erotic styles

Or, “How to Turn Me On: A Duffer’s Guide”.

I recently read Jaiya’s Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied, which I found interesting overall, despite the fact that there were a few areas that seemed to me to be a little weak.

One interesting (but underdeveloped) topic was patterns of erotic needs and wants that vary from person to person. She calls this “erotic wiring” but I don’t care for that term; the suggestion of soulless mechanism or programming is at odds with the deliciously organic nature of sex. So I’m going to refer to her concept as “erotic styles” instead.

She identifies four styles, which she calls sexual, sensual, energetic (another term I dislike), and kinky. Although I found her descriptions a little sparse, I think I learned something about myself, and that’s all to the good.

[The blocks of text below are my own synopses, while the bullet points are direct quotes from the book.]

Sexual

For a sexual person, the focus is on intercourse. You have a medium to high libido and get off on erotic visuals and films (i.e. porn, presumably). Sex is both a need and a source of relaxation; orgasm is the focus, fucking is the way to get there. You may not feel much need for creativity in bed because you’re easily warmed up and easy to please.

According to Jaiya, a sexual person needs:

  • visual or other sexual stimulation
  • a willing body — either their own or their lover’s
  • standard, direct techniques

Easy peasy!

Sensual

A sensual person focuses on environment. Both physical space and head space need to be orderly. The things that work are typically romantic: food and drink, relaxation and massage, music and dancing, candles and perfume. Mood-killers include stress, clutter, and incomplete to-do lists. You prefer cuddling, kissing and foreplay over intercourse.

A sensual person needs:

  • clarity of mind — no chaos
  • cleanliness
  • toggle activities (like massage) that help you switch from daily life to sexual life
  • stimulation of the senses (candles, oils, music, etc.)
  • clear beginnings and endings — ritual
  • lack of stress

Energetic (aka Sensitive)

This refers to being sensitive to energy — I prefer the term “sensitive”. For a sensitive person, the key is (not surprisingly) their sensitivity. Anticipation is half the fun. Picking up on your partner’s mood allows you to take great pleasure in their pleasure, but also sets you off if they’re in a bad mood. Great heights of pleasure are possible, including an aptitude for multiple orgasms or full-body orgasms — if properly warmed up. Direct touch is too much, and traditional turn-on techniques probably don’t work. You feel intensely and are often misunderstood.

For sex to be satisfying, a sensitive person needs:

  • attention and absolute presence
  • indirect, full-body stimulation
  • anticipation
  • light energetic touch
  • eye contact/emotional connection

Kinky

A kinky person focuses on sexual play that is “outside the box”, whatever that means for you. You tend to be creative and have a rich fantasy life. A partner’s acceptance is a need, and good communication is very helpful. Fear, shame and judgment cause problems. Interests may include power exchange, bondage, role play, sensation play, training.

A kinky person needs:

  • psychological turn-ons
  • playing with taboo sexual practices (BDSM)
  • creativity/fantasy in sexual play
  • acceptance

The sexual, sensual and sensitive types seem to fall on a spectrum with directness of approach or technique at one end and indirectness at the other. Kinky seems to be a separate category typified by difference or novelty — in other words, off the beaten path.

So where do I fit in all this?

I’m clearly not a sexual type. I’m not easily warmed up. Don’t go for my groin, or even my breast, thinking that will turn me on: if I’m touched sexually too soon, I get right pissed off. The standard direct techniques do not work for me. I’m quite selective about what images or stories I find hot, and my response to the good stuff tends to be mild.

I prefer cuddling, kissing and foreplay over intercourse. Stress and clutter throw me off. I can find music particularly moving. As for food, drink, and the rest of it, they’re pleasant but they’re not going to light my fire. You can skip the rose petals. So I’m somewhat sensual.

I’m very sensitive. I’d say “yes” or “hell yes” to all of this. For me, sex is deeply emotional so I’m unable and unwilling to be sexual with someone who I don’t have a good emotional connection with. If I sensed that my partner was phoning it in, I’d be inclined to pull the plug — there’s just no point.

Another big issue for me is getting — and staying — warmed up. I have to be in a decent mood, he has to be in a decent mood, the pacing has to be good. I find it very satisfying just being aroused, perhaps because it’s still something of a novelty. If I’m not warmed up, there’s absolutely no point for me to try to get off either by myself or with a partner; it’s like having a stuffed up nose and eating a fancy meal despite the fact that everything tastes like cardboard. Deeply unsatisfying, emotionally and physically.

Great heights of pleasure? Yeah, I’d say so. Before my epiphany, the orgasms I had felt nice, or maybe quite nice. Now the low end is around “mmm, that’s gooood”. I fairly often get to “oh, oh, oh” and “oh fuck”. Tears afterward are not uncommon. I sometimes shout during, and I’ve had a couple of literal screaming orgasms. But for all that, I don’t actually orgasm easily. It’s definitely a skill that I/we have been working on. There’s a spot on the nape of my neck where, when touched delicately, makes me shudder orgasmically but it will never make me actually orgasm.

(I’m curious about how well the sensitive type maps onto the definition of the highly sensitive person. Both Wolf and I are HSPs, but he identifies most closely with the sexual type and I don’t at all.)

I’m also kinky. I’m a creative person, and I appreciate creativity, including in sex. I don’t have a rich fantasy life, perhaps because I had suppressed almost all sexual thoughts for so long due to sexual shame. I know I’m interested in some of the more common BDSM activities, especially spanking, power exchange, and bondage. (Hmm, just typing those words is arousing.)

Jaiya defines kinky as being outside of the box, but doesn’t distinguish between novelty and taboo. Transgression is a specific kink; for many people (myself included) whether an activity is taboo does not figure into their enjoyment of it. But I do enjoy combining certain psychological and physical sensations with sex in a way that happens not to be mainstream.

So, sensitive and kinky. That makes things… interesting.

9 thoughts on “erotic styles

  1. I agree with Kat, this was a really interesting read and I enjoyed your summary, as well as your personal insight. As for myself, based on what you wrote, I would fall into the sensitive and kinky categories myself. That connection just has to be there. Again, a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all know that people are turned on by different things, but I’ve never run across an actual analysis of it before. I think she’s onto something. On the other hand, reducing human sexual preferences to 4 types can’t possibly capture the whole story, but I still found it useful – mostly because it validates my style as something other than merely “weird” or “difficult”. Did you get a sense of validation from this too?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. All four, I think, me. But if she’d made up more styles I’m sure I’d feel I was them too. I’m a bit sceptical about any framework that says “people are divided into four, or two, or twelve or fifty types.”

    I know I have some fixed borders – eg I don’t desire men, or sheep, for example, and I don’t sub; I’m only dom or vanilla – but within those borders I’m pretty fluid. This isn’t just a self-observation. I think that’s true or more or less everyone.

    That is, that sort of framework can help simplify a complex thing, which can be handy for some purposes. But it’s also good to remember that sexual desires, tastes and even styles are malleable.

    You don’t keep still; you learn and grow. And you, like life, are infinitely complex.

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    1. I expected you to be skeptical, so no surprise there 🙂 I am too, to an extent. Divvying people up into 4 simple categories has definitely has the whiff of a Cosmo quiz about it, but to her credit Jaiya doesn’t pretend those categories are watertight. Also, the whole book is intended to be introductory, so some oversimplification is likely.

      And I fully acknowledge that my approach to the material is entirely subjective – the only question I’m particularly interested in answering is “Does this give me any useful insight?”, and it does. For example, after my epiphany I became able to enjoy sex generally and that was good, but I’m still not easily turned on or gotten off. In the context, that felt like some kind of failure; I worried that maybe my epiphany wasn’t going to stick, or that it was somehow incomplete.

      So recognizing myself in the sensitive type is powerful: it helps me forgive myself for not being turned on by things that don’t turn me on (e.g. standard stuff), and gives me some ideas about what might actually work and things I can explore. I am using this information to learn and grow, and I’ll give up the model before I’d let it start limiting me in any way.

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