Sexual Aversion Disorder: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by | By

Update Date 22/12/2020 . 3 mins read
Share now

Sexual disorders refer to conditions that prevent a person from enjoying sex. One sexual disorder, in particular, sexual aversion disorder, is a common, yet often misunderstood condition. But what exactly does it mean to have sexual aversion disorder, and how can it be treated?

What is sexual aversion disorder?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), sexual aversion disorder (SAD) is an avoidance or aversion to sexual contact with a partner.

For a person with SAD, even the thought of sexual contact is enough to cause them intense fear or anxiety. It’s possible for a person with SAD to have such a strong aversion that they even dislike physical contact such as holding hands, kissing, or hugging. This is because they are afraid that these actions might lead to sex.

SAD has more in common with anxiety disorders rather than other forms of sexual disorder. Some might even compare SAD to having a phobia of sex, since the symptoms that patients experience are similar to having a phobia.

However, it’s also possible for a person with SAD to have sexual desires. Some even have fantasies, or engage in masturbation. The problem lies when it comes to physical intercourse with a partner.

sexual aversion disorder 1

What causes sexual aversion disorder?

One of the main causes of sexual aversion disorder is when a person has had traumatic or negative experiences associated with sex. Because of this, a person might start to associate their trauma with sexual intercourse, and this causes them to have an aversion to it.

It’s also possible for a person with severe anxiety to have sexual aversion disorder. There have been instances wherein a person is afraid of having sexual intercourse because they are worried that they might have a panic attack while doing it.

What Are The Different Types of Anxiety?

Diagnosis

Diagnosing SAD can be difficult, because a lot of people find it hard to open up about sex, especially if they have past trauma. In fact, a lot of doctors believe that SAD is not a particularly rare disorder and that a lot of cases remain undiagnosed.

The most common criteria that doctors look for is an avoidance of sex. Patients with SAD can also start to feel anxious or afraid when the topic of sex comes up. Doctors might also check to see if the patient suffers from anxiety, as this can sometimes overlap with SAD.

If they think that a patient does indeed have SAD, then treatment can start.

Is it treatable?

Treatment for sexual aversion disorder is similar to that of anxiety disorder or phobias.

Patients can undergo systematic desensitization in order to help them with their problems. This involves patients thinking about different levels of sexual activities while doing relaxation exercises.

The relaxation exercises help the patients get used to thinking of these sexual activities without experiencing too much anxiety. By pairing the thoughts that cause fear or aversion with relaxation, over time, patients can start to think about sexual thoughts without having a panic attack

Once the patient is able to do this, they can then move on to the next sexual activity in the hierarchy. This is done until the patient is comfortable enough to have these scenarios with their partner without feeling anxious or having any panic attacks.

In some cases, doctors can also prescribe medication for patients suffering from anxiety. This medication can help lower their anxiety levels and makes them less prone to being afraid or anxious about sexual contact.

The most important thing for patients would be to seek help and try to be as receptive as possible while undergoing therapy.

Key Takeaways

It is important to note that having sexual aversion disorder isn’t necessarily a lack of sexual desire. A person can both have SAD, and yet be afraid or repulsed by sex.

Sexual aversion disorder is also a treatable condition. With the right kind of therapy, and assistance from a professional, SAD can be cured, and patients can enjoy a healthy sex life.

Learn more about Sexual Wellness here

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Was this article helpful for you ?
happy unhappy
Sources

You might also like

Mini Pill vs Combination Pill Effectiveness: Which One Should I Use?

How do the mini pill vs combination pill compare when it comes to effectiveness? Read about both types of birth control pills here.

Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nicole G. Nera
Written by Stephanie Nicole G. Nera
Contraception 07/12/2020 . 3 mins read

What Happens to the Body without Sex?

Since sex offers many health benefits, does it mean that sexual abstinence is bad for the health? What happens to the body without sex?

Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Sex Tips 07/12/2020 . 3 mins read

Unsafe Sex Practices: 5 Ways You’re Unprotected During Sex

Many people unknowingly engage in unsafe sex. We list down 5 unsafe sex practices and how you can protect yourself from STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Mary Rani Cadiz M.D.
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Safe Sex / Prevention 30/10/2020 . 4 mins read

What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

Knowing what causes premature ejaculation can help men better deal with this problem. Read on to learn more about premature ejaculation.

Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Jan Alwyn Batara
Men's Health Issues 13/10/2020 . 4 mins read

Recommended for you

hypoactive sexual desire disorder treatment

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder Treatment and Diagnosis

Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Jan Alwyn Batara
Published on 22/12/2020 . 3 mins read
sexual disorders

Sexual Disorders: Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and Sexual Aversion Disorder

Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Jan Alwyn Batara
Published on 22/12/2020 . 3 mins read
what is the emergency contraception pill

What is the Emergency Contraception Pill?

Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nicole G. Nera
Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N.
Published on 09/12/2020 . 3 mins read
why foreplay matters

Why Foreplay Matters – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Skip it

Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas
Written by Kip Soliva
Published on 07/12/2020 . 2 mins read