The term “lovemap” was first used in 1980 by NZ born and Harvard educated sexologist John Money when discussing how people develop their sexual preferences. He defined it as an internal blueprint which shapes your erotic desires in relationships.
Lovemaps are not something we are born with. They start to form at a very early age, typically between 5 and 8 years of age, and are normally locked in by puberty. The most basic way to describe a lovemap would be to think of it as your relationship GPS which points you to the partners who meet your criteria for the type of partner you are looking for and what you expect from a relationship.
But it goes much further than that. Your lovemap is also responsible for your triggers to external stimuli. For example someone may not discover an aspect of their lovemap until it’s triggered by a relevant experience later in life, such as pornography or a particular fetish.
Psychologist Gregory Lehne wrote that lovemaps may be influenced by genetic factors, but that their specific triggers come from the senses. Lehne says that some perceptions are encoded in the person's lovemap after becoming sexualized for some reason. For example a child who accidentally becomes sexually aroused during spanking may develop an interest in erotic spanking as an adult.
Emma Sachsse, B Psych Hons, sexual pundit states that "It is important to remember that as we journey through life although our former experiences and learnt ways of interacting will inform our relationships. However your brain can change. With time and awareness you can learn new routes. Especially if your lovemap seems like applemaps rather than googlemaps you might want to deliberately change and adapt."
When you’re aware of your lovemap it gives you an element of control to make more educated decisions about romantic or sexual partners and your sexual desire.
Our advice - make sure your relationship GPS has the right co-ordinates, enjoy the crazy journey and we hope you arrive safely at your sexual destination.