What is Intimacy Anorexia?

By Caralee Frederic, LCSW | Certified Gottman Therapist | Couples Workshop Presenter

Intimacy anorexia is a paradigm developed by sex therapist and author Dr. Douglas Weiss and is used to describe a behavioral withholding addiction that mostly manifests in marriage.

Intimacy anorexia is gender neutral, meaning both men and women can be anorexic in this way.

Although intimacy anorexia can affect other relationships as well, marriage is the only relationship that demands as much emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy on an exclusive, committed basis over a prolonged period of time.

Intimacy Anorexia is defined as:

The active withholding of emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacy from the spouse.

The oft unspoken assumption in marriage is that we will be there for one another in all areas, more deeply than anyone else, and first before all other relationships.

When that connection does not happen, it can cause deep pain and over time, a traumatized reaction in the spouse.

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