Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sexual Avoidance

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on updating the workbook. One major topic that is now included is the following concept.

Sexual Avoidance

One of the more difficult aspects of sexual avoidance is recognizing the problem. Therapists in this field often focus on behaviors that are measurable. Most of this workbook focuses on what a client does in the realm of sexual behaviors. Individuals can easily recognize how many partners they had, or acknowledge, “I did this behavior,” and so on. Less recognized and as a result less treated is the question of sexual avoidance. Some professionals use the term sexual anorexia. There is not agreement on a term that adequately describes the concern. For some people, obsessive thoughts are the problem; other individuals engage in sexual avoidance or have strong reactions such as of sexual aversion. In some cases the time between sexual contact and/or any significant relationships can be years. In a few circumstances, the comment from a client is that he or she hasn’t had sex in a decade or more. The key for many of these people isn’t that lack of sex, but the motivating factor in why they haven’t had sex. Thoughts and feelings of shame, fear, and hopelessness often shape why a person avoids sexual contact. Often the underlying dynamic for sexual avoidance is similar to the dynamic for sexual compulsivity. It is important for you to assess the pattern that results in the possibility of sexual avoidance. Examine your sexual history; there are a few questions relating to sexual avoidance. In each of those circumstances, review how the acting out cycle may have been present. You might be caught in the acting out cycle through a passive behavior (avoidance) versus an engagement behavior (compulsive). If you see this pattern, include sexual avoidance as part of your treatment plan.

Questions to consider.

1. Describe any circumstances where you have intentionally avoided sexual contact with a partner or significant other. Include any underlying thoughts and feelings.

1 comment:

  1. well my therapist told me it's OK that I don't like people touching me and vice versa. She also say if I don't want to go to a gyno appointment b/c I don't like touching, that is fine too. I am also a virgin @ 31 and female. I feel I have sexual/relationship avoidance -- but it's being made out to not be a big deal.