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This is from Beatrice Chestnut's book "The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge". Enjoy.

Sexual Fives

In the Sexual Five, avarice is expressed through an ongoing search for a connection that will satisfy their need for an experience of the most perfect, safest, and most satisfying (idealized) union. This Five may look like the other two five subtypes on the outside, having all the regular five inhibitions and introversion in the area of relationship, but the sexual five places a special value on one-to-one or intimate connections.



This five has a passion for finding a special person they can connect with deeply, sometimes a person they cannot find or have yet to find. Like the social five, this five also searches for a high ideal, but this five looks for the ideal in the realm of love. This five feels a need to find a high exemplar of absolute love. Like the search for the extraordinary of the social five, the ideal kind of connection this five searches for represents a very high standard. Sexual fives seek something like the ultimate mystical union- an experience of the divine in human relationships. And this can also happen with the search for good friends or a spiritual teacher.


While social and self-preservation fives are more removed from their emotions, the sexual five is intense, romantic, and more emotionally sensitive. This five suffers more, resembles the four more, and has more overt desires. This is the countertype among the fives. It may not be completely obvious from the outside, however- they may seem very much like other fives until you touch their romantic spot and inspire their romantic feelings. While they can appear reserved or laconic on the outside, sexual fives have a vibrant internal life that is highly romantic. There are examples of sexual five artists- like Chopin, who Naranjo notes is the most romantic of the classical composers- who display extreme emotional expressiveness through their artistic creations but are cut off in many ways from others in the everyday world.


Sexual fives live in an inner world filled with ideation, theories, and utopian fantasies about finding unconditional love. They live for a couple's love as a kind of ultimate or ideal experience of connection. However, what they search for represents an idealized form of relationship that may not exist in the human world.



Trust is the basic issue with the sexual five. The name Naranjo ascribes to this subtype is “confidence,” which has a special meaning related to an ability to trust the other, and suggests a search for the person who will be with you no matter what, the partner (or friend) that you can trust with all your secrets. Confidence is the kind of ideal that makes sexual fives very romantic deep inside. They search for an idealized version of love and relationship as a source of meaning in life.


The sexual five's search for a high exemplar of connection is so exacting that it's very hard to pass their test with consistency if you are the person in relationship with them. It's very easy for the sexual five to be disappointed. This subtype has such a great need to trust in the other that the need is not easily satisfied, and so there can be a lot of testing in their relationships.


Fives tend to be a private people, but this five has a great need for intimacy under the right circumstances- if they can find a person they can really trust to love them despite their flaws. This subtype expresses a need to be completely transparent with their partner, and they need their partner to be very open as well- and this ideal of trust and intimacy is not easy to find. Because of this, sexual fives can get very picky about the people they have relationships with, and they can become frustrated when they discover that the other is human. If a partner does not live up to their expectations of transparency and openness, they tend to feel disappointed and- because they have a fear of being hurt by others- to isolate themselves.


Some sexual fives say that their search for an ultimate kind of connection does not only center on relationship with a lover or life partner. One five said he related to the idea of “emotional promiscuity,” saying, “I want ultimate contact with a lot of people,” one at a time. And some fives with this subtype report that although they feel guarded in the face of too much emotional intensity, they have a deep desire for intimacy with a trusted few. One five with this subtype described especially appreciating the experience of “clicking” with someone- the feeling of having chemistry with another person- saying that when he felt this he could become infatuated very quickly.


Although the sexual five may look like a type four, this five is still quit five-ish, so is not likely to be mistaken for a four. And while this subtype is the five countertype and seeks to manifest an ideal of intimacy, it may be hard to discern the difference between this five and the other two fives, as all of the five subtypes experience a need to withdraw. However, this five has a need to find a special relationship that will provide both safety and an ultimate kind of love.


Stephen, a sexual five, talks about his subtype:


Full access to my feelings came after I started doing body work in my early 30s, and they were, and sometimes still are, very confusing and overwhelming- especially “softer” emotions like compassion. I'll find myself with tears welling up at times and need to look inside for the trigger, which can be as simple as the sight of a homeless person on the side of the road. My adult life has been a constant tension between my point's need to pull in a husband and my (emotional, physical, intellectual, financial) resources, and a mostly stronger drive to reach out and connect, not merely with my intimate partner, but nearly everywhere.


The reaching out is an attempt to fill an existential-psychic hole that seems to have existed from a prenatal stage. I seek connection with others to avoid feeling that emptiness. The name of the subtype, Confidence, is about building a bond with another (or many others on a one-to-one basis). For instance, when I have to give talks to a group, I find a single person to be my focus, while appearing to address the group. Relationships are the most fearful of objects, yet the most needed.


I have been called out on enneagram panels as not looking like other fives- too flamboyant, too out, too willing to talk about the inner landscape and the demons that inhabit it. This is true, and in my youth it was (physical) camouflage. Now it is merely a way of being. I have learned that the desire to disappear into the background of my youth was a false hope, and since I cannot disappear, I might just as well be who I really am.

The most important thing that needs to be understood about the sexual five is that we are in a constant struggle between the withdrawing and withholding (stinginess) of the basic point, and the need to reach out and connect driven by the instinctual energy of the subtype. Behind this tension is an emotional sensitivity that is hidden to the outside world and also to the five until they [we] allow awareness of emotions into their daily life.”



Specific Work For The Sexual Fives on the Path from Vice to Virtue



Sexual Fives can travel the path from avarice to nonattachment by noticing and working against the tendency to hold others to high standards as a way of avoiding intimacy. Recognize when you are testing others or adhering to impossible standards of connection as a way to avoid your fear and defend against your own fear of exposure. Notice the ways in which you might close yourself off to contact even as you long for it. Work toward achieving the intimate connection you desire- not through an attachment to an idea of what love can be, but through taking the risk to express your real feelings to the people in your life. Allow yourself to feel into and work with the fear that arises as you open yourself up to deeper relationships and authentic expressions of your emotions. Release your preconceived ideas about what connecting with others is supposed to be about, and challenge yourself to just allow contact to happen. Let yourself be surprised by life, and communicate the beauty of your deeply romantic feelings and desires more frequently and in more ways.


Definitely - especially about relating with several people at a deep level.
 

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This obviously has been said but I too think this is a great way to explain Sexual Fives.

I know I can come off 4-ish but I am a 5 and this just helps emphasize that.

I would highlight parts of the OP's post but I would probably highlight almost all of it which seems redundant at this point.
 

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I think that sounds more like sexual Nine.

This sexual Five description fits me pretty well, and it explains why in the past I thought I was a Four (and why sometimes I still have doubts, because most Five descriptions says we are so calm and emotionally cold, and I'm not like that).
That's one of the reasons, I know I'm a 5 over a 9. Merging is my nightmare. While I want a soulmate, I never ever want to lose me in the process. I'd rather die than ever be merged. That has never been my idea of an ideal relationship. I seek someone who can be separate with me.
 

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I have read most of Beatrice Chestnut's book. It was very interesting and helpful. At one point I thought I was a type 6, but after reading the full description of the type 5, it resonated so much with me that I now believe I have identified my true type, and the subtypes as well, although I am not entirely sure of the order. It could be so/sx or sx/so. But the sx (sexual five) description is something that is definitely true about me.
 

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I think that sounds more like sexual Nine.
That's one of the reasons, I know I'm a 5 over a 9. Merging is my nightmare. While I want a soulmate, I never ever want to lose me in the process. I'd rather die than ever be merged. That has never been my idea of an ideal relationship. I seek someone who can be separate with me.
Interesting. I'm not a Nine, but merging is definitely a dream not a nightmare for me (though I'm very choosy about who I would merge with). I don't actually "lose" myself in moments of merging; I'm still very much me...it's just that the me becomes fused with another.
 

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Just from general description of subgroups I thought I'd be Sp>So>Sx, but perhasp that's becasue the whole type is somewhat SPish.

Now I just don't know. Each subtype is familiar in some ways, but less in other. Each now seems as much or as little plausible as the other. But perhaps the So's lust for knwledge and Sx's idealistic intimacy the most. It seems that I swich those two the most.

I guess I would be equally split on wings as well.
 

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I find myself still a bit confused about Enneagram terminology and lacking a structure (for example, a structure such as the cognitive functions and MBTI) I'm not able to see an overall definite picture. Do descriptions of 5w4 or 5w6 relate to Sp, So, Sx? Or are they overlapping descriptions? I can identify with the original post of this thread, but the degree to which I might identify with it might not be as apparent.
 

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This makes sense in explaining why I am sexually submissive. When in a sexual encounter, I often freeze up and find myself unsure of how to go about the situation naturally. I feel like I have to control every aspect of myself (creating an ego), and if I don't, then what will happen...? My significant other forces me to abide by his will, but that is our agreement. I am his masochistic slave, and in return I get freedom to be who I am (whatever that is - who knows and who cares in the present moment) and the ability to release all frustrations without apologizing for them, to truly lose myself in a situation. I always saw myself as an aggressive person, but I've realized that I am fearful. Fearful to be vulnerable, fearful to let go, fearful to be in the present moment without over-analyzing it and depicting it as something else... as I am not experiencing it fully for what it is, but instead dissociating myself from it.
 

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Okay, question for/about sx first 5s: There's one that I'm interested in. We're close friends, but he says he's not currently romantically attracted to me because I'm not like some super vague notion of his ideal partner that he's got in his head. Should I just forget about my romantic interest and be platonic friends? Give him some time while reaffirming my interest? Or???
 

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Honestly, I still have trouble understanding what 'merging' is. If it's basically giving up one's self, one's autonomy, then I can't imagine anything worse - except to a very few, my closest friends, and maybe not even them. I do have that dream of being able to 'give myself up/letting go' for 'the one', but other than that, I want to remain separate. Being independent, self-sufficient, and competent enough to face life is what I strive for; 'being able to live', since my deepest fear is to live (i.e. 'just being'; letting people and experiences simply in, because it feels like I'd succumb to chaos). I feel helpless and under-prepared, and while I can accept help on some things, I hate to feel clue-/useless. 'Merging' by that^ definition sounds like the total opposite of that goal. I never want to be as dependent on'/unified with' others as 'merging' suggests, certainly not with most people. I suppose that's what really makes me swing away from a 9 core; my emotions may not be dominant for me but not because I try to 'merge/become one' with people, my environment, but to stay objective enough to analyse them. Likely having a 9 in my tritype makes this confusing to figure out.

SX 5 explains this paradox though. I may not be good at asserting my wants and needs, but not because I'm afraid of 'inner peace' disturbance/fear of 'feeling' that conflict can bring, rather because it pulls me away from my objectivity, because feeling doesn't let me think. I want to stay separate but also not; but only with those/the one I choose.
 

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Huh. Interesting. I'm speaking not from the view of a sexual five but a sp/so five. Throughout my life, I didn't understand the need to be close to people and the score I had for sexual, in an instincutual variant online quiz was very low. The closest I've ever been about my secrets was on the internet and I barely had much of a need to further connect with a certain person. Often, it was not for connecting in the first place but to ask for help about a problem. . People I tend to be closer with are not people I end up close with because I like closeness, but just because they happen to be near to me in location, share interests and are available often. I guess I do have some value on them with closeness but compared to the sexual fives who replied here. . . Nah.

When I actually talk to people when I tend to be alone most of the time, most of the time it's with a pretty large variety of people despite the usual descriptions about introverts having closer and fewer friends. And the fact that I spend most of my time alone makes it much much harder that I'd get close to people. Kinda like me in this forum. Eh, I don't know. . . I'm mostly indifferent. Not that I'm devoid of human warmth. I do tend to ride more on the sense of community than closeness. There's something really pleasant with shorter conversations with people and greeting a whole bunch of people. Kind of like joking with a cashier I see from time to time or high fiving a police guard I see from time to time. Feels right at home. I used to be a lot more isolated and lonely. But hey, I still think alone time thinking and learning is better.
 

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Yup, as a sexual five I feel sort of at war with myself. On top of that I'm also intp if that matters. I guess that's why I like extroverted cultures & not introverted ones like the country I'm in now (England) despite the fact that I'm an introvert. It's easier to get on that level of intimacy I crave w at least a few people. There was a time at which I got to uni & lacked any intimate contacts, which threw me for a loop. I did things I never thought I would have looking for a connection & realised I'm not as dry as I perceived myself but somewhat scattered. I also had many people invalidate my experiences for wanting a close friend or two which caused me to think I was wrong. Nevertheless I'd still have that nagging feeling no matter what that pushed me to search for someone. I deleted my Facebook at skme point when I felt disgusted at the amount of aquatintances I had without anyone to truly talk to. Nowadays, I'm more at peace. Without going into too much detail, I'm going to be making more of an effort to talk strangers (small talk that is). Rejection from intimacy definitely hurts me so I do pull back sometimes. Being a head type also makes that especially difficult (observing mostly).
 

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Sexual five here. I feel nothing about love, but I agree that I am more idealistic and have more inner feelings than other five
 

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This sounds so much like me I almost question my core type...
 
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I agree with the overall point of this text, specially the path from vice to virtue; but have some words to say:
challenge yourself to just allow contact to happen.
It simply doesn't. I wonder if it is possible for a detached 5 to have connections "happen" to them. There is a lot of struggle: putting yourself out there, finding like-minded people, discussing the topics and ideas they may or may not be interested in, showing the affection they may or may not share ... all that for a detached, intellectual, not people-oriented person- too weird to get approached.
I don't mean that there is no one to accept and relate to 5s, but that doesn't happen easily. Relationships are hard work.
Let yourself be surprised by life
The life never ever surprised me. I always ran after what I wanted.
communicate the beauty of your deeply romantic feelings and desires more frequently and in more ways.
There should be lots of prelude to get someone intimate enough to communicate the deep romantic feelings. I agree with other ways, though, such as artistic expression.

 

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Sexual five here. I have the theory that the "confidence" passion in this subtype is not only for trusting significant others (friends, romantic partners), but in addition, similar to the counterphobic passion of sexual sixes, the confidence is also an attitude of transmitting self-confidence (I certainly do that). The five fears the world, so the counterphobic five -us- takes an attitude of trying to connect to activities or people that fuel their sense of confidence, always trying to plug to anything that could recharge their confidence batteries (e.g., for Chopin it would be the piano, as he was a virtuoso). I also think the self-confidence of sexual eights comes in part for their connection to sexual fives. Any other sexual fives, what do you think? Do you also project a halo of confidence (even when under the specific conditions of doing something you feel confident on your competency) and attract to it like moth to light?
 

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This is from Beatrice Chestnut's book "The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge". Enjoy.

Sexual Fives
Sexual fives seek something like the ultimate mystical union- an experience of the divine in human relationships... the sexual five is intense, romantic, and more emotionally sensitive.... While they can appear reserved or laconic on the outside, sexual fives have a vibrant internal life that is highly romantic... They search for an idealized version of love and relationship as a source of meaning in life...

This subtype expresses a need to be completely transparent with their partner, and they need their partner to be very open as well- and this ideal of trust and intimacy is not easy to find. Because of this, sexual fives can get very picky about the people they have relationships with... If a partner does not live up to their expectations of transparency and openness, they tend to feel disappointed and- because they have a fear of being hurt by others- to isolate themselves.
This is exactly how I am.

Some sexual fives say that their search for an ultimate kind of connection does not only center on relationship with a lover or life partner. One five said he related to the idea of “emotional promiscuity,” saying, “I want ultimate contact with a lot of people,” one at a time.
I wonder if this 5 SX looking for "emotional promiscuity" was a sx/so. I've seen this in them but never in a sx/sp. I wish this description of the 5 SX by Beatrice Chestnut differentiated between sx/so and sx/sp.

Specific Work For The Sexual Fives on the Path from Vice to Virtue
Sexual Fives can travel the path from avarice to nonattachment by noticing and working against the tendency to hold others to high standards as a way of avoiding intimacy. Recognize when you are testing others or adhering to impossible standards of connection as a way to avoid your fear and defend against your own fear of exposure.
Huh? It was stated just above that we are picky bc not everyone can do ideal intimacy/romance. I don't avoid intimacy with my match, I run towards it. I'm typical SX; faster, harder, deeper... In a committed relationship I want to deeply connect and become 'one' -- the exact opposite of intimacy avoidance. I hold high standards so I can do intense intimacy (I can't achieve it with just anyone). I have no "fear of exposure" with my other half -- 'exposure' = intensity/intimacy/connection = yes please.

This idea of holding the other to high standards is less relevant if you take the perspective that SX dominants can date fellow SX dominants who have similar views/needs. I'll also say that I have no desire to 'merge'/become 'one' with someone who isn't of 'my' standard/level -- this deep intimacy stuff is really personal, not just idealistic & romantic (well, for this sx/sp anyway).

I experience other human beings largely as exhausting, and yet I have an almost inexhaustible desire for intimacy with people I feel I really "click" with... I want to merge, essentially... I don't want this all day every day... I don't find anything scary about intimacy, I don't fear engulfment. I also don't want it with 99.99% (or more!) of the people I meet.
Yes, exactly.

I guess I can also be intense in other ways... like, I love solo backpacking and often feel the desire and ability to "merge" with nature in the same way I would with a person. And yet if you met me your only impression would probably be that I'm really quiet. You'd have to know me much better to see the other stuff.
Yep, me too. I'm really happy to see a fellow 5 SX describe how they can 'merge' with nature. I do it (and really enjoy it).

I guess that it sucks to have a ton of desire and yet also be so incredibly selective?
Agreed but being the extreme in both ways balances me out, happily (another reason the high standards thing isn't bad).

Any other sexual fives, what do you think? Do you also project a halo of confidence (even when under the specific conditions of doing something you feel confident on your competency) and attract to it like moth to light?
Yes, I come across as confident (I'll even say "I don't know" confidently) and am attracted to genuine natural confidence. I'm not sure how much of that is from my wider personality (INTJ-A with developed Te, 513 tritype obsessed with competence which leads to confidence). I really like that confident people (those with a spine) will tell me their truth, straight up. It's what I admire, it's what I understand and, to the point here, it's what I absolutely must have if there is to be genuine full intimacy which I need in a romantic relationship.

Finding out something, just one thing, was held back or I was misled would completely rattle me, trigger a typical e5 withdraw and devastate the confidence I had in the relationship (where telling me the same thing in a timely manner would likely be positive even if the content itself wasn't necessarily). I think I'm quite different to an 'average' person in that regard. Extreme ideal intimacy, a genuine deep connection, means so much -- I imagine it's this confidence in one another that is referred to with the e5 SX descriptions. I like that Naranjo calls us "confidence" due to our ability to trust the other. When you fully open yourself up and 'merge' and/or pair-bond it is a significant risk -- not one I'd take without deep trust (and an ability to trust).

I can see why conveying confidence could be seen as important for attracting a similar partner/friends. It's been interesting to me that my closest friends irl are all e8 (or have an e8 wing). They like truth too. Honesty is a form of intimacy in a way. I have to laugh though bc people (in general) seem to want the truth about as badly as they want intimacy, which is to say, very little. That said, I think a lot of types come across as confident, not just SX e5s, many of whom are not SX.
 

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@Dare

What you mean exactly when u refer to:

" the ultimate mystical union an experience of the divine in human relationships ..." ?

sound a little weird.

I try to understand this side of Ennea 4 but I am not very successful.
 

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@Dare

What you mean exactly when u refer to:

" the ultimate mystical union an experience of the divine in human relationships ..." ?

sound a little weird.

I try to understand this side of Ennea 4 but I am not very successful.
They are Beatrice Chestnut's words in describing the SX 5, which I do relate to. I interpret "mystical union" and "the divine in human relationships" as meaning a union so ideal, so deep that it virtually transcends normal human experience and the sublime connection becomes, or at least feels, spiritual (for lack of a better word).
 
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