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On Sexual Attraction

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of June 12, 2006

these questions were based on the article
Relationship Connections - Who We Attract
and The Layers of Aloneness: Introduction

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Guest Questioner, Christine]
  • What makes sexual attraction die?
  • According to Emergence Theory, are there different types of friendships?
  • Why don't I have any articles on the site addressing sexual addiction?

Do you know?

[Question 1] Are there types of friendships?
[Answer] If you were asking me this question psychologically, then I could say, yes, there are many ways you could categorize friendships. A few ways might be, [1] level of intimate disclosure (close / safe - casual / careful), [2] temporal chronicity (how long has the friendship existed; old friend, new friend, friend since kindergarten) [3] nature of origin (work friend, neighbor, friend of the family, etc.), and [4] social scope (only at work, work and occasional social, school and after school, do everything together, etc.).

Since you are asking me as an Emergence Practitioner though, my answer is, no, there are only friendships and romantic relationships.

What makes me see this as so clear cut? Simply the fact that at their most basic level, relationships begin based on one of only two simple connections; either a "me" to "me" connection or a "you" to "you" connection. What do I mean?

Friend type relationships occur between people whose Character Types start in the same place. For instance a two "one's" may be friends, and a "Two" and a "Four" may be friends. In both cases, the two people's Character Type start in the same place.

Romantic relationships, on the other hand, occur between people whose Character Types start in the opposite place. For example, a "one" and a "two," or a "three" and a "four."

Of course, at the heart of this is the idea that we all have a fixed and essential personality pattern of giving or receiving which was set no later than age four. In other words, while there are four Character Types, these four types are simply the four variations of the two Character states, the "me" state (I need to receive), and the "you" state (I need to give).

Please also realize that Emergence idea of Character Type is much more complex than this simple analysis would lead you to believe. For instance, with the bi-state Character Types (threes and fours), pressure can invert the order of their type. Thus, they may, under pressure, fall in love with a person with whom they would normally be only a friend. Later, if and when this person heals or corrects this pressure, the romance would lose its passion, because they would feel like they were only "friends."

This, in fact, may be the basis for the cliche romantic endings wherein people say things like, "I love you, but I'm not in love with you."

Finally, the best way to remember all this is to use the two old relationship cliches. "Like attracts like" is for friends. "Opposites attract" is for romance.

[Question 2] What are the differences between a "quickly gained" (immediate attraction) friendship and one that happens over time?
[Answer] Actually, this question is rather easy to answer, albeit, some what complicated to grasp. Based on our consciousness formula, M=I(T), as "T" (time) increases, "M" (meaning) does too. However, since our formula refers to "consciousness" and not merely to that something logically exists, increasing time does not necessarily mean the person consciously witnesses this increase.

For instance, say a couple is married for three months. And very much in love. The formula might look something like (I = 9) times (T = 8) equals (M = 72). Certainly a lot of meaning. Realize, though, where this high level of meaning comes from. It comes from the fact that these two people are consciously taking in every small detail (a lot of information) and consciously connected much of the time (a lot of time). Thus, the sense of meaning these two people have for this relationship is very high.

So if we advance the clock four years, what would we see?

Well, assuming this is a normal couple, by now, they would have long ago lost interest in witnessing every small detail about each other. In all likelihood, then, they would, by this time, have divided their time consciousness between their marriage and their many other life activities.

Thus, even if they were to tell people they were still very much in love, in truth, the formula would tell a somewhat different story, perhaps something like (I = 2) time (T = 2) equals (M = 4). Truly an amazing difference.

So if this is normal, how do couples stay together? The answer? They experience life events together that reinitiate their conscious awareness of both information and time. For instance, say they are now fighting about visiting the relatives every Sunday. Newly weds fight and remember a whole lot of information. They also experience these fights as lasting a long time, even if they last only minutes.

So what would this look like? Well, including both the fight and the make-up, it might look like (I = 7) times (T = 7) equals (M = 49)! Wow! What an increase.

So how does all this shake out? In essence, it means that, at first, a "quickly gained" relationship may be more intense than a slowly gained relationship. In other words, to the two people, it might feel more meaningful. However, unless they both experience what I call, "consciousness reinitiating experiences," meaning, unless they both co experience serious life events, like children being born, and serious fights including resolutions, then despite this great beginning, the relationship may rapidly lose it's meaning.

The whole point is, time witnessed is the key to longevity, not just the size of the initial impact. In addition, all truly lasting relationships include some form of consciousness longevity. In other words, they all develop their meaning over time. At least, their lasting meaning.

[Question 3] When sexual attraction happens at different times during a relationship (friendship or committed relationship), which Layers of our personality theory come into play?
[Answer] "Sexual attraction" is a powerful experience. Thus, at its deepest, it occurs in every Layer, albeit, not always simultaneously. For instance, at the onset of many romantic relationships, the two people feel the powerful need to indulge in sexual behaviors, including in the sexual banter and teasing so prevalent early in relationships. These tension and release cycles then very much deepen the meaning of the relationship.

Here, much of what these two people experience occurs in the Inner Layers, Layers 10 through 7; Connections, Disconnections, and Neediness.

As time passes then, and the two people get to "know each other," they experience a marked decrease in interest in each other. Why? Because they have begun to accumulate enough data (information) about each other to feel secure and logically correct in their choices of each other. Including about each other sexually. At which point, peoples' sexual attraction usually lessens significantly and holds at some ongoing norm for this couple.

At this point, then, these two people have wound down their exploratory processes of each other and have turned their attention to the duties and interests of every day life. Their focus, here, Layer wise, then, turns more toward the Inner Layers, Layers 6 and 5. BLocks and symptoms.

Time passes. Eventually, the balance of interest shifts sufficiently so as to create a crisis in the relationship. What kind of a crisis? Often, that the two people have become so complacent regarding discovering new things about each other that they are basically faking their relationship, meaning, they exist mostly in the impersonal, Outer Layers.

Often too, one of the two people may begin to look to learn about someone outside the relationship. The excitement of discovering a new person. At times, this then leads to an affair, and to a crisis of reevaluation. Moreover, if the two people are healthy enough, they then weather this difficult time and come out of it with an even deeper sense of meaning in each other than ever before. And a deeper sense of how they both let the relationship slide into obscurity.

At other times, though, the people resolve this crisis by making the immature decision to simply move on to another person. Which means the original relationship ends and the cycle of discovery begins elsewhere.

So how does all this relate to your question about sex?

Discovering another person sexually is never limited to the "sex" part. Lasting sexual attraction is based more in a conscious, discovery based, power difference than in any simple, physical attraction.

What I'm saying is, the best sex occurs between two people in the Inner Layers. Why? Because the Inner Layers are the personal layers, the "I have a need and you have the answer to this need" Layers. No coincidence, the best spiritual experiences happen here two. And that our concept of God usually includes exactly what I just described; the conscious, discovery based, power difference between humans and God.

Quality sex can also occur between two people in Layers 6 and 5, albeit, this is in no way the deeply personal experience of sex in the Inner Layers. Still, these experiences can be very satisfying and deeply meaningful, especially in they renew the two peoples' interest in each other.

In the Outer Layers, sex becomes mechanical. Why? Because in these Layers, "function" is king. What I mean is, in Layers 4 - 1, people become impersonally detached, and "reading the sex manual during sex" becomes more important to the two people. Obviously, this is a sure way to kill peoples' interest in each other. Why? Because evaluating performance (function) becomes more important than connecting to each other.

So if I have said that making learning and discovering each other is the key to a lasting relationship, why doesn't this kind of learning qualify? Because personal relationships are by definition about "persons," not data. This makes collecting data about sex is probably one of the surest ways to ruin sexual desire.

[Question 4] Does sexual attraction signify true connectedness, or shock, or both?
Very astute question. The answer? Both, actually. In fact, were you to study the visual intensity charts for people with addictions like alcoholism and cocaine, you would find the having sex has much in common with potentially addictive psychoactive substances. What per se?

Basically, a person acquiring alcoholism and a person having sex both go through the same three states. In theory, anyway.

In our Theory of the Mind, we would say these people go from being [1] hyperaware, to [2] being startled, to [3] going into shock.

In our Theory of Personality, we would say these people go from being in [1] Layers 10 / 9 (the Layers of Connectedness), to [2] Layer 8 (the Layer of Aloneness), to [3] Layer 7 (the Layer of Need).

And in Emergence Therapy, we say people go from [1] intensely vivid recall, to [2] suddenly going blank, to [3] having no picture on the screen of the mind.

In this last case, we know this sequence to be the experience of getting wounded, the life experience we call having a "submergence."

Ironically, both psychoactive substances and the act of sex hold the potential for being spiritual experiences as well. How?

In our Theory of the Mind, we would say these people go from becoming [1] hyperaware, to [2] being amazed, to [3] floating in a connected state of hyperawareness.

In our Theory of Personality, we would say these people go from being in [1] Layers 10 / 9 (the Layers of Connectedness), to [2] Layer 8 (the Layer of Aloneness), to [3] Layers 10 / 9 (the Layers of Connectedness).

And in Emergence Therapy, we say people go from [1] intensely vivid recall, to [2] suddenly going blank, to [3] seeing a series of newly created, vividly beautiful images on the screen of the mind.

In this case, we know this sequence to be the experience of healing, the life events which we call having an "emergence."

These two sets of sequences then represent the experience of the second and fourth patterns out of the four possible fractal patterns we have discovered which exist in human consciousness, the four being, [1] becoming overwhelmed (non startling blankness), [2] getting wounded (getting imprinted with a fixed pattern of experience; a BLock), [3] reliving a BLock (reliving a fixed pattern of experience; experiencing a wound), and [4] having an emergence (emerging from a fixed pattern of experience; healing a wound).

Finally, of some note here is the idea that the experience of having sex very much holds the potential for both getting wounded and emerging from a wound, both experiences which occur in the Inner Layers.

[Question 5] How does sexual attraction go away?
[Answer] If you read my answer to your question three, you'll find a lot of how this plays out personally. To summarize it a bit though, "attraction" is really the desire to discover another being. When you become tired or bored with this discovery process, you will feel little to no attraction.

The good thing to know here is, rekindling attraction, whether sexual, intellectual, spiritual or otherwise, simply requires a renewed commitment to discovering what you have yet to discover about this person, place, or thing. Including about yourself.

[Question 6] How does your theory of "no aloneness" come into play with this?  Are there two possibilities or a combination of both.
I'm not sure I understand what you are asking here. What do you mean by "this."

If you mean sexual attraction and that it either exists or does not, then yes, it is usually a combination of both. In fact, I've briefly referenced how the way the Layers of Aloneness comes into play here in my answer to your question three.

As for "no aloneness," if by this you mean being connected, then what is important to see is that feeling attraction with in any relationship requires the experience of movement within the Inner Layers. In other words, feeling every possible combination of feeling connected and disconnected and needy is the lingua franca. Or in your words, it involves a combination of both.

[Question 7] Where does the fear come from when one person in a relationship changes (for one or both)?
[Answer] All fear comes from the experience of a connect, disconnect, need. The deeper the connection, the deeper the potential for fear. Moreover, whether this sequence gets experienced as anger, sadness, or fear largely depends on the extent to which the person can tolerate remaining in Layer 7. Which is to say, the extent to which the person does not resolve this suffering with blame.

Said in more conventional terms, all human beings fear change. Noteworthy though is that the word, "change" holds the key to understanding all this. What does the word "change" actually mean?

It means the experience of moving from Layers 10 - 9, to Layer 8, to Layer 7. We humans experience this movement as being especially meaningful. We also experience this sequence as being thrown out the the "Garden of Eden," the loss of paradise experience.

"Change" then is the experience of personally experiencing life. Duh! How simple really.

So what makes us see "change" as so complicated then?

Because we thing, act, and talk about change in the Outer Layer terms, things like that "change with make things better or worse," or "change or die." Rather dramatic, don't you think <grin>.

Then again, we humans use our lives to define the experience "drama," and see moist intensely conscious experiences as being "dramatic."

"Dramatic" means big changes.

"Changes" mean experiencing life.

"Fear" is simply one of the basic colors of the experience of change. Very pure. And very alive.

In a very real way, then, we could say that the "fear of change" is the "fear of life." My point. We are all more afraid of living than of standing still. Or as my fellow Italians might say, it is simply natural for us all to believe that "It is better to be in the hell you know than in the hell you don't." It's not. But fear makes us say it is.

[Question 8] Why don't have any articles on sex addiction?
[Answer] For the same reason I don't have any articles on "food addiction." We Emergence practitioners focus as much as possible away from symptoms and onto the discovery of beauty. "Addictions" are symptoms. Emergences are the discovery of beauty.

So what do I have an article titled, "Romantic Addiction, Is It Love?" New theories require bridges to the old. In truth then, I simply used the word "addiction" to create an attraction to what I wrote. However, if you were to read this article, you would see that it entirely focuses away from the symptoms and onto potentials for connections.

[Question 9] Why did you answer a "why" in the personality layers article under the Our "Founder and His Philosophy" Issue  sub head, second paragraph.
[Answer] As I only use the word "why" once in this section, I am assuming you are referring to my using the word "why" in the following quote:

What am I saying? Think about it. What draws most people to formalized religions? Most people are looking to find inner peace and comfort. How many of these people practice the same way the founder did though, actively seeking their own source of peace and wisdom? Obviously, very few. Why? Because most people can not tell the difference between "inner peace" and "numbness" and so, they mistake the "peace" they feel from say, following formalized Christianity, for the more literal, inner peace Christ himself must have felt. Likewise, many people mistake the "gentle power" they feel from following formal Pacifism for the more literal, inner power of Gandhi's truth.

As used here, the word "why" means "what about human nature makes this error natural." As opposed to a "blaming why" which might have said something like, "because religious people want to control others."

Human nature comes before human reasoning. Including human excuses. Better known as rationalizations.

Said in Emergence terms, creating "why logic" is the avoidance of the pain involved with discovering "natural whys," while discovering "natural whys" is a reason to live.

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