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Eating Disorders, Sexuality and Intimacy


Friday, March 24, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM

Background: This workshop will conceptualize eating disorders in the context of a disorder of self, intimacy, attachment, and discuss repairing the capacity of closeness, eroticism and genital sexuality.

Objectives: Eating disorder and intimacy Eating disorder as disorganized attachment Attachment+sexuality+ disassociation

Course Outline

Eating Disorder and Intimacy

Eating Disorder as Disorganized Attachment

Attachment and Sexuality and Disassociation

Eating Disorder and Sexuality

Repairing Love Maps

Repairing Genital Sexuality

Repairing Body Dysmorphia

Disorders of Self

Eating Disorders, Sexuality and Intimacy

Eating Disorder is: (1) a form of acting-in, (2) a form of self-Injury, (3) a means of dealing with anxiety and depression, (4) a “secret message” that the individual cannot tolerate dealing with overwhelming expectations or effectively mastering their environment and close relationships, (5) a holding pattern, that indicates something seemingly irreconcilable blocking maturation in some crucial area.

In those with pronounced eating disorder, fears of, and desire for, intimacy, see-saw secondary to disorganized attachment styles. Restrictive vs binge-like sexual behavior may exist alongside comparable food-related patterns, manifesting as hypo and hyper sexuality.

Sexuality may be utilized as a method of pleasing another in order to have unmet dependency needs fulfilled, or, as a way to feel (temporarily) desirable, to shore up an impoverished sense of self. Genuine intimacy, with its attendant requisite vulnerability, as well as sexual desire based in proprioceptive awareness and entitlement to pleasure, may be frightening and result in bypassing, in order to “perform” as “required.”

This workshop will lay the groundwork for conceptualization of the strategies for an individual to re-own the sexual self and establish both intrapsychic and inter psychic intimacy. Specific work with sexual desire, arousal and passion will be described, as well as learning to play and tolerate “pleasure”. Signs of trauma bonding and relational reenactments with destructive partners will be explored. Finally, achieving increased comfort with one’s body and genitals.

Primary Presenter:
Mark Schwartz, Sc.D.

Mark F. Schwartz, Sc.D. earned his doctorate in Psychology and Mental Health from Johns Hopkins University. He is a licensed psychologist, an adjunct professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and formerly the Executive Director of the Masters and Johnson Institute. Dr. Schwartz has achieved national recognition for his contributions in a variety of clinical areas, including the treatment of intimacy disorders, marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma and eating disorders. Currently, Dr. Schwartz is Clinical Director of the Monterey Institute of Mental Health.



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