Intimacy disorders are widely misunderstood, especially because there is no official diagnosis in the Diagnostic…
Healthy Sex Life Versus Chronic Intimacy Disorder
An intimacy disorder is difficult to define, partly because there is no guiding verbiage from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But “intimacy disorder” typically refers to difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships.
Characteristics of Chronic Intimacy Disorder
Someone who struggles with a chronic intimacy disorder may have trouble relating to other people and forming relationships and bonds. He or she may desperately seek affection and intimacy while simultaneously feeling ashamed of wanting it and pushing people away who get close. Other people may avoid forming bonds at all cost, since doing so makes them feel very uncomfortable. Intimacy disorders often have their roots in early childhood trauma, such as emotional abandonment or physical abuse. Rather than experiencing healthy bonding, children learn that to get close is to get hurt.
Chronic intimacy disorder often results in a non-existent sex life, but sometimes people with an intimacy disorder don’t mind engaging in sex with strangers. This increases the risk of being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.
When someone with chronic intimacy disorder feels stressed due to other factors, the feeling of needing to push away affection or avoid relationships may intensify. Intimacy disorder causes any kind of emotional sharing to be uncomfortable, and emotional bonds don’t form easily.
Like people who are dealing with an addiction, someone experiencing an intimacy disorder cannot stop their problematic behavior even though it interferes with their life, career or happiness.
Characteristics of a Healthy Sex Life
On the other hand, a healthy sex life usually occurs when people want to form a closer bond. Neither emotional nor physical intimacy is a cause of anxiety or fear in a healthy sex life, and someone with a healthy sex life will not choose to have sex if the consequences are dangerous to his or her health, threaten current relationships or may have other repercussions.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with an intimacy disorder or is concerned that their sex life is not a healthy one, help is available. Call us today for a confidential consultation.