by Michael Roth, C.Ad, SRC
The enneagram is an ancient and still shockingly accurate form of Sufi psychology. The enneagram categorizes people based on their personality types, and by understanding your personality type, you can gain a great deal of insight into the way that you operate as an individual.
Not only does the enneagram identify the personality types that a person is born with, it also provides solutions for personal growth. Each enneagram personality type has certain desirable traits, as well as certain undesirable traits.
In many cases, the desirable traits of one enneagram type are the antithesis of another personality type’s undesirable traits. By learning about and incorporating some of the emotional tendencies or intellectual qualities of the opposite enneagram type, we can learn to overcome our flaws and replace them with healthier and more beneficial behaviors.
In this article we’re going to discuss how the enneagram can be useful for helping people identify and work through an addiction to love or sex.
What Are Love and Sex Addictions?
Love and sex addictions are often seen as the same thing, even though they are not the same. While both issues involve some sort of dependence on intimacy, the way in which people with these addictions go about finding their intimacy can be very different.
Here is a brief outline of each.
As the name implies, someone with a sex addiction is dependent on sex or sexual behavior. These people require physical intimacy to fulfill their needs. This may come in the form of sex itself, or other sexual behaviors such as BDSM or voyeurism.
Many people with sexual addictions are working through some sort of emotional vulnerability or trauma which may have resulted from the way that they were raised. Many people with sex addictions, for example, were not held or physically intimate with their parents.
People with sex addictions often have multiple sexual partners. They may experience emotional issues as a result of these addictive behaviors, or they may create problems with one or more of their partners.
While some people with a love addiction may also have a sex addiction, this isn’t always the case. Many people with love addictions simply had love withheld from them during their upbringing.
People with love addiction may also have multiple sexual partners, but it’s also possible for them to have no sexual partners. A love addiction is not necessarily seeking physical gratification, but the love and intimacy that often comes along with it. In this sense, they may seek to have multiple romantic partners while having no sexual relations whatsoever.
How Can the Enneagram Help With Sex and Love Addictions
The enneagram can be useful for helping to identify the root causes of a sex or love addiction, and can also be useful for helping to provide an individual with a direction to follow to help heal that addiction.
The path of growth directs an enneagram type towards a complementary type. Following this path will lead to great personal growth and transformation. Conversely, the path of stress leads an individual towards personality traits that can make them less happy.
Let’s use one of the basic enneagram types as an example: Type 4, the individualist.
Type 4s are generally very self-aware, emotionally honest, and creative. They can also be moody and temperamental. A type 4, at their root, will often struggle to find their identity and their individualism.
A type 4 with a sex or love addiction may attempt to find their individualism by seeking it through others. Sex and love are two of the most intimate forms of acceptance that a person can share. By frequently seeking out sex and love, a type 4 might seek to find their identity through external validation.
The type 4’s path of growth is towards type 1, the reformer. This means that a type 4 would do well to adopt some of the positive traits of the reformer, which they may struggle naturally to identify with.
The reformer is known for being rational, principled, and self-controlled. It’s easy to see how a type 4 sex addict could benefit by adopting these traits: they could begin to rationalize that their need for identification can only be found in themselves, they could follow sound moral principles, and they could exert self-control in the area of their addiction.
This is just one example. All enneagram types can experience sex and love addictions, and all enneagram types can learn to work through these problems by working towards their path of growth and avoiding their path of stress.
If you or someone you love are struggling with a sex or love addiction, get in touch with me today. Together we can help you grow away from the addiction that is controlling you, and grow toward healing and freedom.