Through many years of doing relationship therapy with hundreds of couples, he observed and maintained that there are basically two types of sexual personality, each driven by a specific fear.
On one side of the scale is the one he describes as physical sexual. On the other is one described as emotional sexual.
The terms physical sexual and emotional sexual can be misleading. What is being referred to here is how the person defends the part of themselves they feel to be most threatened.
The physical sexual is driven by an intense fear of rejection. Feeling vulnerable emotionally he or she defends against the threat of rejection by putting his/her physical body out front as a form of protection.
The emotional sexual, on the other hand, is driven by a strong fear of intimacy. Feeling vulnerable physically, he or she protects his or her body by putting up a wall of emotion comprising fear, intense shyness and distrust.
This has all sorts of ramifications for how they each show up in the world. So let me provide a sketch profile of each extreme so you might get a feel for where on the following scale you might be. The ideal is to have around a 60/40 bias towards one end or the other. That way you will be more able to understand those with the opposite bias.
People With an Extreme Physical Sexual Personality
— They are classic extroverts who project their sexuality outwards. In extreme cases they flaunt it.
— They are very comfortable with their bodies and have a high sex drive. They are ready for sex at a moment’s notice and the men can last for hours.
— They wear clothes and jewelry that emphasize and bring attention to their physical body and their sexual attractiveness. This applies to women more than men, but a physical male is always conscious of how he looks.
— Image and appearance are very important to them. No matter what they buy, the main consideration is how it makes them look.
— They crave acceptance and attention because of their fear of rejection, which means everything they do is designed to get approval. They are extremely sensitive to criticism.
— If rejected, rather than withdraw, they will push forward even more, trying to win you over with charm and persuasion. They become very insistent and pushy. They will not take no for an answer, especially from an emotional sexual person of the opposite sex, to whom they are irresistibly attracted. They can be assertive and controlling, almost to the point of being obnoxious, if they smell rejection.
— They are the life-and-soul of any party, very popular and always seem comfortable in social situations. They are never at a loss for something to talk about and small talk comes easy to them.
— They are natural risk takers in all aspects of their lives so they are often entrepreneurs and/or indulge in very physical sports, especially team sports.
— They are less concerned about their bodies being hurt than they are about having their feelings crushed.
— All their emotions are experienced physically rather than mentally, and when their feelings are hurt, they feel it as intense pain in their bodies. The pain can be so bad that they can literally be incapacitated by it for long periods of time.
— When a relationship ends they are devastated and have a very difficult time letting go of it. They take it very personally and feel utterly rejected. They also have a very hard time moving on. It may be many months before they will have another serious relationship, though they will have plenty of sex in the meanwhile. They need it just to feel OK.
— They are hopelessly idealistic about love and relationships and very romantically inclined. Once in a relationship they tend to be loyal and monogamous. At the same time they are very jealous and possessive.
—They put family and/or relationships before career or any other aspect of life. It’s their #1 priority.
—They communicate by indirect implication and inferences, relying on the listener to make the correct interpretation. On the other hand, they hear only what is said literally and don’t pick up on inferences. You have to tell them explicitly and frequently that you love them. They will not infer that you do just because you are there.
People With an Emotional Sexual Personality
— They are the classic introverts and they tend to fold down and withdraw into themselves to protect their feelings of physical vulnerability.
— They are not in the least bit comfortable in their bodies and have a closed, protective bodily stance that says, “Don’t come close, and don’t touch me.” Their arms will be in front of them as protection and their feet tend to be turned inwards.
— They dress conservatively to divert attention away from their body and to hide their sexuality. Women will wear high neck dresses or loose clothing to hide their figure.
They will wear minimal makeup, if they wear any at all, and will wear sensible shoes. Men will dress conservatively.
— They are not particularly social and have great difficulty making small talk. At parties, they are usually the wallflowers. They leave early.
— They feel their feelings inwardly and process them mentally. They seldom express feelings outwardly and do not like to show physical affection in public.
— They do not much like to be touched. Even a light touch quickly turns to irritation. The kind of touch a physical considers affectionate can seem like physical assault to an emotional.
— They are turned on sexually much more by visual and mental stimuli than by touch. They are not automatically ready for sex like the physical is and need a lot of warming up. Emotional men are not the sexual athletes physical sexual men are. Once they have ejaculated, it is all over, whereas physicals can go on for hours.
— For them, sex is not a high priority, neither is family, children or relationships. Their priority is work and career, followed by their hobby. Relationships come a distant third. They are not very fond of children and they may choose never to marry.
— They often have extramarital affairs and think little of it because they do not equate love with sex as does the physical. They like the mental excitement of an affair.
— When a relationship ends they get over it in a matter of days and replace easily. They do not take it as a personal rejection of themselves.
— They don’t like team sports but they excel at individual sports that require rigorous training and are self-challenging.
— They lead with their minds in everything, from work, games and even sex. They are analytical, careful and methodical and therefore seldom spontaneous.
— They buy cars not on style and image but on which is the most efficient and best engineered. They will research it to death before they buy.
— If they go into business for themselves, they tend to be accountants, computer OKprogrammers, engineers, researchers, and technicians. They like precise, solitary work and are detail-oriented. They can be very successful in business.
— They pick up on inferences and subtle implications, but they speak very directly and precisely. They don’t waste words and are not physically expressive.
In a later follow-up blog on this topic I will share with you what happens when two people of the opposite type come together in relationship (they are strongly attracted to each other,) and what happens when the bliss of the honeymoon period begins to wane. It is very interesting to watch. It might even shed light on your own relationship.
This weekend in Atlanta (and next month in Truckee, CA), I’ll be exploring this topic in some depth in my Expanding In Love Workshop. Participants fill in a special questionnaire to find out where they are on the scale and where their partner is, leading to much greater understanding and respect for each other.
When you finally “get” your partner’s sexual personality, it can be an eye-opening experience. Many things you may have interpreted as hurtful become much clearer when you really understand where your partner is coming from… and your intimacy and love becomes that much deeper.