A lovemap is a concept 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."

A lovemap can be shaped by both positive and negative factors, things that attract or repel the person whose erotic tastes are being mapped. For reasons that are not always easy to understand, one person may be attracted to people of a particular gender, with a particular physical characteristic, with particular personality traits, and so forth. One may also find certain characteristics so threatening or objectionable that it strongly mitigates against an erotic attraction being manifested.

A lovemap can be shaped by environmental factors that facilitate the formation of an erotic bond, or that enhance or diminish erotic response. For instance, some people may bond strongly to people with whom they share a crisis situation. Some people may find their erotic responses muted in the presence of intimidating environmental factors (observant elders or nosy neighbors, for instance).


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. The seed for this concept can be found in his 1980 book "Love and Lovesickness: the Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pairbonding", where on page 65 he states:

"There is a rather sophisticated riddle about what a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and a Rorschach inkblot have in common. The answer is that you project an image of your own onto each. In many instance, a person does not fall in love with a partner, per se, but with a partner as a Rorschach love-blot. That is to say, the person projects onto the partner an idealized and highly idiosyncratic image that diverges from the image of that partner as perceived by other people. Hence the popular idiom that love is blind, for a lover projects onto a partner, or love-blot, his/her unique love image, as unique as his/her own face or finger print."


Like the acquirement of a native language, a person's lovemap also bears the mark of his or her own unique individuality, or accent. A lovemap is usually quite specific as to details of the physiognomy, build, race, and color of the ideal lover, not to mention temperament, manner, etc. Since its inception, the concept of "love maps", applied to interpersonal relationships, has found apt acceptance and is frequently referenced in love / relationship / sexual-evolution theory books; as for example in Wilson and McLaughlin's 2001 The Science of Love.

In "Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation," Money (1988: 127-128) 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.


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This article is based on "Lovemap" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: