I kept getting “Aha!” moments. In the excellent and powerful film, Shame, director Steve McQueen describes Michael Fassbinder’s character, Brandon, as, “… someone who doesn’t eat — I think we see him eat once in the movie, and it’s just Chinese food while he’s surfing through Internet porn. It’s purely fuel, and he doesn’t get any enjoyment from it. His senses aren’t alive and awakened… and the same can be said for his sex life. He has the urge and compulsion to get involved with people, but without any emotional content, and without any sort of real pleasure being taken from it… ” The film is both powerful and terrifying. I highly recommend you put it on your que:
As with any other obsessive/ compulsive mind-state, such as those brought on by substance abuse, eating disorders, or any other addiction process, the fixation on the avoidance of sex can offer the illusion of erasing life’s problems. The obsession can then become a way to cope with all stress and all life difficulties. Yet, as with other addictions and compulsions, the costs are great. In this case, sex and intimacy becomes a stalker, something to be continually kept at bay, even at the price of destroying a part of oneself. The irony is that sexual abstinence is a form of sexual addiction.
In one case study, a woman described her 20-year relationship with her husband as “dead.” She felt they had a marriage in name only: they did all the right things and went through the motions of having a relationship, but there really was no intimacy and no relationship. She and her husband never talked and most importantly, they almost never expressed or demonstrated their feelings. She had often thought of leaving the marriage but according to her, she stayed because she felt “stuck” in a meaningless marriage.
This individual was also a recovering co-dependent and defined herself almost exclusively through her family and work. She saw herself as a Christian woman and that not to take care of others was selfish and un-Christian. One of the ways that she took care of her husband was to “service” him sexually — to have sex when he wanted to even when she found it repulsive and difficult to do so.
She rarely, if ever, enjoyed sex, yet she felt that this was due to her own inadequacy and she hid it from her husband because she didn’t want to make him feel inadequate. She faked orgasms to add to his pleasure. In addition, being a co-dependent, she was never honest about her feelings and tended to control herself and others, especially in the area of sex.
The couple never communicated about their sexual relationship or non-relationship, so both suffered under the delusion that it was normal, if unsatisfactory.
As she worked on her recovery from co-dependence, she realized her need for approval from others left her without a sense of self and she began to change things. As she began to define herself on her terms, her focus shifted from control to working on herself. In the process, she began to reclaim herself and saw that that much of her focusing outside of herself to try to change others was part of her compulsion. Eventually, she was able to become assertive enough that she was able to say no when she didn’t feel like having sex.
In time she discovered that she was obsessed with sex. She thought about sex constantly. She found it disgusting, filthy, dirty, and repulsive. Most of her time was focused on how to avoid sex with her husband. She even hinted at becoming a workaholic in order to avoid sex.
She wanted to appear sexual and attractive to men, but she did not want to be sexual. She admitted that she might even be considered a sexual tease. Whenever men would approach her, she immediately sexualized the interaction, certain that they wanted only one thing. In effect, she was afraid of men, afraid of sex, and deeply terrified of her own sexuality.
Sexual anorexia has been used as a term to describe a lack of desire for sex. However, the term is better defined as a fear of intimacy to the point that the person has severe anxiety regarding sex. A good example are people that seem to have a sexual addiction because they frequent strip clubs, prostitutes, cyber porn sites, etc., but actually fit the definition of sexual anorexic because they are terrified of having any kind of relationship beyond a paid-for or anonymous experience.
In actuality, the individual does not have an aversion to sex but to intimacy. A sex addict is more likely to be capable of being in a more intimate relationship and is often married or in a committed relationship when deciding to get treatment for their addiction. A sexual anorexic may have a social phobia or be so fragile emotionally that the risk of rejection or criticism is far more terrifying than being isolated.
While this form of sexual addiction may not be as dramatic as sexual acting out, there is no question that the pain and suffering are just as real. A sexual anorectic affects all of his or her relationships. Their obsession with and phobia of sex is such that they cannot intimately relate with men or women.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…
PS: Sex is good for you!