The Enneagram of Personality: Test Your Self for Enhanced Sexual Intimacy in Relationship Counseling

Today I offer you a way you can further understand your self, and your partner, through taking a personality test, and learning about the enneagram of personality.    The Enneagram offers ways for you to grow your relationship with your self, and your partner, in some of the deepest ways I’ve discovered, as I’ve been using this system since 1992 with clients.

Learn to find personality “blind spots”, so they don’t continually surprise you!   Discover ways to integrate, expand, and live in a new way, through the direction of integration!    Find out from a whole new perspective how you and your partner stress when things aren’t going well, and ways to get back to growing closer together, and moving towards a direction of integration!

This is the highest quality test I’ve found for beginning to understand your personality through the enneagram.   It will give you a basic type, plus a sub-type or wing.  Everyone in this system has a basic type and a wing.  A few people may turn out to be tri-types, or three types, though it’s rare.   Send the results to me once you’ve taken this test, the Wepss test:

How the enneagram works:

Enneagram map: a key for increased sexual intimacy through couples counseling


As you think about your personality, which of the following nine descriptions fits you best most of the time? If you were to describe yourself, which of the descriptions would come closest?

The Enneagram with Riso-Hudson Type Names

These one-word descriptors have been expanded into four-word sets of traits. Remember, these are merely some of the descriptions and do not represent how full, rich, and varied each type is.  I’ve replaced a few words below, and most are from Riso-Hudson.

Type One is principled, organized, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

Type Two is generous, altruistic, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Type Three is adaptable, confident, driven, and image-conscious.

Type Four is expressive, dramatic, individualistic, and temperamental.

Type Five is perceptive, investigative, secretive, and isolated.

Type Six is engaging, inner wisdom, anxious, and suspicious.

Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, upbeat, and scattered.

Type Eight is big-picture, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Nine is receptive, peaceful, complacent, and resigned.


Your Basic Personality Type

Seen a certain way the Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct habits of thinking and feeling, personality types each with a number.  All of us have a little of ourselves in all nine of the types, though through the test one type seem to stand out as closest to your self.   This is what is called YOUR BASIC PERSONALITY TYPE.

All people grow out of their childhood with ONE of the nine types being the most dominant, though inborn, inherent, and other pre-natal experiences, along with what happened in childhood, seem to determine one’s type.  Some research shows we are born with a dominant type, which shows us the ways we learned to adapt to our childhood environment. Other research shows personality as more adaptable to the environment.  I find as a counselor it’s a combination of nature and nurture, so to speak.  As children grow from four-five years on, they have a separate sense of self, though their identity is still more fluid, and they start finding ways to be themselves in the world more on their own.

More information about the basic type itself.1. People don’t shift around on the enneagram, though I have found that once in a while a person finds out they’re really different than what they though.

  1.  Males and females can be equally any number on the enneagram.  Types aren’t more feminine or masculine.
  2.  We go up and down in healthy and unhealthy aspects of our personalities.  The descriptions don’t cover all instances in your life..
  3.  The Enneagram uses these numbers in a fair way, as numbers are value neutral.  (Not positive or negative.)
  4.  These numbers are NOT ranks.  A smaller number is not any better or worse than a larger number.
  5.  You’ll notice “quirks” in types that might cause you to feel less than others.   We all have quirks, so one type isn’t better or more desirable than another.   The idea is to learn so you can become your highest quality self, not to imitate any other type or person.



Instinctual Variant Test

I find the three instincts to be very important in understanding many of the reasons relationships go through tough times.   What is one’s “hard-wiring”, and what is your partner’s?   These instincts are intrinsic intelligences that are necessary for personal survival and species survival.  To summarize, all of us have a Self-Preserving Instinct (keep the body safe and functioning), a Sexual or One-to-One instinct, (for reproduction and one-to-one relating), and a Social Instinct, (for forming social bonds and managing  relations with others).

Here’s the location for your instinctual variant test:

How do one’s instincts affect relationship?   In this system, find out whether you’re more self-preserving, social, or one-to-one in your instinctual orientation, and for your partner too!

While all three reside in us, one of them is more dominant in what we pay attention to, and in our behavior.    We also have a second instinct that partially is used to support the dominant one.  The third instinct is the least developed and can be a blind spot in our life.    This “stack” of instincts, with dominant on top, next most used or developed in the middle, and the least on the bottom, develops in childhood, and stays mostly constant throughout your life.   Yet I’ve seen dramatic situations temporarily change a client’s stack of instincts.

See if you can “self-type” yourself with the descriptions below.   The test above can help you if you’re not  sure, and we can talk about it in session too.

The following descriptions of the three instincts are from Riso and Hudson, and the Enneagram Institute.

Self Preservation: The focus here is easy to understand from the name. People of this Instinctual type are preoccupied with basic survival needs as they translate in our contemporary society. Thus, Self-Preservation types are concerned with money, food, housing, health, physical safety and comfort. Being safe and physically comfortable are priorities. These people are quick to notice any problems in a room such as poor lighting or uncomfortable chairs, or to be dissatisfied with the room temperature. They often have issues connected with food and drink, either overdoing it or having strict dietary requirements. In the healthy to average Levels, of the three Instinctual types, they are the most practical in the sense of taking care of basic life necessities—paying bills, maintaining the home and workplace, acquiring useful skills, and so forth. When these types deteriorate, they tend to distort the instinct to the degree that they are poor at taking care of themselves. Unhealthy Self-Preservation types eat and sleep poorly or become obsessed with health issues. They often have difficulty handling money and may act out in deliberately self-destructive ways. In a nutshell, Self-Preservation types are focused on enhancing their personal security and physical comfort.

Social: This subtype is focused on their interactions with other people and with the sense of value or esteem they derive from their participation in collective activities. These include work, family, hobbies, clubs—basically any arena in which Social types can interact with others for some shared purpose. The instinct underlying this behavior was an important one in human survival. Human beings on their own are rather weak, vulnerable creatures, and easily fall prey to a frequently hostile environment. By learning to live and work together, our ancestors created the safety necessary for human beings not only to survive, but to thrive. Within that social instinct, however, are many other implicit imperatives, and primary among them is the understanding of “place” within a hierarchical social structure. This is as true for dogs and gorillas as it is for human beings. Thus, the desire for attention, recognition, honor, success, fame, leadership, appreciation, and the safety of belonging can all be seen as manifestations of the Social instinct. Social types like to know what is going on around them, and want to make some kind of contribution to the human enterprise. There is often an interest in the events and activities of one’s own culture, or sometimes, of another culture. In general, Social types enjoy interacting with people, but they avoid intimacy. In their imbalanced, unhealthy forms, these types can become profoundly antisocial, detesting people and resenting their society, or having poorly developed social skills. In a nutshell, Social types are focused on interacting with people in ways that will build their personal value, their sense of accomplishment, and their security of “place” with others.

Sexual: Many people originally identify themselves as this type, perhaps confusing the idea of a Sexual Instinctual type with being a “sexy” person. Of course, “sexiness” is in the eye of the beholder, and there are plenty of “sexy” people in all three of the Instinctual types. Furthermore, lest one think this type more “glamorous” than the other two, one would do well to remember that the instinct can become distorted in the type, leading to the area of life causing the greatest problems. In healthy to average Sexual types, there is a desire for intensity of experience—not just sexual experience, but having a similar “charge.” This intensity could be found in a great conversation or an exciting movie. Much has been said about this type preferring “one-on-one” relationships versus the Social type’s preference for “larger groups,” but a quick poll of one’s acquaintances will reveal that almost all people prefer communicating one on one than in a group. The question is more one of the intensity of contact, and the strength of the desire for intimacy. Sexual types are the “intimacy junkies” of the Instinctual types, often neglecting pressing obligations or even basic “maintenance” if they are swept up in someone or something that has captivated them. This gives a wide-ranging, exploratory approach to life, but also a lack of focus on one’s own priorities. In their neurotic forms, this type can manifest with a wandering lack of focus, sexual promiscuity and acting out, or just the opposite, in a fearful, dysfunctional attitude toward sex and intimacy. Sexual types, however, will be intense, even about their avoidances. In a nutshell, Sexual types are focused on having intense, intimate interactions and experiences with others and with the environment to give them a powerful sense of “aliveness.”


This article gives you the basics to find out more about your personality, plus your partner’s, so that you can uncover ways to ACCEPT YOUR SELF, and ACCEPT YOUR PARTNER.   This leads to an INCREASE IN INTIMACY, since you can understand on deeper levels who you are for your self, and who your partner is for them self.    Find out if you are a “social 7 with a 6 wing”, for example, or a “self-preserving 6 with a 5 wing”.    However you land in this system, remember all numbers and people are equals, this is NOT a labeling system, but a growth system.    Through relationship counseling, learn how a foundational approach to personality can deepen your sexual intimacy, by increasing acceptance and understanding of habits that don’t usually get talked about, so they habits can transform!   Move beyond old habits and embrace being integrated in ways your heart/soul has only dreamed about.

Jim Bowen MA LPC has been assisting individuals and couples since 1992, with offices in Boulder and Denver. Contact Jim with email or call him at 303-534-8717. Why not call for a free consultation?