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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


This story is my attempt to bring understanding to this painful, desperate and all too common experience in the life of a bulimic woman. It could be triggering. But I wrote this because articulating the extent of a bulimic episode in detail can help a woman know she can be understood and accepted. If she can feel known in her darkest hours, she may experience a new sense of hope and reach for her recovery.

Sexual Encounters as Part of Bulimic Episode

Day 7 p.m. You are out the door. With firm, fast steps you head for your car. blood surging through your veins, heart pounding, stomach vibrating, electrical energy pouring out of your cells, you can almost hear your body humming. You get in the car, turn the ignition and love hearing and feeling the engine roar.

It matches your own internal roar. You pause looking straight ahead with hands on the steering wheel. You don’t know where to go. You drive anyway. You’ve got to feel you are going in some direction, feel some motion.

First Option: You call a man.

You want someone to be glad to match your energy. To your way of thinking, this must be a man. An available man answers the phone – a former lover, a current lover, a barely known man who has flirted with you.

If he is sympathetic and welcoming, you drive to his place. You are as seductive as you can, so he will hold you. You want his touch to become intense. You surprise him by pushing the experience, without preamble, into a sexual encounter.

He may go for it. If he does, you feel relieved by the holding, scared by the sense of his sexual intensity. You feel lonely and isolated as you pretend arousal you don’t feel to evoke a more impersonal performance in him. You are numb to any erotic feelings.

No matter who he is, he seems like a stranger during and after the encounter. Not only does he seem alien to you, but you barely have a sense of who you even are. You may leave immediately.

You may try to turn him and the experience into some kind of meaningful relationship. You may play-act. You may believe you are in the middle of a committed relationship that will last forever while, at the same time, feeling like a moving mannequin.

Despite your sensing artificiality in the encounter, you will yearn for him to call and days later feel heartbroken and bereft because he hasn't. Or you will feel heartbroken, bereft and disbelieving if he does call and simply wants another unadorned sexual encounter. You may be horrified, heartbroken and bewildered if he calls and offers you a sexual encounter with his buddy or with a group of his associates.

(See Part 3 for yet another option)

Full Bulimia Episode Story Sections

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 (conclusion)

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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