The Maltz Hierarchy of Sexual Interaction is a detailed, academic model for understanding healthy sexuality and how it differs from destructive expressions of sexual energy. Wendy Maltz described the model in an article for mental health professionals and other people working on sexual healing. “The Maltz Hierarchy of Sexual Interaction” was first published in the Journal on Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 1995 (Volume 2, Number 1). Relationship therapists, sex educators, abuse and addictions treatment specialists still use the hierarchy model to help individuals better understand the necessary conditions for healthy sexual relating. The ultimate positive expression of sexual energy is identified and explained as “authentic sexual intimacy”.
Due to changes in sexual mores and behaviors during the 1900’s, our society has been left without clear guidelines to help channel sexual energy. The Maltz Hierarchy of Sexual Interaction is a progressive model for understanding sexual relating. It provides a way of evaluating sexual behavior within the context of relationships. Sexual energy is presented as a benign, natural force, which can be channeled in either destructive or life-affirming ways. The model presents six levels of sexual interaction; three negative levels (impersonal, abusive and violent) and three positive levels (role fulfillment, making love, and authentic sexual intimacy). As a tool in sexual abuse and addiction treatment, couples therapy and sex education, the hierarchy helps individuals understand the need for communication, safety and trust, and points to authentic sexual intimacy as a peak experience in human sexual relating.
A Diagram of The Maltz Hierarchy Model, click on it to enlarge:
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