I think this is a very keen observation of yours and it entails a point I stepped over in my previous post. Your way of putting this reflects wisely the conditioned nature of sensual desire. Sensual desire is arising due to conditions and triggers. Your sentence reminds me of the way this is formulated in the Suttas. A passage from Samyukta-Aagama 1260, translated by Ven. Anaalayo in his book “Perspectives of Sattipathaana” reads:
“On seeing women/men, he/she arouses improper attention and, grasping the sign of their physical form, lustful sensual desires appear in his/her mind.”
Ven. Anaalayo quotes SN 20.10 (The Cat) as a parallel version in the Paali-Nikaayas. Another passage is taken from Samyukta-Aagama 312, translated by Ven. Anaalayo in the book:
“If on having seen a form with the eye,
Right mindfulness has been lost,
Then, in relation to the form that has been seen,
The sign will be grasped with thoughts of craving,
For one who grasps the sign with craving and delight,
The mind will constantly be bound by attachment.”
He quotes SN 35.95 as a parallel version. Somehow this formulation of grasping the sign of the physical form resonates very much with how I perceive the process unfolding in my mind. To me it seems as if my mind is picking out one detail of a shape or of proportions or so and zooms in on that and then gets attached to it. (I just quoted these passages, because I thought you or others might like them too.)
Also regarding wise attention (yoniso manasikaara), which we also addressed here - for example in relation to Alona’s question on how wisdom can arise in the mind. I very much like Ven. Anaalyo EBT study on this topic in his book “From Grasping to Emptiness”, p. 69 ff. - in my view the gist of his findings actually resemble very closely to what you wrote as a reply to Alona.
Anaalayo very clearly describes that the Early Buddhist Teachings (EBT) very much emphazise wise attention (yoniso manasikaara) for the progress on the path in the text.
With much mettaa,
2015-03-25 Corrected some confusing mistakes:
In the last paragraph I had written “wise intention”, but meant “wise attention”. Also, the paragraph did not reflect the fact, that the explanations given/positions taken in the book by Ven. Anaalayo are based on the Early Buddhist Teachings. There were also a number of typos in my post… Sorry, I was quite a bit pressed for time when I wrote this post.