When it comes to sex and self-pleasure, we typically rely on trial and error to discover what feels good. And though that can spell instant sexual chemistry and orgasms galore for some, sexual intimacy in solo sex and partnered sex is something we have to work at more times than not. Sexual needs differ, sexual incompatibility comes into play, and sometimes the inability to communicate what those needs and differences are can lead to frustration, lack of satisfaction, and overall lack of intimacy. But what if you could apply language to the way you approach intimacy in sexual relationships and self-pleasure? Well, there is power in the tongue and, turns out, there’s power in learning what your Erotic Blueprint type is, too.
Similar to the way love languages and apology languages are important tools in how we communicate and understand intimacy, Erotic Blueprints can be transformative to one’s self-relationship as well as their relationship with others. Jaiya, award-winning somatic sexologist and creator of the Erotic Blueprints, says they are an arousal map to more pleasure, more understanding, deeper connection, and deeper satisfaction. “When you expand into who you really are you can own your pleasure. When we are living our pleasure, we are no longer at odds with life and there is a whole new level of satisfaction in all of life, not just in the bedroom."
The Healing Power of Erotic Blueprints
There is sometimes a mind-body-soul disconnect we experience due to a lack of knowledge of our true selves that can lead to discontentment in the self-relationship and our intimate relationships. Jaiya says the end result is surface-level experiences that don’t even crack the surface of how powerful our solo and partnered sex lives can truly be. “When we don’t know what turns us on, we don’t know how to ask for it,” she explains. “When we don’t have a language or teaching on how to uncover what turns us on, we stay stuck in shame and guilt, and silence around sex.”
In that way, Erotic Blueprints are rooted in so much more than sex. The framework in relationships is so transformative because “when we know ourselves and we know another more deeply, we are able to really honor who we are and who another is in that moment in time. When we honor another person, they feel seen, heard, and deeply loved for who they are," she adds. Therein lies the healing capabilities of this work.
In our adult relationships, we often seek the things that we lacked from parents and caretakers in our childhood. On healing from attachment issues, Jaiya says, “It gives us permission to be ourselves and love ourselves, and sex is one of those places where we often judge, criticize, and shame. It’s often the final frontier of personal growth.”
The 5 Erotic Blueprints
The Erotic Blueprints are comprised of five types: energetic, sensual, sexual, kinky, and shapeshifter. To learn your primary type, take the basic quiz here. Jaiya also says you should “listen to what your body likes and doesn’t like. Think about the five blueprints and notice, during sexual play or based on your history, where things line up for you.”
Below, Jaiya provides insights into each Erotic Blueprint type, their respective superpowers (pros), and their shadow sides or aspects (cons).
The Energetic Erotic Blueprint type “is turned on by anticipation, space, tease, and longing. They love to yearn. Their superpower is that they are very sensitive to the point of being able to orgasm without being touched. Hypersensitivity can cause them to ‘short-circuit’ and become turned off because it is too much sensation, too fast and their arousal system shuts down.”
Slow and steady wins the race for the Energetic type. In order to speak their language, Jaiya advises, “Play with more tease, light touch on the body and with consciously giving more spaciousness for ‘turn on’ to turn into begging for more.”
A Sensual type “is someone who is turned on by all of their senses being ignited. Their superpower is that they bring beauty and sensuality to the sexual experience. The shadow side of the Sensual is that they get caught in their heads and stop feeling what is happening in their body. They lose their presence and get lost in ‘to-do’ lists, for example.”
Sensual types really crave the sensory benefits that come with being fully present. To combat that, “it’s important to have what I call ‘Toggles,’ things that help you transition from the mundane tasks of life to the erotic realm… things like getting a massage, having a hot bath with rose petals, eating some chocolate, doing something relaxing and snuggly.”
The Sexual Erotic Blueprint Type is “someone who is turned on by what we think of as 'sex' in our culture (nudity, orgasms, penetration, etc.) Their superpower is that they can go from zero to sixty in their arousal and that they love the simplicity of sexuality. The shadow side is that they lose the journey and all the other wonderful flavors of the experience because they focus too much on a limited definition of sex and the end goal.”
The key to tapping into the Sexual type's power is expansion. Because they can sometimes be tied to a very limited perspective of what sex is and what sex looks like, elevation looks like thinking less and dipping and dabbling into understanding other Erotic Blueprints more. “Just go for it,” Jaiya suggests. “Hang out naked. Give yourself or your lover direct touch.”
The Kinky type “is turned on by what they define as taboo. There are two types of Kinky - one is psychological, meaning that the turn-on is more about the power dynamics or the role-play (more in their minds), the other is someone who is turned on by the sensation of kink (spanking, impact play, feelings of ropes, etc). Some people have a mix of both types. The superpower of the kinky is that they are endlessly creative and can also have orgasmic experiences that have nothing to do with intercourse. On the shadow side, there is usually a lot of shame for having ‘out of the box’ desires and that shame can turn into distress.”
Jaiya notes, “For the Kinky, there’s a whole world to explore! This is really a place to find out what you deeply enjoy. Explore a bunch of different sensations from scratch to slaps to different temperatures. Get creative.”
“A Shapeshifter is someone who is turned on by all of it. They love all the flavors and lots of variety. Their superpower is that they can be great lovers because they can shift to please any of the Erotic Blueprint Types. On the shadow side, they have been told they are too much and because they can shift to please they are often starving when it comes to their own sexual needs.”
For the uninitiated, this may seem true. But for the erotically intelligent, there is no such thing as a Shapeshifter type being too much. Create time and space for yourself. “Shapeshifters love variety, so give yourself a lot of different ways to play in every Blueprint,” Jaiya suggests. “Make sure you set aside ample time for yourself to really indulge in the exploration.”
How to Navigate Different Erotic Blueprint Types
What’s beautiful about this arousal map framework is that there isn’t necessarily an ideal match. In fact, if you find that your Erotic Blueprint type(s) differs from your partner’s, it’s not the end of the world or the relationship. Speaking or being fluent in one language doesn’t mean you can’t become fluent or learn to speak another. Like with any skill, it can be honed on and improved upon. The participants just have to be willing to journey through the doing the work to speak one another’s arousal language. Jaiya breaks down this journey into four phases: Healing, Feeding, Speaking and Expanding.
"We need to heal the shadow aspects of our Blueprints that put the brakes on our arousal," she explains. "Here is an opportunity that as we HEAL, we also feed our Blueprints so that we are not depleted and starving, and also to FEED our lover’s Blueprints which is a skill we can learn to do. We also can learn to SPEAK each other’s languages. And eventually, as we learn a new Blueprint we EXPAND into that Blueprint. This means that the Blueprint that once was not a turn-on becomes our own turn-on.”
The end result leads to a positive impact on your relationships and your sex lives. To maximize that healing and growth, Jaiya recommends that couples join a sex-positive community, sign up for an online course together, or hire a sexuality coach to help to navigate potential challenges.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
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Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
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