Just when you thought you’d taken every personality quiz known to man, a sex therapist has gone and created an entirely new model.
Through rigorous research and working with thousands of clients over more than 15 years in sex therapy, sex therapist and licensed psychotherapist Vanessa Marin, M.S., has pinpointed 11 unique sexual personality types and developed a system for helping people understand which one they fall into.
Sexual compatibility is paramount to healthy relationships. We tend to push it aside in favor of other positive personal qualities such as kindness, a good sense of humor, etc. To be clear, sex isn’t the most important thing in a relationship, but research tells us couples that are more happy with their sex life are more happy with their relationship overall. When your sexual interests don’t align with your partner’s and a satisfying sex life is hard to access together, you’re not going to have a very happy partnership.
“Just as it’s important for us to understand what we’re looking for in a partner and in a relationship, we need to know what we’re looking for out of our sex life,” Marin tells mbg. “If we understand why we have sex, and what we’re looking to get out of it, it can help us communicate those needs to our partner, create the right environment for us to feel desire, and, ultimately, lead to some pretty damn great sex.”
Here are the 11 sexual personality types you should know, according to Marin. You’ll probably relate to more than one, she says, so it might be helpful to choose a “top 3” that you feel most apply to you.
1. The decompresser
For you, sex is all about stress relief. Sex is a way you blow off steam and unwind. You may seek out sex because you’re feeling tense, or you may simply enjoy spending time basking in the afterglow when sex is over. Maybe you like how sex puts you right into a deep sleep afterward! You may masturbate for the same reasons too. Orgasms are important to you because they bring about that feeling of relief or release. Sex just doesn’t feel complete without that.
2. The explorer
Sex is your playground! You’re all about novelty. You’re curious about sex, and you love learning, experimenting, and trying new things. You like pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You don’t take sex too seriously, and you can laugh about it if your explorations don’t work out perfectly. You may read articles or books about sex or may have taken workshops on sex before.
3. The fair-trader
To you, generosity is the most important quality of sex. You like for there to be a balance. You want to know that your partner enjoys giving just as much as you enjoy receiving, and vice versa. It’s important to you that you and your partner are both willing and enthusiastic. You like knowing that you’re both open to each other’s needs and willing to work together.
4. The giver
You view sex and pleasure as a gift that you give to your partner. Your partner’s sexual experience is at least as important to you as your own and probably even more so. You’re very in tune with your partner’s experience, and it makes you feel good to know that you can make your partner feel good. You may also struggle with receiving.
5. The guardian
For you, it’s extremely important for sex to feel safe. You like feeling that foundation of security with your partner and with yourself. Your boundaries are important to you, as is enthusiastic consent. You may have experienced sexual abuse in your past, which has led you to seek out safety as an adult. Or you may simply like feeling that bond of trust and security with a partner before and while being intimate.
6. The passion-pursuer
You like sex to feel all-encompassing, intense, and passionate. Maybe even animalistic. You’re very in tune with the energy between you and your partner during sex. You love the idea of letting go and losing yourself in the moment. For you, the best sex is when time seems to stand still.
7. The pleasure-seeker
For you, sex is about pure physical pleasure. You just like to feel good! You may even be confused about all of these different personality types because you think sex is just one of those simple pleasures in life. You enjoy touch and physical contact throughout the day too. You don’t need to feel emotional connection with someone to have great sex with them. You may be a kinesthetic type of person—you learn by doing, and you’re tactile.
8. The prioritizer
The most important thing for you is that sex is something that you and your partner prioritize over other things in your life. You don’t want to make excuses about being too busy or tired; you want to be intimate before that. You value your sex life, and you’re willing to spend time on it and make sacrifices for it. You like sex to be consistent. You may even like having a specific routine with how often you have sex.
9. The romantic
Sex is all about connection for you. You want to experience real emotional intimacy with your partner while you’re being physical. It’s important for both you and your partner to feel present in the moment with each other. Sometimes you may like slower, more drawn-out sex. You like exchanging “I love you’s” during sex, or making eye contact.
10. The spiritualist
You enjoy sex that connects you to a higher purpose. You think sex should be a transcendent experience. Sex is bigger than what’s happening in the body. You may be religious, or you may enjoy Eastern philosophies like tantra.
11. The thrill-seeker
For you, there’s a thrill to having sex that feels forbidden or taboo. You may enjoy an element of power play in your sex life, like allowing your partner to dominate you or dominating your partner. Whereas the thrill-seeker simply likes exploration for exploration’s sake, you crave that sense of the taboo.
Once you’ve picked out your top three, consider asking your partner(s) to pick out theirs and compare—it might help you better understand each other and how to make your mutual sex life more satisfying for both of you.