Anxiety and Sensuality in Men - Understanding Sensual Aversion Disorders

Anxiety and Sensuality in Men: Understanding
Sensual Aversion Disorders
Men are basically just beasts, ready to move into high-gear sensual mode at
the drop of a hat – or so American culture in general (and the adult film
industry in particular) would have everyone believe. In fact, there’s a wide
variation in the sensual activities, interests, desires and motives of men,
which only points up that men may be a group but thy are also individuals.
Sure, most men who lead a healthy lifestyle have an appropriate sensual
appetite – but that appetite expresses itself differently in different men. And
there are some men for whom the sensual appetite is not so healthy – some,
in fact, who suffer from a condition casually known as sensual anorexia.
Strange name
The name sensual anorexia was created about 30 years ago, but this
condition is also known but another name: sensual aversion disorder.
Whichever name is used, it describes a condition in which there is “extreme
anxiety and fear and avoidance of [physical] intimacy.” It’s essentially the
opposite of an addiction, in which a person has an intense, compulsive and at
times uncontrollable need to engage in coupling. With sensual anorexia, a
person avoids intimate contact at almost any cost.
When a person has sensual anorexia, they may experience an overwhelming
degree of self-loathing after engaging in coupling. They also may have
heightened and at times irrational fears about coming down with a sensuallytransmitted infection. In some cases, they may go to extremes, including
self-destructive behavior, in order to keep from having intimate contact. And
in some cases, there may be a “seesaw” effect, where a person goes
overboard and engages in a “binge” and then follows it with a cycle of
extreme withdrawal.
Although sensual anorexia is more frequently associated with women, it
does occur in men as well.
Why does a man become sensually anorexic? The research is still being
done, so much of what follows is theorizing. However, some clinicians and
researchers believe that the cause is often linked to an episode or episodes in
a man’s childhood or youth. In such episodes, a male experiences a sense of
betrayal by a caregiver or other person who plays a primary role in his life.
This causes him to be distrustful of intimacy, resulting in a reluctance or
inability to be sensually involved with other people – and sometimes with
himself alone.
There are other situations which may also lead to sensual anorexia. For
example, growing up in a household in which physical intimacy is regarded
as extremely sinful or perceived in another forcefully negative light. Victims
of physical, emotional or sensual abuse are also more likely to be avoidant
of sensual engagements. And when a person has body dysmorphia and has
resultant negative feelings about their physical self or about specific body
parts, this can contribute as well to sensual anorexia.
Ironically, many men with sensual anorexia present as self-confident,
sensually alluring men. But their actual interest in coupling is significantly
Most men with sensual anorexia will need to seek help from a qualified
mental health professional in order to treat the issue. This can be a long and
involved process which will require the patient to bond with and becoming
trusting and accepting of his doctor. Cognitive behavioral therapies and
other options can be utilized once an acceptable level of trust has been
Though sensual anorexia is not itself a physical disorder, maintaining male
organ health can be beneficial, as it is for all men. Regular use of a quality
male organ health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man
Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is desirable. Seek
out one which includes moisturizing agents such as she abutter and vitamin
E to maintain healthy male organ skin. The crème also should include alpha
lipoic acid, an antioxidant which helps fight free radicals and the oxidative
stress they can create.