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I think I have Sexual Aversion Disorder.

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I’m a 24 year old female, and I believe I suffer from sexual aversion disorder.

I find the thought of all genital contact quite repulsive, and on occasions in the past when guys have tried to touch me below the waist I have become very panicky and upset. It’s not that I have no sexual desire, I do, and I masturbate to orgasm around once a week. I’ve tried using vibrators, but the feel of anything inside me (other than a tampon) makes me feel physically sick.

I feel this is really starting to have a negative effect on my life – I’m avoiding having any kind of intimate contact with guys I’m attracted to because I know they will expect it to lead to sex and will be frustrated when I panic and push them away.

The ironic thing is, all I really want is to get married and have kids……..but I’m so put off by the idea of sex I don’t see how that will ever happen. There is no history of sexual abuse in my past. I do suffer from social anxiety, which led to a period of severe depression 2 years ago, which I am now recovering from. However, the sexual aversion has been present for as long as I can remember.

I also have a problem with deliberate self harm, only over the past 2 years, and I find myself sometimes using it as an excuse as to why I can’t become intimate with guys, because they’ll see the scars on my thighs…….but deep down I know that’s just an excuse and that the real reason I won’t be intimate is because of the sexual aversion.

I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about how I feel, because I feel like a total freak for feeling this way. I see a psychiatrist every 2 months or so, but have been too embarrassed to broach the subject with her. If I did talk to her about this problem, what would the likely treatment for it be? Is this something that’s going to rule my life, or is it something I can get over?

I think I have Sexual Aversion Disorder.

Answered by on -


According to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, “The most common causes are interpersonal problems and traumatic experiences. Traumatic experiences have 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.”

Sexual aversion disorder is a treatable sexual dysfunction. You have no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed. The treatments are generally cognitive-behavioral in nature. You mention that you have no sexual abuse history but sometimes family upbringing can have an impact on our sexual development also, such as, were you able to ask questions, was sex portrayed as dirty or bad, etc.

I suggest that you talk with your psychiatrist first because she already knows you but she will most likely refer you to someone who specializes in this area. You may look for a certified sex therapist or a licensed counselor or psychologist who works with sexual dysfunctions. Just like the social anxiety you mentioned, this is very treatable and I hope you will address it soon so that it doesn’t pose an obstacle to your developing a meaningful relationship.

I’m also concerned about the self-harm behaviors and hope that you have shared this with your psychiatrist as well. Self-harm can be linked to numerous issues and causes but is generally a very dangerous coping skill that can worsen if untreated. I hope you will get help for this issue as well.

I wish you luck.

I think I have Sexual Aversion Disorder.

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on February 18, 2007.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2019). I think I have Sexual Aversion Disorder.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 May 2019 (Originally: 18 Feb 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 May 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.