Is sex needed to function in life?

Questions to the expert "Sex connects souls"

Dorothea Kramß is a marriage, family and sex counselor from Eisenberg in Thuringia. The 58-year-old advises couples and individuals in Gera and Leipzig. The Thuringian has been married for 34 years and has two grown sons.

Ms. Kramß, how is happiness in love permanently established?

I think most people know what makes a happy relationship: mindfulness, honesty, and understanding for one another, just to name a few basic characteristics. This is clear to most people in the head, but the knowledge often does not penetrate to the emotional level. This has to do with the fact that many people do not know themselves and their values. What you don't know cannot be communicated. As a result, many get into situations that they actually don't want. Instead of happiness and love, there is frustration and unhappiness. In order to lead a fulfilling partnership, the head knowledge has to slide into the heart.

In which situations do couples find themselves who seek counseling in Gera and Leipzig, for example?

Many who come to us are fundamentally interested in personal development based on partnership. Fortunately, many young couples between the ages of 18 and 35 come to us. The couples have everyday problems. At first there was love, everything was beautiful, everything was perfect. Then the daily routine follows and the couples find that they are very different and that things often no longer work sexually. Many young couples fall apart at this point. If you need advice, we can often help.

There are increasing numbers of couples from 60 to mid-70s who seek advice. In these cases the issues are completely different. Conflicts often arise when, for example, retirement begins. Old wounds that were hidden by commitments and activities suddenly reappear. In couples who are older than 70, it is sometimes very painful when the man or woman is sick and the healthy partner longs for sexual closeness.

How can couples overcome these crises?

In our consultations, we give the couples a tool in the form of a model: (Dorothea Kramß takes three building blocks and two playing figures from her bag and puts them on the table.)

There is a woman, there is a man and, as a third instance, the relationship, which everyone fills up to 50 percent. The couple live in a house. The ground floor is the value level, the living level is the emotional level and the top floor is the sexuality level. At the lower level, the individual has to clarify for himself which values ​​are important to him and where his limits are. At this point, couples should talk a lot and learn to clearly communicate their needs and, for example, set rules of conduct in the event of disputes. In the living area, the aim is to strengthen the relationship through beautiful shared experiences. If the foundation and the living area are in good condition, the couples experience intense emotionality again even during sex.

Can every marriage be saved, or should some couples go their separate ways?

If the injuries on the emotional and sexual level are too massive, it is hardly possible for couples to negotiate everyday factual decisions. In order not to cause further injuries, separation or separate apartments is sometimes the wiser step. When children are involved, an orderly and sensible separation can sometimes mean more stability for children than if there is a desperate attempt to maintain the relationship. In order to find suitable solutions for all parties involved in an existing conflict, couples should definitely seek external advice

How important is sex in a partnership or is it possible without it?

It can work without it for a while. In our consultations we repeatedly see couples who get by for weeks, months and sometimes even years without sexuality. In most cases this does not happen voluntarily. Sex has the property of connecting souls. For example, when a couple is arguing about water usage, I try to make them understand that they wouldn't care how much water pours out of the shower head if they had good sex. During sex, you experience something on the emotional level that simply belongs to us. We are sexual beings and that's how we experience ourselves. We have a sexual identity that needs to be respected. It's just good for us. We will not lose our sexuality until death. If we tear off the roof of our relationship house, it will rain in and we will miss an important level. In relationships without sexuality, we often experience crippling sadness. The unity of souls is missing, which can be experienced with relish.

Today, people use cell phone apps to meet up for sex. Are relationships losing importance these days?

I would not go so far. Sex has played a huge role at all times. There are two extremes: people who live their sexuality intensely - perhaps with many partners - and the counter-model of people who deny their sexuality rather than allow it. I think it makes sense to strike a balance. We need sexual attraction. But you should turn your brain on and ask yourself where my behavior is going to lead to. At this point, our society is very needs-oriented, according to the motto: I have a desire for sex, someone will find each other. I experience this "I-take-what-I-want-mentality" nowadays more than in the past. The ability to wait longer for one's wishes has greatly diminished. As a result, many no longer feel their physicality. For example, when I ask my clients where they feel emotional pain, I often get the answer: I don't know.

Should Singles Prepare for a Relationship?

That sounds like a good plan, but it doesn't just apply to singles, it applies to everyone. First of all, you should be aware of what you really want and how important a relationship is for you. I think the most important thing is to work on your personality in order to develop yourself. Only those who love themselves can also love their partner. It sounds like a truism, but it's so true.

The questions were asked by Rouven Zietz.