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Heiman, M. (1973). Human Sexual Inadequacy. Psychoanal Q., 42:139-145.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:139-145

Human Sexual Inadequacy

Review by:
Marcel Heiman

By William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1970. 467 pp.

UNDERSTANDING HUMAN SEXUAL INADEQUACY. By Fred Belliveau and Lin Richter. New York: Bantam Books, 1970. 242 pp.

Masters and Johnson's first sentence contains an essential aspect of their therapeutic approach: '… there is no such thing as an uninvolved partner in any marriage in which there is some form of sexual inadequacy'. They consider neither the dysfunctional member nor the marital partner the real patient; the patient is 'the marital relationship'. It was therefore almost inevitable that the therapist evolved into a 'dual-sex therapy team'. The 'dualsex patient' treated by a dual-sex team represents in the view of this reporter a significant modification in the treatment of sexual difficulties. The treatment goal is 'the reversal of symptoms of sexual inadequacy in psychoneurotic patients' (reviewer's italics). This limited goal does not compete with the broader goal of patients in psychotherapy.

The first two days of a couple's treatment are spent in history taking and in sexual abstinence. On the third day, following complete physical and laboratory examinations, the two therapists and the two patients sit together for the first 'roundtable' meeting. At the meeting the couple is confronted with an objective presentation of their sexual problem by the co-therapists. They then receive 'authoritative' instruction 'regarding sensory appreciation' of sexual feelings, beginning with touch and called 'sensate focus'.

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