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Anxiety and Sensuality in Men: Understanding Sensual Aversion Disorders

Men are basically just beasts, ready to move into high-gear sensual mode at the drop of a hat - or so American culture in general (and the adult film industry in particular) would have everyone believe. In fact, there’s a wide variation in the sensual activities, interests, desires and motives of men, which only points up that men may be a group but thy are also individuals. Sure, most men who lead a healthy lifestyle have an appropriate sensual appetite - but that appetite expresses itself differently in different men. And there are some men for whom the sensual appetite is not so healthy - some, in fact, who suffer from a condition casually known as sensual anorexia.

Strange name

The name sensual anorexia was created about 30 years ago, but this condition is also known but another name: sensual aversion disorder. Whichever name is used, it describes a condition in which there is "extreme anxiety and fear and avoidance of [physical] intimacy." It’s essentially the opposite of an addiction, in which a person has an intense, compulsive and at times uncontrollable need to engage in coupling. With sensual anorexia, a person avoids intimate contact at almost any cost.

When a person has sensual anorexia, they may experience an overwhelming degree of self-loathing after engaging in coupling. They also may have heightened and at times irrational fears about coming down with a sensually-transmitted infection. In some cases, they may go to extremes, including self-destructive behavior, in order to keep from having intimate contact. And in some cases, there may be a "seesaw" effect, where a person goes overboard and engages in a "binge" and then follows it with a cycle of extreme withdrawal.

Although sensual anorexia is more frequently associated with women, it does occur in men as well.

Causes

Why does a man become sensually anorexic? The research is still being done, so much of what follows is theorizing. However, some clinicians and researchers believe that the cause is often linked to an episode or episodes in a man’s childhood or youth. In such episodes, a male experiences a sense of betrayal by a caregiver or other person who plays a primary role in his life. This causes him to be distrustful of intimacy, resulting in a reluctance or inability to be sensually involved with other people - and sometimes with himself alone.

There are other situations which may also lead to sensual anorexia. For example, growing up in a household in which physical intimacy is regarded as extremely sinful or perceived in another forcefully negative light. Victims of physical, emotional or sensual abuse are also more likely to be avoidant of sensual engagements. And when a person has body dysmorphia and has resultant negative feelings about their physical self or about specific body parts, this can contribute as well to sensual anorexia.

Ironically, many men with sensual anorexia present as self-confident, sensually alluring men. But their actual interest in coupling is significantly abbreviated.

Treatment

Most men with sensual anorexia will need to seek help from a qualified mental health professional in order to treat the issue. This can be a long and involved process which will require the patient to bond with and becoming trusting and accepting of his doctor. Cognitive behavioral therapies and other options can be utilized once an acceptable level of trust has been established.

Though sensual anorexia is not itself a physical disorder, maintaining male organ health can be beneficial, as it is for all men. Regular use of a quality male organ health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is desirable. Seek out one which includes moisturizing agents such as she abutter and vitamin E to maintain healthy male organ skin. The crème also should include alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant which helps fight free radicals and the oxidative stress they can create.

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