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The arousal function can be divided in two components:
Using ultrasound technology, the arousal reflex can be observed in the male fetus while still in utero. All other components pertaining to sexuality, i.e. sexodynamic components, sexuality-related cognitions and the respective relationship components – develop in close interaction with the arousal function.
The wish of many men and women to enjoy sexuality and to live in a love relationship, that is, the wish to connect genitality with the experience of intimacy, is essentially based on the arousal reflex.
Once arousal is successfully elevated, the journey culminates in a second reflex, i.e. an involuntary process leading to orgasm. We can make the “space” between both reflexes “inhabitable” through learning processes. Learning activates higher brain centers, and enables the conscious experience of sexual arousal. Learning steps pertaining to the arousal reflex directly influence the quality of the erotic action and experience; hence, they are called direct causalities.
Thanks to learning processes, the intensity of sexual arousal, specifically vasocongestion, can be influenced at will by playing with changes in the accompanying muscular tension and rhythmic movements. All learning processes in the various human modes of expression (walking, speaking, making music, dancing, etc.) are based, ultimately, on the use of the three laws of the body – movement, rhythm, muscle tone – as well as, of course, breathing.
Sexual arousal can be influenced by consciously controlling or playing with the accompanying physical reactions – quantitatively (intensity) as well as qualitatively (pleasure). Our clients often wish to feel more sexual enjoyment and to reach orgasm. Learning steps, at the physical level, are required for this.
On the one hand, diffusion – the ability to spread sexual arousal throughout the body – is prerequisite to intensifying the experience of sexually pleasurable sensations and sexual arousal. On the other hand, the ability to channel sexual arousal in the genitals facilitates reaching an orgastic discharge (physical discharge, ejaculation/spasmodic reaction) or an orgasm (physical and emotional discharge). Thus, every woman and man can learn to consciously influence the arousal reflex through physical learning steps.
In order to help men and women improve the quality of their sexual lives with appropriate learning steps, we must first evaluate the primary mode of arousal and any related limitations.
Laboratory observations and descriptions from numerous clients provide a basis for the typology of five arousal modes, i.e. five ways to increase arousal based on the three laws of the body.
Archaic Arousal Mode
This arousal mode is called Archaic because it is the first arousal mode to be observed in babies (as early as three or four months after birth). It assumes a minimum of motor coordination. The Archaic Mode functions via stimulation of the proprioceptive receptors (deep sensory receptors) in the genital region.
It is more frequently utilized by women. Women increase their arousal by pressing their thighs together – with or without an object between (pillow, etc.) –, by strongly tensing the pelvic musculature or by pressing the genital region against a stationary base. Men clamp the penis between the thighs, press it with the hand or the weight of the body against a stationary base, strongly squeeze the glans with three fingers, etc.. The Archaic Mode is distinguished by intensive squeezing and pressure, often accompanied by strong rapid movements; the musculature of the entire body is rigid, and breathing is highly restricted.
The Archaic Mode allows for quick orgastic discharge. In order to increase arousal to the point of no return, all attention is concentrated on receptors in a small, specific area – which limits the perception of pleasurable sensations. The Archaic Mode is not well suited for fully experiencing all the pleasurable feelings available during intercourse. If a man arouses himself exclusively in the Archaic Mode, ejaculation problems (up to anejaculation) and erection problems frequently occur during intercourse. Women in the Archaic Mode tend to have difficulties with intercourse – often experiencing orgasm problems or pains resulting from tension of the pelvic floor, lack of lubrication etc.
The Archaic Mode, in men as in women, limits the experience of sexual pleasure and prevents the development of coital sexual desire (see below). The Archaic Mode often hides behind a diagnosis of “sexual aversion”. Furthermore, it can lead to uncertainties in a person’s feeling of belonging to one’s biological sex.
Mechanical Arousal Mode
The name reflects the mechanically rhythmic movements typically associated with this method of raising arousal. This mode is used most often by men. The Mechanical Mode also facilitates a quick orgastic discharge. Superficial sensory receptors are rapidly and rhythmically stimulated. The muscles throughout the entire body or in the thighs, buttocks, abdomen or pelvic floor are often rigid. Movement and breathing become more restricted as arousal increases. Men who stimulate themselves using the Mechanical Mode generally grasp the penis in one hand and stimulate it with uniformly rapid strokes. Women stimulate themselves by rapidly and uniformly rubbing the clitoris or vulva. Some must utilize a very exact masturbation ritual in order to raise arousal to the point of orgastic discharge.
Because the focus of attention is restricted to sensory receptors in very precise and small areas of the body, the buildup of arousal in the Mechanical Mode is particularly easily disrupted, and sexual pleasure as well as the orgastic discharge are limited in intensity. The physical tension that accompanies increased arousal can be experienced as uncomfortable, and orgastic discharge may be sought primarily to relieve this tension.
People who function exclusively in the Mechanical Mode may experience problems during intercourse. Muscular rigidity in the pelvis and the back leads to the typical in-out thrusting motion by men that often does little in the way of stimulating the female partner. The increased muscular tension in the buttocks and pelvic floor further increases sexual arousal that can quickly cross the point of no return. Hence, difficulties with ejaculatory control are not uncommon. With aging, men will sometimes develop coital erectile dysfunction because the friction within the vagina no longer provides sufficient stimulation. Many women who use the Mechanical Mode do not find intercourse physically arousing because they are used to stimulating only their external superficial receptors. The Mechanical Mode does not support the sensory perceptions inside the vagina. Consequently, they may have difficulties reaching orgastic discharge or orgasm during intercourse and may not even enjoy or desire intercourse at all.
Archaic-Mechanical Arousal Mode
This mode concurrently includes the superficial and deep receptors of the genital area. Stimulation is generated by pressure and friction, for instance with the shower head, a vibrator, or by strongly grinding the genitals on a firm base, cushion, etc.. The limits in experiencing the full pleasure of sexuality and the problems with intercourse are similar to those with the Archaic Mode.
Undulating Arousal Mode
In this mode, the person maintains a state of sexual fluidity, that is – their movements flow throughout the entire body; the muscles are not tense. Consequently, arousal diffuses throughout the entire body – leading to sensations full of pleasure and an intense erotic experience. Play with rhythms and movements is very diverse, and muscle tone varies, tending towards being low. This arousal mode occurs more frequently with women. The tension buildup – the ability to channel sexual arousal in the genitals through increased muscular tension – is not always enough, however, for an orgastic discharge.
Wave Arousal Mode
In this mode, superficial and deep sensory receptors in the whole body are activated by the „double swing”. Here, the pelvis and shoulders swing simultaneously in the body axis, powered by profound respiration. The double swing is essentially a reflex movement (reflex arc) that can easily be observed when laughing, coughing or sobbing, particularly in children, or in copulating animals. For humans, its maintenance and application during sexual arousal is not preprogrammed (as in animals) and requires learning . A distinction is made between the pelvic swing (the pelvic movement) and the upper swing (movements of the chest, shoulders and head). The pelvic swing intensifies sexual arousal, the upper swing intensifies emotional sensations.
As in the Undulating Mode, in the Wave Mode there is an interplay of finer and more intense movements, as well as variations in rhythm and muscular tension. In the Undulating Mode, movement flows around the body axis: the double swing of the Wave Mode is in the body axis. It intensifies sexual arousal via the resonance caused by moving in increasing waves – up to the point of orgasm. Orgasm is reached through the combination of sexual arousal and intense feelings of pleasure and lust. During orgasm, a double release occurs: at the genital level, arousal is increased by the pelvic swing, and after diffusing throughout the entire body, it is channeled back into the genitals to allow discharge. On the emotional level, “letting go” via the upper swing induces perceptions of pleasurable feelings and lust that accompany this discharge.
The Wave Mode allows women to more intensely perceive sensations in the vagina and to be aware of their internal “cave”. This “eroticizing” of the vagina is a necessary condition for developing coital sexual desire (see below). With men, the Wave Mode creates the physical conditions necessary for experiencing themselves as phallically penetrating. This “phallic eroticization” is the basis of coital sexual desire in men.