Sexual Aversion Disorder
Sexual aversion disorder is a type of sexual dysfunction.
Sexual aversion disorder (SAD) is a type of sexual dysfunction in which a person has a strong aversion to/avoidance of sexual stimulation. The specific aversion could be to a specific aspect of a sexual encounter, such as penetration, or to more general actions, such as kissing or touching. Sexual aversion disorder does not result in inhibited sexual desire or arousal; individuals experiencing female sexual health aversion can have normal sexual desires, fantasize, and masturbate to orgasm.
Aversion is defined as an unwillingness to engage in sexual activity, as well as avoidance of any touching or communication that could lead to sexual involvement. A lack of libido, low sex drive, inhibited sexual desire, or arousal dysfunction are common symptoms of this syndrome.
What Exactly Is A Sexual Aversion Disorder?
Sexual aversion disorder was previously defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as "recurrent or persistent extreme aversion to, and avoidance of, all genital contact with a sexual partner that is not attributable to another psychiatric disorder."
Sex aversion disorder was removed from the DSM-V due to its infrequent use and a lack of supporting research. It is now classified as having a sexual dysfunction.
There is some disagreement about whether SAD should be classified as a phobia or a sexual disorder. Although associated anxiety can be severe enough to trigger phobic responses, a key feature of a phobic disorder is that fear or anxiety is restricted to the presence of a specific situation or object.
Sexual dysfunctions are a group of disorders defined by a clinically significant disruption in a person's ability to respond sexually or experience sexual pleasure. A person may have multiple sexual dysfunctions at the same time, in which case all of them should be diagnosed. It's unclear why SAD is classified as a sexual dysfunction rather than a phobia.
There Are Two Types Of Sexual Aversion Disorder:
Sex aversion disorder is classified into two types:
- lifelong (primary) aversion
- acquired (secondary) aversion
- Lifetime Dislike
A negative or unenthusiastic response to sexual interactions prior to an individual experiencing healthy partnered sexual behavior uses lifelong aversion.
This can happen if a child is raised in a strict religious environment that forbids sexual acts for pleasure.
2. Developed (Acquired) Aversion
Acquired aversion, on the other hand, develops after a period of sexual health behaviors following a significant negative sexual experience, such as trauma or abuse. Acquired aversion can also be present in one relationship but not in another.
Symptoms of Sexual Aversion Disorder
A DSM-based Sexual Aversion Scale is sometimes used to assess sexual fears and avoidance and to discuss sexual aversion disorder symptoms.
Check in with yourself to see if you have any of the following signs and symptoms of SAD:
- I'm afraid to have sexual relations with another person.
- I've consistently avoided all or nearly all genital sexual contact with a sexual partner.
- I've avoided sexual relations recently due to sexual fears, and I believe my sexual attitudes are abnormal.
- My sex life has always been a source of frustration for me.
- I try to avoid situations in which I might become sexually involved.
Effects Of Sexual Aversion
SAD can have a variety of effects on people and their relationships, including the avoidance of any sexual interaction, such as dating or being alone with a potential partner.
Other negative consequences of sexual aversion include:
- Conflicts in romantic relationships
- Relationship power struggles
- Panic attacks or sexual anxiety
- If the aversion is the result of a traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop.
Causes Of Sexual Aversion Disorder
In response to negative sexual experiences and messages, sexual aversion disorder develops. Because these people avoid sexual encounters and intimate relationships, they rarely present to sex aversion therapy or couples therapy clinics, so the prevalence of SAD is unknown and difficult to establish.
Women are more likely than men to report SAD. Men with SAD are more likely to avoid relationships and, as a result, to experience distress as a result of sexual performance anxiety or orgasm anxiety. Although it is unknown what causes SAD to develop in some people, not others, a family history of anxiety disorder and phobia are common in those with SAD.
Health issues and medical treatment can also contribute to the development of sexual aversion. Some diseases, such as cancer, cause physical changes that affect sexual functioning and/or body image. Some medications, such as SSRIs, have been shown to reduce the orgasmic response, resulting in an unpredictable and sexually frustrating environment and experience.
Sexual Aversion Disorder Treatment
Several treatment options are available, including medical assistance, mental health services, and physical therapy.
- Options For Individual Therapy
SAD can be effectively treated with cognitive behavioral (CBT). It focuses on challenging and changing distorted thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, as well as the behavior that goes with them (the aversion), in order to improve emotional regulation and develop personal coping strategies that target anxious symptoms.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is the preferred treatment for those who report psychic pain as a component of their sexual aversion or who see their problems as symptoms of early childhood issues.
Deeper conflicts, defense mechanisms, and transference, as well as the integration of behavioral strategies and insight-oriented approaches, should be emphasized in this type of treatment.
- Options For Couples Therapy
Couples therapy enables both partners to effectively address sexual aversion and its consequences. It teaches communication, negotiation, systematic desensitization, and relaxation skills. If one is available, the couple should collaborate with a sexual health professional team, which could include a doctor, psychologist, sex therapist, or physical therapist. Deeper conflicts, defense mechanisms, and transference, as well as the integration of behavioral strategies and insight-oriented approaches, should be emphasized.
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