Sexual disharmony (dysgamy) can be characterized as a violation of sexual interaction in a couple, which causes dissatisfaction of partners with existing intimate relationships. It arises as a result of insufficient psychological compatibility or physical attractiveness of the partners, as well as the lack of a mutually acceptable sexual-behavioral stereotype ensuring adequate satisfaction of their sexual needs.
K. Imielinsky (1986) believes that any deficiencies in physical and mental conformity with each other can lead to a negative assessment of the “style of experiencing closeness” by one or both partners. In such cases, the partner’s actions, his facial expressions, gestures, feelings, sexual arousal — all this, instead of being a strong erotic irritant for a man or a woman, becomes an erotic brake that can block sexual arousal. As a result, sexual disharmony develops, which is manifested: 1) a decrease in the need for sexual intercourse with a partner; 2) a decrease in the intensity of sensory experiences during sexual intercourse, including the loss of the former acuteness of orgasmic sensations in men and a decrease or complete absence of orgasm in women; 3) a decrease in sexual opportunities with coitus (weakening of erection, accelerated or difficult ejaculation in a man, inhibition of sexual arousal and lubrication in a woman).
The fact that sexual disharmony is caused by a lack of erotic attractiveness of a partner is indicated by the fact that during sexual intercourse with him the subject is forced to create an image of another man or another woman in order to achieve a greater degree of sexual arousal. Especially often this happens in the presence of “conflict love”, which is directed not to the actual partner, but to another person. This is always evidenced by situations where a man periodically experiences intense sexual arousal during non-sexual contacts with other women (during the dance), while with his partner he cannot achieve a similar state even in the most intimate situation.
According to K. Imielinsky (1986), even a successful partnership (matrimony) undergoes a certain dynamics over time. There are three phases of its development.
1st phase. If partners are linked by deep feelings and mutual erotic attractiveness, any contacts between them, especially sexual ones, which in this phase may prevail over all other types of communication, contribute to the emergence of vivid emotional experiences, subjectively perceived as a feeling of love. Thus, the sexual aspects of the partnership dominate the non-sexual.
2nd phase. After the completion of the period of maximum recovery associated with sensuality (rarely lasts over four years, due to neurophysiological mechanisms), there occurs a certain decrease in the intensity of erotic emotions between partners. A balance develops between the sexual and non-sexual aspects of life.
3rd phase. It occurs when a partner ceases to awaken a bright erotic desire, or even begins to cause an unwillingness to engage with him in intimate contacts. The phase of erotic indifference is the inevitable consequence of emotional changes and physical changes that occur in two people during a long life together. In this case, the feeling of love is replaced by other positive or negative feelings that contribute to the preservation of the marriage or, conversely, to its destruction. The pace of such a largely natural variant of the development of sexual disharmony depends on the successful or unsuccessful selection of a sexual partner. With a choice made for any motives other than mutual sexual attraction and erotic love, the partners begin their life together from the 2nd or even the 3rd phase. Thus, dysgamy can be a consequence of the initially inadequate attitudes for a harmonious intimate life, such as “endure – love”, “most importantly – be loved”, etc. which in this case has no pathological basis, being only a consequence of the dulling of the former stimuli and the development of erotic indifference to the partner. At the same time, stable interpersonal relations based on respect, trust and mutual understanding can last for a long time, acting as a stabilizer of a marriage union in which there is no longer ardent love.
But even strong mutual feelings of partners in themselves are not yet a guarantee of mutually satisfying intimate relationships. S.T. Agarkov, T.E. Agarkova (1985) believes that sexual harmony in a couple is distinguished primarily by the ability to understand the desires of the other and adequately express their sexual needs in communication with him. Harmony in sexual life depends on the good psychological compatibility of the couple and mutual sexual adaptation, that is, their ability to adapt their sexual needs to each other.
Sexual disharmony is the result of a complex interaction of intrapersonal, interpersonal, behavioral, physiological factors and social influences. In order to systematize, the following variants of disharmony (according to the leading mechanisms of its development) can be distinguished: 1) socio-psychological; 2) behavioral (technical); 3) physiological; 4) associated with pathology. We emphasize that in isolation, they occur infrequently, and in most cases the formation of one or another sexual disharmony is due to a combination of different mechanisms and options.
Dysgamia delay the awakening of sexuality in women, with an already formed sexual desire, they inhibit arousal and often prevent the onset of orgasm, and in the case of a long course, they decrease libido. In men, the presence of disharmony in intimate life can give rise to ideas of sexual inferiority, contributing to the emergence of psychogenic sexual dysfunctions, or gradually causes a loss of erotic interest in the spouse.
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