It's always tempting to use tools to learn about your personality... and those of your love interests. From astrology to Myers-Briggs to the enneagram, there are countless ways to categorize your personality—as well as to check your compatibility with a potential partner.
But when it comes to aligning on sexual chemistry, many people struggle to figure out what turns them on. Not to mention, the language to talk about those turn-ons is also elusive. That’s where the Erotic Blueprints come in. The Erotic Blueprints provide “a language to express your needs, and understand your partner’s desires, which makes meeting those needs much easier,” says certified Erotic Blueprint coach, Jessie Fresh. And doesn’t that sound nice?
Meet the experts: Jaiya is a somatic sexologist and creator of the Erotic Blueprints.
Jessie Fresh is a sexologist and certified Erotic Blueprint coach.
Janet Brito, PhD, is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and the founder of The Sexual Health School.
Terra Anderson is a certified Erotic Blueprint coach, somatic sex therapist, and intimacy coach for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Ahead, experts in Erotic Blueprints explain what they are, how to find yours, and what to do if you and your S.O. speak different sexual languages. (Psst, it’s not as big of a deal as you might think.)
What is an Erotic Blueprint, anyway?
Like the love languages, the Erotic Blueprints are split into five categories. (And while this may seem like an oversimplification, given how difficult talking about sex and sexuality can be, any starting point is valuable.)
These categories create “a framework to help understand your unique wiring of arousal and pleasure,” says Fresh. “By knowing your Erotic Blueprint, you can better understand what turns you on, and what your erotic needs are.”
The Erotic Blueprints were developed by somatic sexologist Jaiya after she noticed patterns in how different people were aroused. After many years of observing and coaching her clients, Jaiya launched the Erotic Blueprint framework and quiz in 2016. “I developed this framework based on the truths that people’s bodies tell,” she says. “This system became clear after years of observing and testing these truths.” Since its initial launch, the framework has proven to be incredibly popular within sexual wellness circles—even scoring a segment in Netflix’s Love, Sex & Goop.
The Erotic Blueprints have also become a valuable tool for coaches and therapists when working with clients who want to explore their own sexuality more deeply. For somatic sex therapist and certified Erotic Blueprint coach Terra Anderson, the benefits of the framework in their practice has been undeniable. “An Erotic Blueprint is a person’s unique map to arousal. It factors in your mental and physical erotic landscape to help you get a full picture of what turns you on and how to achieve increasingly higher states of ecstasy during sex,” they explain. “This typology system isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to sex. It is a system designed to map the unique twists and turns of each person’s journey to sexual fulfillment.” And who couldn’t benefit from having a more fulfilling sex life?
What are the five Erotic Blueprint types?
Simply put, they are: sensual, energetic, sexual, kinky, and shapeshifter. Each type has its own arousal patterns, as well as a unique set of challenges. Jaiya calls these “superpowers” and “shadows.”
“These superpowers are the easiest point of access for that person to experience arousal and sexual satisfaction,” she says. Shadows, on the other hand, “describe the areas where people find themselves blocked in their ability to connect to pleasure.”
Jaiya also notes that it’s important to look at the whole picture of your eroticism as “you can have the superpowers of one blueprint and the shadows of a different one.” After all, everyone has a primary—the fastest way for you to access pleasure—and secondary—another pathway to pleasure that supports your primary one—Erotic Blueprint. Plus, like your Myers-Briggs personality type, your blueprint may change over time.
Ahead, discover the five Erotic Blueprints, their turn-ons, plus their potential challenges, according to experts:
If you like a hot bath in a candlelit room before sexual play, you might be a sensual type. According to Fresh, sensual types enjoy “beautiful ambiance [and] relaxation before arousal.” Think: Lots of seductive foreplay, which preferably includes an erotic massage.
Where a sensual type may struggle, however, is getting too stuck in their head, says Fresh. They can seem incredibly picky about their erotic play and may be easily thrown off if the mood isn’t just right, she adds.
The energetic type’s superpower is that they “can orgasm without even being touched,” says Jaiya. (Uh, lucky them!) Craving, longing, and anticipation for what comes next are major turn-ons for this type. In other words, they enjoy the soft touches and dirty talk that happen before sex even more than the main event.
As for their shadow, “An energetic [type] can be extremely sensitive to their environment,” Jaiya explains. If things are moving too fast or if they’re being touched in multiple ways at once, they may become overstimulated “and shut down or dissociate completely.”
Sexual types seem most aligned with mainstream views of sex. “The sexual type is someone who gets aroused by body parts, genitals, [and] seeing someone naked,” says AASECT- certified sex therapist Janet Brito, PhD.
It might sound like the sexual types hit the blueprint jackpot, since their way of getting off is, uh, pretty straightforward, but they have their own shadow side, too. Sexual types may become too goal-oriented or orgasm-focused, which, according to Fresh, can mean missing out on the pleasure of the journey.
“The kinky type is someone who gets aroused by ‘the forbidden’ or non-traditional ways of getting aroused, like engaging in power play or impact play,” says Brito. This can include everything from bondage and spanking to roleplay.
As for where this type may experience some blocks, both Jaiya and Fresh point out that kinky types may feel a lot of shame regarding their kinks. That means these types can “have a hard time getting into their bodies and experiencing pleasure,” says Brito.
“A shapeshifter who has developed their skills can be the ultimate lover, because they love it all—the different erotic possibilities—and they tend to have a voracious appetite for lots of sexual engagement,” says Jaiya. Read: The shapeshifter embodies all of the Erotic Blueprint types, and thus can easily access pleasure through multiple ways.
The catch? Because shapeshifters can pull from all of the different blueprints to access pleasure, they may also embody the shadow sides of all the different types, says Fresh. In addition, because the way they enjoy sex is constantly changing, these types may easily become frustrated and confused, leading them to turn to people-pleasing rather than prioritizing their own pleasure, Fresh adds.
How can I find out what my Erotic Blueprint is?
The quickest way to figure out your Erotic Blueprint is to take the official Erotic Blueprint Quiz developed by Jaiya. But remember: Any test with self-reported answers will be influenced by your beliefs. The quiz tells people “what they ‘think’ they are, not necessarily what their body truly enjoys,” says Fresh. Instead, she suggests working with a certified Erotic Blueprint coach who can help guide clients to dig deeper and test different preferences.
If you want a more DIY option, you can start by bringing more mindfulness to the bedroom. “Increase your own body awareness to learn what turns you on,” says Brito. One way to do this is through body-mapping (or arousal-mapping). The idea is to explore different sensations all over your body, and keep track of what turns you on. From dragging your fingernails on your skin to giving yourself (or, receiving) a deep massage, provide a variety of sensations to each part of the body and rate how pleasurable each is.
You can body map alone or with a partner, and track your results in whatever way feels most natural to you—whether that involves keeping a bulleted list or drawing out an outline of your body and color-coding zones from hot—areas or touches that most spark arousal—to cold—points on your body where you’re least aroused when touched. You may even want to break this exercise down over multiple evenings to allow time to fully explore.
Before you begin tracking, it may also help if you’re a little aroused as arousal changes may affect how various stimuli feel—for example, arousal can diminish the pain response, making spanking fun when you’re turned on, but annoying or unpleasant when you’re not.
Once you have your results, you’ll have a better idea of what Erotic Blueprint type you are and what kind of sensations to lean into during your next sexual experience.
How can knowing your Erotic Blueprint benefit your sex life?
For some, knowing what they want in the bedroom is a given. But for many folks—especially those whose interests don’t match what’s usually shown in movies and television—figuring out turn-ons and turn-offs can be a lot trickier. “Sexuality is not something openly and honestly discussed in our culture, so many people feel lost, confused, ashamed, and even angry that they are not experiencing the connection and pleasure they desire,” says Jaiya. “The blueprints give people a language and practices for erotic fulfillment.”
“Understanding your Erotic Blueprint puts you in control of your sexual satisfaction,” adds Anderson. In other words, instead of “going with the flow” and letting a sexual partner figure out how to turn you on, the language and tools of the Erotic Blueprints allow you to take charge of your pleasure.
When people can’t articulate what’s missing from their sex life, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to ask for it. “Getting to know your dynamic erotic needs means you’re more likely to advocate for those needs, get them fulfilled, and have peak sexual experiences as a result,” says Fresh. Because asking for what you want is the only way to get it.
Knowing your blueprint isn't the only way to better your love life. Learn about the five love languages here:
What if my partner and I have different Erotic Blueprints?
If you and your S.O. get off in different ways, don’t fret. This isn’t a problem—it’s an opportunity.
“Having a different blueprint from your partner creates a more dynamic playground to explore,” says Fresh. A kinky type could entice a sexual type with leather and high heels, appealing to their visual appetite. Or an energetic type and a sensual type may revel in their shared appreciation for anticipation and foreplay, seeing who can tease the other longer.
Plus, according to Jaiya, having a different Erotic Blueprint from your partner is almost always the case. That’s why it’s important to look not only at your primary type, but at your complete pleasure profile, too.
To bring it back to astrology, if your primary Erotic Blueprint type is your Sun sign, you also have other points of access to pleasure that aren’t as powerful, but noteworthy nonetheless, akin to your Moon and ascending signs.
If you look only at your and a partner's primary Erotic Blueprint type, you might think you are sexually incompatible and a lost cause, says Jaiya. But looking at your full pleasure profiles may reveal that you each have a decent percentage of a shared blueprint, and/or that you have high access to each other's blueprints. “We can find access points to meet each other in areas where we are each turned on,” she adds.
Ultimately, Erotic Blueprints are one more tool worth having in your personal and sexual arsenal. Like other tools to assess your personality, it’s a way to get to know yourself better so you can be a happier, healthier you.
Stella Harris is a certified intimacy educator, professional coach, trained mediator, and the author of Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships and The Ultimate Guide to Threesomes. Her freelance career is never dull; highlights include being sent to a strip club with a press pass, appearing on the evening news to discuss the importance of sex education in schools, and speaking as an authority on banana slug mating habits. In her free time, she curls up with scary books and horror movies.