How to navigate your Lovemap


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.


  • countryman25
    More than a month ago

    Yes I do understand what you are talking about with the love map as for me I felt very fortunate that , when I was at school there were a lot of very sexy girls in the class above us and the talked a lot about sex and teased a few of us boys to stir us up , also the had some books on sex which they shared with a few of us boys and a couple of the older girls did talk to us about the content and in turn they would talk with one of the younger single female teachers. That same teacher would have the boys in my class for industrial arts for an afternoon each week , on one particular day there were only two of us boys there with her for the afternoon and us two boys always had a good repore with this teacher . On this day we did our work as usual and during the afternoon miss asked us how did we like the books that the girls shared with us , which opened up the conversation about sex , of which there was a good discussion and during that discussion miss offered to show us some of the finer points of sex which we both eagerly said yes and miss did it in such a way that it was educational where she alowed us to touch and feel her and to bring her to organism , with that she explained how to tread a women sexually and respectfully .
    the afternoon was a one off and we were never to speak of it again and to my understanding we didnt , and that afternoon was a very good foundation for me for the future .
    A few years later I started going out with a girl who's mother was Japanese and very nice and I remember the daughter and I were going out this night and the mother took us both aside and talk to us and told us that it was ok and she expected us to have sex each time we were together , which took me back a bit at the time , and again was quite happy to talk to us of the the finer points of sex and how to treat each other and how to enjoy each other in not only a sexual ,but sensual way .
    A few years later I met my late wife and with the previous education which was , as it turns out a sexual map , where my late wife and I had a very good and very active sexual life together

  • 4Erioed Photo
    More than a month ago

    Kids getting aroused during spanking? Umm that's a bit creepy if you ask me.

    • Account Closed
      More than a month ago

      Agree. I grew up in a family with an autocratic father who believed in corporal punishment with a razor strap. Being hit in a sexual context is not a turn on for me .....its abuse. But each to his/her own and can understand the attraction but not when you've experienced this act in an abusive situation

  • joe2442
    More than a month ago

    It seems everyone has a type, and this GPS lovemap is all different for everyone. You might be someone's type but totally rejected/freindzoned by someone. Cultural factors as well sometimes are linked to your love map. What your told by your culture or generation as cool and hot as opposed to ugly or unattractive. For example women who have lots of tattoos is now seen as trendy/sexy/cool by the younger generation where as in past it would be seen as rebellious or un lady like.
    Ignorance can also play a part and this leads to growth. If you been in a culture where people from a certain race or culture were not seen as attractive you may well have that view. But then if you experience that culture you were told was not attractive e.g. via travel, you will change your views on attractive. Self-esteem and status also influence the love-map. Men who started of working class or poor, but become upper-middle class or rich have often been known to dump there wife/or a partner for a so-called more physically attractive partner(as judged by the society they live in). Also the make-over term. If someone has a big physical makeover e.g. weight loss/improved hair style/clothes e.g. like out of those lifestyle reality TV shows often they then date someone judged as more attractive. Like many things in life the love map/and sexual attraction are complex.
    Same with other judgements e.g. if your past lovemap didn't like people into BDSM due to ignorances about it, but if you become exposed to BDSM and begin to like it your lovemap may gravitate to people interested in BDSM or swinging(if you previously didn't like swinging etc).

  • KaifraDuet
    More than a month ago

    This rings true to some extent, though a little simplified. I'd suggest that these 'maps' expand and transmogrify with age, eventually becoming an amalgam formed of experience, wisdom and the ability to adapt and change.

  • formula62
    More than a month ago

    So!!!!! Fairly useless article as would be better if it provided links as to how to identify elements of the love map, what your love map is, how to understand it, how it impacts on behaviour and how range of things. This is just one of the airless articles without any substance.

    • AMM.Editor Photo
      More than a month ago

      Check out The Erotic Mind by sex therapist Dr Jack Morin if you'd like to read a more indepth study based on the concept. The article is just designed to get you thinking about the concept because for some people being aware that they have a trigger can help them eliminate bad behaviour like when you want to give up smoking you work out what your triggers are, eg. alcohol, social events, stress. Our blog isn't designed to be a "how to" psychological guide.

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