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Sexual Aversion Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Is it normal to feel uneasy about sexual intercourse? Yes, It is normal to feel a little anxious about sexual intercourse or sexual contact for the first few times.

However, it is not common to feel terrified about sexual intercourse or any sexual touch.

If an individual is feeling uncomfortable and avoiding sexual intercourse, it might be due to a sexual dysfunction known as Sexual Aversion Disorder (SAD)

In SAD, an individual avoids sexual contact with their partner due to past traumatic experiences.

In this article, we will understand Sexual Aversion Disorder and its symptoms, causes, and treatment in detail.

What is Sexual Aversion Disorder

Woman having Sexual Aversion Disorder
Woman having Sexual Aversion Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the definition of SAD is the extreme avoidance of or aversion to any genital sexual contact with a partner.

SAD can affect both men and women. However, a study shows that it is more common in women than men.

Sexual Aversion Disorder is of two types-

  • Lifelong SAD- In lifelong aversion, a person avoids sexual contact since the first sexual interaction. 
  • Acquired SAD- In acquired aversion, a person avoids sexual contact due to recent sexual trauma from any incident or relationship. 
Aversion- An aversion is a feeling of dislike, repulsion, or avoidance towards someone or something. It involves a strong adverse reaction or distaste for an object, situation, or person.

Symptoms of Sexual Aversion Disorder

Several symptoms might indicate the presence of Sexual Aversion Disorder.

The symptoms of SAD may vary in individuals. However, the prominent symptom of SAD is avoiding sexual intercourse or sexual contact.

The common symptoms of SAD are-

  • Afraid to indulge in sexual intercourse
  • Low sex drive
  • Suppressed sexual arousal
  • Fearfulness, rapid heart rate, dizziness, nausea, and trembling during sexual intercourse

Get medical attention immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of SAD. Medical professionals can help address the cause of SAD to treat it effectively.

It is also essential to note that although the few symptoms of SAD might seem similar to the symptoms of low libido, both sexual dysfunctions are different and not related.

In low libido, a person has low sexual desire for sexual activity due to various factors such as Depression and high blood pressure, unlike SAD where a person has a low desire for sexual activity due to fear.

Low libido is also a manageable sexual dysfunction. Doctors can manage low libido in women with the help of medications such as Filban and Lovegra.

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  • Causes of Sexual Aversion Disorder

    Diagnosis of the cause of a medical condition is essential for its effective treatment.  Knowing the cause can help doctors to prescribe an effective treatment option.

    SAD in women might be caused due to sexual trauma from molestation, rape, incest, or other sexual abuse.

    In men, Sexual Aversion Disorder might be caused due to poor mental health and relationship with their partner, and trauma due to sexual performance.

    A decrease in the hormones such as Estrogen and Adrenal Androgens and medical conditions such as cancer might also lead to the development of SAD.

    It is vital to diagnose the causes of Sexual Aversion Disorder, as it might lead to sexual Anxiety, panic attacks, and relationship problems.

    Treatment of Sexual Aversion Disorder

    Couple counseling sessionSource: Helgy
    Therapy is one of the ways how SAD can be treated

    There are various treatment options available to manage Sexual Aversion Disorder.

    According to the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas, SAD is similar to Anxiety Disorder.

    Thus managing Anxiety Disorder might help treat Sexual Aversion Disorder.

    The treatment for SAD includes-

    • Integrative treatment
    • Medical treatment
    • Psychological treatment 

    Let us understand these treatment options briefly.

    Integrative Treatment

    According to the book, The Standard Practice in Sexual Medicine, integrative treatment is an ideal treatment for SAD.

    Integrative treatment options may help to address the different causes of SAD.

    In this treatment option, a person with SAD gets mixed treatment from several doctors combined, such as physicians, psychologists, sex therapists, and a physical therapist.

    Medical treatment

    Sexual Aversion Disorder might also be treated with the help of medications.

    The medications that aid in treating Anxiety Disorder may also help manage SAD.

    Medical experts may prescribe medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), including Sertraline and Paroxetine, and Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), including Venlafaxine and Desvenlafaxine to manage SAD.

    It is essential to take these medications only after consulting a doctor, as they may cause side effects.

    Psychological treatment

    Psychological treatment, such as sex therapy and counseling, may also help manage SAD.

    Therapists can help treat Sexual Aversion Disorder by reducing the Anxiety and fear of sexual intercourse and improving communication problems between partners. 

    It is essential to consult an authorized therapist for the treatment of SAD.

    Key Takeaway

    SAD, or Sexual Aversion Disorder, is a sexual dysfunction where an individual avoids any form of sexual contact.

    The symptom of SAD is avoiding sexual intercourse, being less sexually aroused, and experiencing nausea and dizziness during any sexual contact or sex.

    The primary cause of Sexual Aversion Disorder is any traumatic experience such as molestation, rape, and poor sexual performance.

    However, SAD is a manageable condition. Integrative treatment, medical treatment, and psychological treatment are some treatment options that might help to treat SAD.

    Consulting a doctor can help diagnose the causes and prescribe effective treatment options to manage SAD.

    Again, it is vital to note that although SAD has low sex drive as a symptom, both low libido and sexual aversion disorder are different sexual conditions and are not interrelated.

    Recommended read:
    If you want to know more about low libido and its symptoms in more detail, it is recommended to read the article-
    What Are Possible Symptoms of Low Libido to Look Out For in Men And Women.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How is Sexual Aversion Disorder diagnosed?

    Diagnosing Sexual Aversion Disorder (SAD) involves a clinical interview, psychological testing, and medical examination conducted by healthcare professionals.

    Is Sexual Aversion Disorder common?

    Sexual Aversion Disorder is not officially recognized as diagnosable, so its prevalence is unclear. However, 9.7% of people reported the symptoms of SAD. It is vital to visit a doctor if you have any symptoms of SAD.

    How long does it take to recover from Sexual Aversion Disorder?

    There is no fixed duration of recovery from Sexual Aversion Disorder. The recovery time for Sexual Aversion Disorder can vary significantly from person to person. It depends on various factors, such as the underlying causes, individual circumstances, and the effectiveness of treatment.

    How to find out if I have Sexual Aversion Disorder?

    There are various symptoms that might help you determine whether you have Sexual Aversion Disorder. The symptoms of SAD include avoiding sexual contact and low sex drive.

    Can medication help with Sexual Aversion Disorder?

    There are no particular medicines available to manage SAD. However, doctors may prescribe medication that helps manage  Anxiety Disorder, such as  Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), including Sertraline, Paroxetine, and Fluoxetine, to treat SAD. 

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Jim Carson is a highly skilled and dedicated medical writer passionate about advancing medical practice. With years of experience in the field of medical sciences, Jim has made significant contributions to various studies aimed at improving healthcare outcomes. He currently writes for, providing expert insights and knowledge on various topics. Jim's expertise extends to various areas, including drug interactions, dosages, side effects, and best practices for medication use. In Los Angeles, Jim lives with his loving wife, children, and beloved pets. He deeply values spending time with his family and cherishes their presence. When he's not writing, Jim enjoys watching football games and staying updated with the latest sports news. Jim's writing shines through his commitment to advancing medical practice and improving healthcare outcomes. Readers can trust Jim's articles to be informative, accurate, and reliable, making him a trusted pharmaceutical information source for the website's audience.
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