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Int J Eat Disord. 2010 Mar;43(2):123-9. doi: 10.1002/eat.20671.

Sexual functioning in women with eating disorders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe sexual functioning in women with eating disorders.

METHOD:

We assessed physical intimacy, libido, sexual anxiety, partner status, and sexual relationships in 242 women from the International Price Foundation Genetic Studies relative to normative data.

RESULTS:

Intercourse (55.3%), having a partner (52.7%), decreased sexual desire (66.9%), and increased sexual anxiety (59.2%) were common. Women with restricting and purging anorexia nervosa had a higher prevalence of loss of libido than women with bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified (75%, 74.6%, 39%, and 45.4%, respectively). Absence of sexual relationships was associated with lower minimum lifetime body mass index (BMI) and earlier age of onset; loss of libido with lower lifetime BMI, higher interoceptive awareness and trait anxiety; and sexual anxiety with lower lifetime BMI, higher harm avoidance and ineffectiveness. Sexual dysfunction in eating disorders was higher than in the normative sample.

DISCUSSION:

Sexual dysfunction is common across eating disorders subtypes. Low BMI is associated with loss of libido, sexual anxiety, and avoidance of sexual relationships.

PMID:
19260036
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2820601
Free PMC Article
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