I am 19 years old and soon to turn 20. I have led a normal, happy life but I’ve never taken much of an interest in seeking out new friends, other than a few close buddies, or engaged in typical teenager activities like going to parties or getting a girlfriend. Recently I built up enough courage to tell both of my parents the reason behind my introverted tendencies is a loathing of the idea of sex.
They did some research and seem to think I’m asexual. I had been doing research for some time before them and I believe I have Sexual Aversion Disorder. I hesitate to label myself with a “Disorder” because I do not view myself as needing to be “fixed.”
Ever since I was first capable of sexual feeling I have harbored an intense hatred for that particular part of my person. I know I’m not asexual because I still feel sexual urges just like most anyone else. However when I act on these impulses by way of masturbation I am afterwards flooded with overwhelming feelings of rage and self-hatred. Occasionally I will go so far as to hurt myself in an attempt to condition myself against doing it again. I feel as if I will never be able to wash away the disgrace of the terrible thing I’ve done. I have no history of past sexual abuse and the topic of sex was never considered taboo around my family, this is just the way I am.
This in turn has led to an avoidance of social interaction with my peers. I never went and hung out with my high school buddies because I was afraid I would inevitably find myself confronted with a sexual situation.
It’s for this same reason I never took the effort to try and establish a relationship with any girls I liked. I could never bring myself to be sexual with someone I might come to care about. I feel as if love is this intensely beautiful and spiritual bond between two people and sex is this horrible vile act that’s degrading to both people involved. I always wanted to try at a serious relationship, but I looked around me and saw nothing but temperamental flings and one night stands at parties. I knew I didn’t want something like that. I couldn’t bring myself to take the effort to get to know a girl only to have to tell her something along the lines of “I really like you, and it’s for that reason I don’t want to have sex with you.” That would be awkward indeed.
I don’t want to spend my life as some kind of recluse because of this, but I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know where to turn or what steps to take next. Should I be talking to a professional? Or is there something else I can be doing to work this out? I really appreciate any advice I can get. Thank you.
A. Sexual desire is a biological urge. Hunger is also a biological urge. You should feel no more guilty about experiencing sexual desire than you should about experiencing hunger. Both are natural, biological urges. Once those urges or needs are satisfied, you move on. Sexual desire is a feeling that should produce no guilt or shame. You don’t eat every time you are hungry but you shouldn’t feel ashamed of feeling hungry.
At some point your life, you came to associate sexual desire with something that is shameful. It’s likely not something that you can remember and it may have been a benign event that led to the association. You stated that you do not have a history of sexual abuse but many people who have been sexually abused have no memory of the event, even multiple events.
A sex therapist could assist you with this issue. A sex therapist is an individual who specializes in the sexual aspects of relationships and helping individuals to develop a healthy sexual life. As you noted, this issue has prevented you from developing healthy relationships. The inability to participate in romantic relationships will disrupt your happiness. In that sense, this is a major issue that needs to be addressed. Sex therapists deal with these types of issues on a regular basis. Don’t ignore the issue or simply hope that it will go away. With treatment, this problem can be resolved. You may only need a few sessions to break this association. I hope that you will consider it. Please take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Oct 2012
Randle, K. (2012). Sexual Aversion Interfering with Social Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/22/sexual-aversion-interfering-with-social-relationships/