How massage wands for the neck made Birte Fulde become a sexologist
Did you know? Not only is Birte Fulde our brand marketing manager, but she has also been a trained sexologist for a good year now as well. We asked her what exactly this means and to what extent this extra qualification can be integrated into her work at ORION.
Hi Birte, you have been a sexologist for a good year now. How did you come to have such a vocation? What was your personal motivation for it?
I’m not quite sure but my talent for talking about sex was probably always there. For example, I can still remember a situation when I was about 8 years old and saw two pages with “massage wands” in the Otto catalogue (a German catalogue). I wondered for days how I was supposed to massage my neck with these long things. At that time, it was already clear to me that there are items that have to be explained better and in more detail.
It then took another 30 years until I learned to appreciate “massage wands” not just privately but also professionally. Five years ago, I took over the management of ORION’s brand marketing – a position which is actually less concerned with vibrators, vulvas or vacuum fetishes and more with public relations.
But what was already dormant in the 8-year-old girl – namely the idea that you have to explain massage wands better – just wouldn’t let me go. And so began my sex education work for our Instagram channel and other channels.
Training to become a sexologist was then just the next logical step for me so that I could further deepen the know-how I had collected up to that point and to make it official.
Sexologist – to be honest, that almost sounds like a made-up profession. Is there actually a recognised training course for it? And how does it work exactly?
Strictly speaking, I am a sex therapist but my focus is not on therapy. It is more on sex education, so I prefer to call myself a sexologist. And yes, of course, there are many recognised training opportunities. Mine, for example, lasted a year and was mostly a distance learning course. There was a hardcore boot camp at the end with training from 8 am to 8 pm – only then did I finally have my official certificate.
How exactly does a sexologist help people? You’re not allowed to prescribe blue pills are you?
No, I’m not allowed to – and I wouldn’t do that either! I am generally rather cautious with my work and prefer to refer people to specialists in good time because the medical background is extremely important for some abnormalities.
As a sexologist, I usually help by telling people about tips and small accessories that can help with classics like the loss of libido, erectile dysfunction or general sexual insecurity. What I always like to share with people is the fact that knowing your own anatomy can work wonders.
It sounds really exciting and also raises the question: Where do you actually practice? Do you have your own practice besides ORION?
No, I have consciously decided not to open a practice and help individuals. Instead, I would rather reach a lot of people. That’s why I like to talk a lot about sex on Instagram. But you can also find me and my sex education work under birtefulde as well.
Is there a certain type of person who seeks your help or are the people seeking help more likely to be of all ages and social classes?
There are indeed people of all ages and from all walks of life but two cases have become particularly typical over time.
Case 1: Women in their mid-30s who suddenly realise that they hardly know their own bodies and sexual preferences. They have been doing the same thing in the bedroom for years – and then comes the loss of libido. In my opinion, it’s no wonder! If you compare this situation with food, it’s a bit like eating chicken with rice for 10 years. You never questioned it before but now you suddenly realise that you just don’t feel like it anymore. What helps? Trying out different recipes and learning how to prepare your new favourite dishes. You can bet that your appetite will come back very quickly. 😊
Case 2: Men with erectile dysfunction – regardless of age. The reasons for this are complex. In addition to illnesses and stress, pornography and masturbation addiction are increasingly common reasons as well.
Do you have more questions from couples or singles? And do you have any idea why that is?
More couples come to me. Singles are much better at having a fulfilling sex life for themselves. When a person enters their (sex) life, the guesswork often starts: What does he/she like? It has always worked before so it should work now, etc. Communicating with the other person is always better than guesswork – this applies to sex as well. You should definitely plan for regular me-time too so that you don’t end up losing touch with yourself because of your relationship. Me-time is also great for consciously focusing on your own needs too – and that, in turn, is good for the relationship.
The question we are all very interested in is: Are men and women really so different when it comes to love?
Yes they are. Unfortunately, that’s socially determined. Men often have a much better sexual perception of their own bodies. After all, it’s completely normal for them to take their penis in their hands and engage with it from a young age. When they get older, it is absolutely legitimate, and in some cases even wanted, for them to experiment and sow their so-called wild oats.
Girls and women, on the other hand, quite often have no connection to their vagina and don’t even really know what it looks like. They probably wouldn’t find it very easily in the lost property office if they were looking for it either… Unfortunately, the word slut also comes up very quickly if a WOMAN experiments sexually – even in the year 2022.
Back to you: How do people react to your additional qualification? Do you have to give tips at every party now? Or do you perhaps even have to fight prejudices?
Of course, people like to ask at parties – but typically personal problems are only talked about when there’s just a group of women together. Men remain a bit more distant and want to know general things, such as what questions I am asked as a sexologist.
What makes me personally very happy is that I have only received positive reinforcement for my work so far. Lots of friends, acquaintances and young people who are friends also approach me with their questions. This is a huge compliment for me – it proves to me that I convey competence and security with my work and at the same time can offer an anonymous space for personal problems.
From an expert’s point of view, what do you think a fulfilling sex life looks like? Or asked the other way round: What do you think is the most common cause of problems with sexuality?
I have already mentioned the most important ingredients for a fulfilling sex life: I know my body and what it likes – and I can communicate this clearly. The cause of many sexual problems, in addition to social norms, is and remains ignorance. Sometimes this even goes so far as people not knowing whether they like something or not – even when they’re asked.
We’re also dying to know: Does the ultimate orgasm tip exist?
Yes. It’s actually quite simple and incredibly difficult at the same time: Mindfulness! In other words, I have to be fully attentive to every touch – from the arousal phase right to the end of lovemaking. Shopping lists, your job or even the question of whether I should suck in my belly now have absolutely no place in my head (See it’s just like I said – easy…).
There are definitely lots of different ways to love. But are there also topics that you find rather difficult to talk about – or that are perhaps even taboo for you?
Sexuality comes in many forms and as long as everything is consensual, I’m fine with it – no matter what someone’s into. However, there are also (quite rightly) critical taboo topics such as paedophilia. Such things must and should also be dealt with. But not by me. There are extra therapists who specialise in that.
Do you believe that you can make the world at least a little bit better with your work? And if so, why?
Oh, I really hope so! A healthy sexuality is so important for us humans in many ways: To develop a better feeling for ourselves, to have a more fulfilling relationship and to simply be happier with lots of endorphins in our bodies.
A hot question at the end: How much does your training as a sexologist influence your personal love life?
Many people think that everything is always great between us and that we’re always between the sheets. However, we’re also just a normal couple and we have our ups and downs too. I also don’t always manage to be as mindful as I preach. Nevertheless, my work always makes me aware of what I can pay attention to and reminds me to put it into practice myself. And that’s a really satisfying start…