The psychosexual histories of adolescent girls and young women with anorexia nervosa

Psychol Med. 1981 Feb;11(1):131-40. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700053344.


Comprehensive psychosexual histories were elicited from 31 female patients with anorexia nervosa. The subjects showed a wide spectrum of sexual knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Some appeared to be markedly inhibited, while others were experienced and assertive in regard to sexual matters. Age at interview appeared to be the major factor determining whether individual patients were sexually experienced or not. A majority of patients felt that a sexual challenge had precipitated their illness, and most reported a decrease in sexual interest and enjoyment following weight loss, particularly when this was severe. The effect of the illness on actual sexual behaviour, however, was variable, some patients decreasing and others increasing their sexual activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / psychology
  • Psychosexual Development*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology