Sexual aversion disorder: symptoms, causes, and treatment

In most cases, we associate sex with the experience of pleasure and pleasurable and satisfying sensations. However, in some people this feeling is diametrically opposed. These are the cases of sexual aversion disorder, A type of sexual dysfunction in which the person experiences a strong reaction of disgust or repulsion to sex in general or to certain specific sexual behaviors or practices.

    What is sexual aversion disorder?

    Also known as the diagnosis of persistent sexual rejection, sexual aversion disorder is considered a type of sexual dysfunction in which a constant or recurring aversion to any type of sexual contact is felt. People who suffer from it show a marked aversion to sex, which leads them to avoid sexual contact, especially the genitals, with another person.

    In addition, sex aversion disorder differs from the rest of the sexual disorders in which the former generates repulsion, high levels of anxiety and panic in the person, Which experiences them with the possibility of any kind of sexual activity.

    This feeling of rejection can arise both when faced with the idea of ​​engaging in sexual behavior or intercourse in general, and when faced with specific and specific sexual practices such as oral sex or masturbation.

    The incidence of sexual aversion disorder is much higher in women which in men generally represents between 3 and 4% of the reasons for consultation in relation to sexual dysfunctions. It is therefore considered to be an infrequent change in sexual behavior.

    However, in cases where the aversion to sex turns out to be very severe, the person suffering from it may go so far as not to have a relationship with someone who could be a potential sexual partner or to break up sentimentally when they give in. instead at the start of intercourse.

    Types of sexual aversion

    There are different types of sexual aversion disorders. Although they all have in common the feeling of rejection and disgust towards sex and active avoidance behaviors in the face of any type of sexual contact, these differ in terms of time of onset and range or level. assignment.

    1. Primary sexual aversion

    This first type of aversion to sex refers to cases in which the person has felt a rejection of sex throughout their life. Most of these cases are closely associated with victims of childhood sexual abuse.

    2. Secondary sexual aversion

    In these cases, the person came to experience their sexuality without any difficulty. However, as a result of an experience or a situation, he develops, gradually or suddenly, this aversion disorder. Usually this rejection of sex appears in response to a situation of sexual abuse or rape.

    3. Generalized aversion

    In this case, the classification is not based on when the disorder appears, but rather on the degree of affect it exhibits. In generalized aversion, the person experiences behaviors of disgust and aversion to sex regardless of the partner or people with whom they engage.

    4. Situational aversion

    Conversely, in situational aversion, the person expresses a rejection of sex with certain specific people or with his partner. this disorder it often causes many conflicts and difficulties within the relationship of the person concerned.

    What are the symptoms?

    As stated in the previous points, the main symptomatology that appears in sex aversion disorder it is linked to feelings of repulsion and anxiety. These symptoms appear due to an overactivation of the central nervous system, which leads to a series of physical changes and alterations such as the following:

    • Increased heart rate.
    • Increased sweating.
    • Muscle tension.
    • Anxiety attack.
    • Discoloration.
    • Dizziness or vertigo.
    • Feeling of suffocation or lack of air.
    • Nausea and / or vomiting.

    When it comes to behavioral symptoms, the person can adopt different behaviors aimed at avoiding all kinds of situations or people with which there is a risk of initiating some type of sexual contact.

    These behaviors range from giving up personal hygiene to over-involvement in any other type of activity that gives you an excuse not to have sex.

    Differences between this aversion disorder and sexual phobia

    Although the physical and behavioral symptoms of sexual aversion disorder are similar to those of a sexual type phobia, there are significant differences in the cognitive symptoms or feelings that a person experiences about sex.

    The main distinguishing feature is that while in aversion disorder emotions are related to repulsion and disgust, in phobia, the person experiences excessive, irrational and persistent fear in the face of sexual conduct.

    That is, aversion to sex is associated with other types of emotions other than fear and is usually caused by specific aspects of sex such as secretions or penetration or by specific people. Whereas sexual phobia consists of experiencing extreme fear of sex in general.

      What are the causes?

      Although the main cause of sexual aversion disorder is the manifestation of a negative attitude towards it, these attitudes can have several foundations or origins.

      In primary type aversions there is usually a basis related to poor sex education or overly rigid and restrictive, which views sex as a harmful, harmful or pernicious act. Sometimes people educated in very strict religious contexts may have been educated to believe that sex is sinful, unclean or indecent, hence the development of aversion.

      As for secondary dislikes, they tend to be linked to traumatic sex-related experiences. Experiences of sexual abuse, rape, or the pressure that a couple may exert to maintain a certain type of sexual activity are the seeds of the secondary type of sexual aversion disorder.

      Is there a treatment?

      Because it’s a psychological condition, cognitive-behavioral interventions, Which include systematic desensitization techniques, have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of sexual aversion disorder. However, there are other psychodynamic treatments which, while taking more time, can also be effective.

      With these treatments, people with sexual aversion disorder can see their symptoms decrease and even disappear completely, giving them the opportunity to lead a normal sex life.

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