What is Your Erotic Blueprint?
Learning How To Communicate Sexual Desire
It is no secret that relationships require communication in order to better understand ourselves and each other. When it comes to sex, most of us were not taught or modelled from parents or school about sex and how to accept and communicate our desires. Porn, Hollywood and the internet all offer varieties of sexual advice and examples of sexual relationships that are at times helpful and at other times misleading or even unhealthy. As a result we often feel shame about our sexual desires, judging ourselves and/or our partners about the kind, frequency and hotness of our sexual connection. For many, adding the fear of speaking up as well as the busy-ness of life means that we hide our discontent or rationalize our experience as simply not important.
A Language of Desire
I spoke with Beth Ostrander who is an Erotic Blueprint coach and teaches workshops on the topic. She said that the model provides a language and framework for understanding one's sexual preferences and desires. Many people do not know how to articulate their desires, and therefore resonating with a Blueprint type can feel validating and offer further insight into what turns them on and why. The blueprint offers more than just a list of activities that people might like to do. It offers more of a “how” and “why” those activities might turn them on.
The Sexual Types
There are five main types in this model as Beth explained. We can each have a clear dominant type or be more than one type. Each blueprint has its characteristics: those aspects that enhance sexual connection as well as those facets that inhibit it. Both sides are important to know when better understanding oneself as well as a lover. Understanding our blueprints opens us to a better understanding of what we want and how to ask for it.
Energetic people are turned on by anticipation, having space and being teased. They are intuitive and sensitive. They love the build-up and experimentation. This means that if touch is too intense or too fast, they can be turned off, so pacing is key.
Sensual people are turned on by their senses. They love indulging them all. Where sensual people get stuck is when they are in their heads and not feeling their sensations. They need to get relaxed and sometimes need the right setting in order to want to engage sexually.
Sexual folks enjoy being naked, love penetration, find sex to be fun and relaxing. Sometimes however they become focused on the goal of orgasm and do not enjoy the journey along the way.
Kinky people are turned on by what they consider taboo desires. On the flip-side, these people can sometimes feel shame about their desires, affecting their self-esteem and becoming distant due to hiding who they are.
Shapeshifters speak all of the above languages fluently. They are creative and open to many options. Their challenge is that they do not always feel fully satisfied. They have to listen to themselves to ensure that they follow what they actually want rather than simply accommodating their partner's desires.
Are Some Types Incompatible?
Of course it is easier if lovers are the same blueprint according to Beth. You both will understand each other with less explanation. However there is overlap between all of the blueprints. And sometimes we can focus on one person's preference at a time. It also means that if we have different turn-ons, we can better understand each other. The validation of being a “type” like many other people can help take away the judgment about one's desires and their implications. For example, if one partner is an energetic type, then understanding the need for build-up can take away the blame or shame about needing time to get aroused. In the same way, if this energetic person's partner does not need the same kind of build-up, then the energetic person can take responsibility for building up their anticipation and arousal for themselves ahead of their connection together, or build in anticipation in their time together.
Another aspect of the Erotic Blueprint that Beth illuminated is that we go through stages through our erotic lives: resting, healing, curiosity, adventure, transformation and back to resting. Each cycle can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as years. Understanding where we are in the cycle can help us better understand what our needs are at the time as a sexual type. Again, understanding can reduce judgment and increase acceptance, which is key to unlocking our desire to connect with ourselves and/ or a partner.
The cycle might begin at a resting state, whether we are taking a breath to centre ourselves or choosing to not have sex at all for a month or a year or more. The next stage is healing, where we consciously reflect on and validate ourselves and our desires, getting help if needed. Compassion from ourselves and others is essential for healing. Curiosity often follows, where we are interested in investigating a new approach, a new sexual technique or just engaging sexually again. That curiosity generally turns into adventure, where we explore and apply what we are curious about trying. Finally we experience some form of transformation, looking for what is next, what the adventure means, or how we are impacted by the intimacy.
Pathways to Pleasure
The third and final dimension to the Erotic Blueprint approach is to understand our blocks in order to discover the pathway to the pleasure we seek. At any given time, we might have physical (sore back), chemical (substances we take or might help us to take), energetic (polarities such as active and passive) or emotional (shame, sadness, anger) blocks to our pleasure pathways. Once we can identify what our blocks are, we can look for ways to reduce or eliminate them or just work our way around or through them.
Knowledge is power and thus better understanding ourselves and a partner can help to increase the erotic pleasure and harmony in our lives. There are three pitfalls that Beth told me can happen once people better understand themselves. The first is that people will then expect their partner to use their blueprint to do the work. We still need to be ultimately responsible for our own pleasure. Secondly, people can cling to their primary type and not continue to explore. The power in the knowledge is to expand possibilities for exploration, not to shut the door to anything that does not immediately fit. Thirdly, Beth discussed how sometimes we are not sure what our type is or we don’t understand how to apply it. It is in listening to the body that we will find our truth. Noticing what brings arousal, what piques our interest, what feels exciting and scary at the same time can provide clues to our broad or specific desires. Listening to oneself in different ways is the best way to access our desires and pleasure.