Sources of
Sexual Fantasies

SYNOPSIS:

    Our sexual responses often seem mysterious even to ourselves.
Do we feel that our 'sex-drives'
possess us rather than we possessing them?
This chapter outlines a
new hypothesis
which might be one step toward a comprehensive theory of human sexuality.
Older theories have tried to explain our sexual responses
either in terms of our biological heritage—animal sexuality—
or in terms of social learning—the way we develop most behaviors.

     But the sex-script hypothesis presents a third possible explanation:
Our sexual responses might have been imprinted into us at an early age.
During certain critical periods in our psycho-sexual development,
particular images, stories, & sexual responses—our "sex-scripts"—
were imprinted into our brains more or less at random.
And these sexual fantasies remain in our brains for the rest of our lives.

     A basic analogy that might help us understand sexual imprinting
is the phenomenon of
acquiring a native language.
During infancy, we quickly and permanently acquired our first language.
It seems that our 'language-file' is open for such imprinting
only during the first few months of life.

     We do not know just when the human 'sex-file' is open for imprinting,
but we might be able to identify specific events
which have a remarkably-permanent impact on our sexual responses.
Much more research is needed to explore the possible connection between
adult sexual responses and sexually-imprinting events in childhood.



OUTLINE:

I.     INTRODUCING THE SEX-SCRIPT HYPOTHESIS

II.    THE EVOLUTIONARY BACKGROUND OF HUMAN SEX-SCRIPTS

III.   SEXUAL IMPRINTING AT CRITICAL PERIODS
            IN PSYCHO-SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT

IV.   THREE LEVELS OF SEX-SCRIPTS

V.    VARIETIES OF SEX-SCRIPTS

VI.   IDENTIFYING OUR OWN SEX-SCRIPTS

VII.  HOMOSEXUAL SEX-SCRIPTS

VIII. THE IMPACT OF SEX-SCRIPTS ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS

IX.   TRANSCENDING OUR SEX-SCRIPTS


article length: 5.46 KB                                   revised 5-20-2002, 6-13-2003; 6-18-2003; 11-2-2006; 3-20-2008; 4-11-2008; 3-26-2010; 6-5-2011; 12-14-2012; 8-28-2914; 1-31-2015;


Sources of Sexual Fantasies

by James Leonard Park   

    Sex can be one of the most wonderful dimensions of human life and love.

    Human sexual responses are fundamentally different from animal sexuality
because of the very important mental dimensions of our sexuality.
Our sexual responses are deeply controlled by our imprinted sexual fantasies.



I.     INTRODUCING THE SEX-SCRIPT HYPOTHESIS

    The sex-script hypothesis conjectures
that certain ideas, images, fantasies, sex-objects, etc.
are imprinted into our minds sometime before age 20.
Imprinting is quick and permanent, in contrast to learning,
which requires constant repetition and reinforcement.
Another form of mental imprinting is acquiring our native language.
We 'pick up' the vocabulary and syntax of our first language
without a single hour of instruction.
Perhaps our sexual fantasies are acquired in a similar way.
And both our mother-tongue and our sexual 'turn-ons' are permanent.



II.    THE EVOLUTIONARY BACKGROUND OF HUMAN SEX-SCRIPTS

    We inherited from our animal ancestors
the capacity to be imprinted with sexual fantasies.
But the contents of our individual sex-scripts are imprinted early in life.
We share sexual anatomy and hormones with the other animals.
But in contrast to animals, we do not have stereotyped sexual behavior.
Might our sexual responses be the result of sexual imprinting?



III.   SEXUAL IMPRINTING AT CRITICAL PERIODS
            IN PSYCHO-SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT

    At special times in our psycho-sexual development
(most commonly at puberty), the 'sex-files' of our minds are particularly open.
Then, almost anything in our environment can become part of a sex-script.
After such sexual imprinting, those sexy images, ideas, fantasies, etc.,
will remain part of our psychological make-up for the rest of our lives.



IV.   THREE LEVELS OF SEX-SCRIPTS

    Human sex-scripts can be sub-divided into three dimensions:
(1) sexual interest—our minds involuntarily fascinated by certain themes.
(2) sexual arousal—our bodies responding sexually to certain stimuli.
(3) sexual orgasm—the climax of sexual arousal linked to certain fantasies.
In all three dimensions, we experience our sexuality
as something that is happening to us rather than something we do.
Our imprinted sexual fantasies seem to have a power of their own.



V.    VARIETIES OF SEX-SCRIPTS

    Because our sex-scripts are imprinted after birth
rather than given by our genes,
almost anything can become part of the story that 'turns us on'.
Unusual objects, settings, words, gestures, clothing, behavior, etc.
often do become parts of our imprinted sexual fantasies.
Most sex-scripts depict the fantasy sex-partner as someone of the other sex.
But homosexual sex-scripts call for partners of the same sex.



VI.   IDENTIFYING OUR OWN SEX-SCRIPTS

    Unfortunately, our sex-files are not directly accessible to us.
But we can discover what our sex-scripts contain indirectly:
by exploring our erotic dreams;
by seeing which kinds of pornography 'turn us on';
by noting what sexy images in advertising draw our attention; and
by sexual experimentation to see what arouses us.



VII.  HOMOSEXUAL SEX-SCRIPTS

    Homosexual fantasies have long been puzzling to sexology.
And many people who find themselves with fantasies
of having sex with partners of the same sex are often puzzled.
But both major types of sex-scripts probably result from sexual imprinting.
How all forms of sexual imprinting occur
remains for the next generation of sexology to discover.



VIII. THE IMPACT OF SEX-SCRIPTS ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS

    Our imprinted sexual fantasies come from an earlier phase of our lives.
Thus, when we become more mature in our personal relationships,
we might be bothered by sexual responses that seem 'immature'.
Perhaps we experience this as a tension between lust and love.
Thru years of personal growth, we have become adults.
And we want our loving relationships to express our self-creating selves.
But 'our bodies' might still be responding like teen-agers.
(Our sex-scripts might contain sexual responses
that seem to belong to an earlier phase of our lives.)
If we make our sexual fantasies explicit to ourselves and each other,
we might be able to create relationships beyond our sexual imprinting.



IX.   TRANSCENDING OUR SEX-SCRIPTS

    Perhaps we can transcend our sexual imprinting
when we create personal relationships of such depth and power
that—even tho we still have our generic sexual responses—
they pale in comparison to the interpersonal dynamics we have created.
Sex can be transformed from the quest for someone
who fits our pre-existing sexual fantasies (our imprinted sexual responses)
to a special form of sexuality
that arises only in one particular relationship.

    Much more research is needed to see if the sex-script hypothesis
will be confirmed, revised, or rejected.
The basic question will be:
Does this new model of imprinted sexual fantasies
help us to understand our own sexuality?



AUTHOR:

     James Park is an existential philosopher and sexologist.
You will learn much more about him on his home page:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum ,
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/
This website now has more than 1,200 'rooms'.

    This chapter is based on a book called
Imprinted Sexual Fantasies:
A New Key for Sexology.
The table of contents for ISF
will lead you to much more information about this book,
including a synopsis of each chapter
and several selected pages and teasers from the text.

    If you have found this brief presentation tantalizing,
you might be interested in exploring other chapters from
Heartbreak Prevention: Loving Beyond Romance, Sex, & Marriage.

    Another printed presentation of the sex-script hypothesis
is a chapter called "Loving Beyond Sex:
Transcending our Imprinted Sex-Scripts":
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/NWL105.html
This is found in another book by James Park called :
New Ways of Loving: How Authenticity Transforms Relationships .
This chapter covers all the same points as the essay above,
but each point receives 1-3 pages of explanation,
rather than just one paragraph, as above.
 
  James Park's second book in sexology
explores the many different variations of sex and gender:
Variation of Sex & Gender:
Six Phenomena Frequently Confused
.
This book explores six areas of variation:
(1) biological sex
female, male, or in-between;
(2) male/female self-designation
women, men, & transsexuals;
(3) sex-roles
everyday behavior expected on the basis of sex;
(4) gender-personalities
thousands of possible gender-patterns;
(5) sexual orientation
heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual;
(6) transvestism
several different reasons for cross-dressing.
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/VSG.html



MORE INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET ABOUT SEX-SCRIPTS

  The Best Books Supporting the Sex-Script Hypothesis
If you would like to read more about sexual imprinting,
this bibliography reviews several books
compatible with the idea of imprinted sexual fantasies:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/B-SEX-SC.html

  Variations of Sex and Gender Bibliography
This bibliography reviews a few books
that explore six forms of variation
from standard patterns of sex and gender:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/B-V-SG.html

  Gender-Personality Bibliography
These several books explore how
our 'masculinity' or 'femininity' develops:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/B-GEND.html

  Sexual Orientation Bibliography
Several scientific and philosophical books
attempting to explain the emergence of sexual orientations:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/B-ORNT.html



Go to other secular sermons by James Park,
organized into 10 subject-areas.


Go to the SEXOLOGY index page.


Go to the opening page for this website:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum.









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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.