According to the Enneagram there are three basic instincts (subtypes) that govern our behavioural patterns. These basic instincts operate underneath the ego and all the strategies of our personality. The three instincts are:

1) Self preserving (sp)
2) Social (so)
3) Sexual (sx)

There are simply three types of people. Imagine you walk into a room where you have been before, contemplate what you first notice.

Either you are the type of person that immediately scans the room and notes the cleanliness, the ambiance and state of the room, if the chairs are comfortable etc.

Or you are a person who walks into the room and you see the people, whom is talking to whom, what kind of groupings are there in the room. What kind of person do you need to be to be included accepted into this crowd.

Or you are a person who walks into the room and immediately scan each person in the room and note who is a potential intimate partner.

This is of course over simplified and crude but works as a basic illustration. Zooming in on the sexual subtype there are some important gender biases here, many men will automatically assume they are of the sexual subtype regardless of what is their actual driving instinct due to cultural conditioning. Likewise most women will at least outwardly deny being of the sexual subtype also due to societal norm and conditioning. Being self preserving and social is somehow accepted by society at large as it plays well into the societal games we play. Being of the sexual subtype often comes with a bushel of shame and a pinch of social stigma. It is accepted to a certain degree from teenage and adolescent boys and will become increasingly frowned upon as the boy becomes a man. For women being of the sexual subtype it is worse as slut shaming has become somewhat of a societal norm.

Many of this subtype will walk around with a sense of brokenness and wonder, silently, if there is something wrong with them. People of the other subtypes will have a hard time to understand or accept that this is part of your personality matrix. While people of the same subtype will be naturally drawn to connect with you. Our society has further concocted the myth that when you meet “the one” you will no longer be attracted to other persons than your spouse. And this will seem somewhat true to persons who are self preserving and social but for the person with a sexual subtype this myth is often perceived as completely impossible.

This is why in a table discussion of marriage, fidelity, attraction or anything in between you will find a polarised discussion where the two sides seem so far away from each other.

What subtype are you? Are you a sexual subtype or do you know anyone like that? Have you reflected over this? What’s your story?

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Andrea Figueroa

What numbers correspondence to what subtypes? 😀 fascinating blog post by the way, more of these please!

Patrik Olterman

It’s actually the other way around, you can be a self preserving nine or a social nine or a sexual nine and it will alter the way your strategy (your number) is played out in practical terms. the same for each type of the Enneagram. Each type is slightly varied depending on the subtype or instinct that lies at the bottom. http://amzn.to/1TXOxfu is the best reference book on how the subtypes/instincts influence the nine types.

Andrea Figueroa

Fascinating! Thank you Patrik!

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