About eating disorders
Eating disorders are serious medical conditions that strongly influence the way people look at themselves. An eating disorder impacts a person’s self-esteem, body-satisfaction and reduces confidence in physical abilities. All these areas are closely linked with sexuality in general. People with eating disorders usually experience several confusing emotional and physical feelings that severely disrupt their sex lives. These disruptions include a lack of sex drive, a lack of self-confidence, and a fear of intimacy and rejection.
Studies have shown that eating disorders can sometimes cause a person to have a false sense of self, and intimacy may be avoided on all levels of contact – not only with a loving partner. This has resulted in many spouses, partners, and family members reporting that they often feel emotionally distant from the one battling the eating disorder. Experts agree that support from family and friends is proof that others care, and are involved in their healing by being there for them.
Some types of eating disorders
There are many kinds of abnormal eating issues. Surveys done in the US, have estimated that approximately 30 million people in America, have some kind of eating disorder. This includes folk who overeat and become obese, as well as those who eat very little and are quite literally starving themselves.
Research has revealed that there are 3 major types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa | This condition often manifests as an obsession with body shape and weight. The person will begin to eat less and less, believing that they are taking in too many calories and making themselves fat. This is despite the skeletal image they may see in the mirror. This is a serious illness that can progress and cause serious damage to mental and physical health – many times even resulting in death.
- Bulimia nervosa | Bulimia nervosa is an alarming condition as it is often hidden away from family and others. The person concerned appears to be eating normally, and sometimes even eating quite a large amount. However, as soon as it is possible, will purge the body by vomiting up the food before it has any chance to digest. Several people may also use laxatives to make sure everything is out.
- Binge eating disorder | This disorder is characterised by repeated episodes of uncontrolled eating in very short periods of time. The episodes are usually accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame and psychological distress. Large amounts are also eaten when one is not hungry and is often done in secret.
Your sex life
The physical symptoms of eating disorders can lead to body shame, a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and a tendency to avoid sex. Any of the 3 disorders can take a toll on a relationship, and result in abnormal levels of stress and anxiety.