The “Sexual Wellness” documentary series “Love, Sex and Goop” on Netflix has aired. In it couples try to rediscover their sexuality with the help of coaching. The “Erotic Blueprints” developed by Jaiya Ma have since received new interest.
The “Erotic Blueprints” is a test, where the answers consist of 5 categories. After taking the quiz you can find out which one you are. If you are the energetic type, you are turned on less by direct touch than by teasing, and the energy of the other person; the sensual type draws its turn-ons from all five senses; the sexual type focuses on nudity, genitals, everything visual and orgasms; and if you are kinky, you are turned on by taboo-breaking and lustful forbidden things either in fantasy or in playing with each other. Type number five is the shapeshifter, who moves through all types and can draw excitement from everything.
But the evaluation is not quite so black and white, at least not in the Pleasure Profile, which has to be paid for: the results are given in percentages, so you have to find out how many of which blueprints you have. Exciting at first, and, let’s face it – who doesn’t love taking a quiz about themselves?
Jaiya Ma uses the categories to get couples talking to each other and reflecting on commonalities and differences. The aim is to work on finding a common “sex language” and to understand where things are going wrong. The concept is reminiscent of Chapman’s “5 languages of love,” which are also primarily about understanding oneself better and communicating more mindfully with each other on this basis.
But back to sex: Does it make sense - and if so, for what - to make these classifications and what can I do with the results?
The need for classification is typical in our society and even if we know that categories are always a bit arbitrary and constructed, we sometimes need them to identify ourselves, or to understand contexts. So far so good. So finding yourself in one or more of the “Erotic Blueprints” also means thinking about the questions yourself: What turns me on? What do I react to with physical arousal?
Sexologically speaking, this is very exciting because it says a lot about us and our sexual system. With Jaiya Ma, however, there is no further research here, but rather manifestation: This is just how I am. And now we can see if our partner is on the same page, or if we don’t have as much in common as we thought.
Netflix vs. Reality
Seducing someone to engage in new experiences and to feel a lot in different ways is a great, yet oftentimes not an easy skill to realise – whether in life or in sexuality. In the scenario of the Netflix series, both partners are open and willing to try things out, even in public. In reality, this is probably not always the case. Just because I know what turns me on doesn’t necessarily mean that I can get my sex partner excited about it. Especially if this kind of access has not played a role in the person’s life so far. And here lies a limitation of working with the “Erotic Blueprints”: It depends on the willingness of both partners and could also come to the conclusion: Well, you are just too different!
Encouraging communication and self-reflection in a couple is always a good idea, and this is where the strengths of the model lie: it is a couple-dynamic approach, in a similar way to couple therapy or counselling, and can be helpful for many within such a framework.
In sexuality, however, we often forget that each person has a very individual, learned sexuality, and yes, this clearly includes “turn-ons” that have been developed over the years – i.e. things that one likes and that work great to get aroused. And arousal always takes place physically: breathing changes, body tension can vary, more blood flows into the genitals and the penis and vulva/vagina get an erection, which we often (not always, by the way!) experience as pleasurable and horny.
And so the exploration of sexual difficulties in couple sexuality is not only about finding the lowest common denominator with each other – but about expanding and learning about one’s own sexuality.
What Does This Mean For Me And My Relationship(s)?
If I’m only into dirty talk, but my partner needs long massages to get into the mood, it becomes difficult at some point to have sex together. But I can learn to feel a lot in other ways and to develop new ways of accessing pleasure, and the best way to do that is with the sex tool we have at our disposal all our lives: our own body. If we see it as our instrument, it is possible throughout our lives to expand our repertoire and to add keys, or strings, or to play a new chord, in order to enjoy completely new music.
This doesn’t happen overnight and always requires perseverance, but every person can learn to feel more insync with their body and perhaps get into pleasure more easily and directly. The cool thing about it: the more broadly I am positioned myself, the more compatible I am in contact with other people. Everything no longer has to “fit exactly” between us, but I can switch back and forth between different movements, touches or games that all potentially give me pleasure.
If you know your body tools – breath, tension, different speeds and the range of movement that I take up – and can influence them, you have a great amount of possibilities available to you during sex. Because you can bring yourself pleasure, to some extent, and not be dependent on your partner doing exactly what I need.
This helpful approach to sex therapy or counselling is not included in the “Erotic Blueprints,” but they can be a great introduction when dealing with what one’s own pleasure accesses are in more detail. Sometimes just talking about it can open up a new level in the relationship or give the incentive to get involved in something new.
For those who find that it works well and, above all, is fun: go for it! In the long run, however, for many it may simply be too little to change something in their sex life together.
It’s important to keep in mind how understandable it is that something that has been manifested for decades – and often perfected in the sense of: this is how it works for me! – such as one’s own sexuality cannot be changed so easily for everyone by categorizing oneself into one of five types and adapting to the partner’s “type”.
Change always works by expanding and having more options available to oneself, so that one is no longer dependent on meeting the situation in only one way. Which is actually quite reassuring: we are not solely dependent on others, but have it in our own hands – also in sexuality!