chapter  8
36 Pages

The Sensual-Sexual Motivational System /

M y MAIN PREMISE IS THAT the sensual-sexual motivational sys-tem is built around needs and desires to achieve two separate but related affect states. I designate one of these affect states sensual enjoyment, the other sexual excitement. By sensual enjoyment, I refer to a particular feeling of pleasure that is triggered by many of the activities caregivers employ to soothe and express affection to infants and that infants employ to soothe themselves. When the affect state of sensual enjoyment dominates experience, it may serve as a "switch"-the outcome may be a diminution of tension leading to relaxation or a heightening of sensation leading to sexual excitement. By sexual excitement, I refer to a particular feeling of heightened stimulation that progresses upward to orgastic levels. Sexual excitement, like sensual enjoyment, is triggered by many of the same activities that caregivers employ to soothe and express affection and that children employ to soothe themselves.