About last night : Should I be worried about my sexual fetishes?

July 3, 2017

Q: In an article about fetishes and sexual fantasies, you once mentioned the concept of “core erotic themes”. I never followed it up, but I’m wondering if it might explain why I get aroused by fantasies that go against my rational belief systems. At the moment I feel confused, and ashamed of my responses.

A: Many people feel conflicted about the things that turn them on. Whether it be shoes, whips and chains, cross dressing, rape fantasies, food fights, rubber, equestrian equipment or Smurfs, they can feel ashamed of the power these themes have to arouse them.

Embrace your sexual nature, but stay safe, sane and consensual.

Acting out fantasies that are illegal, or cause harm, could be a problem, but the fantasies themselves can be very revealing.

In 1995, respected psychologist Dr Jack Morin published The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfilment. In it, he describes: “the interplay of sexual arousal with the challenges of living and loving. Eroticism can be best understood as the multi-faceted process through which our innate capacity for arousal is shaped, focused, suppressed, and expressed. We’re born sensuous and sexual, but we become erotic as we receive both overt and subtle messages about ourselves from our primary caretakers and gradually integrate these messages with our experiences of touch, as well as the highly personal mental images and emotions that go with them.

“As we grow, the demands and ideals of our culture, along with the interpersonal dynamics of our families and communities, influence our responses profoundly.”

In other words, while sex can be “little more than a collection of urges and acts”, eroticism is the process in which sex becomes meaningful. The unique sexual triggers each individual evolves are called their core erotic themes (COT).

The challenge is to embrace complexity and paradox in yourself in order to blossom into your authentic sexual self, and get in touch with your unique erotic mind.

Conjure up one of your peak sexual experiences, when you were the most turned on. What was it about that experience that stands out? Did something close to your core come alive? This is some part of your core erotic theme. Can you see a pattern where this theme has featured in other hot experiences or arousing fantasies? Can you guess why this does it for you? How does it make you feel – desirable, deviant, empowered, submissive, naughty?

If nothing stands out, other factors could be at play. Were there physical or perceived obstacles preventing you from realising your desires?

“You already know how positive emotions can energise arousal,” Morin notes. “But you’ll see how unexpected aphrodisiacs such as anxiety, guilt, and anger can have similar effects. As your awareness expands you’ll marvel at your erotic mind’s amazing ability to transform life’s inevitable difficulties and emotional wounds into sources of excitation.”

One way to identify these confronting aspects is to notice if and when you withdraw from, or become critical of, your partner. What might have caused this defensiveness? Perhaps it threatened your COT.

Try to be honest with yourself, and do not shut down things that make you feel uncomfortable. You will not gain insights into your erotic truths if you have a judging and non-accepting mind. Set aside critical evaluation long enough to see what is there.

It can take time and courage to understand your truth, but those who do examine their personal, uncharted erotic territory find it life-changing, because it increases their energy, and frees them up to experience more passion and fulfilment.

Email your questions to: abtlastnight@gmail.com

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