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Foundations of the Sexocorporel
Sexual Development
Components of the Sexocorporel
Clinical Significance

The Concept of the Sexocorporel

from texts by D. Chatton and J.Y. Desjardins, re-edited by P. Gehrig and K. Bischof (May 2007)

Print Version (pdf)

 

1. Background

Professor Jean-Yves Desjardins developed the Sexocorporel at the University of Québec in Montréal, Canada, where, in 1968, he co-founded the Department of Sexology with Professor Claude Crépault. Based on twenty years of clinical and scientific investigations, Desjardins conceptualized this model of sexual development and functionality and has continued to expand it in collaboration with sexologists incorporating current sexological research.

The Sexocorporel is based on the inseparable unity of body and mind. This model permits the sexological evaluation of all components that interact in human sexuality. Based on this evaluation, clients can be provided with the abilities needed to improve their sexuality in the areas that cause them concern.

 

2. “Brain – Body”, “Body – Brain”: An Inseparable Functional Unity

Body and mind are often considered to be two separate entities. This is an artificial separation, as the mind – which includes our thoughts, emotions, perceptions and fantasies – is located in the brain and is therefore part of our body, as well. This separation allows for the detailed examination of each entity as part of one inseparable whole. Historically, however, an antagonism has evolved from this dualistic perception in which the impulse driven impure body is seen as inferior and in opposition to the pure mind and soul.

This vertical perception – psyche “on top”/superior and sexuality “below”/inferior – permeates our society as well as our psychotherapeutic models with judgmentalism. “Sexological evaluations” in many sex therapy schools are still conducted without including the person’s physical sexual reality. Consequently, sexual problems are primarily understood to be symptoms of psychological conflicts or relationship disorders.

The Sexocorporel refers to these intrapsychic or relationship conflicts as indirect causes of sexual problems and focuses on the direct causes, taking into account that brain and body are a functional unity in which not only mental processes influence the body but, equally as important, bodily states and processes influence the brain, and hence our emotions, fantasies, thoughts and perceptions. For example, the arousal mode (the way people physically arouse themselves) directly influences their sexual experiences, as well as their sexual concepts and fantasies.

While the Sexocorporel views the person as one physically and mentally inseparable unit, it, nonetheless, distinguishes the explicit body (the visible, movable body, physiological sensations, etc.) from the implicit mental processes (perceptions, emotions, thoughts, fantasies, etc.) to facilitate clearer understanding and for scientific purposes.

3. A Model of Sexual Development

4. Differentiation and Integration of the Components of Sexual Function

5. Clinical Significance of Differentiating Between a Model of Mental Health and a Model of Sexual Health