Intimacy Anorexia

Intimacy Anorexia

If you or your spouse have ever felt lonely, crazy or like you’re roomates, Intimacy Anorexia may be the issue. Intimacy Anorexia  is the active withholding of emotional, spiritual, and sexual intimacy from the spouse. That means, and this is challenging to accept, that one spouse is intentionally withholding various aspects of himself or herself from the other spouse. It’s as if the intimacy anorexic is married to themselves and creates ongoing distance from their husband or wife.


Intimacy Anorexia from Bevill and Associates LLC on Vimeo.


Ten Characteristics of Intimacy Anorexia

  1. Busy: Staying so busy that you have little time for your spouse or partner.
  2. Blame: If a problem or issue comes up in the relationship you will first blame your spouse before being able to see if you are part of the problem or issue.
  3. Withholding Love: Not giving your spouse or partner love the way you know they receive love or how they have asked you to love them.
  4. Withholding Praise: Not sharing with your spouse or partner about their positive qualities as a person and their positive impact on your life.
  5. Withholding Sex: Avoiding sex, sabotaging sexual encounters or not connecting emotionally during sex with your spouse or partner.
  6. Withholding Spiritually: Withholding spiritual connectedness from your spouse or partner.
  7. Feelings: Being unable or unwilling to share feelings with your spouse or partner.
  8. Criticism: Having ongoing or ungrounded criticism of your spouse or partner, be it spoken or just in your head.
  9. Anger/Silence: Using anger or silence as a way to control your spouse or partner.
  10. Money: Controlling (by limiting, or letting you buy anything) or shaming around money issues with your spouse or partner.


Often intimacy anorexics are in denial about these behaviors, below is a unique way to determine if your relationship is affected by intimacy anorexia. The first set asks how your spouse would rate you on the following characteristics. Would your spouse say yes or no if they were asked these questions about how they believe you relate to them? On a separate sheet of paper, write out what their responses would be.

My spouse would say about me:

  • I stay so busy that I have little time for her.
  • When issues come up, my first reflex or response is to blame her.
  • I withhold love from her when issues come up.
  • I withhold praise from her.
  • I withhold sex from her or am not present during sex.
  • I withhold spiritual connection from her.
  • I am unwilling or unable to share my authentic feelings with her.
  • I use anger or silence to control her.
  • I have ongoing or ungrounded criticism (spoken or unspoken) toward her.
  • I control or shame her regarding money or spending.

Second,  answer these questions about your spouse. Use a separate piece of paper and just put yes or no on it.

I would say to my spouse:

  • Stays so busy that she has little time for me.
  • Blames me as her first reflex when issues come up.
  • Withholds love from me.
  • Withholds praise from me.
  • Withholds sex from me or is not present during sex.
  • Withholds spiritual connection from me.
  • Is unwilling or unable to share her authentic feelings with me.
  • Uses anger or silence to control me.
  • Has ongoing or ungrounded criticism (spoken or unspoken) toward me.
  • Controls or shames me regarding money or spending.

Count the number of yes answers that you put down on your score for yourself, and also your spouses score for you. If one or both of you have five or more yes answers, you have probably been dealing with intimacy anorexia without knowing it.