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Perceptions, feelings, emotions, symbols, fantasies and imaginations that are directly connected with sexuality are called sexodynamic components. They develop via learning steps during the process of sexualization. The sexodynamic components correspond to mental processes in the brain. Because the brain is part of the body, bodily processes – particularly those elicited by the different arousal modes – have an essential influence on their development.
The interaction of different sexodynamic components constitutes sexodynamics. Sexodynamics are:
We will now discuss the sexodynamic components.
Sexual pleasure is the ability to enjoy sexual arousal. Most men, women and couples consult us because they would like to fulfill their dream of a more pleasurable sexual experience. But, is this possible without fluidity of movement to allow for the diffusion of sexual arousal through the body, or if the arousal cannot be channeled in the pelvis, or if one lacks the ability to let go? In other words, since the brain and body form a functional unity, an improvement of the arousal function will directly affect sexual pleasure and, consequently, the ability to orgasm.
The following table illustrates how physical abilities facilitate good sexual functioning:
Thus, physical abilities directly influence the emotional experience. For example, high muscle tension inhibits pleasurable perceptions. The more abilities a person attains by enhancing their arousal function, the more they can influence and modulate their arousal – thus, intensifying their experiences of sexual pleasure and orgasm.
Cognitions – i.e. what a person knows about sexuality, the norms that he or she hold, and their beliefs – support or inhibit learning steps, thus influencing the pleasure and arousal functions.
Regarding the experience of pleasure, sexual health presupposes the ability to intensely enjoy sexual arousal and self abandonment (letting go) on both the genital and emotional levels. The basis for this is the combining of pleasant emotional feelings with physical arousal. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes sexual arousal is accompanied by unpleasant feelings. In the extreme case, during a rape experience, for example, physical sexual arousal may occur, but the accompanying (emotional) feelings are painful. Hence, in contrast to Masters and Johnson’s depiction of the sexual response cycle on a single curve, we distinguish two curves: a physical arousal curve as well as a curve describing the emotional experience i.e. sexual pleasure.
The development of a feeling of belonging to one’s biological sex is linked to learning steps on the genital level. A man can learn to eroticize his intrusivity, his ability to penetrate. This is called phallic eroticization. A woman can eroticize her vagina, that is, she can develop her receptivity, i.e. the desire to actively take something into her vagina, arouse herself with it, and be filled by it. Phallic eroticization and eroticization of the vagina are personal abilities that are reflected in a person’s internal pictures, sexual fantasies, posture and behavior.
Intrusivity and receptivity represent a continuum to which both sexes have access: Men, too, can enjoy receptivity and women can enjoy intrusivity. In therapy, the development of a man’s intrusivity or a woman’s receptivity is often a topic with clients who have reached limits in their sexuality or have problems with their feelings of belonging to their biological sex.
The feeling of belonging to one’s biological sex is also reflected in the ability to adapt oneself, at least minimally, to gender specific social and cultural roles and norms. For some time now, critical discussions have taken place concerning intersexuals (persons with ambiguously assignable male or female genital organs), transsexuals, and persons calling themselves gender queer. The term gender queer describes a variety of sexual ways of life that often run counter or crosswise to traditional gender roles or norms.
As a therapeutic instrument, the Sexocorporel does not assume that there is a “right” or “wrong” feeling with regard to belonging to one’s biological sex. It addresses the concerns, wishes, and requests of each client individually.
Sexual self-confidence means showing oneself with pride in one’s masculinity or femininity and showing one’s sexual arousal with pride.
Sexual desire is the pleasant anticipation of erotic experiences accompanying or helping to trigger the arousal reflex. We distinguish different forms of sexual desire, based on the various personal needs that motivate sexual acts. These needs may be primarily sexual in nature or not. We distinguish between:
Sexual and emotional attraction codes represent what attracts and arouses a person. They refer to physical attributes and the person of the other. They also include objects, scenarios, etc. Attraction codes allow for a more precise evaluation of a person’s sexual orientation than categories like “homosexual”, “heterosexual”, etc.. We distinguish attraction codes on the levels of reality, fantasies and dreams.
A person can be disposed to a wide and variable spectrum of attraction codes. Sometimes they are restricted, and then a person’s arousability is limited to certain body parts, objects or scenarios. Attraction codes are influenced by physical perceptions and by arousal modes. They can become restricted or broaden throughout a lifetime and are always accessible to learning processes and therapy.
Sexual fantasies encompass images, memories and anticipations in all sensory modalities (pictures, smells, etc.). They can trigger and/or accompany the arousal reflex.
In sexual fantasies, personal (especially sexual) development is reflected, i.e. learning steps on the levels of cognitions, arousal function, sexodynamics and relationship abilities. The contents of fantasies include very narrow to very extensive scenarios. They are metaphors for the relationship one has with one’s own masculinity/femininity, intrusivity/receptivity, attraction codes, sexual desires, needs, wishes and fears.
The ability to express one’s sexual needs and wishes, sexual desire, and erotic actions with emotional intensity enables a lively and profound experience of one’s sexuality.