Review of Lovemaps

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Review of Lovemaps

Copyright 1998 Kathryn Grosz. Nothing in these articles in whole or in part may be duplicated in any way.

How are Paraphilias and Lovemaps related?

I briefly (maybe 30 seconds) met a man named John Money at the World Congress of Sexologists in Amsterdam a few months ago. He was impressive when he spoke before the conference participants. It turns out he is an internationally famous sexologist. I thought he was simply a rather cold man (later to learn from a friend that he is actually very nice, interesting and wonderful). He has written many books, one being LOVEMAPS.

On a long plane ride, I read LOVEMAPS thinking I could read it and relay to readers of The Not Naughty News how our patterns of sexuality, lovemaps, develop. Lovemaps, per Money, are the templates that we have in our mind of the perfect lover and the ideal patterns that our sexuality should include.

As it turns out, LOVEMAPS, is an absolutely fascinating book that deals primarily with the development of atypical lovemaps, especially paraphilias. Paraphilia is a state in which a person becomes sexually aroused under conditions in fantasy or reality that are not those that the average person would respond to. The paraphiliac's lovemap is distorted. "The paraphilias range from those that are playful and harmless, to those that are bizarre and deadly. The law permits some manifestations of paraphiliac behavior to be a matter of mutual consent, whereas others are criminalized." Page xviii.Reading about how some of these atypical lovemaps are created during childhood sheds light on how all lovemaps develop. I have gleaned out the more fascinating parts of the book. Money's book can be read by anyone. But, it is difficult reading and covers a lot of ground. This is not a book to pick up and read like a novel. The vocabulary is not mainstream. The book has glossaries totalling 42 pages to enable the reader to identify and comprehend the information.

Examples of paraphilias are: formicophilia in which sexual arousal is dependent on little animals like snails or ants crawling on the genitals. Another is narratophilia where sexual arousal is dependent upon using words or telling stories considered pornographic in the presence of a partner. (More on paraphilias later.)

Money relates that we develop lovemaps as children, that the years five to eight are the most impressionable, that distortions from the socially acceptable occur from contact with persons outside the child's age group, and that these distortions can result from either sexual experiences or nonsexual experiences providing the child was sexually aroused by the event.

Money likens the development of one's lovemap to the development of language. That is, we are born with what is necessary to learn many different languages. The one we learn is the one we experience. The lovemap we learn is dependent upon our experiences and environment. It is what that brain is exposed to after birth that determines which language(s) will be used. Sexual programming is similar and develops from the social environment and sensory inputs (touch, vision, hearing, smell) that the individual experiences in childhood.

I tend to believe that human beings are not born knowing innately how to function sexually with each other. I believe much sexual behavior is learned and could be taught. John Money describes amazing diversity in the animal kingdom regarding sexual patterns. He states that some species have predetermined patterns while primates, especially humans, develop their sexual patterns, or lovemaps, from input after birth. (P.7 - 12). Money mentions the story about the chimpanzees at the Chessington zoo in England. They did not breed and were not raised among other chimpanzees so they could learn mating behavior. So, in 1973, to encourage the chimpanzees to breed, the zoo keepers showed them movies of other chimpanzees mating. They were then able to mate. (page 100)

What about these paraphilias? Interesting from an historical point are two famous writers who had paraphilias. Money, shed light on the writers of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

What does Peter Pan have in common with a paraphilia? Matching partners are generally similar chronological ages. Chronophiles choose partners whose chronological age is not within a normal range for their age bracket. "Often, if not always, there is a discrepancy within the chronophile between chronological age and sexuoerotic age. In literature Peter Pan illustrates this point. Immortalized as the boy who never grew up, he was the sexuoerotic self of his creator, Sir James Barrie (1860 - 1937)."

"Barrie, alias Peter Pan, had intense attachments to boys who had not yet grown up. In particular, he had unabashed romantic love affairs successively with George Llewellyn Davies and his younger brother, Michael (Birkin, 1979). They were almost certainly sexuoerotic attachments until puberty. Then sexual maturity robbed them of their pedophilic attractiveness for Peter Pan. After they were orphaned, Barrie adopted them and their three brothers."

"Barrie developed the drama of Peter Pan as an adventure for the three oldest Davies boys in the woods and on the shallow lake of his summer estate. Another famous pedophile, Rev. Charles L. Dodgson (1832 - 1898), alias Lewis Carroll, recounted the stories of Through the Looking Glass and Adventures of Alice in Wonderland for a girl to whom he became attached. Some of them, with their mothers' consent, he photographed nude. The image was on a glass plate, in that era. Carroll set them off, tinted, in landscapes or seascapes painted on or behind the glass (Cohen, 1978).

"Barrie and Carroll both exemplify that the discrepancy between chronological and sexuoerotic age in the pedophile extends to social age. Various nonsexual social interests and activities are juvenilized and on a par with those of the pedophile's young friend. That gives the young person and the pedophile equality of status. In childhood, to be respected as an equal by an adult is rare, and greatly appreciated. Conversely, the pedophile greatly appreciates being given equal status as a juvenile by his young friend." Pages 69 and 70.

John Harvey Kellogg (1852 - 1943), inventor of Kellogg's Corn Flakes was a little on the flakey side himself when it came to diet and health. Kellogg was a well regarded surgeon. Yet he ascribed to degeneracy theory and thought that loss of semen caused many diseases. (This was the theory espoused by Swiss doctor, Simon Tissot in 1758.) Thus, masturbation was considered very bad for the health. Per Money, Kellogg's cereals and nuts were a replacement for eating meat, in order "to suppress carnal desire induced by the eating of raw meat." (Page 165) Thus, Kellogg's Corn Flakes were an antimasturbation food!

Kellogg recommended the sewing up of boys' foreskins and the burning out of girls' clitorises to prevent masturbation and thus degeneration. He never consummated his marriage. He slept alone and saved his semen. Per Money, Kellogg was a klismaphiliac, meaning that sexual arousal is dependent upon being given an enema by a partner. Every morning he had his medical assistant give him an enema.

Obviously getting an enema every morning is not a crime. Yet, some paraphilias are crimes. They get pretty scary and some are self-destructive. Many people realizing that what turns them on is not particularly healthy for themselves or other seek professional help. In reading Lovemaps, it is apparent that finding someone that can really deal with the these issues is not easy. Often times there are not recognized or understood by the professional.

Several interesting case histories are related in the book that shed light on how these atypical lovemaps form in childhood. Although there are many common paraphilias, the experiences that created them varies with each individual. One paraphilia is acrotomophilia, the erotic fascination with amputees. How could someone become sexually aroused by seeing an amputee? Seeing an amputated limb is hardly a sexual experience for most people.

The short version of the biography of one acrotomophiliac described in Lovemaps is: He grew up with his mother and grandmother. "He developed feelings of inadequacy since men were always put down as no good. Confrontations created fears of rejection. Control was obtained by developing a sense of shame and guilt". (Page 218) He was pressured to do well in school and wanted a way to escape. He heard some adults expressing pity for an amputee. He decided being an amputee would reduce the pressure and they were people to be admired for overcoming their loss of a limb.

He did not fit in socially because his mother dressed him differently. He didn't wear long pants to school until high school! He was told to stay away from girls. He "overheard a comment of concern and admiration regarding a young girl amputee. It provided the needed idea." He thought he would be permitted to be attracted to a girl if she was an amputee and after that incorporated female amputees into his sexual fantasies. (Page 220)

This person's biography stated "My heroines have always been amputees. . . . They represented the courage and strength that I did not possess. . . . SHE would understand me, . . . not find fault with me . . . not criticize me . . . accept me . . . be the close friend that I needed . . ." (page 221)

When there is no appropriate role model, a child is isolated, there is no appropriate sex education, etc. it is easy to see how a young mind's developing sexual patterns can go awry.

Another case history described how one person developed asphyxiophilia, a dangerous and often fatal paraphilia where sexual arousal and orgasm are dependent on self-strangulation or asphyxiation. This young man's story is complicated and too long to relate here. Many things seemed to go awry in his upbringing. The point is that as a boy he had a crush on an eight year old girl. He was very excited by her (let it be noted that he didn't know how babies are made until age 16). She drowned while swimming at the beach. After that he would "sit and try to imagine her nude body drowning underwater, . . ." He began to dream about swimming underwater and drowning and watching other people drown. Then he started to masturbate and had his first orgasm after her death.

Sexually stimulating events can be pretty bizarre, yet we can see how this develops. Money makes significant points on pages 247 and 248 of Lovemaps. The paraphilia develops early in childhood. ". . .It flourishes in the sexual vacuum created by being deprived of normal sexual learning and normal sexual rehearsal play; and it is not "caught" from viewing or reading commercial pornography." He did not share sexual knowledge with his peer group.

His family and school environment did not allow him to disclose his paraphilia until he was 22 years old when he finally reached out for help. He had heard about two other boys that died practicing this paraphilia and wanted help so he wouldn't suffer the same fate.

Sex education, the availability of sexual information and the availability of trained sex therapists and psychiatrists is really imperative if we are all to live happy sexual existences. This is not only important for the individual, but for society that also suffers from the resultant behavior of the criminal paraphilias.

I especially like John Money's statement: "Sexual democracy, just like political democracy, always confronts the inherent quandary of pluralism -- the quandary of whether your sexual emancipation is gained at the cost of my sexual enslavement. It is the quandary of how to tolerate the maximal amount of social diversity and individual eccentricity, while guaranteeing human sexual rights equally to all". Page 4.

Lots of things are relatively harmless, like being turned on by being spanked or the latex fetishes. Some people are lucky to develop the harmless paraphilias, others are not. Reading Money's book does create compassion for those unlucky enough to be categorized as criminals. It also creates understanding of the tremendous lifelong effects poor childrearing, child abuse, and lack of education have on both the individual and society.

John Money is Professor of Medical Psychology and Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21205. LOVEMAPS was first published in hardcover in 1986 by Irvington Publishers, Inc. New York, New York and then copublished in paperback in 1988 by Prometheus Books and Irvington Publishers, Inc. If you are interested in a clinical account of paraphilias, this is the book to get. Treatment is also discussed.

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