Wellness

What’s Your Erotic Blueprint Type?

What’s Your Erotic Blueprint Type?

Somatic sexologist and educator Jaiya has spent the last two decades studying what turns people on. Over time, she developed something called the Erotic Blueprint, an arousal map that reveals your primary erotic language: energetic, sensual, sexual, kinky, or shapeshifter. “Your Erotic Blueprint is a map to your own wiring and your own turn-on,” she says. “People speak different erotic languages, and we can learn how to speak any of them.”

Discovering your Erotic Blueprint is a process that starts with asking yourself questions. And if you’ve watched our Netflix show Sex, Love & goop, you know there’s more pleasure to explore (solo or with a partner) once you’ve figured it out.

A Q&A with Jaiya

Q
What is an Erotic Blueprint?
A

Your Erotic Blueprint is a map to your own wiring and your own turn-on. I like to think of it mostly as a language. Your Erotic Blueprint is like your turn-on language, your arousal language. The blueprint will either have positives or shadow sides to it, unconscious sides to it, or things that have charge around it. We can move through those, so we can enhance the positive and we can release and heal the shadow aspects of the blueprint.


Q
How did you create the Erotic Blueprint method?
A

I’ve been a sexologist for over two decades now, going on three. When the blueprints came out, it was through being with people. I’m a somatic sexologist, which basically means I look at the body from a holistic viewpoint. I worked with a lot of people in sexless relationships in the beginning of my career. I started to just notice patterns like, oh, well, this person isn’t turned on the way this person is. This person’s body responds differently to this touch. Not everyone is the same.

I felt like in our culture, we have this messaging of: This is what sex looks like. This is how you are supposed to respond. What I was finding in my own personal clinical practice was that that wasn’t the way people responded—there was no one-size-fits-all approach to arousal.

I started to ask myself: What’s the formula here? What is the pattern? What am I seeing? This person is turned on by not having direct touch to their genitals or to their body. This person over here loves that. This person over here is turned on by a slap to their inner thigh. Well, those are all completely different. And so it just started to reveal itself over time.


Q
What are the five Erotic Blueprint types?
A

The sensual type is someone who’s turned on by all of their senses being ignited. This is someone who loves tastes, smell. They want to walk into a beautiful setting when they’re coming into their erotic play. They bring the artistry. And so the superpower of sensual is that they have full-body access to orgasmic pleasure through sensations—it isn’t always a genital-focused orgasm. It could be something like somebody feeding you a delicious piece of chocolate while they lick the back of your knee.

The energetic type is someone who is turned on by anticipation, space, tease, longing, yearning. You may be an energetic if you feel everything before the kiss happens. It’s like, Oh my god, oh my god, we’re going to kiss. We’re going to kiss, ah. That feeling. You are very, very sensitive, so it doesn’t take much to turn you on. It’s like dropping a pebble into water. If you drop the pebble into water, the ripples will go out.

The sexual type is someone who is turned on by what we think of as sex in our culture. Nudity, genitals, orgasm, penetration—these are some of the things the sexual loves. The superpower of the sexual is that usually turn-on is pretty easy: You can go from zero to sixty quickly. It’s not that there’s a lack of depth, but there is a simplicity. It’s like, I love this. This is what works. Let’s do this. It’s very straightforward in some ways; it’s easier to access arousal through the genitals.

The kinky type is someone who is turned on by the taboo. There are a couple of different kinds of kinky types: One is more psychological, where it’s about the power dynamics. One is more sensation-based, where it’s more about the feeling of ropes on their skin or impact play or intense sensation that arises. It’s not necessarily what we think of as kink, though; it’s about what’s taboo for you.

The shapeshifter type is someone who’s turned on by everything the sensual, sexual, kinky, and energetic types are turned on by. The superpower of a shapeshifter is that they can shapeshift to be an amazing lover to anyone. They can say, “Oh, my partner is a sensual—I’ll shapeshift to be a sensual.” And they’re turned on by that.


Q
What are the shadow sides for each type?
A

The sensual’s shadow: The shadow side of the sensual is getting caught in your head. It’s that everything in the room is not right. The pillow’s crooked. I’m worried about my body. It’s those things that distract from the sexual, full-body erotic experience.

The energetic’s shadow: Oftentimes people say to an energetic, “Oh, you’re frigid,” but it’s just that there’s so much sensation that they short-circuit. Part of the shadow side is that they can short-circuit very easily and shut down because it’s just too much stimulation. If you’re throwing giant boulders in the water over and over and over again, it’s too much for the energetic. They just need a pebble.

The sexual’s shadow: The shadow side for the sexual type is that they get too focused on the genitals and too focused on the orgasm and too limited in their definition of what sexuality is. They’re missing the rest of the journey, oftentimes because they’re so focused on getting to the end goal of the orgasm. Oftentimes sexuals say, “Well, what? It’s all good. We’re having an orgasm,” when their partner brings up that they want something more in the bedroom. Everything else is too complex to them.

The kinky type’s shadow: The shadow side for the kinky type is tied to the sense that what turns you on is taboo, and you can feel shameful about it. It’s like, Oh, I shouldn’t be doing this. So then shame can come up. That can prohibit you from fully enjoying the pleasure. An interesting piece here is that the shame can be a part of the turn-on, but it can also be part of the shadow if it’s inhibiting you. If it’s something that’s like, “I can’t do this thing or I can’t get out of my head because I’m thinking about how naughty this is,” then that can be an inhibitor to the turn-on.

The shapeshifter’s shadow: For the shapeshifter, the shadow side is oftentimes that they’re not fed. They feel like they’re too much. Somebody somewhere in the past usually said something like, “Why can’t you just be satisfied with this? Why do you want more?” The shapeshifter loves more, more, more, more. There’s a hunger. I find oftentimes the shapeshifters are starving because they’re shapeshifting to please other people and not being fed themselves.


Q
How do you figure out what your primary Erotic Blueprint type is?
A

There’s taking the quiz. There’s also an actual embodied practice, which I think is even better: You can learn from your body what it is that your body likes—because there’s what your mind says, and then there’s what your body says. Sometimes they seem like they’re at odds. I find this most often with the kinky types. It’s like, “Oh no, I’m not kinky.” Then we get onto the table.

We have a game called the A–B game where you can just go through the body and figure this out. It’s always a surprise for people when they think they’re one type, but they’ve just never explored—like, I’ve never explored energetic. And then all of a sudden, we explore energetic and a whole new world gets opened up. Until we try it, we sometimes don’t know what our bodies love.


Q
What's the journey like once you figure out what your primary type is?
A

Then the next step on the journey is learning how to feed, speak, heal, and expand the blueprint.

Because most people don’t know themselves erotically—or they don’t know how to ask for what they want erotically—they haven’t been fed in their blueprint. We’ve seen about 63 percent of people report this. So this piece of, Okay, now I know who I am. How do I feed that? What are the techniques? What are the things that will turn me on? What is the environment that I need to create? What does my bedroom need to look like? Little things like that start to shift and feed you on a daily basis.

After feeding, you learn how to speak the blueprints. Since the speaking is more of a subtle art, this is the artistry of eroticism. What’s the body language of the blueprint? How do I embody this blueprint even further? What are the words that this blueprint loves? If you have a partner, you’re learning how to feed and speak their blueprints as well.

Then, healing. The healing part is healing the shadow aspects of the blueprints. Emily Nagoski talks about research on the brakes and the accelerator on our eroticism. The brakes are these shadow aspects. The accelerator is all of the things that feed and speak to the blueprint. But if we’ve got a foot on the accelerator and on the brakes at the same time, we still don’t go anywhere. If you are overly sensitive and you’re short-circuiting all the time, how do you build capacity to be able to take more and more and more pleasure? These are some of the things that will be explored as we go through this journey.

Then finally, after you’ve done those things, we expand the blueprint. Expanding the blueprint means learning how to speak all of the blueprints. Let’s say you’re primarily sensual but your partner is kinky; how do you then learn to speak kinky?

Part of the journey is also in the expansion, uncovering things so that we can be who we really are. A lot of people who work with us end up becoming shapeshifters. People who take our course, by the end of it, say, “Oh, now I have all this vocabulary. Now I have all this freedom. Now I have endless creativity because there are no more blocks to my being my fully expressed, erotic self.”


Q
What is the body-mapping technique you do on the show? Where does it come from? How did you learn it?
A

I studied with Joseph Kramer, who was an amazing mentor to me as a sexological bodyworker. It was during our training that we did something called body mapping. The idea of body mapping was to go through the body and find a pleasure map. You can do it on yourself, or you could do it with a partner. A lot of people say doing it with someone else is helpful, because then they can just relax right into it. But if you don’t have a partner, you could completely do it by yourself.

It’s essentially going through the body and using different kinds of touches. Because I have the blueprints, I put the blueprints into the body mapping. For example, you want to do different touches that are within each blueprint. What you do is you go through the body and use a scale of one to five. One is I don’t like that. Two is meh. Three is that feels good. Four is mm, yum, that’s highly pleasurable. Five is oh-my-god orgasmic.

If you’re going through the body with that, it helps keep you present. One thing that I love about the body-mapping technique is that oftentimes people report, “That’s the most present I’ve ever been.” It teaches you how to be present and mindful in your own body. It’s almost like a mindfulness meditation, but you’re rating how pleasurable things are and creating this map as you go through.

Take any part of the body and then go through and just touch the body. If it’s an energetic touch, let’s say you’re using light fingertips on the back of someone’s knee, you ask, “On a scale of one to five, how pleasurable is this?” They can respond, “Oh, that’s a three.” Or, “That’s a one. Hate it. Don’t do it. It feels like bugs crawling all over my body”—which some people with energetic touch do feel. They don’t like it.

I have seen how different everybody is—and sometimes how different somebody is on their cycle. There are so many different things to explore with this type of technique.


Q
When you're doing this type of technique, do you introduce more than just hands?
A

Absolutely. You can use different toys that go with the different blueprints as a way to determine blueprints with body mapping. If you have something like a really light feather, that could be energetic. You could do it as a feather across someone’s cheek or your own cheek. And on a scale of one to five, how pleasurable is that? I mean, right now, as you’re reading this, you could try it. You could take your fingertips right now and go over your neck and see on a scale of one to five. Then take something like the sleeve of your shirt, or a piece of clothing, something that’s close by, and do the same thing over your neck. See on a scale of one to five how pleasurable that item is.

Let’s take a fork, for example. You can use that in any blueprint. That could be energetic if you’re doing it very lightly, barely touching—just the tease of the fork on your skin. Or you could take that and make that sensual, where you turn the fork over and it’s the flat, cold part of the fork, so it has that sensual cold, and you’re slowly contouring it over your skin. Or you take that fork and now it’s kinky and you can slap it onto your skin or do a deeper scratch, a harder scratch for more intense sensation. Or you could take that fork and make it sexual and right now over your clothes, just go right over your genital area, very lightly with the fork in a way that turns you on. Then you can shapeshift and do all those things mixed together. On a scale of one to five, how pleasurable are each one of those?

That’s one way of using an item for mapping. But you can find things all over your house to use, or you can purchase things that are meant for that, a vibrator or a flogger or something like a furry knit. There are all kinds of fun toys out there to play with.


Jaiya is a sexologist and the creator of the Erotic Blueprint Breakthrough and the Erotic Blueprint Quiz.