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Three Steps At A Time

Sexual Aversion Disorder

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Hey guys,

I am sure this has probably already been discussed at some point, but I did a "search" and was having a hard time finding more than a few random mentions here and there.

Does anyone here know much about sexual aversion disorder? How does one distinguish between sexual aversion disorder (let's just call it SAD for simplicity's sake) and asexuality? I have only recently starting identifying as asexual but i'd like to rule out the possibility of SAD before definitively heading down the A road. I plan to meet with a therapist to discuss this but would appreciate any information people here may have.

Some additional information: in my case I am not "repulsed" by sex (although I am a little repelled by genitals) just uninterested in it. I want to want to have sex (lol) but i just find my body will not respond. My mind wanders when I am with a woman and my body does not become excited. What do you think?

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I'm pretty new to AVEN myself, and I'm currently identifying myself as hyposexual. I've had similar thoughts as yours, but rather due to some social anxiety coupled with some fear of rejection. I'm not entirely sure if I have just about extinguished my desire for sex due to some deep-seated fear of rejection involved with sexual acts. On the other hand, this might be entirely unrelated.

I've never sought out a therapist as the rejection thing doesn't significantly hinder me in any of my daily functioning.

Based on your post, I don't see why you'd have any sexual aversion instead of just a lack of interest in actually having sex. Wanting to want to have sex could just be a product of wanting to be "normal" so as to feel more accepted or among the same "in-group" as sexuals.

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Differentiating asexuality from SAD is difficult at best. The short answer is. the differerence is that an asexual is happy with how they are.

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sonofzeal wrote:

Differentiating asexuality from SAD is difficult at best. The short answer is. the differerence is that an asexual is happy with how they are.

Not neccesarily... but one could say that there is nothing physically wrong (impotence for example) with an asexual. I wish i could say that ALL asexuals have never experienced any kind of psychological trauma but that would be impossible to rule out, IMHO. But i don't really know anything this is just my speculation of a concept that's pretty new to me.

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Many asexuals have little trouble with having sex, but the sexual attraction thing just isn't there.

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I've been doing some additional reading on my own and came across the folllowing information:

"Sexual aversion disorder is characterized not only by a lack of desire, but also by fear, revulsion, disgust, or similar emotions when the person with the disorder engages in genital contact with a partner."

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"There are a number of causes of sexual aversion disorder. The most common causes are interpersonal problems and traumatic experiences. Interpersonal problems generally cause situation-specific sexual aversion disorder, in which the symptoms occur only with a specific partner or under certain conditions. In such cases, underlying tension or discontent with the relationship is often the cause. Reasons for unhappiness with the relationship may include the discovery of marital infidelity; major disagreements over children, money, and family roles; domestic violence; lack of personal hygiene on the partner's side; or similar problems. Interpersonal problems are often the cause if intercourse was once enjoyed but is no longer desired.

Traumatic experiences have also been found to cause sexual aversion disorder, often of the generalized variety. Some possible traumas include rape, incest, molestation, or other forms of sexual abuse. The patient then associates intercourse with a painful experience or memory, possibly one that he or she is trying to forget. Sexual aversion disorder may also be caused by religious or cultural teachings that associate sexual activity with excessive feelings of guilt.

The symptoms of sexual aversion disorder can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include lack of interest and mild disgust. Severe symptoms can include panic attacks with all the symptoms of such an attack, including dizziness, shortness of breath, intense fear, and rapid heartbeat. People suffering from sexual aversion disorder often go out of their way to avoid situations that could end in sexual contact through any means they can think of, including going to bed at different times from the spouse, spending extra time at work, or trying to make themselves less sexually attractive."

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"According to the mental health professional's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Association, to meet criteria for a diagnosis of sexual aversion disorder the patient must not only avoid nearly all genital contact with his or her partner, but have strong negative feelings about such contact or its possibility. In addition, the problem must be causing serious difficulties and unhappiness either for the patient or for his or her partner. In addition, there must not be any underlying physical causes, such as certain disorders of the circulatory system, skin diseases, medication side effects, or similar problems that could cause a loss of desire. To be diagnosed with sexual aversion disorder, the affected person does not have to avoid all sexual contact, but must indicate that he or she is actively avoiding genital contact."

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"Persistent or recurring aversion to or avoidance of sexual activity. The aversion must result in significant distress for the individual and is not better accounted for by another disorder or physical diagnosis. When presented with a sexual opportunity, the individual may experience panic attacks or extreme anxiety."

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"Some evidence suggests that relationship issues and/or sexual trauma in childhood may play a role in the development of this disorder."

More information at the following sites:

http://health.enotes.com/mental-disorders-...ersion-disorder

http://web4health.info/en/answers/sex-dislike-causes.htm

http://allpsych.com/disorders/sexual/sexualaversion.html

http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/...rsion-disorder/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_aversion_disorder

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I have had all the symptoms listed here; the one time I came very close to having sex, I became violently physically ill (thus effectively "killing the moment"). However, since I broke up with that boyfriend, I no longer put myself in positions where people are going to try to have sex with me, and therefore no longer experience the symptoms. I'm also a very anxious person in general and anything new or different or startling, whether it involves genitals or not, gives me an attack.

If this info on SAD is accurate, then all repulsed asexuals are really just sexuals with SAD, and I don't think that's fair to label us all as "disordered". I was diagnosed SAD but only after I pressed my doctor for a diagnosis so I could have a medical-ish excuse for why I couldn't have sex. I now think I'm much better off identifying as a healthy asexual than a diseased sexual. Besides, isn't it only an aversion disorder if the person wants to have sex but can't overcome the fear or repulsion, like when I want to get into my kitchen cabinet but can't because there's a spider on it?

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I have had all the symptoms listed here; the one time I came very close to having sex, I became violently physically ill (thus effectively "killing the moment"). However, since I broke up with that boyfriend, I no longer put myself in positions where people are going to try to have sex with me, and therefore no longer experience the symptoms. I'm also a very anxious person in general and anything new or different or startling, whether it involves genitals or not, gives me an attack.

If this info on SAD is accurate, then all repulsed asexuals are really just sexuals with SAD, and I don't think that's fair to label us all as "disordered". I was diagnosed SAD but only after I pressed my doctor for a diagnosis so I could have a medical-ish excuse for why I couldn't have sex. I now think I'm much better off identifying as a healthy asexual than a diseased sexual. Besides, isn't it only an aversion disorder if the person wants to have sex but can't overcome the fear or repulsion, like when I want to get into my kitchen cabinet but can't because there's a spider on it?

i don't think these are clearly demarcated categories. i think they're just concepts that may be helpful to people as they try to understand their sexuality. in my case i would like to explore the possibility of trying to "modify" my sexuality in a more conventional direction. if you are happy as you are then i fully agrree you should continue thinking of yourself as asexual.

i realize this is a provocative and sensitive subject for some people and i certainly don't mean to offend.

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I have had all the symptoms listed here; the one time I came very close to having sex, I became violently physically ill (thus effectively "killing the moment"). However, since I broke up with that boyfriend, I no longer put myself in positions where people are going to try to have sex with me, and therefore no longer experience the symptoms. I'm also a very anxious person in general and anything new or different or startling, whether it involves genitals or not, gives me an attack.

If this info on SAD is accurate, then all repulsed asexuals are really just sexuals with SAD, and I don't think that's fair to label us all as "disordered". I was diagnosed SAD but only after I pressed my doctor for a diagnosis so I could have a medical-ish excuse for why I couldn't have sex. I now think I'm much better off identifying as a healthy asexual than a diseased sexual. Besides, isn't it only an aversion disorder if the person wants to have sex but can't overcome the fear or repulsion, like when I want to get into my kitchen cabinet but can't because there's a spider on it?

i don't think these are clearly demarcated categories. i think they're just concepts that may be helpful to people as they try to understand their sexuality. in my case i would like to explore the possibility of trying to "modify" my sexuality in a more conventional direction. if you are happy as you are then i fully agrree you should continue thinking of yourself as asexual.

i realize this is a provocative and sensitive subject for some people and i certainly don't mean to offend.

Oh I'm not offended, just....exasperated? that our culture labels every slight deviation as a "disorder".

I'd love to be sexual. But I don't think I can be turned that way any more than a gay person can be turned straight by finding Jesus.

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Oh I'm not offended, just....exasperated? that our culture labels every slight deviation as a "disorder".

I'd love to be sexual. But I don't think I can be turned that way any more than a gay person can be turned straight by finding Jesus.

i agree that there is an over-medicalization (and overuse of prescription drugs) in our society. i don't know if i would call an aversion to sex a "slight" deviation though. it's kind of a huge deal really since it affects so many aspects of life and becuase society is set up on the assumption that everybody likes and wants sex.

i'm actually not optimistic that i can change my sexuality. i think i fit pretty closely the definition of an asexual as i understand it. still, i want to at least fully inform myself about the issue.

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In such cases, underlying tension or discontent with the relationship is often the cause. Reasons for unhappiness with the relationship may include the discovery of marital infidelity; major disagreements over children, money, and family roles; domestic violence; lack of personal hygiene on the partner's side; or similar problems.

Sooo, not wanting to have sex with your partner because they cheated on you, beat you up, or refuse to take a bath is a disorder. That just says it all.

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I kind of agree with oneofthesun.

It's my understanding that asexuals with sex drives are incompatible with the definition of Sexual Aversion Disorder, since they engage in sexual activity when alone, as are any asexuals who are happy with the fact that they are asexual.

It's also my understanding (based on directly reading peer-reviewed psychological papers that dealt with this sort of issue) that sexual disorders have to cause "marked distress or marked interpersonal difficulty" OUTSIDE the realm of sexuality in order to be disorders. Simply cutting yourself off from partnered sexuality isn't enough to make you disordered; after all, people who are celibate, or who haven't yet become sexually active, are not considered disordered, even though they are not participating in "healthy sexuality".

If you're asexual - even repulsed-A - but it doesn't affect you besides making you not have sex, then therefore, that's not a disorder.

What might qualify as sexual aversion disorder is if you were repulsed-A and got so anxious about sex that you had difficulty performing a lot of nonsexual social interactions, such as making friends or doing a people-oriented job.

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I've labeled myself as mostly asexual as it's just my personality - I'm not the sort of person who's into relationships or especially sex. Besides, I have better things to do then think about love and sex.

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As has been said, one criterion for sexual aversion disorder is that it causes marked distress or interpersonal problems (in the DSM-IV-TR). The other criteria are persistant avoidance of almost all sexual contact, and that it's not due to another axis 1 disorder (which includes things like learning, psychotic, substance-related, mood and anxiety disorders), unless it's another sexual dysfunction disorder.

There is another disorder called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, which is characterised by 'persistently deficient or absent sexual fantasies and desires'. It also must cause significant distress or impairment, and not be due to medication or another axis 1 disorder to be diagnosed.

I think that both of these are very vague. Perhaps the only difference between these disorders and asexuality is acceptance - once you accept it, it may not cause as much distress (or maybe I just like the idea that being diagnosed with it will turn it from a disorder into asexuality - conundrum!).

After all, who's to say how much sex we should desire and to what intensity we should desire it in the first place? Actually on that note I think research has found significant differences in the diagnoses of these 'disorders' in different cultures (with there being many more in the USA), but I'd have to dig these up to be sure.

It would be an interesting thing to talk over with a qualified therapist. Realise that being in the DSM doesn't necessarily make it a disorder (edit to say actually it does, but it may be fairly arbitrary), there is still much research going into pretty much everything listed in there, and it's constantly being revised. I think this especially applies to sexuality - after all, homosexuality wasn't completely removed from it until 1986.

I think the main point is that if it causes you or others significant distress or impairment, you should get some form of help.

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...It's also my understanding (based on directly reading peer-reviewed psychological papers that dealt with this sort of issue) that sexual disorders have to cause "marked distress or marked interpersonal difficulty" OUTSIDE the realm of sexuality in order to be disorders. Simply cutting yourself off from partnered sexuality isn't enough to make you disordered; after all, people who are celibate, or who haven't yet become sexually active, are not considered disordered, even though they are not participating in "healthy sexuality".

If you're asexual - even repulsed-A - but it doesn't affect you besides making you not have sex, then therefore, that's not a disorder.

What might qualify as sexual aversion disorder is if you were repulsed-A and got so anxious about sex that you had difficulty performing a lot of nonsexual social interactions, such as making friends or doing a people-oriented job.

I like this definition! I am a repulsed-A, but I'm happy without sex, so it's not a disorder! :D

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In such cases, underlying tension or discontent with the relationship is often the cause. Reasons for unhappiness with the relationship may include the discovery of marital infidelity; major disagreements over children, money, and family roles; domestic violence; lack of personal hygiene on the partner's side; or similar problems.

Sooo, not wanting to have sex with your partner because they cheated on you, beat you up, or refuse to take a bath is a disorder. That just says it all.

Well, having read the article in full, that actually makes sense.

If you have sex repeatedly with a person who has really bad hygine, eventually you are going to pair that nasty, repulsive, rank, disgusting odor of that person with sex.

Or if they cheat on you, and then you have sex, and you keep thinking about how they cheated on you while you're having sex, you will associate sex with those emotions every time.

It's operant conditioning.

It's not saying that if you don't want to have sex with them because they don't bathe, that you have it.

It's saying that you can develop it if the problems are allowed to occur and are not fixed.

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AVENguy presented one of his ASEX101 talks to a bunch of psychologists and they said the following (more or less):

Sex neutral is ok, but negative feelings is having a reaction. Negative feelings = when you are afraid or ashamed of sex (or repulsed). Negative emotions are limiting you life. (And here I was typing too fast to actually make much sense so I am not sure if they meant, any negative emotions are bad or just if they limit your life).

I would like to know what you guys think about this.

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Sex neutral is ok, but negative feelings is having a reaction.

Who are these psychologists to say whether anything I do or feel is "okay" or not? My own therapist, having known me and dealt with my sex struggles for three years, is happy for me that I'm now able to identify as asexual and she does not see me as disordered (at least not to my knowledge). Hers is the only professional opinion I trust, not some faceless panel somewhere.

Repulsion to sex does limit what TV shows I watch and what conversations I participate in, it's true. But a lot of gay people, for instance, are repulsed by the idea of heterosexual sex and that limits their actions as well. Heck, most people are repulsed by their parents having sex and so they limit their actions by not walking into their parents' bedroom at night!

I do not like this idea that repulsed asexuals are somehow less valid as asexuals than those who are merely indifferent. It's like saying gay men who are grossed out by vaginas are somehow less gay than those who don't care.

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retrophile:

This is exactly why I asked. I want to hear what people think about this.

From what you've said, you have done a lot of thinking about this and it doesn't limit your life. What would you say if someone hasn't done the thinking?

And if it did limit their lives?

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I have both.

asexual=general lack of interest in mating. Some arent virgins but found it about as exciting as kissing a wall. They never get horny and couldnt care less about mating.

aversion=they find mating gross, repulsive, scary, icky, etc. Many of them close their eyes or look away at p0rnographic situations. They may walk or even run away if someone asked them to mate.

I have aversion even in my dreams!

Had one dream where me and this pretty lady were in the back of a limo going to some party and suddenly she said "lets have ***(that word was not censored in my dream)" I said eeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww! She repeated and I said eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew(again) and she said it a third time and a third time I said eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! Then I told the limo driver to pull over to the side of the road. I quickly opened the door, slammed it and ran off all the way back home! Scary dream of some sick, twisted, horny diseased girl that wanted to have *** with me!

I also close my eyes when a mating scene begins in an "R" movie.

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Thanks to everybody who has participated in this discussion so far. It's given me food for thought.

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I do not like this idea that repulsed asexuals are somehow less valid as asexuals than those who are merely indifferent. It's like saying gay men who are grossed out by vaginas are somehow less gay than those who don't care.

Chiming in late, but I agree with this. I think a large number of sexual people -- at least in this culture -- are grossed out by the idea of having sex with someone they're not attracted to. I don't see why the standard should be changed just because you're dealing with someone who's not attracted to anyone.

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i am asexual but i wouldn't consider it far off to say that i also have SAD. i don't think the two are contradictory.

sexual stuff doesn't disgust or repulse me, but it CAN lead to rather bad panic attacks on my part, and anyone touching me when i'm not so inclined does about the same. i don't see anything wrong or gross about sex, but the prospect of doing it seems terrifying to me.

i think that's DSM 302.79 for easy reference. (why i have all these DSM-IV codes memorized? what else do you think you've got to read in a mental health facility?)

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