When your partner withholds sexually

In previous posts, we touched upon some of the other characteristics of intimacy anorexia (IA) including being busy, blame, withholding love, and withholding praise. This post’s topic is the next IA characteristic—withholding sexually.  When was the last time you and your spouse had sex? It isn’t surprising when the spouse of a person struggling with IA answers “years” or “decades” to this question. Oftentimes this is an unspoken secret that the couple doesn’t share with anyone. The partner, who wants to have sex, feels rejected, unsatisfied, and unwanted.

Three types of withholding of sex include not engaging sexually, sabotaging sex in some form (either by creating distance so the partner doesn’t want to have sex or instigating a fight) and disassociating during sex so that the partner does not feel particularly close emotionally or intimately. The partner might reach the point that they feel so unsatisfied and unloved that they want to have relations with others outside their marriage.

Your spouse might engage sexually with you at times but if you take notice, the spouse with IA will only initiate sex when they need/want it. They might show a lack of concern about your satisfaction. These issues go back to a deeper problem. IA is known as a primary relationship disorder. Those who have IA intentionally create distance in their primary relationship for a number of reasons but the most common one being that they want to protect themselves from pain and vulnerability in relationships.

If you suspect your spouse or partner has IA, contact Mending Hearts Counseling for intimacy anorexia therapy at 970-545-1111. Mending Hearts Counseling serves the Front Range including Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, and Windsor.

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