Friday, March 2, 2012

Your Teen's Arousal Template

According to sex educators we all have an "arousal template" that determines how and when we become "turned on." We all have unique preferences for what creates sexual excitement - such as gender, physical appearance, and personality traits.

According to clinicians at Oxbow Academy, a residential treatment center in Utah for teen boys who have engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviors, the arousal templates of adolescents are fluid. With burgeoning hormones and identities in formation, teens are in the process of discovering who and what they find sexually attractive. It's normal for adolescents to wonder: am I gay or am I straight? Who am I attracted to? If parents react strongly to one element of their teen's fluid arousal template, their emotional charge can shame the adolescent.

However, for teens engaging compulsively in inappropriate sexual behavior, problems arise when their arousal template becomes fixed. Sex therapist Wendy Maltz, author of The Porn Trap, believes that viewing porn frequently causes the arousal template to become fixated on pornographic content. For the teen hooked on internet porn, the thoughts, images, sounds, and messages communicated through that medium become the only things that the teen finds sexually attractive.

When adolescents equate porn sex with good sex, they find it difficult to feel sexually attracted to real people. They may even form attachments to particular porn stars, thus limiting their ability to form healthy attachments to appropriate, and realistic, romantic partners.

For more information on overcoming the problems associated with frequent porn use, read my "A Teenager's Guide to the Safe Use of Pornography" available on my website: You can also call me for a consultation at 855-735-HELP. And if your teen's sexual behavior is causing significant problems in his life, consider a residential facility such as Oxbow Academy that specializes in treating sexual problems in adolescents.

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