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Enneagram 6 Sexual Variant


What does a sexual variant 6 look like? I received a request on my Youtube channel this week to create a video about Enneagram 6 sexual variant, and here it is:


Bottom line about sexual variant 6s- they want intensity and depth and also security and support. They are the 6s that appear most aggressive and strong, which is their intensity showing through.

Stay tuned next week, we will have an interview with a sexual variant 6! Any particular questions you would like me to ask our guinea pig?


13 Comments on Enneagram 6 Sexual Variant

  1. Mike Silberstein
    January 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Jan. I want to seriously applaud you for this particular blog! You did something here that I tend to think that no other Enneagram author has done well, and seriously helped alleviate so many confusions about the Instinctual Variants of the 6. Throughout the Enneagram literature, I find the description of the Instincts for 6s to be really confusing and unclear. This made it extremely hard for me, as a 6 (with a 7 wing), to identify which Instinct is my dominant.

    If you ignore Enneagram type, I relate most to the passion and focus on another person and/or a hobby that I would embrace to the ends of the Earth, etc. that would signify the Sexual Instinct. For most of the nine Enneagram types, when I compared the three descriptions, I related most to the the specific subtype description of the Sexual variant. However, in contrast to the descriptions in most of the nine types, there was always something that threw me off when I read about the Sexual Instinct of the 6. Most authors gave it more of purely counterphobic emphasis, when I am generally more phobic (and BTW, am an ENFP as well).

    If I read most Enneagram books’ descriptions of the Instincts of the 6, I would relate most to the ‘Warmth’ of the self preservation 6….but the problem is that there is no way that I am so body/health/finance oriented that I am self-pres. For a long time, I thought that I am a Social 6 (since I have the friendly style to me)…..but the problem is that I am not nearly as driven by the ‘group’. I would rather have a few rock solid people who I can spend quality time with, than to be dispersed within a group framework. I care very much about people, but I find that it is more in terms of really getting to know the person who I am talking to and who I am with rather than to either superficially talk with many individuals (i.e., networking) or to be in a large group (with the only exception being a group of people who are together more for the common interest/hobby/passion than for just being in a group). So something about the Social 6 never sat right with me.

    The way that you describe the Sexual 6, describes me in a picture perfect way, in spite of me being more phobic. I am a very passionate guy who can immerse myself tremendously/deeply in that one area that I truly care about. It is funny because I relate very well to the concept of the Sexual 7’s concept of being ‘fascinated’ by novelty. I love things that are awesome, novel, make life interesting and unique, etc. However, I fully admit that 6-ish anxiety and analysis paralysis is where I get hung up.

    I think that most Sexual 6 descriptions get so caught up on the Strength/Beauty aspect, rather than simply to find the security in having the type of deep, passionate life that is energizing and stimulating. But to be honest (and in a manner that supports also being an ENFP), that is precisely the description that fits my life the most….and is also the type of description that I wish that I would be seeing in most Enneagram books. I think that by having too much focus on either the counterphobic element (although I can get more counterphobic, especially when immersed in a passion, reverie, although I still remain more phobic overall) or on the gender aligning component (i.e., becoming more masculine, feminine), these descriptions miss the mark.

    So once again, Jan, I absolutely applaud you for truly GETTING what my specific version of Sexual 6 looks like. It is passionate….it is really analytical, paranoid, and anxious….It deeply fears anything close to personal rejection…it just wants to deeply immerse and connect with that one area (or individual) that means the world to the 6, and that brings security to the 6.

    Really well done!!! Thank you for elucidating this process for me!

    • Jan
      January 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing your thought process with us Mike, and I’m so glad this has been helpful! I think your description here of the different variants and how they pertain to the 6 will be useful for others exploring their subtype. I’m curious, how did you find yourself as a 6?

      • Mike Silberstein
        January 20, 2015 at 11:40 pm (3 years ago)

        Hi Jan. My process of determining that I was a 6 actually took quite a while. On many Enneagram tests, I scored high on 9, 2, and 4 often, and in many ways, I can identify (on a trait-based level) with the receptive, accommodating nature of the 9, the people-pleasing aspects of the 2, and the emotionality of the 4. (Not surprising, I find my tritype to be most likely be a 6-9-2).

        However none of those three matched what I was doing on a motivational/fixation level. In fact, that was a blind spot at times… However, at an Enneagram workshop that I went to, the person who ran it immediately noticed that I had the qualities of the 6. I had the analysis-paralysis, I had the inner anxiety and jittery-ness. I also consider myself to be very loyal to individuals who I find trustworthy and who will not let me down (since betrayal is one of the hardest things for me to shake off in general). I also as a kid (and especially as an ENFP), tended to be somewhat naive and trusting to people, since I wanted the world to be harmonious….but my parents often reinforced to me early in life that I should ‘watch my back’ and ‘make decisions more with my head than my heart’…and through all that, I started getting messages that I need to be vigilant about the people who I interact with and the decisions that I end up making (leading to the type of ‘inner committee’ in my head/psyche that Enneagram authors often describe). I also tend to look at reality in a very relativistic way, where I might see the merits of being pro-something, while at the same time, I could see the merits of going the other way and being anti-something as well. So then I would have a choice of being pro-something or anti-something….and I simply would have a hard time deciding which side I needed to be on….and so, I would remain on the fence for a long time and do this inner back-forth debate as to which option sounded better.

        I guess that the bottom line is that as a 6, there is a ton of inner chatter in my head. It stems from having an active mind…and while that can be stimulating and can lead to an enriching life (where there aren’t as many dull moments), at times, I would love for that active mind to quiet down and to not attempt to ‘track down’ every development in a way that 6s often do.

        So this is basically how I know that I’m a 6. It took a bit of detective work and help from people who could see the 6-ness in me, but once I found it, I knew that it was my dominant fixation (in a manner that 9, 2, 4, or 7 really couldn’t match).

        I hope that this answers your question. Let me know if you have any others… Thanks again!

        • Jan
          January 21, 2015 at 10:39 am (3 years ago)

          Thanks Mike, very interesting! Your experience is a great example of 6s finding and connecting to their main style, it often takes some process of elimination and reflection from those that are closest. One other question, do you identify as a true extrovert or more of an ambivert? As you may be familiar, there is some discussion about 6s being the only true ambiverts, which can make narrowing to an MBTI type a challenge! I’m curious which you relate to more.

          • Mike Silberstein
            January 21, 2015 at 11:40 am (3 years ago)

            Hi Jan. Great question! I think that in terms of sociability (and the general way that introversion and extraversion tends to be described, for better or worse), I am definitely an ambivert. There are times when I am very talkative, expressive, etc., and then there are other times when I withdraw into more of a private space. I can easily go both ways, and have general qualities that fit both extraverted and introverted tendencies. I also can be very enthusiastic and expressive, and at other times, I can be somewhat shy and nervous/afraid to initiate conversations. So both sides apply.

            Switching from social intro/extra-vertedness to the type of extra/intro-vertedness that Carl Jung refers to in “Psychological Types”, where he is referring more to larger attention towards ‘the outside world’ (of events, people, activities, etc) or ‘one’s inner world’ (of ideas, feelings/emotions, sensations), I would say that in this sense, I tend to be more of the former (‘objective’) than of the latter (‘subjective’). Assuming that I am a Sexual 6, I definitely get more ‘juice’/passion from stuff that lies outside me than from within me. I love learning about new ideas, concepts, theories, and frankly, the stuff that happens outside me tends to grab my attention more than my internal world. In fact, I can be somewhat ‘outer-focused’ that I sometimes need to step back and reflect upon how I generally feel about that subject from the inside. Sometimes those feeling tones come immediately to me (and tell me whether I like or resonate with something) and at other times, I can be immersed in a bit of a ride before I can naturally step back and assess my impressions and feelings about it.

            Because of my sociability-related ambivertedness, for a long time, I thought that I was an INFP rather than an ENFP. I would even say that this plays a role in why I currently am thinking that I am Sexual dominant. Because I gravitate towards a small number of friends, rather than a larger group of friends, and because I value more intimate (beefy/juicy) conversations, rather than general small talk, this has made me think that I am an INFP, and that this carries over into thinking that I am a Sexual Dominant. However, because on a Jungian level of understanding, I am more ‘outer-world’ focused (even though I don’t have a ton of friends), I realized that I am actually an ENFP (and a dominant perceiving type)….However, this question still very much carries over into my Sexual vs. Social dominant debate.

            Great question indeed!! I hope that my answer provided some sort of clarification here. Being a 6, coming to these answers never seems to come easily and always takes a bit of time and inner debate…..but heck, it is always worth it!!

  2. Mike Silberstein
    January 21, 2015 at 6:41 am (3 years ago)

    Hi again Jan. Is it at all possible if you could make a video blog also on the Social 6? I was just thinking (in true 6-like fashion) that seeing the flip side of this debate of mine (as to whether I am a Sexual 6 or a Social 6) might really help clarify in deciding which one I am.

    With this comes a separate issue of how these instincts are defined. If Social is defined by being in a ‘group’ or even navigating a ‘group’, one person at a time (like networking at a mixer/party or a conference), then I am likely not a Social dominant. However, if Social is not about ‘groups’ per se and it is more about creating ‘interpersonal bonds’ by interacting in a kind/nice, friendly, respectful way with another person or a small group, then there is still a shot that I am a Social dominant (especially when feeling left out and not included or validated can affect me as well). So a lot of this hinges quite a bit on what the definition of this particular instinct happens to be (i.e., whether it is about larger groups/entities with three or more people, or whether it has more to do with being on the friendly, cordial side of things).

    (Enneagram stacking-wise, I am most likely either an sx/soc/sp or a soc/sx/sp….and this discussion has bearing on what it might very well turn out to be).

    Please let me know if you are open to making a video blog about the Social 6, and that would be awesome!

    Thank you so much!

    • Jan
      January 21, 2015 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

      Certainly Mike! I’ll get right on that. One piece of information that may be useful to you as you explore- Mario Sikora has identified the most common stacking patterns as follows:

      Sexual dominant is followed by sp then social
      Self preservation dominant is followed by social then sexual
      Social dominant is followed by sexual then sp

      Of course these are generalizations, but food for thought. I’ll have that video blog for you shortly!

      • Mike Silberstein
        January 21, 2015 at 11:48 am (3 years ago)

        Thanks a million Jan! I can’t wait to check it out and to do a compare and contrast (vs. the Sexual 6 vid) very soon!

      • Mike Silberstein
        January 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm (3 years ago)

        Hi Jen. I was thinking about the Mario Sikora-derived common stackings (and BTW, I really value his contributions to the field of the Instincts). I really have no clue whether or not he is correct in this assumption (of only those specific three stackings). I tend to think that all six stackings are available to us….but I am open to considering only three if the pattern universally opens up in the way that he claims.

        Assuming that he is accurate, there is one way that assuming that I am a Sexual dominant, that I actually could be an sx/sp (rather than sx/soc). Here’s how….

        My tritype is 6-9-2 (6w7-9w1-2w3). This is by default, a very people/humanistic-oriented tritype. So I think that there is a possibility that this tritype could potentially mask a preference for the Social instinct (in the middle slot). The thing that makes me open to this idea is the fact that Social could very well be a group (3+ person) interaction, and it is possible that if I reduce Social to this, I may possibly engage in Self Preservation more than Social (simply because of choosing to be amongst smaller numbers of people more often). I think that if my tritype wasn’t so people oriented, I might not be as comfortable shifting Social to third. But I’m open to this, given that my Enneagram tritype already radiates a certain level of people-orientation, in which pushing Social higher in the stack, might even overemphasize its role.

        I haven’t a clue as to whether this is correct for me, but given the Sikora trend, I’m open to this possibility for sure.

        • Jan
          January 22, 2015 at 4:16 pm (3 years ago)

          I can see why the Social vs. Sexual is such a tricky thing to decipher, but you have certainly done your homework. I tend to agree that all six stackings are available and exist in us as a proportion. For example, I’d describe myself 50% sx, 30% sp and 20% so, although that form of understanding can get tricky as well. I do think it is reasonable to assume that there is a more usual pattern as Sikora does. It does sound pretty clear though that so/sx are in the #1 and #2 dominant positions for you, and however that shakes out is ok. 🙂 You’ve worked really hard to build that case for sp but I don’t think it is enough to tip the scales!
          Thanks for your thoughts on the ambivert question, I find that topic endlessly fascinating. 🙂

          • Mike Silberstein
            January 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm (3 years ago)

            Hi again Jan!

            You wrote “It does sound pretty clear though that so/sx are in the #1 and #2 dominant positions for you, and however that shakes out is ok. :)”

            I’m a bit confused….Is what you are saying implying that you think that I am Social dominant with Sexual in the middle slot and that you are convinced of that?

            Or are you saying that I could be either Social OR Sexual at BOTH slots 1 and 2, and the jury is still out as to which one prevails?

            I just wanted to make sure that I understood you properly about this, because from what I read, it almost looks like you are saying that I am absolutely a Social 6. I wonder if I misinterpreted. Please let me know what you meant.

            Thanks so much!

  3. Jan
    January 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Mike! I meant that they were both in the top two somewhere, I have no opinion about the order 🙂

    • Mike Silberstein
      January 23, 2015 at 8:57 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jan! That totally makes sense and what what I was thinking. And my gut is telling me that I really am Sexual first…I am more of a depth-first guy (in terms of interests, passions, hobbies, core people in my life) rather than a breadth-first guy (I can go broad and want to understand things in a wide context, but I will always choose that single area that I deeply care about and have a vested interest in over simply broadening my horizons without much preference or vested interest). So this is why my SX-dom hunch is alive and kicking as we speak…

      Thanks so much for clarifying! This dialogue is incredibly fun thus far!

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