anorexia and sex survey: results are in

what’s the fascination with pictures of anorexic women? last december, i wondered aloud about that and put together a little survey. it was inspired by detecting that vastly more internet surfers google words like “anorexic nudes” than words that would indicate that anorexia is something that needs to be treated.

not surprisingly, that post in december, entitled anorexia and sex, drew quite a bit of readers – 2,884 by july 14. 106 readers took the survey. today i want to give you a quick preliminary report on the results.

in the survey, i asked people to comment on their thoughts on viewing pictures of thin or anorexic women, either in the nude or scantily clad. around two-thirds (66 people) were kind enough to give their time to say something about that.

many readers – around a third of the comments – didn’t like the pictures, ranging from judgmental (“they look really unappealing and repulsive”) to concerned (“i almost can’t stand to look at even anorexics in bathing suits because it upsets me quite a bit”).

the next most frequent type of comment (although only one sixth of them) went in the other direction and talked about how sexually attractive these pictures were. this was even more pronounced in the statistical part of the survey, where 49% said that thin was “sexy” or “very sexy”.

when you disregard those who were either disinterested or ambiguous about the connection between being thin and being sexually attractive, then the percentage of those who said that thin was sexy or very sexy goes up to 84%.

however, when asked about their ideal sexual partner, being thin is not nearly as interesting. 29% want him or her to be “thin” or “i want to see bones” (37% if you disregard those for whom body size is not important).

these two observations are interesting – there is quite a bit of a difference between what people think is sexy and who they actually want to be with.

here are a few quotes of what people said about this topic:

anorexia is sexy … delicate and fragile. also i find it attractive when someone is willing to go to a lot of work and maintenance to maintain they way they look. being anorexic is hard, being a tubby lump shows that you don’t care at all about how you look, at least not enough to do anything about it.

i’m a gay woman, and i admit, i’m obsessed with being thin. the slim models in the first set of pictures are very sexy to me, extremely attractive body type. i can’t help that, it’s what i feel.

the attraction of anorexic nudes is a combination of sexual lust and vulnerability of the girl. it may be that a very thin girl or women attracts the paedophilic instinct, without the guilt associated with that of abusing a child.

i believe that nude bodies of both males and females are beautiful. they can also be sexy and even erotic. sometimes looking at normal people gets boring, i think this is why i and other people like looking at slender, and even anorexic nudes. we are always looking for the unusual.

this last comment captures a lot of the feelings expressed in the comments. quite a few people talked about a general interest in looking at the human body, in whatever shape or form. “we are always looking for the unusual” was the type of comment that was quite frequent, too, and i’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

(btw, i want to make it quite clear that this was not a scientifically accurate research project. it’s just a little questionnaire i threw together.)

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