Couples & Sexual Therapy

Sexual therapy requires a little time and patience, but often leads to the development of new lust. Alone or together with the partner, causes and, above all, solutions are sought. Strategies are developed to deal with the situation and to find new ways to a fulfilled sexuality.

His work was certified as “the effect of an atomic bomb”. In fact, the biologist Alfred C. Kinsey wrote in his book Das sexuelle Verhalten der Frau that women were sexually more active than previously assumed. That masturbation also increases sexual satisfaction among them. And that they don’t just feel arousal when certain body parts are stimulated. Almost the whole body of the woman – a single erogenous zone!

In the prudery of the post-war years these were unheard-of insights. Finally, the 19th century reverberated – when the opinion prevailed among physicians that the desire for sex simply did not correspond to the female nature.

New freedoms, complex lust

Today that seems a long time ago. Women use dating portals just like men. They buy sex toys, watch pornography. Women’s magazines give tips on how women can cleverly pull themselves out of the affair after one-night stands. And yet the question remains: Is this already sexual equality? Can women really live out their lives completely freely? And if they don’t want it all, is that a problem?

If Dr. Jorge Ponseti wants to illustrate the difference between male and female lust, he shows a picture. On the picture are two technical devices. One has a toggle switch for “on” and “off”. Female sexuality is much more complex, there are more adjusting screws,” says Ponseti, psychologist at the Institute for Sexual Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Kiel.

Men tick differently

Ponseti used the following experiment to investigate how strongly the environment and their own feelings influence women’s desire to have sex. He had women and men look at different sequences of images. The final picture always showed an erotic scene: a couple having sexual intercourse.

The images in front of it showed either a perfect world: happy families, cuddling couples. Or the test subjects looked at garbage rooms, demolished houses or even violent scenes. They were then asked to evaluate their sexual arousal. For men, this evaluation was relatively independent of the images they had first seen. Women, on the other hand, were disturbed by disorder or aggression.

Disorder is unsexy

For Ponseti, who explains the differences in sexual behaviour mainly from an evolutionary point of view, this is a sensible reaction.

“Women are more selective about sex. This was crucial for the history of mankind.”

The fact that women are more likely to tear themselves apart when they see dingy living caves than to get into a flurry has less to do with nitpicking – but with the will to survive of our ancestors.

Faithfulness is not a natural talent: The scientists also argue about how the nature of female lust really is. Studies on sexuality allow very different interpretations. A study by the Hamburg Institute for Sexual Research, for example, investigated how desire changes in the course of a partnership. While sexual interest in both sexes was still at a similarly high level at the beginning of a relationship, it declined significantly in women after two to four years. In men, the desire to have sex with their partner remained consistently high even after years. Some scientists see this as further proof that women simply lose interest in sex at some point.

A predisposition or socially desirable behaviour?

The US author Daniel Bergner interpreted the results quite differently. In his opinion, women only lose interest in sex with their previous partner. Women are not natural talents for monogamy, but masters of socially desirable behaviour. They would like to cheat, but they don’t.

Female sexuality no longer fits into any drawer today. Are women now rather the listless or the voluptuous sex? Society now allows more perspectives. This can even be seen in Catholic marriage counseling, where many employees today complete additional sexual therapy training. “Sexuality is an important topic in almost every counselling session for couples,” says teacher Hedwig Bergmann, who works in the marriage counselling department of the Archdiocese of Cologne.

Women express emotional needs earlier: The role of women and their self-image have changed considerably in this respect: “We now see more couples in whom women often want to have sex – but their husbands don’t”. This does not necessarily have anything to do with greater sexual desire. Bergmann: “Women often find it easier to address emotional issues. Even when it comes to sexual needs.”

Paula-Irene Villa, professor of sociology at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University, regards such signs of a “more relaxed” society as a late consequence of the women’s movement. Older women in particular would have a different sexual self-confidence: “The generation that was socialised in the 1970s has got the ideas of feminism – even if not every woman could always get something out of them”.

Pressure to perform also in the sexual sphere

But the liberation from the prudery had side effects. Expert Villa: “Everyone was talking about sex – he was visible everywhere”. This increased the pressure on both sexes. The result: “Even in the area of sexuality, we live in a performance society,” says Villa. Social media, Internet dating and online porn consumption had intensified these tendencies.

  1. It is in keeping with the spirit of the times that a lack of desire or sex is quickly declared a problem.
  2. In 1998 “Viagra” was launched on the market.
  3. A pill that activates the “on” switch on every man who wants to have sex.
  4. There is still no product on the market that reliably ignites the much more complex female desire. A corresponding drug was approved in the USA in 2015. However, its effect is scientifically far less well documented than its side effects.

Christa Gubler, therapist at the Zurich Institute for Clinical Sexology and Sexual Therapy, does not believe in such simple solutions anyway. “Sexuality is as different as people. Everyone has to find out for themselves: What is pleasure, excitement, desire for me? When do I feel pleasure?

Above all, women often have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to signals from their own bodies. In Gubler’s seminars she often makes this observation. “For example, women talk about butterflies in their stomach and interpret this as being in love. An arousal reflex in the abdomen could also simply cause better blood circulation.

Important prerequisite: accepting oneself

Just as important is the work on self-image, says Gubler. “When I look in the mirror, can I lovingly accept what I see there? What is stopping me?” Who wants to have a fulfilled love life, must make himself free. And first of all upside down. In the head.