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Content: Fighting for influence and control may become evident early in a relationship, but in some cases, it only becomes a roadblock when important topics are discussed and unresolved. George, a 45-year-old man, is married to Kate, 42. They have been together for 25 years, with three daughters. He complains about a lifelong premature ejaculation, and in the last two years, episodic erectile dysfunction appeared. His concern is that he cannot satisfy his partner as she doesn’t feel sexual pleasure. Kate always experienced low arousal. They have sex when she initiates it, and this happens infrequently. This couple had a long journey of unsatisfying sex. It seems a duty from both sides. They are angry at each other and very often argue about many things. They engage in controlling behaviors and resort to manipulating tactics. The power imbalance seems apparent as they both look for validation from the other. They are in a stall, playing the role of the victim and falling into the traditional script where she wants more empathy while he prefers to focus on his sexual function.
Prof. Alfons Vansteenwegen assesses the case presented by Evie Kirana, sharing his clinical experience on how sex influences the relationship and vice versa:
Produced in 2023
Alfons Vansteenwegen, Ph.D., is a professor of systems and communication theory and couple and family therapy and sexology. He is one of the leading Flemish theoreticians and therapists in communication theory and an important inspirator in couple therapy and general psychotherapy.
He is the past President of the Institute of Family and Sexuality Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). He is the head of the Communication Center at the University Clinics of Leuven, where residential couple therapy and sex therapy are provided. He conducted research and postgraduate training in couple, family, and sex therapy and postgraduate training in mediation.
Visiting professor at Hopitaux Universitaires, Genève (25 Nov 1996); Universidad de Lima, Lima, Peru (Oct-Nov, 1998); University of Stellenbosch, SA (2-30 Aug 2002), Intams Summer Course, Brussels (2000- 2002); ESSM European School of Sexual Medicine, Oxford, (2008-2012 and Budapest, 2013-2017).
Author of more than 10 books (translated into several languages), counting the well-known The good enough couple (last edition in 2019). He is also the author/co-author of about 400 scientific and clinical publications about marriage, family, sexuality, and couple therapy.
Prof. Vansteenwegen was awarded several prizes, including the VanEmdeBoas-VanUssel Award, Dutch Society of Sexology, Utrecht 2006; Gold Medal: Lifetime achievement, World Association of Sexual Health, Glasgow 2011; Abraham Maslow award, 2015.