A couple of weeks ago I finished a course on sex addiction (sponsored by the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy) which expanded my perspective a bit.
The course got into specific treatment methods, and it was helpful to have an overview of the treatment methods other therapists are using and have found to be more or less effective for the majority of people. Most approaches are based on common symptom-based treatments for alcohol and drug addiction, and some (which I personally favour) are based on addressing the origins of the addiction.
I hadn’t heard much about “sexual anorexia” before taking the course, and when the instructor presented the notion that it was an addiction I completely understood what he meant. Just like food-based anorexia is an unhealthy rejection of food, sexual anorexia is a rejection of one’s sexuality. Sexual addiction and anorexia are two sides of the same coin.
It’s important to note that sexual anorexia is very different from having little or no libido or choosing long periods of celibacy, and sexual addiction is very different from having a high libido and/or choosing to have multiple sexual partners. It’s not merely about how much or how little sex a person has; it’s more about whether it’s a choice or a compulsion, and the impacts or risks their behaviour creates.