Author of Sex and the Enneagrams, Ann Gadd looks at how we can improve our loves lives through understanding ourselves on a more intimate level in How your Enneagram type influences your sex life.
Knowing your Enneagram Type can help to improve your sex life. Really? Absolutely. We approach sex from nine different viewpoints, mostly expecting our partners to share our own. When they don’t, its natural for us to feel that we’ve got things right, and that they need to conform to our perspective to be our ideal lover. Yet there are nine basic ways to view sex. None of them is wrong (or more right than any other way). Understanding this means we can accept not only our approach, but those with whom we share a life (and bed).
Knowing how your Enneagram type influences your sex life, because each type has more integrated ways to be sexual. Its helpful to recognize these characteristics so that we can be the best lovers for ourselves and others. I’m going to look then at how each type would show-up in the bedroom in an integrated, (more emotionally healthy way) and the signs to look for which indicate a path of growth potential. Lets look at the Nine Types then:
Enneagram Type 1: THE SINNING SAINT
As a One, you see the world as always needing to be improved. Rather than relax into simply being, you believe it’s your moral mission to make the world a better place. This is hard when most people neither share your desire for perfectionism, or the enthusiasm for the task. Like the North star you want to shine the way to a better love life, so others can learn and be uplifted from your example, but it frustratingly doesn’t always get the desired result.
The need for things to be “just so,” in order to create the perfect conditions for sex, may mean that rather than looking for what is good, you focus on what you perceive to be problematic. The bed isn’t made, the picture is skew, your partner left their undies on the floor… any number of possible “incorrect” issues that take you out of your body and into a judgemental frame of mind. Maybe you rate your performance badly: “Am I a good enough lover?” Perhaps you question your lover’s performance? “Really, they can’t seem to get this right.”
Letting go of the need to judge and becoming all-embracing and impartial is the road to healing the division within you. All is One, when you can release the desire to make sex, yourself or your partner either right or wrong. Sex is an expression of your love which shows up differently sometimes. And that’s okay.
Enneagram Type 2: THE SEXY SEDUCER
You are in love with love. You desire to be in a loving relationship, is your greatest desire, but you question whether you’re worthy of being loved. The Enneagram in relation to sex shows how you solve the problem. Just seduce your intended with acts of kindness and love, making them the focus and yourself worthy of being loved. You work really hard at doing things your lover will enjoy, whilst avoiding admitting your own needs. As your focus is on leading the way to your partner’s magical orgasm, you may forget your own needs entirely in this pursuit. But, like bank accounts, relationships rely on receiving and depositing. When your partner is ranking up all the receiving, it becomes unsustainable and your emotional bank balance bereft.
Integrated Twos learn to let go of the control that comes with giving, and surrender to accepting love from a partner. Sex becomes about self-nurturing as well as nurturing a partner’s needs. First step though is admitting to having needs, rather than pridefully believing you’re above having them. Then sex can be truly about passionate giving and receiving with no hidden expectations.
Enneagram Type 3: AWESOMELY ORGASMIC
When you feel separated from the Divine, for Threes it results in a desire to be divine – to be a star.
Threes love to shine the (neon) lights of their success to the world. To be adored and admired. They love be acknowledged for their talents and unlimited potential. Translated into sex using the Enneagram, this means that less integrated Threes can see their sexual prowess as another way to gain accolades, as in “Wow! I had four orgasms! Wasn’t I great?” “Check my body out!” So, sex becomes a performance rather than an intimate pleasure. It can also become another way to create stress if I’m not as good as I’d like to be. Some Threes may opt for work as a safer place to achieve their goals rather than be in relationships .
In integrated Threes this desire manifests as being both loving and loved. In accepting yourself fully, so that you can accept others (and your lover) with the same authenticity. You let go of the need to see sex as another goal to be achieved – another notch in your designer belt, when integrated. Sex becomes other-directed and heart-centred – a genuine exchange of love.
Enneagram Type 4: THE ROMANTIC ROMEO (OR JULIET)
As a self-aware, passionate, moody Four, love is your language. You long for a lover who understands you and with whom you can be deeply and authentically intimate. The trouble is, is that everyone else out there seems happy and enjoying fulfilling relationships, while there are many times that you feel alone and misunderstood. As if true love is something that is elusive. If you do find THE one, then you throw all you have into the relationship. Even as you do though, in time, cracks may start showing. “Is this genuine? Is the deep, intense, juicy relationship I thought was there gone?” you ask yourself. You may start to feel a deep melancholy for what was but isn’t now.
So how, according to Sex and the Enneagram do integrated Fours show up in intimate relationships? The romantics of the world, you are deeply connected to themselves and their partner. Love is a mystery to be revealed and expressed. Rather than disappear into a fantasy world of love to increase the buzz of interaction, or long for what might have been in the past, integrated Fours connect with their currently reality. (This person, this body, this sex, this buzz.)
Enneagram Type 5: THE LONELY LOVER
You, like most people, long for a connection with another, yet with that desire comes the fear that a relationship will ask to sacrifice too much of your time or resources. Relationships then are desirable on the one hand, yet create inner conflicts. What to do?
According to Sex and the Enneagram, sex is something to be studied, researched or observed – a head-space rather than the emotional heart and body-orientated space others seem to desire. When you have sex it can feel like a being a wound up spring let lose. Many Type Fives the answer to relationships becomes to withdraw to a space where you feel safer and can more easily process your emotions. So, a long-distance relationship could work, a job which involves travel, an independent partner or remaining single. As a Five, you’re also open-minded so you may explore several options to see which works best. Or, you may convince yourself that being single is easier – less invasive and less hassle.
When integrated, sex involves all three centres (head, heart and body), as it does for all healthy types. Sex is not a technique to be mastered with study, but a deep awareness of your being connected with another. Sensory, uncensored sex, where you can share your feelings with a trusted partner.
Enneagram Type 6: THE LOYAL LOVER
You’re funny, engaging, committed, responsible, reliable and will support a partner in a venture, yet despite these attributes, you can question at times if your partner really loves you. Self-doubt can eat away at your self-esteem and have you wondering who can really be trusted. This questioning can make you seem fickle at times as you go backwards and forwards trying to figure love out, thinking rather than feeling your feelings.
Sex may become yet another issue that potentially carries problems. “Will the condom break?” “What about STD’s.” “Unwanted pregnancy?” The spontaneous enjoyment of sex can become burdened by all these concerns in a worst-case scenario vision. It’s as if Sixes believe that in thinking about all these sexual worst-case scenarios, they can prevent them. Instead they lose the enjoyment of the moment.
Integrated Sixes realise how many of their fears are unfounded projections. They start to become their own inner authority, trusting a deep inner knowing rather than turning to others for insight or advice. As integrated sexual partners then they are fully present with what is happening in the bedroom, rather than shifting into their heads to consider all the potential negative possibilities.
Enneagram Type 7: THE SPONTANEOUS SUITOR
Life is a banquet of pleasures to be savoured and enjoyed. And sexually it’s a stimulating world of possibilities. Sound like your kind of thinking? According to Sex and the Enneagram, With you the party never ends as you seek new sexual highs to detract from the boredom of daily life. That doesn’t necessarily mean to say you’re unfaithful, but same old sex to you is what spam is to your mailbox – it doesn’t excite, in fact it can even be annoying. Just as you languish in the arms of your lover, so you’re wondering what sex with that cute guy / gal from HR would be like. You don’t like your options or freedom being restricted.
The trouble is, planning all the next sexual engagements with your busy mind, means you seldom enjoy the sex you’re having. “If this position is good, then a threesome with this new position I saw online will be even better.”
In contrast, integrated Sevens have a sober awareness of the joy to be found in the moment – not at some time in the future. They can truly appreciate the ecstasy of the sex they are having and bring a more balanced sober view to life.
Enneagram Type 8: THE LUSTY LOVER
You’re an intense, big-hearted, earthy, bold lover who cuts to the chase. If you want someone, you go after them with passion and purpose. You’re not afraid of rejection (although you don’t enjoy losing love to another suitor). Your confidence and charisma let you charm your way into the hearts of those you love. You enjoy a challenge and the sense of achievement when you bed a conquest.
Sexual Eights enjoy being in control in life, but can sometimes let this slip in the bedroom. You value your freedom, but don’t always respect other’s right to decide.
There’s an intensity about your lovemaking and you enjoy a partner who matches your intensity. If they don’t, in time it can mean they become frustrating doormats. What you don’t understand if less integrated, is that this very confrontational boldness can drive a partner away – the more you push forward, the more they retreat. Integrated Eights understand this dynamic and realise that power is nothing without true love, and that the truly strong are gentle.
Enneagram Type 9: THE SENSUAL SWEETHEART
As a nice, nurturing Nine, you’re the most accommodating of the Nine Types, going along to get along. You may need to be persuaded to change a sexual routine if its working for you, but your natural desire to please a partner can make you more open to trying something a partner wants to explore. You’re naturally sensual, even if you’re not aware of it, particularly if you have an Eight wing. You enjoy maintaining the peace and as a result don’t enjoy confrontation. Retreating to a happy space in your head becomes preferable.
When less integrated, your desire to merge with a partner’s needs can mean you lose connection with your own needs. If you do engage in a happy sex space a partner may experience you as not being 100% present as you drift into a sugar-coated, daydream space. You may also find that mundane tasks take preference to getting sexual and your partner may have to help you connect to your own desire, which got lost somewhere between the sofa and sudoku.
Integrated Nines connect with their own desires and can express them. They nurture themselves and see their needs as being equal to a partner’s. “You want me to try this, okay great, but I’ve always wanted to try X, so let’s do both.”
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