My name is L
First, I would like to say thank you for coming to the conference, I found it to be exceptionally helpful!
Second, I think you coming here to MS is a Great idea, thanks for your time.
My main question regarding sexuality is of course related to my own self, but I was wondering about something that you mentioned during one of the smaller group sessions. You mentioned that people are aroused by a template; you called it a sexual template. I am wondering if it is possible to trace what causes someone to eroticize one thing as opposed to another?
Please forgive the intentional ambiguity to the way that my question is phrased.
I will try to break it down a little bit:
What are the most formative years in which somebody will develop an arousal pattern, or become attracted to something specific, e.g., a woman that looks a very particular way or a man between very specific ages.
The second part of the question is also related to something that you stated. You said something to the affect of "although the person may be able to change the behavior of a specific sexual impulse, the originating impulse or drive will remain." My question is, “Why is it that the underlying impulse will remain? Is the mechanism for that impulse known at this time? What are some theories around this issue?
Although the behavior can change, what about the underlying fantasy, can that be diminished to some extent as well, and is there the possibility for an answer as to why the fantasy is there in the first place???
I think that is my main question and I am unsure if I can say it any more concretely than that.
Thank you for your time and thanks for posting and bringing your expertise to us here at MS.
A sexual template was a concept coined by John Money. According to Money, it is "a
developmental representation or template in the mind and in the brain depicting the idealized lover and the idealized program of sexual and erotic activity projected in imagery or actually engaged in with that lover.”
This is not to say that one’s orientation is shaped by childhood. Here is where it’s crucial to differentiate sexual orientation and sexual preferences. Sexual mapping and imprinting shapes sexual preferences, not sexual orientation. There are those who believe that one’s sexual orientation − how one self-identifies in terms of gay, straight, bisexual − is learned in childhood. One is born with one’s orientation and that preferences are learned.
That said, the way I work with a client is to help them “crack the erotic code” to discover the nonsexual meanings of their sexual template. I ask them to consider if their sexual fantasies, desires and behaviors involve:
1. Being pursued or being the pursuer
2. How they feel about their sexual partners in their fantasies
3. How do they want their sexual partners to feel about them
4. What are the words and actions that peak their sexual arousal state that either they say or do and/or others say or do
The answers offer clues to a person’s childhood and formative years of development. I have had straight male clients tell me that they enjoy being with cougar women who are mothers and we discover through the sexual template that their own mother was depressed, alcoholic, disapproving or simply physically and/or emotionally absent. The sexual template now reconciles for the longing for a “mother figure”.
Interpreting sexual templates should be done in the same way one would interpret a dream being that everything is code and metaphors. That will lead you to its origins.
In terms of changing one’s core sexual desires and preferences, the research does not show much success. Several researchers and published authors on the topic agree that while someone can add to their sexual fantasies and desires new and erotic things as well as stop it from controlling your actions and preoccupying your mind, the bottom line is that you will always have these fantasies to some extent.
The main idea around this is imprinting. The earlier years of childhood development are the most crucial—particularly up to the age of eight years old. As a result this becomes embedded in your psyche and your core. This is not really bad news especially if you enjoy your sexual template. However, if you don’t because of early sexual abuse or other reasons your job is to become conscious of where it comes from and why it arouses you. Doing so can be extremely helpful to reduce and rid yourself from compulsively “getting off” on it.
If you want to read more on this topic I highly recommend, “Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies” by Michael Bader.