Characteristics of Sex and Love Anorexia

1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually repulsed by and/or emotionally threatened by people without knowing them.

2. Fearing intimacy and vulnerability, we avoid closeness with others, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves and God.

3. Fearing emotional and/or sexual nurturing, we compulsively avoid and stay away from romantic and sexual relationships, sometimes going for years at a time without participating in dating or sustained relationships.

4. We over-idealize love and sex or conversely confuse love and sex with physical and sexual abuse, shame, immorality, engulfment, enmeshment, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.

5. We retreat into the safety by being alone. Even if we long for intimacy and commitment, we continually avoid relationships and sexual contacts.

6. We are deeply anxious and insecure but may cover feelings of stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, fear and envy with a persona of independence and self-sufficiency. We may use self-reliance, martyrdom and/or deprivation as substitutes for nurturing, care and support.

7. We judge others and or project that others judge us. We employ distancing strategies and build emotional walls. We withhold love and sex to feel in control and/or to control and manipulate others.

8. We may substitute intimate relationships with romantic or sexual fantasies and may use pornography, compulsive masturbation, and/or sex work to feed this fantasy world.

9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by focusing on others, denying our own feelings, wants and needs and being emotionally unavailable in relationships.

10. We stay enslaved to isolation.

11. We may mask our fears of authentic connection and sexuality by involving ourselves in addictive romantic and sexual relationships with unavailable people.

12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and fear them, then resent them for the power they hold over us.