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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Lott

Eating disorder in your bedroom




Intimacy is an essential part of any healthy relationship. It involves sharing and connecting on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level with your partner.


However, for people with chronic eating disorders, physical intimacy can be a challenging and complex issue as the illness can severely affect both their body image and sexual desire.


In this article, I want to take a look at what you can do when there's an eating disorder in your bedroom.


HOW COMMON ARE EATING DISORDERS?


Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that affect both men and women of all ages. It's currently estimated that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorders: overall there hasn't been sufficient research to draw firm conclusions about the prevalence of eating disorders in the UK and significant numbers go unreported and undiagnosed.


The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These disorders are characterized by an unhealthy preoccupation with food and weight, as well as disordered eating patterns which lead to significant physical, social and cognitive effects.


BODY IMAGE


One of the significant reasons why problems with physical intimacy occur in individuals with eating disorders is due to negative body image. Negative body image refers to a distorted perception of one's body shape, size, and weight, leading to feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy. For individuals with eating disorders, negative body image can be a severe barrier to physical intimacy. They may feel ashamed of their bodies, avoid being touched, or avoid sexual activity altogether.


Negative body image refers to a distorted perception of one's body shape, size, and weight, leading to feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy.

Additionally, people with eating disorders may struggle with body dysmorphia, which can cause them to perceive their bodies inaccurately, leading to feelings of self-consciousness and inadequacy during intimacy. which can affect their self-esteem and sense of worth. This negative self-image can lead to a lack of confidence in their physical appearance, making physical intimacy difficult. .


HISTORY OF TRAUMA


There is a high correlation between trauma and eating disorders .Trauma can significantly impact a person's ability to engage in physical intimacy, as it can trigger memories and emotions associated with the trauma. Trauma can make it extremely difficult to be intimate as it forces us to constantly remain in 'fight or flight' mode. Feeling constantly on edge and that you need to be on high alert at all times makes it extremely difficult to trust or feel safe with another person.


Trauma can make it extremely difficult to be intimate as it forces us to constantly remain in 'fight or flight' mode.

PHYSICAL HEALTH


Another factor that can affect physical intimacy in individuals with eating disorders is the impact of the disorder on their physical health. Eating disorders can lead to various physical complications, such as malnutrition, hormonal imbalances, and dehydration. These issues can lead to decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and pain during intercourse, leading to discomfort and avoiding sexual activity altogether.


These issues can lead to decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and pain during intercourse, leading to discomfort and avoiding sexual activity altogether.


WAYS TO HELP


When one partner has a chronic eating disorder, it is essential to approach physical intimacy with sensitivity and understanding.


  1. Communicate openly and honestly: It's vital to have open and honest communication about your concerns and expectations surrounding physical intimacy. This can help create a safe and supportive environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their feelings and needs.

  2. Seek professional help: Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that require specialized treatment. Seek the help of a therapist who specializes in eating disorders (and where appropriate, trauma) to work through any issues that may be impacting physical intimacy.

  3. Focus on non-sexual forms of intimacy: If sexual activity is not feasible or comfortable, focus on non-sexual forms of intimacy, such as cuddling, holding hands, or sharing emotional support. These activities can help create a sense of closeness and connection in the relationship.

  4. Encourage self-care: Encourage your partner to prioritize their physical and mental health by seeking appropriate treatment and engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. This can help improve overall well-being, leading to increased confidence and comfort in physical intimacy.

If sexual activity is not feasible or comfortable, focus on non-sexual forms of intimacy, such as cuddling, holding hands, or sharing emotional support.

TAKEAWAY


Physical intimacy can be a complex issue for individuals with chronic eating disorders. Negative body image, physical health complications, and emotional distress can all impact physical intimacy, leading to problems in the relationship. However, by understanding these issues and taking steps to address them, couples can create a supportive and fulfilling intimate relationship. Seeking professional help, communicating openly and honestly, focusing on non-sexual forms of intimacy, and encouraging self-care are all effective ways to overcome these challenges and start to build a healthy, satisfying relationship.






















In conclusion, physical intimacy can be a complex issue for individuals with chronic eating disorders. Negative body image, physical health complications, and emotional distress can all impact physical intimacy, leading to problems in the relationship. However, by understanding these issues and taking steps to address them, couples can create a supportive and fulfilling intimate relationship. Seeking professional help, communicating openly and honestly, focusing on non-sexual forms of intimacy, and encouraging self-care are all effective ways to overcome these challenges and build a healthy, satisfying relationship.

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