2005 issue 2


Volume 14, issue 2

Original article

Subjective body image and sexuality in women with eating disorders

1. II Kliniki Psychiatrycznej AM w Łodzi
2. Klinika Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2005; 14 (2): 107-115
Keywords: eating disorders, body image, sexuality


Objectives. The aim of the reported study was to investigate the relationship between subjective body image and sexuality in women with eating disorders.

Methods. Participants in the study were 100 women: 50 with anorexia and 50 with bulimia treated in the Department of Neurotic Disorders in Warsaw, in the Clinic and Centerfor Treatment of Neurotic Disorders in Cracow, and in the Centerfor Treatment of Eating Disorders in Gliwice. They were examined using a Sexological Inventory (HRK) and Sexological Questionnaire (to assess sexuality and body image), Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI), and a clinical questionnaire to measure eating disorders.

Results. Women with anorexia more often assessed their body as totally unattractive than did those with bulimia. An analysis of correlations between body image variables and various aspects ofsexuality revealed the following relationships: anorectic women who did not accept their body had theirfirst kiss at an older age, less often had erotic dreams, started to be interested in the opposite sex and fell in love at a later age, less frequently had sexual contacts, and more often perceived negative aspects of their sexuality On the other hand, bulimic women who did not accept their body had less numerous relationships with men, less often experienced a needfor sexual contact and had sexual fantasies, more frequently experienced no excitation during sexual contacts, and after the intercourse felt tense or were angry with their partner.

Conclusions. (1) Negative body image in women with anorexia inhibited their sexuality more than was the case with bulimic women; (2) Negative appraisal of their own body resulted in a negation of their sexuality in anorectic women, and reduced libido in those with bulimia.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Anna Sarol-Kulka, Kliniki Nerwic Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii, ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa