If you are just hearing about this addiction, you have questions. You may be wondering what Intimacy Anorexia is, how it is defined, how it is treated, if couples can recover, and what types of help are offered. Find answers here.
Dr. Douglas Weiss created the “intimacy anorexia” term when he started seeing sexual anorexia in his private counseling practice that presented with a lack of intimacy. Intimacy anorexia explains why a person in a relationship actively withholds emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacy from their partner or spouse. This active withholding impacts the spouse or partner significantly but regardless of pain to self or their spouse or partner, the anorexics continue their behavior.
There are no general population studies to give us that number, but we do know the prevalence of intimacy anorexia within a sex addicted marriage. In our study of intimacy anorexia in sex addicts and their partners, we found that 29% of male sex addicts met criteria for intimacy anorexia and 39% of female sex addicts also met criteria for intimacy anorexia. 39% of the partners and spouses of sex addicts also met criteria for intimacy anorexia.
Lonely is the most common feeling. We hear the phrases “I feel single” (in this relationship) or “we are great roommates” a lot during our Intimacy Anorexia Intensives and counseling sessions. These statements of romantic and intimacy depravity are common. The sense that the soul inside of you is drying up and that you have not been touched on the inside for so long are very common feelings for a partner of an intimacy anorexic.
We have worked with many such couples who have recovered and are experiencing intimacy for the first time in their marriage and having sex regularly. This takes doing the exercises and staying committed, but the smiling faces we see even in a short time makes all the effort worthwhile.
Feeling lonely, disconnected, or unloved in your marriage because your partner has stopped being intimate with you? Has your dream of a sacred union turned out to be married and alone? Intimacy Anorexia, the active withholding of emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy, may be the underlying pattern in your marriage. However, you can have hope again. Once Intimacy Anorexia is identified, it can be treated. You and your husband or wife will learn:
This book contains excerpts from other couples struggling with Intimacy Anorexia. Their stories help to communicate hope and healing for Intimacy Anorexics and their spouses. Be openhearted, in love, sexually fulfilled, and even “in like” with your spouse again. Intimacy Anorexia is real and painful, but it does not have to last forever! Start the journey of recovery today.