Liebe Libido - Was bremst dich?

Love Libido - What is holding you back?

Liebe Libido

In Germany, "reduced sexual desire" is the most common sexual dysfunction in women. But what affects the libido and what areBrakes and accelerators of lust? In this issue, we will address this exciting questionArticle "Dear Libido - What's holding you back?", in collaboration withbeingfemale has arisen.

Our brakes and accelerators of pleasure

In the 1990's the 'Dual Control Model of Sexual Response' was developed by John Bancroft and Dr. Erick Janssen published. The model states that there is a two-part system within us that determines whether or not we feel like having sex.

The brain scans the environment all the time for sexually-relevant input, such as sounds, smells, or sights, and this two-part system then spits out the sexual response.

One part is the sexual arousal system (SES), the accelerator. When a sexually relevant trigger engages the accelerator, the brain processes the message, "oh, that's sexy."

The second part is the Sexual Inhibition System (SIS) - the brake with the message: "Not now!". There are two types of brakes. On the one hand the brake that is pulled because of the possible bad consequences of sex such as sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancy or the mother who is in the room next door and could come in at any time. So more of an acute brake. And second, the brakes that are put on because I'm afraid of failing in sex, that I won't have an orgasm, or that my technique isn't good enough, or my body isn't attractive enough. This brake is applied more permanently.

So, decreased sexual desire can be viewed as an imbalance between the accelerator and the brake. If you don't feel like it, it may be because the accelerator is closedlittleis stimulated or else that the brake tooa lotis stimulated. Most of the time, we think that reduced desire is due to a lack of accelerators. But that is a mistake, because in women it is much more often due to the activated braking system. The whole thing can perhaps best be explained with two examples - Anna and Luisa, who have very different brake and accelerator systems.

Lust und Libido Beispiel Anna

Anna: "Yes, I feel like it"

Anna has a sensitive accelerator and an insensitive brake. This means that Anna's sensitive accelerator reacts to all kinds of stimuli with "yes, I feel like it". The insensitive brake system, on the other hand, can hardly be activated and hardly ever says "No, not now!". So Anna is sexually arousable quickly and easily and almost nothing prevents arousal. This affects about 2-6% of all women surveyed. 

This may sound desirable to some, but it also has its problematic sides. Women who fall under this category take more risks than others, whether it's unwanted pregnancies, STDs, drugged sex, and generally situations that can get out of control. These women are not always able to identify potentially risky situations that set off alarm bells in others and activate the brakes. And indeed, these women also feel that they are less in control.

Lust und Libido sexuelle Unlust

 Luisa: "No, not now"

Another example is Luisa, who has very sensitive brakes and an insensitive accelerator. So the brakes are rather hyperactive and you keep hearing "Not now!", while the accelerator hangs on the couch rather phlegmatically and doesn't find anything really cool. Approximately 1-4% of women probably have such a variant of brakes and accelerators.

It is difficult for Luisa to become sexually aroused, she tends to be less interested in sex and often has difficulty reaching orgasm. Luisa's sensitive brake knows many reasons why it doesn't fit right now, be it an uncomfortable position, a noisy neighbor, cold feet or worrying about taking too long to get aroused. Luisa has to concentrate very hard on the sex in order to be able to engage in it. Everything has to be right for her to be sexually aroused.

Lust und Libido - sexuelle Unlust


Reactions to sexual stimuli vary from person to person and are learned

A sensitive brake, that means everywhere "Not now! Don't feel like having sex!" is one of the strongest predictors of sexual problems of all kinds. Most women fall somewhere in the mid-range with a medium-sensitive brake and a medium-sensitive accelerator.

According to the dual control model, arousal is the product of accelerator activation and brake deactivation. Depending on the trigger, the brake or accelerator reacts strongly or less strongly to it. We all have a brake and an accelerator, but we have different levels of sensitivity that can be activated by different stimuli. For some, having sex in the shower might activate the accelerator a lot, for someone who might have a water phobia it can activate the brakes to the max.

On average, men have more sensitive accelerators than women, and women have more sensitive brakes on average. But that could well be the other way around. The variability within women and men is very high. Why we have more sensitive brakes is difficult to research. Personally, I believe that it largely depends on the societal, cultural, medical and moral guidelines that are often instilled in us from childhood. What activates the brake or the accelerator is learned, because the braking and acceleration system needs input, i.e. experience, in order to develop in the first place. Some studies on rats by the Canadian researcher Pfaus have demonstrated these learned brakes and accelerators. In one experiment, researchers dressed rats in small jackets for their first sexual experience.So the rat associated the jacket with intercourse, and the jacket became a stimulus that activated the accelerator. In a follow-up experiment, the rat without a jacket even became a gadfly by associating the sexual experience with a rat without a jacket with a negative experience such as pain. Pfaus believes that this also explains the origin of a fetish.

Sexuelle Prägung beginnt früh

The more important point here is that we learn our reactions to sexual stimuli, often before puberty and thus without having a say in it ourselves.

When a little girl who is seen rubbing her clitoris on a sofa cushion is told, "Stop it, that's not right," that may just trigger the brake, leading to masturbation or self-stimulation The clitoris is associated with something negative and bad during sex.

Incidentally, one of the strongest anchored brake triggers is disgust. Disgust is a very strong avoidant. It's bad when it affects your own body or bodily fluids. It can be about body image (e.g. too fat, breasts too small, vulval lips too big) or sex practices involving bodily fluids, such as oral or anal sex.

At some point we learned from classmates, parents, other people or the media that this or that is "dirty", dirty or disgusting. If it happens once, it may not matter, but if it happens more often, it does because we learn by example.

If brakes and accelerators learn their triggering stimuli so early, can we then influence the brake-accelerator system at all?

You cannot change the braking or acceleration system, but you can change its characteristics, i.e. how sensitively it reacts. In addition, if you know the triggering stimuli, you can learn to deal with them. For example, if Luisa's fear of pregnancy is a major trigger of her brakes, Luisa can reduce this intensity by studying her cycle, knowing the different contraceptive options and weighing up what is the best choice for her. Best with your partner.

Every woman can - if she wants to - reduce stimuli that activate the brakes and increase stimuli that are sexually arousing.

How are your brakes and accelerator developed?

If you want to know how strong your brake and accelerator are, then you will findherethe questions. You can get the evaluation for free on the Beingfemale website under Libido ( download. This test is designed to help you better understand how your sexual response system to sexual triggers works.

Author: Dr. Maya Fehling, founder

1) Briken P, Matthiesen S, Pietras L, Wiessner C, Klein V, Reed GM, Dekker A: Estimating the prevalence of sexual dysfunction using the new ICD-11 guide lines—results of the first representative, population-based German Health and Sexuality Survey (GeSiD). Dtsch Arztebl Int 2020; 117: 653–8. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2020.0653

2+3) "Come As You Will" by Dr. Emily Nagoski

4)  Pfaus JG, Erickson KA, Talianakis S. Somatosensory conditioning of sexual arousal and copulatory behavior in the male rat: a model of fetish development. Physiol Behav. 2013 Oct 2;122:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PMID: 23954746.

1 comment

Vielen Dank für den Artikel.
Leider habe ich auf der angegebenen Seite keine Auflösung des Tests gefunden.
Viele Grüße


Leave a comment