What Causes Intimacy Anorexia?

What Causes Intimacy Anorexia?

Intimacy anorexia usually happens in a marriage or a long-term partnership. This is manifested by a lack of spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimac

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Intimacy anorexia usually happens in a marriage or a long-term partnership. This is manifested by a lack of spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy in a relationship. A person who has intimacy anorexia fears, dreads, and avoids the mentioned intimacy, and this could destroy the relationship, harm the marriage, and cause pain to the other half or both.

Intimacy anorexia is very common to partners where either or both are suffering from control issues and mental distress. This kind of disorder can worsen the relationship, that is why it should not be taken for granted. Instead, it should be given a remedy. But intimacy anorexia can only be treated if the root cause of the said disorder is determined. In this article, we will focus on the causes of intimacy anorexia.

Main Causes of Intimacy Anorexia

1. Sexual trauma

One of the main causes of intimacy anorexia is sexual trauma. This is quite a vague issue, especially that it comes in different forms, such as due to a sexual assault of both men and women, child sexual abuse, intimate partner sexual violence, incestuous sex, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape, and even stalking.

In fact, statistics show that one out of three women has experienced sexual or physical violence by a partner or a non-partner. Around 20 percent used to be victims of sexual violence as children. In the US alone, it was found out that more than 20 percent of women in universities experienced non-consensual sexual abuse.

People who experience these cases usually developed sexual trauma, which eventually leads to a disorder called intimacy anorexia. These people suffer from pain, but for them to cope with this experience, they tend to control their intimate interactions and behaviors towards their partner.

2. Attachment and family origin issues

dad kissing his young daughter

Attachment to the opposite gender parent greatly affects the relationship. Fathers are usually considered as providers, protectors, and role models, while mothers are also role models, commonly giving relational, social, and emotional support to children.

But if the behavior of the parent manifests that he or she is not trustworthy or safe, the child would think that this is also true to others, and he will carry this to his relationship. This is also true if the parent tends to be unavailable or emotionally distant to his or her children. People who are abandoned by their parents are most likely to experience social anorexia because they even don’t know what intimacy should be.

Besides, our behavior, attitudes, and actions usually depend on how we are brought up by our family. People who never experienced intimacy or those who have different perceptions regarding intimacy are the ones who are at a higher risk of developing intimacy anorexia.

3. Sexual addiction

Sexual addiction is also known as hypersexuality, sexual dependency, and compulsive sexual behavior. It is mostly called satyriasis in men and nymphomania in women. This is a condition wherein a person cannot control his or her sexual behavior. And persistent sexual thoughts can affect the relationship, work, and daily activities.

In the US alone, around 12 to 30 million people are suffering from sexual addiction. And this could affect both men and women. This condition is usually manifested by the persistent use of pornography, extreme acts of lewd sex, voyeurism, compulsive masturbation, and the failure to resist sexual impulses.

Almost all relationship works because of intimacy. This is very important to maintain the relationship. But people who have hypersexuality can only be satisfied with their relationship other than by intimacy. This is the reason why sex addicts are considered as intimacy anorexics, and this could be detrimental to the relationship.

4. Role modeling neglect

According to several studies, this cause is less likely to be a contributing factor for intimacy anorexia. But it still plays a role in this condition. Just like what is mentioned above, parents are role models of children. But the absence of parents being good role models could lead the children to discover what life is by themselves.

Even if parents are unavailable, other people serve as role models, such as our teachers, religious and political leaders, and many more. They should set examples of how relationships should work. And the absence of these role models could lead someone to have intimacy anorexia because, in the first place, there is no one to look at as an example of intimacy.

Other Causes of Intimacy Anorexia

People with emotional and physical problems may also suffer from intimacy anorexia. Emotional problems such as rape, sexual abuse, strict religious upbringing, communication problems, and power struggles with a partner may lead to intimacy anorexia. Physical problems such as recent childbirth, hormonal imbalance, breastfeeding, exhaustion, and medication use may also lead to intimacy anorexia.

Treating Intimacy Anorexia

The causes of intimacy anorexia are very serious. To treat intimacy anorexia, we need first to determine the root cause of the problem. And this should be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, the relationship will become increasingly damaged, distant, and strained. Even if only one person has this condition, both are affected. That is why both partners are required to seek counseling, professional help, and medical attention.


Intimacy anorexia is a condition that could affect both men and women. Showing intimacy to a partner is a must to keep the relationship going. The lack of intimacy could be detrimental to the relationship; that is why intimacy anorexia should be treated as soon as possible. To do this, you need first to determine the main cause of your condition.

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