Sexual Aversion Disorder

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Sexual aversions are most commonly found to be equivalent to phobic responses, with both anxiety and avoidance being major components of the difficulties. Hypnosis can be used to facilitate systematic desensitization in fantasy and in reality in much the same way as it would be used with other phobic disorders. Facilitation of anxiety control through the use of cued relaxation while thinking of, fantasizing about, or actually involved in sexual activity, is a very useful component of the use of hypnosis. The use of imaginal exposure to the sexual situation using hypnosis also facilitates the desensitization process. Both uses of hypnosis in effect also assist in curtailing avoidance behaviors.

Gilmore (1987) illustrated the use of indirect/metaphorical techniques to assist a woman who was experiencing panic in relation to sexual arousal. The aim of the embedded metaphors was to assist the patient in dissociating the feeling of pain and panic associated with past sexual trauma from contemporary sexual arousal. The first sexual metaphor of a walk in the sun was designed to activate relaxation and encourage letting herself go into a sensuous experience. The second metaphor alluded to overcoming apparent failure and therefore regaining a sense of control. The third metaphor indicated ways to learn to forget pain and guilt.

Hammond (1990) provides many suggestions to overcome sexual aversion. While the approach to what is essentially a sexual phobia can include a formalized desensitization paradigm, permissive approaches are likely to be more successful in representing sexual activity as an emotional and sensuous process. Araoz (1982) presents a technique in which the patient can become the director of their own internal sexually explicit movie which they can change and control at will. Sexual inhibition due to the learning of inappropriate attitudes to sex may be changed through the process of re-educating the inner child (Araoz, 1982). Similarly parts of the body or explicitly sexual anatomy may be transformed into objects of beauty or at least into an acceptable or attractive form, as described earlier.

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