1st Edition

Appetite Sex, Touch, and Desire in Women with Anorexia

By Melissa Fabello Copyright 2021
    132 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    132 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The first comprehensive resource on anorexia and women’s sexuality in the world, this book presents a model for understanding sexuality as complex with interconnected factors, and how anorexia interacts with the varied components of one’s sexuality.

    Challenging the limiting views of sexuality that research on women with anorexia and sex has yielded, Dr. Fabello centers real women’s narratives to explore the various ways in which this population wrestles with sexual health, violence, intimacy, identity, and more. Included is unprecedented research on how women’s level of desire for sensual touch interacts with body image, body perception, and a unique need for sexual autonomy.

    Written in an honest voice, Appetite bridges the gap between academia and practicality, using grounded language that appeals to professionals and survivors alike.



    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Redefining Women with Anorexia

    Chapter 3: What Is Sexuality, Anyway?

    Chapter 4: Sexual Health

    Chapter 5: Sexualization

    Chapter 6: Identity

    Chapter 7: Intimacy

    Chapter 8: Sensuality

    Chapter 9: Where Do We Go from Here?





    Melissa A. Fabello, PhD, is a writer, educator, and researcher whose work focuses on the politics of bodies, relationships, and sexuality. She holds a doctorate in Human Sexuality Studies.

    "Critical thinking. Original thought. Social commentary. Systemic analysis. Scientific rigor. Engaging storytelling. Smart as all get out. I treasure everything from Melissa Fabello."

    Linda Bacon, PhD, Author of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight

    "Melissa's ability to make her work accessible and educational while still being so enjoyable to read is something close to witchcraft. Her voice is so clearly her own, and the world needs it."

    Megan Jayne Crabbe, Author of Body Positive Power: Because Life Is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It

    "This book is undoubtedly a testament to what’s possible when social justice, and the communities that research is meant to serve, are at the very core of our academic pursuits. Fabello’s greatest strength is her ability to take the jargon of research, and make it both radical and accessible. This book is, above all else, brimming with hope."

    Sam Dylan Finch, Founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!

    "Melissa's work at the intersections of bodies, sex and eating disorders is as astute as it is necessary. She asks the unasked questions and with rigor and commitment seeks answers. This work is an unfolding whose gems we will continue to excavate for decades to come."

    Sonya Renee Taylor, Author of The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love.

    "Melissa is a renowned expert in Eating Disorders and her depth of knowledge is incomparable to many others in the field. Her ability to articulate complicated issues has also astounded me and the work she is doing is making such a difference. We are lucky to have such educated individuals such as Melissa, championing such important causes!"

    Michelle Elman, Author of Am I Ugly?: One Woman’s Journey to Body Positivity.

    "Melissa has fearlessly taken a topic of paramount importance and boldly deconstructs the complex concepts of sexuality and body image through her personally unique and radical lens. Fabello, in an effort to share this essential knowledge discovered through her dissertation —  a subject that she readily acknowledges is inaccessible outside of the exclusionary work within academia — has managed to translate her findings into a book where the information is both authentically and accessibly shared; allowing the world to learn about critical subjects like 'skin hunger,' 'sensuality', and 'intimacy' (to name a just a few) in a way that feels both approachable and profoundly personal. Appetite is authentic, relatable, flawlessly researched, and sprinkled with humor; a combination that makes it an imperative read. This book is not only comprehensive and inclusive but the depth (and breadth) of her findings are astoundingly masterful. Whether you are a practitioner, educator, researcher, advocate or someone who simply wants to learn more and experience the most amazing braingasm of your life... Appetite is for you."

    Jes Baker, Author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living.

    "Melissa Fabello is a rare voice of reason in our weight-obsessed, food-phobic society. With nuance and clarity, she unpacks the lies and half-truths we’ve been told about food, bodies, and sexuality, and offers a much-needed intersectional-feminist perspective on these topics—while also managing to be incredibly fun to read. Her work has helped inform and deepen my thinking on disordered eating and social justice, and I’m so grateful to have her as a colleague in the fight to dismantle diet culture."

    Christy Harrison, Author of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Wellbeing, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating.

    "Melissa's approach on addressing skin hunger and anorexia illustrates the complexities and nuances of eating disorders. It reminds us that while eating disorders are often a disconnect from self and others, people suffering still have desires for connection. It reminds me as a clinician to hold the various nuances of eating disorders as I work with people suffering from them. And it gives hope that a light of recovery remains in people even in the deep and dark places that eating disorders take people to."

    Marcella Raimondo, PhD, Eating Disorder Therapist.

    "Dr. Fabello's work validates women's experiences of touch, intimacy, and their bodies, and does so in a way that researchers and academics can understand.  She reveals a long-concealed narrative that is told about women who survive eating disorders and does so with their voices at the center.  Every professional who works with women who experience problems with their eating should read this to learn how to better think about and talk to women about their bodies, their sex lives, and the relationships they want to have with others."

    Justin A. Sitron, PhD, director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, Widener University.