From my understanding of SX, it's many things. It's about putting your all into everything, especially relationships. You'd focus on one person or a very small group (3-4 people max) more than you would the overall dynamic of things. An SX-first person would feel that being powerful (confident, assertive, attractive) would be better focusing on safety/comfort (SP) or blending in (SO). They'd be more likely to speak up about things since it would prove they're not taking "it" lying down.I have a hard time understanding SX, though I think I understand SP and SO. So SX is about 'intensity'?
I get that impression, too. I'm never satisfied because I'm waiting for something to complete me and that makes me intense, searching all the time (Seems to be a word that gets flung at me a lot, intense, makes me imagine myself with a red puffy face shouting at people though ).
I was also reading this page: How the Enneagram Personality System Works
SX is purely about strong connections with people?Sx is all about connection. For those who are not sx first, those who are seem very intense in the way they reach out for connection. Ever have a stranger tell you their life story? They were probably sx first. Did it make you feel uncomfortable or strike you as very odd? You're probably not sx first. I'm sp/sx. I don't usually get uncomfortable with the life story so much as annoyed if I happen to not be interested...but I'm usually very polite about it since it occurs to me that the other probably just needs a friend or is very lonely.
I thought that too for a while, but then I kind of saw that I was motivated to do SO type things for SX reasons.I was thinking that I might be sp/sx rather than sp/so. I think a couple of things that made me think I had more SO than SX were more SX-ish.
From my sp/sx point of view: I am really affected and intune with peoples levels of healthiness. I have high expectations in this arena more than anything else, and paradoxically I still -encourage-, facilitate, or judge people based on this main criteria, even if I am unhealthy myself. Sp in theory comes off as selfish, but I want people to be healthy too. I tend to take on mentoring roles, because I'm only as healthy as my environment, and I like every chain in the link to "be like me" by looking after theirselves in a sense. Often you can see your own tendencies by the way you expect others to be (because usually we expect them to be like ourselves). Strangely, when I'm unhealthy, my way of feeling in control, is by -strongly- encouraging other people to be healthy and getting angry when they don't try theirselves.There is common agreement on the term “self-preservation” for the first subtype and it
seems to be pretty accurate. In a sense, the purpose of all of our genetically based instincts
is preservation of the gene, and this instinct is focused on fundamental survival and well-
being of the host—that is, the individual. Fundamentally, this instinct relates to nesting and
self-maintenance. It is also about conservation; conservation of the self, conservation of
one’s energy, and conservation of resources.
Therefore, one who is a self-preservation subtype will talk about food, their health, financial
security (though not necessarily about vast accumulation of wealth, despite what some have
written), and their immediate physical comfort. They will nest—preferring to be home in the
well-defined and established comfort of their private domain than to be in a place where
they can’t control their environment. This subtype tends to be the most introverted of the
three because their focus automatically goes to their own well-being (i.e., inward) rather
than to what others are doing.
Home and family are critically important the self-preservations and they like to be
surrounded by their relatives and comforting possessions. They often have a persnickety
attitude toward food, textures, and the creature comforts, and they are often highly attuned
to matters of health. Regarding money, they want enough to ensure comfort, but are rarely
willing to take the risks associated with accumulating great wealth.
There is also common agreement on the term “social” for the next instinct, though this
instinct is often misunderstood. This instinct is not about gregariousness, it is a drive to
orient oneself toward the group; i.e., it helps one answer the questions, “Where and how do
I fit into my society?” and “How do I compare to others?” It is often taught that someone who
is a social subtype likes to be around and interact with large groups of people, but this is
only partially true. A social subtype wants to know where they fit in the hierarchy of the
group, and in order to know this they have to keep tabs on what the group is up to, which
requires contact and observation. A social subtype likes the idea of people and often wants
to be around them, but doesn’t necessarily want to interact with them.
Like the first, this instinct aids in survival of the individual in a number of ways. First, it is the
lone antelope that gets eaten by the lion, and being part of a group has many safety
advantages. Second, we learn from the group—we learn where the food and water are and
we learn techniques for survival. Social bonding also ensures that we will be supported by
the group when it is needed, such as in times of sickness, old age, or calamity.
A distinct and observable pattern of the social subtype is comparison and contrasting of
themselves with others. This persistent question of “how do I stack up?” is critical for self-
orientation. Social subtypes talk about people—what other people do, who they do it with,
and why they do what they do. In a sense, the social subtype is the most judgmental of the
subtypes in that they have strong opinions about the ways that others should behave in
relationship to the group, and they are generally the most concerned with or dogmatic
about “social issues”: politics, activism, etc.
Some who teach the subtypes try to get around this discomfort by labeling this subtype as
the “intimacy” or “one-to-one” subtype, and this is where the problem begins (though I use
the word “intimacy” in training programs). This instinct is not about platonic bonding with
another; this instinct is about attracting and mating with another.
If we think back to our nature documentary, the peacock was not displaying his feathers so
he could bond platonically with another peacock or so he could be deeply absorbed in his
preferred hobby (as some Enneagram teachers would have it)—he was trying to attract and
seduce a peahen so he could have sex with her. This is what a human who is a sexual
subtype is instinctively focused on: attracting and seducing a potential sexual partner.
(Unfortunately, the indelicacy of that sentence makes it no less true.)
Behaviors consistently seen in this subtype are typical “alpha” male or female behaviors
and tend to revolve around personal display and control of the resources evolutionarily
attractive to the opposite sex. They focus more on their looks and appearance than the
other subtypes, they wear more jewelry, and, generally, they talk about sex more than the
other subtypes. They are typically more extroverted and charming than the other subtypes,
qualities consistent with their habitual focus on getting the attention of a potential mate.
Beyond the physical appearance and charm of the subtype, there is a tendency to attract
attention to by talking about themselves, boasting of their accomplishments or simply
turning the conversation back to themselves in an attempt to be noticed. (In addition to
spreading his wings, the peacock lets out a loud call to turn the peahen’s attention his way.)
^ makes sx sound like a raging hormonal teenager/peacock, right? I don't completely agree, but admittedly I do relate to some of these things. I think intensity shouldn't be taken out of the equation though, I have a sx dom sister, who I swear creates conflict for the sake of the buzz sometimes.Sometimes referred to as a “one-to-one” instinct, this category is easily misunderstood. To understand it
better, we must bear in mind the elliptical nature of evolution. This category is not simply an instinctive drive
toward one-to-one relationships, it is a cluster of interrelated instinctive behaviors that serve the purpose of
attracting attention to ourselves and improving our chances of mating (in the sense of “pairing” rather than
The “attracting-attention” element actually serves two purposes: it not only improves your chances of
having sex, it helps you survive. For example, the child who draws attention to itself (by being charming,
flamboyant, self-assertive, etc.) gets more attention from parents and others. More attention increase
survival rates. (A perfect example of the survival benefits of the sexual instinctive bias is Scarlett O’Hara in
“Gone with the Wind.” She was gifted at getting people to pay attention to her and then charming them so
she could bend them to her will when she needed to.)
The “mating” element provides other survival benefits. Pairing with a significant other in adulthood gives us
someone to care for us when we are ill, boost our spirits when we are down, share the burdens of daily
The “display” element of the Sexual subtype is often overlooked in the literature, but people with this
subtype have a drive to make people notice them. They may accomplish this by dressing for attention,
acting seductively, being extroverted, spending more time on their appearance than others, become
performers of some sort, etc.
Yes, Sexuals often seek intense relationships, but on an instinctive level the relationship is not for its own
sake, it is to improve chances of sexual reproduction or survival by pair bonding.
One of the significant contradictions sometimes seen in Sexuals is promiscuity, serial relationship, or extra-
relationship flirtation. One module pushes to bond, while another pushes to seek fresh stimulation. Thus,
Sexuals often feel conflicted in relationships—much in love but feeling like there must be something more.
People with this instinctive bias also inadvertently send what appear to be mixed messages to others:
certain (often unconscious) behaviors say “come hither” while the rational mind says “I’m not actually
I can relate to a lot of this. I can be very romantically intense, though I do try to hold myself in and not let it happen. It tends to scare people off.Nova said:To me, around other sx's there's a kind of energy that you bounce back and fourth. There will often be some kind of subtle sexual banter or sexual jokes. But you don't see the real energy unless they really like you. I'm very closed off to attention I don't want. I don't want intensity from everything and everyone. I want to control the flow of intensity because of how extra sensitive I am to it.
If I do want you, you'll know it. Because I will pursue and I will make it known (though I don't get clingy). And then the rest of the world disappears. My energy can only go into one person at a time and I kind of ignore people i'm not interested in (though it can also mean they make me shy). If you move towards me and I don't like you, i'll back away. If I do like you, but i'm already talking to someone else (not even necessarily involved, but I am interested in them), I will also back away.
To me, there's a huge difference to how I view different people and the amount I give of myself. I very rarely "like" people not even romantically, but more in the sense that they enthrall me enough to open myself and give my energy to them. Because it's so intense, you can see why it's hard to just "give" that, or even find that in many things. Sometimes I don't know how much sx energy I have to give, that is until a person I really like comes along (rare) and only then, I truly blossom and see it. I always think, "I don't need anybody to complete me... i'm already whole". But sp/sx is described as going through a "sexuality as awakening" process, and it's as if it's not until you experience or come into contact with intimacy, that you even realise you do need it, and it is important to your own growth.
Ah, sorry white roud: it's only one source, so take it with a pinch of salt.Great. You're making me question myself, Nova :laughing:
Based on your post, I would say I'm sp/sx, which is where I originally started I'm definitely not so. I like being part of a group, yes, but it's not about status. I pay attention to my close friends to make sure they're okay - healthy, as you say. I'm friendly with lots of people because it makes me feel good, and it eases social (my) discomfort. That would be displaying SO for SP reasons, right?
I can relate to a lot of this. I can be very romantically intense, though I do try to hold myself in and not let it happen. It tends to scare people off.
That's what makes the enneagram so difficult to understand: there are many different sources of information, many of which are contradictory or do not match up.Ah, sorry white roud: it's only one source, so take it with a pinch of salt.
In regards to my own experiences, some of what I mentioned does look a little sp/so... and it is a little vague. I mean, what person (regardless of stacking) puts energy into people they don't like, right? I should've been a lot more specific and clarified a few things. Because many things I said could be applied to any type period.
Can you elaborate more on your point about why you're friendly with lots of people? in real life, i'd generally say I was warm-ish and friendly-ish too. But I tend to neglect friends/contacts in favour of more "closer" friends (closer in my mind, more than the relationship itself) :\
Maybe you can try working backwards, what would you say you least desire out of sp, sx and so fixations? if you had to choose security via only 2 means, what one would you exclude (you could do without for a long period of time if you had to) and why?
I know what you mean about the potential to scare people away too. When my bubble bursts and the walls come down, the banks of the river break. And the town floods. Unless they're willing to get wet and be completely immersed, people usually run for higher ground.That's the litmus test I suppose. I've run away from a few river bank floods of other people myself Twins flames do not burn when only one candle is lit. But when they're both burning... the intensity is returned and shared. There's a balance of energy that is replenished by the other's flame. Sex is about creation... that's what sx is essentially to me (in my subjective opinion). Creation, birth, energy.. perhaps even eventually death. But most of all... synergy.
Reminds me of something I read on the ennea institute forum recently...Also, I want to have an impact on people with my interests and hobbies. To me, that seems more sp/so-ish.
Looking at this, I relate to it too...Self-preservation is the obsession with survival. Bolstered by the social instinct it can become a valuing of prosperity. Success is not determined by one's standing among peers, but on the material quality of life one has achieved. What the sp/so needs is a legacy, something of value to leave to the world.
For the sp/so, self-survival is not enough. The social awareness, framed by the boundary-consciousness of sp, turns toward making sure there is survival for all. Progress, here represented by the technologically advanced city, is pursued to assuage existential sp-crises; and this pursuit of progress and security is extended to the broader group, to the community.
A self-preservational Five is attached to the home as castle. The sp/so Five, perhaps, envisions a world of interconnected fortress-castles. You can be surrounded by people but you don't have to make eye contact. Boundaries ensure independence and fend off interdependency. Even living in the same skyscraper, partaking in the same physical communal space, there is freedom to ignore each other. You can look out your high-rise window and observe the whole city and its activity without having to interact with any of it. There's a peace with this, because you don't have to worry about other people when they've got their sp-needs met.
This is a city of man-made lights with no visible people. We know something living and sapient must have designed this place, must be powering it, but with no one in sight, how can we be sure it's populated by human beings? And we can't see the ground--what's lurking down there?
To elaborate on progress as the sp/so thing to care about: It may be a withdrawn sp/so kind of thing, or a Five sp/so kind of thing. Whatever it is, for a sp/so like me, the world is not enough. Society has to grow and advance if we're to keep from self-destruction. To me, this seems like a sp/so thing to worry about: framing the survival of the human race through the lens of self-preservation.
I won't say you are wrong and if you can find me a good description then I will look at it. I know I am more SX/SP compared to SX/SO. Keep in mind this was written for a 8w7:I question whether you aren't actually sp/sx. What's your understanding of the sexual component?
This subtype is a very charismatic. They have a very assertive energy and they demand attention. The lust of the Eight combines with the sexual instinct to make one of the most fiery of the combinations of all of the enneatypes, especially if Seven is the dominant wing. Sexual/self-pres Eights aren’t afraid to tell you what they think. The "can do" attitude that the other subtypes have is now intertwined with an outward passionate storm of energy. The sexual/self-pres Eight will be similar to the self-pres/sex Eight with respect to interests and attachment to close friends and family, but the intensity level is augmented. Since the sexual instinct is first, these Eights usually don't let an opportunity pass by to connect with those they find interesting. They can sense the power in any situation and they like to challenge people. They can enjoy making others react to them, keeping others on their toes, to find out what makes them tick. They are likely to use humor to accomplish this. When sex/self-pres Eights are unbalanced, they are very quick to anger and have a difficult time controlling their impulses.
This subtype of Eight manifests as the alpha male and alpha female. They demand everyone's attention, and usually get it. They can be very charismatic. The assertive energy of the Eight combines with the assertive energy of the sexual instinct. With the self-preservational instinct least developed, this subtype has a lot of extroverted energy. This type isn’t afraid to go after what they want in life. The fixation on lust and the emphasis on control combine with great intensisty. At times, it’s almost as if their energy gets ahead of them, which can cause problems. They often have a vision of the future, but they have their blind spots too. They can harness a tremendous amount of energy for change, but at the same time be unaware of the fallout they might encounter because of their sometimes excessive self-assertion.
Again Sx/Sp is more me. I deleted the others but they didn't fit me. As for the SP/Sx type I don't really relate to this. Not totally anyway. Not sure I could ever be accused of being oblivious and I am certainly not hesitant in new relationships. And LOL to the taste and depth at home. hahahasx/sp
This is perhaps the most internally conflicted of the stackings, and potentially the most inconsistent in behavior. This may occur as a blockage of the sexual instinct which can be redirected as a more generally brooding and troubled personality. They may isolate themselves for long periods of time before reemerging. They live according to a strictly personal outlook and are not particularly concerned with the approval of others outside of their immediate concern. They seem to be searching for something, the missing piece. If they find a soulmate they will unite without fanfare, forming a secret bond, dealing with formalities as an afterthought. Powerful sexual impulses facing inner resistance may manifest symbolically in the psyche, giving way to soulful interpretations of the unconscious. Under periods of stress severe sexual tensions may manifest as erratic, impulsively destructive behavior. Can seem restless, torn between the comforts of a stable home life and the urge to wander. May be prone to self-medicating.
Motivation: to know the heart, reconcile inner conflict, form a secure union.
Familiar roles: the devotee, the seeker, the wanderer
Examples of sx/sp: Prince, Carl Jung, Johnny Depp, Ozzy Osbourne, Johnny Cash, Joan Crawford, Princess Di, Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, Frollo from "Hunchback of Notre Dame"
These people often have an earthy, mysterious quality to them. They are quietly intense, but to others may seem oblivious to the greater social world around them, instead favoring personal interests. They are slow to commit, but once they do it is with an attitude of life commitment, to the establishment of an impermeable bond. Others can be taken aback by how suddenly and completely this type can lock into them, and by the depth of understanding of the other's condition. They attach to others at an organic, root level, in contrast to the other subvariant's surface formality. Somewhat hesitant to enter new relationships, they instead preserve the select few enduring bonds they carefully form along the way. The sanctuary of home is of paramount concern, and this type takes particular delight in decorating their spaces to reflect their cherished sense of taste and depth. Depth and discrimination characterize this stacking.
Motivation: to live in a secure, comfortable environment where they can pursue their private interests in depth.
Familiar Roles: the mate, the mystic, the quiet supporter.
Examples: George Harrison, Jackie Onassis, Eric Clapton, Emily Dickinson