Chapter 7

Loving Beyond Sex:

Transcending Our Imprinted Sex-Scripts

I. INTRODUCING THE SEX-SCRIPT HYPOTHESIS .............................105
A. Sex-Scripts Explain Our 'Sex-Drives' .......................................106
B. The Tension between Lust and Reason .................................107
C. We Did Not Choose Our Sex-Scripts .......................................108
D. Our Sex-Scripts Do NOT Determine Our Behavior ..............109
E. Sex-Scripts Are Sometimes Very Fragile ................................109
F. Sex-Scripts Are NOT Simon & Gagnon's Sexual Scripts ....109
II. EVOLUTIONARY BACKGROUND OF HUMAN SEX-SCRIPTS .....110

III. SEXUAL IMPRINTING AT CRITICAL PERIODS
        IN PSYCHO-SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT ...........................................111

A. The Sex-File, an Aggressive Metaphor .....................................111
B. Moments of Sexual Imprinting in Childhood ..........................112
C. Moments of Sexual Imprinting in Adolescence .....................113
D. From Sex-File to Sex-Script ........................................................114
E. Our Sex-Scripts are Permanent .................................................114
IV. THREE LEVELS OF SEX-SCRIPTS ...................................................117
A. Our Sexual-Interest Scripts ........................................................117
B. Our Sexual-Arousal Scripts ........................................................118
C. Our Sexual-Orgasm Scripts ........................................................118
V. VARIETIES OF SEX-SCRIPTS ..............................................................119
A. Who Is Your Sex-Partner? ...........................................................119
B. What Is Your Sex-Object? ...........................................................119
C. Where Does Your Sex-Script Unfold? .....................................119
D. Unusual Sex-Scripts—Paraphilias ...........................................120
VI. IDENTIFYING OUR OWN SEX-SCRIPTS ...........................................121
A. Erotic Dreams .................................................................................121
B. Advertising Response ..................................................................121
C. Pornography as a Catalog of Sex-Scripts ...............................121
VII. HOMOSEXUAL SEX-SCRIPTS ...........................................................122
A. 'Revising' Homosexual Sex-Scripts .........................................122
B. Children in Homosexual Households ......................................123
C. The Homosexual Life-Style .........................................................123
D. Questions We Can Ask About Our Sex-Scripts .....................123
VIII. THE IMPACT OF SEX-SCRIPTS ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS .....124

IX. TRANSCENDING OUR SEX-SCRIPTS ..............................................125

A. How Specific Relationships Supersede Our Sex-Scripts ...125
B. From I-It Sex to I-Thou Sex ..........................................................128
I. INTRODUCING THE SEX-SCRIPT HYPOTHESIS

    As deeply as we understand ourselves, sex remains a mystery.
We notice inside ourselves sexual responses we did not create:
fantasies that seem to have a life of their own,
drives that seem to possess us rather than we possessing them,
images that arise in our minds without being invited,
& urges that sometimes run counter to our conscious preferences.

105


      This chapter will explore a new hypothesis for understanding sex.
Our puzzling sexual dynamics might have begun in sexual imprinting.
At certain critical periods during our first two decades of life,
our minds were very open for sexual input.
And whatever got stored in the ‘sex-files' of our brains at such times
remains a deep part of our psyches for the rest of our lives.

     To suggest that our sex-scripts are imprinted rather than learned
means that we 'pick up' our sexual fantasies, impulses, and scenarios
without effort and without the repetition needed for learning.
The closest analogy
might be the way we acquire our native language.
During our first 18 months, we 'picked up' thousands of words
and the complex rules for understanding and using our first language.
Such imprinting of language differs from the effort and repetition
required if we later attempt to learn a second language.

     Perhaps a similar imprinting gives us our basic sexual responses.
Meanwhile we learn relationship-patterns from our culture.
And whatever we have learned can be unlearned or forgotten.
For example, we can change our patterns of dating and marriage.
But the sexual imprinting in our brains cannot be erased.

     As we grow into adulthood, we discover our sexual impulses.
And even tho we did not create our sexual fantasies and responses,
we must nevertheless acknowledge and cope with such ‘drives'.

        A. Sex-Scripts Explain Our 'Sex-Drives'.

     We experience ‘sex-drives' arising within ourselves,
as if our sexual interests grew in us biologically.
When we try to explain our ‘sex-drives', we
might refer to animal sexuality.
But when we look at the particular things that ‘turn us on',
we must admit that animals could not be aroused by sex-talk or pictures
—or by human artifacts such as shoes, underwear, or rubber.
Human ‘sex-drives' are far too symbolic to be shared by animals.

     Acknowledging ‘sex-drives' means we recognize non-voluntary responses.
Certain ideas, images, and stories arouse us sexually.
And when we want our bodies to be 'turned on', we cannot will it.
But we can become sexually aroused by the indirect means of sexual fantasy:
When sexy images pass thru our minds, our bodies respond sexually.

     The idea of imprinted sex-scripts explains this experience.
According to this hypothesis, we human beings have no innate 'sex-drives'.
If our sexuality were controlled by hormones (like animal sexuality),
then human sexual responses would be more uniform than they are.
All people would respond sexually to the same stimuli.

106



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How to cite the above pages from New Ways of Loving

    Students and scholars are invited to quote
anything from the above pages. 
Here is the proper form for the footnote or other reference: 

James Park  New Ways of Loving:
How Authenticity Transforms Relationships

(Minneapolis, MN: www.existentialbooks.com, 2007
6th edition)
p. xxx 

{the page numbers appear at the bottom of the pages}


The full text of this chapter
Loving Beyond Sex
is available in two different printed formats .


Several others books have already been published
that support the sex-script hypothesis.
If you would like to read reviews of several of these,
go to The Sex-Script Bibliography .


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