Sexual functioning and disordered eating: A new perspective

Annette S. Kluck, Sheila Garos, Lucas Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Fears about sexual maturity and intimacy were among early explanations for the etiology of eating disorders and related concerns, and research with clinical samples revealed a relationship between eating disorders and atypical sexual experiences. In contrast, feminist scholars offer explanations for both eating disorders and sexual dysfunction that emphasize societal pressures. As an alternative approach to understanding these difficulties, the authors empirically explored the relationship between the cognitive and affective aspects of sexuality and disordered eating among a nonclinical sample of 167 university women. Participants completed the Eating Attitudes Test-Revised and the Garos Sexual Behavior Index-Research Version. Women who experienced greater psychic conflict about their sexual behavior, obsessiveness about sex, and discomfort with sexual stimulation also reported increased levels of disordered eating behavior. These results suggest a need to consider the potential disturbances in certain cognitive and affective aspects of sexual functioning when treating women with disordered eating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-91
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of the Menninger Clinic
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


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