Listen to “133: Sexual Personality Types – Vanessa Marin”

Sexual Personality Types 

Vanessa shares that she’s always working to make people’s sex lives better, but the idea of forming a personality test for sex began from hearing her clients talk about sex in very different ways, inspiring her to take notes and investigate what people truly desire and require in their sex lives. These notes developed into a system that identifies 11 different personality types based upon what people need, want, and hope to get out of sex. 

The Decompressor 

Vanessa’s survey describes decompressors as people for whom sex is about stress relief, blowing off steam, and getting to that sense of relaxation that ensues once sex is over. She clarifies that people who use sex for this reason often talk about the joyful, restful afterglow than about sex or anything that precedes sex because reaching that state is their real goal. 

The Explorer 

Explorers are all about novelty in sex. They like trying new things and experimenting. She explains that this type doesn’t always enjoy everything they try sexually, but they still appreciate the novelty and variety of their experiments. 

Fair Trader 

For the fair trader, sex is all about reciprocity. They want a balance between giving and receiving in bed. 

The Giver 

She explains that the giver views sex as a gift that they give to their partner, and they enjoy giving much more than they enjoy receiving. They like focusing on their partner and their pleasure instead of their own. 

The Guardian 

Vanessa identifies guardians by their need to have safety and security around sex. She says they care very much about boundaries and enthusiastic consent in sex. She reveals that for some people, this emphasis on safety and consent is the result of previously enduring sexual abuse, but she admits that others simply like for sex to be safe and enthusiastically enjoyed. 

The Passion Pursuer 

This type loves pursuing all-encompassing, intense, passionate, and even animalistic sex. She says this type of lover is very in tune with the energy between them and their partners during sex, and she tells us they want to feel like time stands still, leaving only themselves and their partner in the world. 

The Pleasure Seeker 

For pleasure seekers, Vanessa describes sex as being all about feeling good. They care about the simple pleasure of enjoying their bodies interacting with someone else’s. 

The Prioritizer 

For this type, Vanessa explains sex must feel like a priority in the relationship. She explains that they need to feel desired by their partners, and to believe that their partners are not making excuses about being tired or too busy for sex. She notes that they value consistent, frequent sex and require partners who will work to keep sex a regular activity. 

The Romantic 

For romantics, it’s all about the connection they feel to their partner during sex. She continues to say it isn’t really about the physical act or the hedonistic pleasure for them, but the emotional bonding and intimacy that sex engenders. 

The Spiritualist 

Sex is about spirituality and connecting to a higher energy or purpose for spiritualists, Vanessa explains that for them sex is a transcendent experience. 

The Thrill-Seeker 

Thrill-seekers most enjoy sex that’s forbidden or taboo. They enjoy kink, power plays, dominance and submission. She says that if there’s a twinge of this is naughty or we shouldn’t be doing this, that thought only intensifies the sexual thrill-seeker’s enjoyment 

Sexual Personalities in Action 

Vanessa has heard all of these motivations for sexual activity in her practice, but she emphasizes that people will typically combine two to three personality types in their love lives. She describes the purpose of the quiz as a conversation starter that helps people understand their sexuality and learn how to discuss sexuality with their partners more clearly. 

The decompressor, explorer, giver, and passion pursuer are what Vanessa sees most often, but she emphasizes that all of the personality types are very common. 

An Online Quiz Can Help You Discern Your Type 

Vanessa informs us that there is no need to read and reread descriptions to find out the sexual personality types of you and your partner. Her team is finishing up a quiz that can be found at to take out the guesswork. 

She insists that her personality type quiz is meant to be lighthearted, but it can lead to genuine discussions and discoveries that can hopefully improve people’s sex lives. 

Tricky Pairings 

Vanessa affirms that it’s common for people in a loving relationship to have different sexual personality types, but she believes that all of them can work together, even if some pairings require more communication before sex to ensure mutual satisfaction. 

She discusses that guardian types and the thrill-seeker can be a tricky combination to navigate because one wants regimented and well-guarded environments while the thrill-seeker aims to bring in more, new, different, and potentially dangerous activities. However, Vanessa mentions that people who are into BDSM are usually proponents of safety and enthusiastic consent. Under those or similar circumstances, she assures us that the guardian and the thrill-seeker can be a fantastic combination. 

She also mentions that the pleasure seeker can be at odds with the spiritualist. She explains that the spiritualist wants to create a transcendent experience and basically leave their body behind, while pleasure-seekers are focused on enjoying their bodily pleasures of orgasm and sensual, very physical, touch. However, she insists that this pairing can work out by having conversations focused on finding ways for both of them to have their needs met. 

Talking About Sex Types 

One way that Vanessa suggests people can compromise about their sexual desire is to take turns while emphasizing their partner’s type during sex one day, and their own type another day. She also suggests that it could be fun to run through all the personality types and play with every manner of sex. 

She mentions that taking the sex quiz and talking about it to your partner can be a fun and playful method of entering into a discussion that reveals each partner’s true desires and allows those desires to manifest in bed. 


Vanessa Marin earned bachelor’s degrees in Human Sexuality and Sociology from Brown University before attaining a master’s degree in counselling psychology. Her writing has been featured over 1,000 times in periodicals as prestigious as The New York Times; Allure; Lifehacker; O, The Oprah Magazine; Harper’s Bazaar; Refinery29; and Real Simple.  

With her sister Jennifer and her husband Xander, she specializes in online courses like The Passion Project: A Couples’ Blueprint to Rediscovering Desire and Reigniting the Spark and Finishing School: Learn How to Orgasm 

Resources for Vanessa Marin: 

More info and resources:
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz –
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you:
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner:
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner:

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