Do You Have Low Sexual Desire? You May Be Suffering from Sexual Anorexia

Anaphrodisia is a disorder related to low or no sexual desire. We'll tell you about its possible causes and treatments.
Do You Have Low Sexual Desire? You May Be Suffering from Sexual Anorexia

Last update: 09 June, 2023

Anaphrodisia, also known in popular parlance as ‘sexual anorexia’, is a disorder characterized by low sexual desire, or rather, a rejection of sexual experiences and physical contact.

Under normal conditions, anyone can have periods in which the desire to have sex decreases. However, when this is constant or you suffer from many periods like this, it’s best to identify the reason and provide a solution. In the case of anaphrodisia, there are some treatments that can help. Below, we detail it.

What is anaphrodisia?

According to the Glossary of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, anaphrodisia is “the decrease or loss of sexual desire (libido)”. Also called sexual anorexia, this disorder is diagnosed in people who continuously refuse any sexual contact, experience, or expression.

It has a physical or psychological origin. As with anorexia, the sufferer has a different perception of sexuality, to the point of feeling distress when exposed to any sexual expression.

Regardless of age or gender, it can affect both men and women. It’s important to note that it can occur progressively or come on suddenly. Also, it must be experienced for a considerable time to obtain such a diagnosis.

The good news is that it can be treated, which we’ll talk about later.

Causes of sexual anorexia

Anaphrodisia has different causes. It’s essential to identify them, because depending on which is the case, the treatment differs. Let’s take a detailed look.

Physical causes

  • Decrease of estrogen in women
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Painful genital surgery
  • Childbirth or traumatic gynecological experiences
  • Penile fracture or genital injuries
  • Diseases such as hypothyroidism

Psychological causes

  • Fear of poor sexual performance
  • Sexual abuse
  • Limiting or inappropriate religious beliefs
  • Fear of pleasure
  • Stress, depression or anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive disorders
  • Alcohol or substance abuse


The clearest symptom of anaphrodisia is the lack of sexual desire or the rejection of any form of intimacy. In addition, the following manifestations may also occur:

  • Difficulties in reaching orgasm
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Self-esteem problems and body dysmorphia
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Problems in establishing stable relationships
  • Perfectionism, delusions of grandeur or inferiority
  • Feeling shame for everything related to sex and sexuality
  • Repression of impulses
  • Fear of the contagion of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
  • Discomfort with other people’s sexuality
  • Prejudicial expressions about sex-related issues
  • Criticism of the partner in order to push him/her away and not have sex

How should anaphrodisia be treated?

The treatment for anaphrodisia depends on its cause and, in any case, it’s necessary to be accompanied by a mental health professional such as a psychologist. In fact, sometimes a multidisciplinary approach is necessary, especially if there are physical causes involved.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when there are hormonal causes behind female sexual dysfunction, it’s possible to provide treatment with estrogen therapy (with drugs such as ospemifene, flibanserin, or bremelanotide).

It should be noted that if the person has a partner, the partner should show support, through patience and no pressure to have sex. The latter is very important, as the affected party may become even more set in his or her disorder, as indicated by research on sexual anorexia in women.

Again, it should be emphasized that treatment should be prescribed by physicians and psychologists. It includes problems of self-esteem, body dysmorphia, feelings of inferiority, marital conflicts, and many other serious factors, and this shouldn’t be ignored. Therefore, it shouldn’t be approached lightly.

What to remember about anaphrodysia?

Anaphrodysia shouldn’t be self-diagnosed, as there are other causes behind low sexual desire that have nothing to do with this disorder. Sometimes, other triggers of low libido are the following:

  • Age-related changes: Both men and women have a decrease in libido as they reach sexual maturity.
  • Menstrual disorders: These include hormonal fluctuations that may cause little or no sexual appetite.
  • Mental treatment: The use of psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants, can inhibit sexual desire. Something similar occurs with anxiolytics and antihypertensives.
  • Health conditions: These include obstructive sleep apnea or others that cause a decrease in the level of testosterone.

Regardless of whether your low sex drive is due to anaphrodisia or not, it’s best to consult with your primary care physician to initiate a course of treatment. Of course, if sexual dysfunction doesn’t pose a problem to your quality of life, there’s no need to be alarmed.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.