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Not to be confused with the love maps in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

The concept of a lovemap was originated by John Money to assist a discussion of why people like what they enjoy sexually and erotically. According to Money, it is "a developmental representation or template in the mind and in the brain depicting the idealized lover and the idealized program of sexual and erotic activity projected in imagery or actually engaged in with that lover."[1]

According to Money, the word lovemap was first used in 1980 in an article entitled: “Pairbonding and Limerence. Before this time, as he states, Money began to talk about lovemaps, in precursory form, with his students in lectures.[1] In a 1997 review article, published in Medical Hypotheses journal (vol.48, pp. 399-402), Money revisited the concept of 'love map' and expanded it to three categories, which are namely, 'haptoerotic'(cutaneous), 'morphoerotic' (visual) and 'gnomoerotic' (narrative).


Money describes the formation of an individual's lovemap as similar to the acquisition of a native language, in that it bears the mark of his or her own unique individuality, similar to an accent in a spoken language. A lovemap is usually quite specific as to details of the physiognomy, build, race, color, temperament, manner, etc. of the ideal lover (p. 29).[1] Since its inception, the concept of “love maps”, applied to interpersonal relationships, has found apt acceptance[citation needed] and is frequently referenced in love / relationship / sexual-evolution theory books;[citation needed] as for example in Wilson and McLaughlin’s 2001 The Science of Love.[2]

In "Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation," Money suggests that love is like a Rorschach (ink blot) test, where if projections (shaped by a body/mind's lovemap) on the other are mutual, pair-bonding occurs, typically in a courtship phase of mating. (pp. 127–128) [3]


Money analyzed a large range of sexual predilictions and behaviors using this model of the "lovemap". In Lovemaps, some of the most notable concepts include:[1]

See Also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Money, John (1986). Lovemaps - Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity. New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-8290-1589-2. 
  2. ^ Wilson, G.D. & McLaughlin, C. (2001). The Science of Love. Great Britain: Fusion Press. ISBN 1-901250-54-7. 
  3. ^ Money, John (1988). Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505407-5. 

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