What double standards do men often have

When pleasure becomes a burden

Anyone who considers the Bible to be prudish and uncomfortable reading should urgently open the Song of Solomon: tingling eroticism, eight chapters long. “Let's go out into the field and spend the night under the cyprus flowers,” it says, “that we set off early for the vineyards and see whether the grapevine sprouts and its flowers open, whether the pomegranate trees are in bloom. I want to give you my love. "

Sure, much of the restrictive sexual morality can also be traced back to biblical verses. After all, in Old Testament times marriage still had the character of an economic community. Physical desires had to subordinate themselves there. Many of the traditional protective regulations seem outdated today, downright absurd. What should be reprehensible about enjoying sexual desire to the fullest - assuming mutual agreement, of course? Sex without engagement, during the rule, same-sex or all alone: ​​none of this should be a problem in 21st century Europe. In short: none of the seven deadly sins of Christian doctrine seems as out of date as lust.

Series "The Seven Deadly Sins"

Pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, indolence - these are the seven deadly sins in Christian doctrine. The term "mortal sin" is basically misleading because it actually refers to seven vices that make people sinners in the first place. On »Spektrum.de« we present all seven deadly sins from a scientific point of view.

Part 1: can we be proud?
Part 2: Don't freak out!
Part 3: The cherries in the neighbour's garden
Part 4: When pleasure becomes a burden

This article is featured in Spectrum Compact, The 7 Deadly Sins - Dark Facets of Our Character

But just because a dissolute sex life is no longer necessarily a vice these days, that doesn't mean it can't be a burden for some. The psychologist Jannis Engel offers a counseling service at the Hannover Medical School especially for people with hypersexual behavior. They go to his office hours for very different reasons: "For example, men come to me who have the feeling that they are consuming too much porn," he says. Often he also deals with heterosexual couples who have a disproportionate level of lust - and the woman feels overwhelmed by the strong sexual appetite of her partner. "I recently had a client who masturbated for five hours a day," says Engel. “He spent every free minute on sexual activity, neglecting his family. Ultimately, his wife separated from him. "

  1. When people experience increased sexual desire, doctors speak of "hypersexuality". So far, however, there is no clearly defined psychological disorder - also because researchers fear that normal sexual behavior will be pathologized.

  2. Men are more likely to show hypersexual behavior than women: depending on the study, the ratio is around 2: 1.

  3. It is not uncommon for those affected to try to counteract negative emotions with their unbridled desire. Overall, however, little is known about the causes of hypersexuality.

But how much sex is actually too much sex? The American psychiatrist Martin Kafka has a surprisingly clear answer to this question: Anyone who regularly experiences at least seven orgasms per week as a man may be hypersexual. Only a small proportion of the population is so busy, according to the surveys of his research colleagues. Apart from the fact that Kafka is largely silent about hypersexual women: It seems questionable whether a disorder is superficially based on its sheer frequency. After all, there are also people with a dissolute sex life who can easily integrate their passion into their everyday lives.

So far, "sex addiction" is not a recognized disorder category. The ICD-10 diagnostic system of the World Health Organization recognizes an "increased sexual desire", but the category remains vague and no diagnostic criteria are established. In 2010, Martin Kafka proposed clear criteria for a »hypersexual disorder« for the new edition of the US diagnostic manual DSM. Its definition is somewhat reminiscent of that of substance-related addictions, such as alcohol or drugs. According to Kafka, hypersexuals spend a lot of time on sexual activities over six months, harming themselves or those around them and often trying unsuccessfully to restrict their behavior. However, his advance failed. Even in the fifth version of the DSM one searches in vain for this disorder - apparently it was not sufficiently supported by empirical data. Kafka's idea was controversial from the start: the proposed diagnosis merely reflects the current moral standards of society, critics pointed out. Your fear: With the new disorder, healthy sexual behavior could be unnecessarily pathologized.

The concern is understandable. Because medicine and psychology were not always free from impulses that were hostile to pleasure. Throughout its history there are numerous attempts to problematize even harmless sexual behavior. The Swiss doctor Samuel Auguste Tissot (1728-1797) launched a campaign against "self-defilement" in the 18th century. In his view, losing half an ounce of male semen was as harmful as losing 40 ounces of blood. From today's perspective, his therapeutic approach seems downright bizarre. In the foreword of his work "De l'Onanisme" it says in verse: "When you are filled with disdainful lust / So be interrupted by a cupboard / withered dead bone / The kettle."