Topic 2 DQ 1 (Obj. 2.1)
Explain how you could use the information contained in the Masters and Johnson Human Sexual Response Cycle and the Kaplan three Stages of Sexual Response in your work with clients. In your response, include a clinical scenario to illustrate your points.
Lehmiller, J., Whitbourne, Stacey B., & Whitbourne, Susan K. (2020). Human Sexuality and Issues in Aging for Grand Canyon University (Custom). Wiley ISBN-9781119828099 Custom. (Available as a custom ebook-includes only Chapters 1, 2 , 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 13, 14, and 15 from Lehmiller, J. (2017). The Psychology of Human Sexuality (2nd ed.). ISBN- 9781119164739; Chapters 1, 2, 5, 11, 12, and 13 from Whitbourne, Stacey B., & Whitbourne, Susan K. (2020). Adult Development and Aging, (7th ed.). ISBN ISBN 9781119607878)
Kaplan believes that any stage of the sexual response cycle can elicit problems, and
identifying the problem stage is a necessary step in treating clients with sexual dysfunction
(Lehmiller, 2018). Jane became sexually active couple of years ago and is struggling to
understand what all the “hype” is about surrounding sex. She has had three different
partners since she started having sex but can’t seem to find the desire for sex that everyone
else seemingly has. She wondered if it was a lack of attraction to her first boyfriend, and
eventually broke it off with him due to the lack of spark. In her new relationships she hoped
that the sex would be better but the “unsuccessful” times far outweigh the “successful” ones.
To help Jane, I would ask her which of these stages seem to pose the issues; sexual desire,
excitement, orgasm, or resolution. We will work through what happens at each of these
stages and see if we can find what issues or anxieties may lie behind them. Perhaps there is a
certain part of the process where she is turned off, or where she and her partner can
introduce other stimulants whether that is through senses, hormones, or introducing
different substances. If she enters into a sexual encounter with the mindset that it won’t go
well, it likely won’t. So, we will work together perhaps with the use of CBT to condition her to
get more excited when a certain point of the cycle presents itself.
The Masters and Johnson Human Sexual Response Cycle details the genital and extra-genital responses during excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Understanding these four phases can help a counselor identify sexual dysfunctions happening in their client or their client’s partner. These physical responses, or lack thereof, could help a counselor identify if any issues are present. Since Master and Johnson identified that one might not recognize when one phase begins, or the other ends it may help a counselor “normalize” what their client is experiencing or not experiencing. Since the world seems to be preoccupied with what is considered “normal.” Kaplan identified a three-phase model consisting of sexual desire, excitement (excitement and plateau), and orgasm. Her identification that sexual desire is needed for excitement and orgasm was a revelation in the psychological world of sex. This helped classify female sexual dysfunction in the third and fourth DSM’s (Magon et al., 2012).
My client is a male in his mid-forties. He is nervous because his wife is going through menopause and their sex life has taken a downward turn. He and his wife have always had a happy, healthy, and vast sex life and he does not want that to go away completely. As his counselor, I can discuss Kaplan’s three phases and the importance of sexual desire with him. He believes that his wife experiences sexual desire for him, and he does in return. Although the female sex responses can alter with age, dryness, lower libido, etc., it will be helpful that sexual desire remain strong. With the help of lubrication and discussion about their new sex life, they should be able to make it work. The importance of sexual desire in a relationship before menopause begins is important.
The Masters and Johnson Model is well-known and came from observing over 10,000 sexual cycles of men and women. Evidence screamed a predictable pattern related to sexual arousal and response. Although individuals experience different kinds of sexual arousal and response with sexuality and sex, the predictable patterns are telling and reliable (Lehmiller, J., Whitbourne, Stacey B., & Whitbourne, Susan K., 2020). With this information, counselors can work with and help clients with issues surrounding sexuality and sex.
Helen Kaplan modified or simplified the sexual response to three stages, as opposed to Master and Johnsons 4 stages. These universal sexual responses, defined and explained by these scholars, relate to every human, in some way, during their lives. Therefore, understanding these responses and the psychological and emotional aspects that are associated with these responses, will enhance a counselors ability to understand and empathize with clients.
For example, a clinician who understands these physiological sexual responses can help a couple who are not on the same page with sexual desire, level of excitement, or timing of orgasms. Helping the couple understand and distinguish the physiological realities can bring clarity to the bedroom issues and not confuse or disregard the emotional connection that the couple should have. Ironically, although predictable men and womens sexual responses are, levels of understanding vary with individuals and couples. Therefore, understanding these sexual responses will aid a clinician in working with clients issues.