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The Sexual/Intimate Four Personality Style


At the heart of the Sexual or Intimate Four’s existence lies an insatiable desire for love and connection. We yearn to be seen, understood, and desired by another – to merge with them in a profound union of souls. This longing cues into the notion that human beings are inherently social creatures, craving connection and belonging in order to make sense of their existence, where love represents a fundamental aspect of human nature – the need to transcend our isolated existence and connect with another.

These two quotes from a pair of philosophers who were also married to each other, gets to the heart of this craving for communion:

Jean-Paul Sartre: “If I love the other, I would like them to be everything for me, and I would like to be everything for them Love is a total and mutual surrender.”

Simone de Beauvoir: “The reciprocal recognition and the reciprocal guarantee of existence demand that each should surrender himself wholly to the other.”


For this personality subtype, intensity is a defining trait. We seek emotional intensity in all aspects of our lives, and without it, everything can seem dull and boring. When we want someone’s love, we can be very direct about our needs, or we might try to make ourselves seem special or attractive in some creative way so as to get attention. 

As Sexual Fours, we are often extremely  passionate, creative, and drawn to deep emotional connections. Professions that allow us to express ourselves, explore our emotions, and form meaningful relationships are likely to be a great draw for us, and we often tend to gravitate toward careers that allow us to form emotional bonds with others, all while embracing our individuality and passion. Often we are to be found working in the arts, but we also, as highly empathetic individuals, may be drawn to professions that involve helping others navigate their emotional challenges, fostering deep connections and understanding in the process.

People often mistake us for Type Eights or Sexual Twos. While we do share similarities with those types, our focus on envy and competitiveness often sets us apart. We often have a wider range of emotions than Eights, and are more likely to express anger. We also differ from Sexual Twos in that we are not as oriented towards pleasing others in a “give to get” manner.


Sexual Fours, it might be said, are the very the epitome of romanticism and the desire to be rescued from our own complex emotions. We embrace our vulnerability and impressionability with a flair, and we’re not afraid to be assertive or bold in our self-expression. Contrary to our fellow Fours, we’re not content to let our romantic fantasies gather dust – we bring them to life with all the passion we can muster.

We might even be described as “intimacy junkies”driven by a deep desire to be the most important person in our loved one’s life. But equally, this can manifest in many of our relationships. We feel a strong need to be the one that our partner, or friend cherishes above all others, or we might (quite unconsciously) yearn to be that special client that our therapist cannot forget.

The following poem by Hafez has a very Sx4 quality to it:

Everyone you see, you say to them,
Love me.
Of course you do not do this out loud;

Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon language,
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to Hear.

“Love,” Slavoj Žižek reminds us, is not an immediate relation between two individuals; it also involves a reference to the big Other.” For us, this relation encapsulates a complex interplay between our longing for connection and our fears of abandonment. Often our emotional tango with desire and fear demands continuous recalibration, involving  intricate footwork that might keep us in perpetual and quite tiring motion.


At the core of the Sexual Four’s existence lies a paradox – our intense desire for connection is often accompanied by an equally strong fear of abandonment. This fear stems from our deeply rooted belief that we are somehow flawed or unworthy of love, prompting us to push away the very people we yearn to be close to.

This can often put pressure on our relationships, for we often can’t help but compare ourselves to others, always seeking ways to outshine if possible our competition and prove our worth. Our driving force it might be said,  is to be seen as worthy and desirable in the eyes of our significant others.

For us, sexual energy is not just about physical pleasure, but it is also a way to gain something from other human creatures – respect, appreciation, and approval. We may for this reason use our sexuality to compensate for feelings of inadequacy and shame that lurk deep inside of us. We often will strive to make ourselves beautiful, charming, and elegant in order to seduce, only to turn them down or withdraw in some way, in an effort to protect ourselves from the fear of abandonment. In our minds, it’s better to reject someone before they have had the chance to reject us.

As might be expected, our emotional lives are often a whirlwind, swirling around the person who has captured our hearts. Admiration, longing, and even resentment can coexist within us, as we navigate the stormy seas of our feelings. Sensual and sometimes even seductive, we can wear our hearts on our sleeves, yet jealousy and possessiveness may lurk just beneath the surface. We often question our own desirability, striving for greatness in hopes of earning the love and approval of the object of our affection.


Envy is the key word here: our ever-present companion, and it’s particularly noticeable in our relationships. We often fall for those who embody the qualities we admire and desire for ourselves. However, these same traits can spark envy and resentment within us, turning our adoration into a kind of rivalry. We may oscillate between idealizing and rejecting our partners, unable to reconcile their imperfections with our fantasies.

In our quest for love, we’re frequently drawn to the allure of the unattainable. We may spend countless hours pining for the attention of those who are, for one reason or another, just out of reach. Our hearts brim with jealousy and disdain for anyone who dares to share the spotlight with us in our lover’s life.

In our darker moments, envy can drive us to sabotage those we perceive as rivals. Guided by the belief that “misery loves company,” we might feel justified in causing pain to those who have disappointed or wronged us. 

When we are consumed by envy, our anger can intensify into hatred towards a competitor or a partner who seems to be drifting away. By diminishing their worth, we feel that we are making ourselves more desirable in comparison. However, when we turn our anger inward, it can lead to dark fantasies or even suicidality. 

The following poem by Rilke (a Sexual Four) captures some of the pent-up frustration of this type:


His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tense, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.


As we, the Sexual Fours pirouette and sometimes even peacock our way through the theatre of life (what is “real”, what is “true” is a profound existential question for us), the words of Friedrich “Four” Nietzsche often resonate:

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Our dance, is often a complex choreography of desires, fears, and aspirations, underscoring our quest for identity and authenticity. This can sometimes be quite bewildering to those we are dancing for, who might struggle to comprehend its often distinct rhythms.

In this intricate choreography, we traverse the emotional landscape, seeking to know ourselves through the prism of The Extraordinary. The connections we forge, especially with those we deem interesting to us, serve as mirrors reflecting our true selves. 

“We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them, ” Elbert Hubbard tells us, perhaps highlighting one way in which Sexual/Intimate Fours seek to connect to those we desire to have deep and authentic ties to.  Our intimate interactions become the canvas upon which we paint our self-portraits. 

Navigating this often treacherous terrain of authenticity, we grapple with the challenge of staying true to ourselves in a world that needs to create conformity, congruity, and compliance in order to thrive. Our pursuit of authenticity, although noble and often heartfelt, can often expose us to a perilous abyss of self-doubt and uncertainty.

This ongoing quest for identity and authenticity, though fraught with challenges, is a testament to our resilience and determination, as we dance to a music that sometimes only we can hear.It is through this very dance however that we come to know ourselves, transforming the existential peculiarities that define us into an often artful and engaging manifestation of self-expression and growth.


Our path to growth as Sexual or Intimate fours involves learning to be with our own suffering without projecting it onto others. It’s important for us to recognize the value of all of our emotions, not just our competitive impulses. Equanimity for a Four means accepting ourselves as we are, even if we aren’t the best or superior to others in terms of those qualities we desire to be seen and appreciated. By acknowledging all of our feelings and being compassionate towards ourselves and others, we can develop more meaningful relationships and a greater sense of self-worth.

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Lubbe, J. D. (2020). The brain-based Enneagram (2nd edition). Thrive Neuro.
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Naranjo, C. (1990). Ennea-Type Structures: Self-Analysis For The Seeker. Gateways/IDHHB Inc.
Riso, D. R., & Hudson, R. (1999). The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Bantam Books.
Wagner, J. P. (2010). Nine Lenses On The World: The Enneagram Perspective. NineLens Press.