020 7924 1243  /  07932 162 877

Gill Sanders


Sexual and Love Anorexia

Avoidance of love, social and sexual nurturing for fear of:

Becoming visible

Becomimg vulnerable

Anxiety about sexual performance

Intimacy issues (means different things to different people)

Being rejected and or abandoned 

Not being good enough or enough

Defining sexuality   

We hide behind social media, being busy, substances, and perhaps retreating into a fantasy world.

And the payoff is that we are isolated and alone and that in itself feeds the anorexia and the belief that we are unlovable as we are.

I think that sexual and love anorexia is not about the lack of sex but the lack of intimacy and the real pain of feeling unloved and not wanted, and the lack of meaningful relationships.

In my opinion it is impossible to have a meaningful relationship with anyone if we are hiding our true self especially if we are hiding our true self from ourselves.

Anorexia, of whatever type, is about not being cogniscent or acknowledging of our own needs.  We all need to belong, to to a community, to a family, to a circle of friends and sometimes to another person.    However some of us do not recognise those needs if we have always managed without them.


I think we all go to great lengths to avoid this feeling, of all the emotions, the most painful.

We stay in relationships, we stay out of relationships, we are terribly nice to people we hate.   We are very polite to people so that we can keep our jobs.   We slide away from parties without saying goodbye so that we do not reject others.  We are just terribly nice so that 'we do not rock the boat'.

One of the reasons we may go into therapy is to find out whether we are acceptable as human beings in our true and real state.    We may find that voicing our deepest fears about who we are hold less value when spoken out loud to a therapist.   It is important that we find a therapist who accepts and values who we are in our deepest darkest self.

When we are accepted and respected for who we are we may be able to learn to love ourselves.   And when we learn to love ourselves then rejection from others will not hold as much power as it once did.

We will find that rejection is in the head and heart of the other person and that we are lovable just as we are.

It doesn't mean that feelings of rejection won't hurt, they will, but loving ourselves may enable us to move out of relationships that ultimately do not work for us.


Receiving Love

I think for some people, certainly for the majority of my clients, receiving love is the most difficult thing that we do as human beings.

i find that feeling love from my heart is a relatively easy emotion to feel and give to those for whom I feel it.  This is very different from receiving love.

Receiving love involves a whole orchestra of 'other stuff' which very noisily gets in the way.   Firstly and most importantly if you were not the recipient of unconditional love in your original family then the thought that you might be lovable is not an active thought. If you are indeed shown love in the present day it might very well whistle over your head unless someone like me points it out.

Your orchestra is comprised of learned and ingested phrases mostly underlining the fact that you are 'not good enough' in whatever which way you choose to think.   There will be one instrument playing louder than others in your head. This may well be playing the theme tune of  'How can I fit in?  Who will love me?   How can I be lovable'.   This is a constant theme in my practice.

By contrast the clients who come in and tell me that they do not care what people think about them are indeed those people who care the most and are the people who find it most difficult to receive love.   We all care what people think about us.

Most interestingly the clients who come in with their own bottle of water and refuse my offer of a glass of water are the people who find it most difficult to receive love.

Being accepted as who you are by a therapist can be the beginning of receiving love.

Fat Sex. Or Other Excuses For Not Having Sex.

One of my clients said she was not having 'fat sex' with her husband.   She was not going to have sex with him until he was fitter and leaner and so was she.   She wouldn't even let him see her naked.   Naturally this was not something they had discussed.    It was something she had decided six years previously.

I wonder what other excuses we use to put between ourselves and our sex lives?   Why do we deprive ourselves of skin and skin contact, sexual pleasure and intimacy with what seems such a flimsy reason.

i have worked with one male client who would not even ask a girl out for coffee because he had erectile dysfunction and the thought of not being able to 'get it up' or 'for long enough' on the third date precluded him from asking for the first.

There is a certain type of person who dresses up in a rubber suit, or an animal suit or simply cross dresses - this  I think hides their vulnerability and allows them to take on another identity and enables them to be sexual.

There are a myriad of reasons why a sexual desert exists in long term relationships.  I don't have the answers but maybe we could think what the questions are.

A non sexual relationship rarely works in the long term because sex becomes much more important when it isn't there.

Do you ever get over an affair?

i am not sure that you do.   It depends how much of yourself you have invested in your primary relationship.  If you abandoned yourself within the relationship and have become completely dependent on your partner I think it is more difficult.

To begin with this is going to come as a complete shock to you.   You will need to deal with the knowledge of finding out, the betrayal, the lies, the secrecy and the fact that there has been another person within your relationship.  You may well know the person and you will know that your partner has been having sex with someone else.

There is a lot to deal with here and then there is a very big question.  How much do you want to know?  I think if you have read anything pertaining to the affair that will leave a different and more important imprint than just hearing words.  I think information may be on a need to know basis only. 

When the affair is found out and if the primary relationship is to continue then the affair has to stop. Dead stop.  Then comes the second big question.   Do I stay or do I go?   The answer to this is really, I think, do I have the courage to stay and work out what my part in this is.  

The question to which you will most want the answer is Why?   Why did you do it?  This is the courageous part for both of you to work out each of your part in why this happened.  We need honesty, clarity and transparency here.  This is not the blame game.   There is also no point in taking and maintaining the moral high ground.   You are both victims in this.

i haven't really answered my own question.   I think so much depends on each partner and their goodwill to recommit to the relationship and whether a line can be drawn in the sand from which to move on.


Depression, Connection and Love

Love nurtures us if we can let it in.   If we cannot and do not either recognise when it is there or are not able to receive it we can become depressed and deprived of nurture.

Without love our life can become barren and dependent on other substances (remember love is stronger than heroin) for nurture and/or oblivion.   One of these other substances could be a created fantasy world.   But these substances are external and therefore not part of our core being.  

We can become dependent on an outer world which can crumble and is out of our control.

We need to build our internal foundation which I think has to be based on giving and receiving love.   I think receiving love is our most difficult challenge.

Casual Sex in the Hook Up Age

Is it good or bad for you?

I think it all depends on what you are looking for.   If you are looking for marriage, romance, and happy ever after, you may not find it.  If you are looking for someone or something to boost your self esteem you may find that unless you are looking for someone to BE your self esteem.

You may feel bad after the sexual encounter if too much alcohol was involved or you didn't practice safe sex and if the sex was mind blowingly good you may not understand and be depressed if the other person wants no further contact.

The more interesting point I think is this.  Is having casual sex a betrayal or an infidelity within an existing relationship?  My opinion is that they can be two different things and if we look at the Ashley Madison furore there are definitely issues about casual sex outside of existing relationships.  Take a look at the secrecy and shame.   What is that about?  Is it because you cannot ask for your sexual needs - whatever they may be - to be met within your relationship and have to look elsewhere.  Why is that?

Why is it so difficult to get what we want from long term 'old fashioned' relationships.  Why do we need the casual encounters from Tinder, Grindr and sites like Elite and Ashley Madison.

is there an analogy between reservation and non reservation restaurants?  My tennis coach who is much younger than me loves no reservation restaurants because of the spontaneity and choice.  I prefer a restaurant where I can make a reservation, the staff know me and I know exactly what I am going to eat.

New address from April 16th

I am moving to a new address on the 16th of April which will be:
21 Commodore House,
Juniper Drive,
London SW18 1TW

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