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Sexual 6 In Detail

Fear in the Sexual Sphere

Sexual instinct combined with the passion of Fear gives a character with underlying attitude of self-doubt regarding their sexual attractiveness and their desirability or a self-doubt regarding their own strength. They can then end up exaggerating their strength or beauty, since they are afraid they must learn to protect themselves or be desired. Because of this, this character is often counterphobic, meaning they go against their fear. Though, they could also be compared to a barking dog, they bark a lot but rarely bite. Intimidation is a common tactic of the SX6 in order to be left alone and suppress their fear. The questioning of “who am I with?” of the SX instinct here manifests as them knowing when to let their guard down and when to keep it up, to react and keep their guard up if someone is an enemy or let it down if it is someone they trust.

Ichazo called the SX6 "Strength", because of their fear these people must play the "macho" to be desired[1], resulting in a defensive aggression or threatening bellicosity.[2] Naranjo says that the SX6 fears being seen as weak and wants to appear strong in order to intimidate the weak and not succumb to a deficiency he feels is dangerous, symbolically describing the image of this personality as a castrated man with an impressive prosthesis.[2]

The following Trait Structure are a summarized description of the original descriptions taken from the Enneagram 6 book/Cobardes, desafiantes y fanáticos: Las formas del Miedo. The Book was written by devoted followers and students of Claudio Naranjo but published under his name and supervised by him.

Trait Structure[4]

Doubtful and Insecure

Doubting is the preferred entertainment of this subtype. “To be or not to be” is Hamlet's dilemma, but E6 is not limited to doubting only on the existential plane. His doubtful thought expands everywhere: “To go or not to go? To speak or not to speak? To eat or not to eat? Now or later? Here or there?” And while waiting for an illumination that allows you to make the choice without running the risk of making mistakes, the person to whom you should speak is gone, the spaghetti is gone, and space and time take their course autonomously.

The interesting thing is that individuals of this character believe in their doubts. They think that to doubt is necessary to carry out a fair and effective action. Doubting is the fearful person's way of stopping time, with the illusion that “inaction will limit the damage.” Which? That's secondary: the damage is anywhere.

The sexual subtype does not tolerate much doubt, does not want to be in contact with the anxiety, frustration, and helplessness that come from inaction. So, when he can't take it anymore, he impulsively makes a decision: go, speak, risk your life (trying not to lose control). He remains with the doubt but at least discharges the accumulated tension. And then, like a good schizoid, he adopts an absolute position and represses one of the polarities of doubt; he assumes an aggressive and arrogant attitude to convince himself and others that this decision is the only thing that can be done.

Doubtful thinking is connected to insecurity, which he tries to hide for fear that if they see it, they will take advantage of him.


In their attempt to hide their fear, the counterphobic E6 may venture into reckless, even dangerous, actions. The myth of him is the hero who, “without blemish and without fear,” goes into danger. And he also defies danger.

However, his adventuring is always controlled: his ability to quickly perceive dangerous areas and the possibilities of finding a way out helps him. He knows how to calculate risk margins very well.

He can be reckless when he comes across people who are having a hard time and need protection. The contrast with the weak instills in him a kind of courage that leads him to face really dangerous situations. Other times recklessness is a solitary experience, such as speeding or failing to follow safety rules.

The deep motivation is to maintain the image of a strong person who does not give in to fear. Sensing the risk, he increases the inner excitement that feeds the idea of being strong.

“In the early 1990s there were quite a few neo-Nazi attacks in Germany. One afternoon I saw a bald boy attacking a Turkish woman in the heart of the city. With high adrenaline and without measuring the situation I ran towards them, I grabbed the man from behind, pulling him with all my strength and verbally reprimanding him. The surprised boy let go of the woman and I lived a moment of glory: the victorious defender of the defenseless... Until I turned around and saw a few more shaved heads a short distance away. The fright paralyzed me for a few moments until realizing that there were many people around me, I took a step towards the neo-Nazis, shouting that I was not afraid of them, that the others present were going to help us. I caused such a scandal that the group preferred to withdraw. Only then did I panic and I was left shaking, while simultaneously basking in the satisfaction of having won another fair fight.” (M.)


It is a constant attitude, as if in the challenge he found the energy that allows him to face difficult situations, tests that can confirm that he is capable. Also in the professional field his successes are based on the challenge. Being a “reactive” character, he achieves goals thanks to his willingness to prove that he can do it or that he is worth it. The challenge helps him combat his low self-esteem, thus preventing a correct analysis of his possibilities.

It is quite a common experience for counterphobic E6s to have no real sense of time, as if they don't want to be bound by restrictions or can't stand limits to their actions or desires. Meeting a deadline at the last minute increases the level of anxiety and this allows you to overcome your hesitant and cowardly inertia, thus managing to act.

“On the first day of secondary school, the Literature teacher said in an authoritative and threatening tone that surely half the class would have dropped out before the middle of the year “because the classical high school is not suitable for ignorant and low-level people like most of you.” I remember the rage, the fear of being inadequate, and immediately the phrase that came up inside me: “We'll see which one wins!” It was that energy that allowed me to continue to the end of a tough school.” (G.)

The challenge can be dialectical and elaborate, in a desire to devalue the other by using his repressed rage and his competitive attitude.


Mistrust and control are inseparable: everything should go according to plan because there is no trust in the flow of life. Neither is there trust in the other, nor in his capacity, nor in his intentions, to accompany him on the path.

This feeling is especially intense with people whose proposals are perceived by the sexual E6 as part of a manipulative strategy, or emotional people with another range of interests, or who hold power and, of course, are perceived as possible exploiters. But he sees everything through the filter of mistrust. And follow the labyrinth of obsessive thoughts, bordering on the paranoid, trying to decipher reality to decide the action. And when the ghost of mistrust takes power, definitively and without restraint, the counterphobic launches, accusingly, on the attack.


We have already discussed the state of anxiety typical of every Six character. An anxiety linked to the primary anguish of being destroyed and annihilated. The force, passion of this subtype, seeks to calm this anguish, and anxiety is the only accessible emotional state. Direct contact with fear, which anxiety hides, would be uncontrollable and would destroy the narcissistic image of a strong person that sustains the psychic structure of the counterphobic. And the same, contact with pain or sadness, expressions of an annihilating fragility.


The paranoid attitude of people with this character is linked to their favorite defense mechanism: projection. The parts of himself considered intolerable and ego-dystonic are attributed to the other, in the firm belief that he is dangerous. He mentally repeats each of his gestures and looks, and attributes to them meanings consistent with the basic presupposition: he is an enemy and he is conspiring against him.

Thought is disconnected from reality, and fantasy is no longer just something possible but a confirmed reality (obviously verified only at the level of your thought). The state of confusion between reality and thoughts is such that he believes in them as if they were “facts,” concrete data, and proven truths. The perception of being attacked becomes a reality from which it is necessary to defend oneself. The counterphobic, then, is always on the alert.

Waiting is wasting precious time during which something irreparable may happen. So trigger a defensive attack: “eliminate the enemy before he eliminates me.”

According to Claudio Naranjo, the sexual E6 has learned to defend himself against paranoid fantasies through intimidation. Aggression and fear create a vicious circle.

“After much thought, he expressed a categorical judgment about others, labeling them as people I should take care of and keep at a certain distance, looking at them from afar. This detachment created distrust and suspicion, to the point that at one time I seemed to hear others while they were talking about me.” (B)


Because of his deep distrust of others, it is difficult for him to believe in human kindness and sincerity. No one is good and trustworthy until proven otherwise. And he expresses this certainty with irony and sarcasm, with acid criticism.

Friends don't give each other enough, partners are constantly judged, colleagues don't measure up professionally, and bosses don't deserve their jobs. He finds it hard to believe that the other's feelings are authentic: he expresses them as part of a manipulative strategy with hidden intentions, which he will try to expose.

Since deep down the sexual E6 does not expect anything positive from relationships or love, he takes refuge in cynicism, which gives him the strength to overcome the prospect of living with such coldness, by preventing him from feeling the sadness that it implies.

“‘Believe in good feelings, in the expression of joy, always ready in enthusiasm, in the good faith of others.’ I was ready to snark sarcastically when I saw those feelings. With cynicism I confirmed the idea that there was nothing good in the world.” (B.)

In addition to being useful to defend against emotions, cynicism is also the mask of imperturbability that hides your difficulty in surrendering to feelings and relationships. Not to mention his belief that someone who is possessed by sentimentality is unintelligent or psychically unstable.

“Cynicism has “saved” my life several times, but the bitter taste it left in my mouth convinced me that it's best to abandon it in favor of a little sweetness. It's always been self-defense anyway: it makes them lose interest in hurting you.” (C.)

The counterphobic E6 does not realize that cynicism puts a distance in relationships, and also between what he feels and what he thinks, that makes him an unattractive person. Nobody likes to hug a pretentious block of ice.

“Friends, and even some partners, told me that I was cynical. I did not understand the meaning, but it deeply hurt me that they thought that of me. It seemed to me that I was a person who knew how to see the reality behind the lies, while the others were blind maudlins.”

Defensive accuser

We have already talked about accusation as a cognitive distortion of the sexual E6, with which he attributes to the other parts of himself that he cannot sustain (aggressiveness and guilt). To protect himself from the alleged threats, he closes his space or with an armor that intimidates and shields him from too intense feelings.

He is very sensitive to invasion (physical or psychological) of his territory, like E5. The difference is that the E5 withdraws into his inner strength, the counterphobic hardens his body so that the muscles form a wall, and he defends himself by accusing and holding the other responsible for his own limits.

Faced with the conflict that he senses (and that he himself generates by making an enemy of someone emotionally important, to whom he has attributed a kind of authority), the sexual E6 reacts by automatically accusing a priori, without dialogue. The first thing he feels is the accusation of the other, an attack or some kind of offense that he does not question, that he does not compare with reality. The feeling of not being recognized prevails, that he is being partially evaluated and that the best parts of him remain in the shadows because the other does not want to see them. It is an injustice!


This character is aggressive and angry, but in intimate relationships he expresses his anger with great difficulty. It is easier to hear him yell and threaten in non-significant relationships, where he feels he is at risk of retaliation or rejection. Many counterphobic E6s say they are bellicose and rebellious at a social level, situations in which they feel supported by an ideal that justifies their opposition behavior.

Many say they have experienced a great ambivalence between behavior at home and abroad. At home, subject to the persecutor; in social relationships, persecutors who need to be seen as strong and determined. Much of the anger discharges in the competition (intellectual or sports). In intimate relationships, anger and resentment turn into an aggressive attitude, abrupt gestures, and ironic words. The look is usually threatening and the eyes take on a forceful shape: round and bulging, which attack. The way of walking is fast and well rooted, although the stiff neck and shoulders betray the intention to control fear, ambushed in bravado.

“I am aggressive only in the dialectic phase, if I feel a threat to my personal integrity. I have never fought with anyone (for fear of losing, but especially of hurting...). My real aggressiveness was in the posture and in the look, which carried a sign: “Attention! I bite.” But inside I knew, and I know very well, that it was to protect my weakness.” (C.)

Aggressiveness is a way of being that you are often unaware of because it is not a precise mood but background music.

“I was very surprised when they told me I was aggressive. Inside me I was much more in touch with worry and shyness.” (G.)

The typical counterphobic E6’s outburst of rage is a “reactive” gesture, responding to the other's anger, disgrace, or accusation. But it can also be a reply to someone who does not think like him, since it is unacceptable for him not to be right. Then the dialogue becomes hard; the tone, high; the other's words must be cut off. There is no time to lose because everything becomes dangerous and the opponent should not be given the option to go on the attack.

“It took me a long time to realize my habit of interrupting someone who was speaking to me. In my house everyone talks interrupting; each dialogue is a war between people who never feel heard, who are never sure of having a recognized place. I understood that for me, interrupting or raising the tone hides a cry: ‘I also exist!’” (G.)

Being a coward is his Achilles heel, the most infamous experience. The aggressive tone and appearance serve to hide, from himself and from the world, that, in fact, we are dealing with a great “cagón” (shithead).


In intimate relationships, they sign a tacit non-aggression pact. When the Sexual E6 decides to accept the other in his intimacy, he is very loyal; sometimes of a blind and inexplicable loyalty.

On the other hand, he secretly “demands” a loyalty that is not so clear to the other. The speech, below, becomes: “I accept you (apparently) as you are, I don't attack you, and you don't attack me, you leave me alone, you let me go to my ball, and you don't discover my weak points. You don't question me.”

It is an acceptance in appearance, since when he discovers that the other is not as faithful as he supposed, he ends the relationship without feeling much, as if it were the breaking of an agreement in a negotiation, with an objective, cold, and rational attitude. This behavior is very similar to that of an E8, but this one has an experience of possession of the other, while what the E6 wants is a non-threat pact.

In short, the sexual E6, after his supposed autonomy, hides from a tendency to merge with the other, from whom he hopes not to be mistreated, as happened to him as a child, and who also shares his ideas. Intellectual harmony becomes a unit of measure for the level of friendship and love, and a pact of loyalty. It is almost impossible to think of a love story that does not include appreciation of the other's ideas; as if eroticism were more connected with intellectual enthusiasm than with the pleasure of the body.

In the relationship with authority, intellectual affinity is fundamental in deciding to what extent to obey and follow a leader. It shifts to the person with authority the need for a guide to indicate which path to follow and help them make sense of events. It must be an authority that, through ideals, conveys a justification for continuing to live. The loving and warm relationship that the father and mother lacked is replaced by collaboration, loyalty to a common project, intellectual passion, and the sublimation of ideals. The sexual E6 is constantly looking for a “father.” The superior authority becomes a myth, while claiming from subordinates the same adherence, the same rigid ethical coherence.

“I had deeply rooted ideas, with convictions that prevented me from seeing the nuances and that kept me rigid, unable to reach an understanding, without any possibility of changing concepts. They reinforced my idea of always being right, of loyalty to the given word and of honesty in intentions. With these principles I thought I would strengthen myself, because leaning on them I seemed to know where I was going and what I wanted to laugh at myself and at others. Putting them into practice, he seemed to have the appearance of a serious, responsible, competent person.” (B.)

Critical and Authoritarian

All people with an E6 character are hypercritical. In the contraphobic it is a very evident characteristic, which demonstrates his narcissistic desire to be the best, the one who should be approved in his own right, the one who has all the qualities to carry out a task or occupy a certain position.

“What could be easier and more beautiful than accusing others of a defeat? Destroying the other provokes in me a great feeling of power.” (C.)

But this narcissistic self-image does not allow him to expose himself, as for example happens with an E1 character, because the fear of being punished (castrated) prevails as soon as he opposes and adopts an explicit superior attitude. Therefore, he cultivates this conviction within himself, expressing it with criticism, sometimes in a hidden way, creating alliances and analyzing where the other is wrong.

In the case of occupying a position of authority, ambivalence causes criticism to manifest itself in the inability to trust others and to allow each one to act according to their own way. Authoritarian control is even more evident when collaborating with someone “unintelligent” (who is motivated by emotion and not by thought): “incapable.” The sexual E6 is so convinced that he knows how to do everything that he fails to have confidence in the path or in the creativity of others.

“I have had a hard time cultivating patience with my students. Whenever I saw that something was wrong or that there was no clear thought behind it, I began to feel bad; physical intolerance. I felt compelled to intervene as if I had to save a child from a fire. I projected onto the other my experience of not being able to make a mistake, the catastrophic vision of the effects of an error.” (G.)

When he criticizes, the counterphobic easily becomes a persecutor, intimidating those around him with uncontested, stony criticism, and a vehement tone. Thus he combats the unbearable feeling of impotence.


We want to emphasize here the oppositional character of the sexual E6. His rebellion is impregnated with fear of punishment, unlike the E8, who enjoys his desire to do what he wants and does not care about the feelings of the other and what he does, he does not allow himself to be limited and is ready for anything. In his rebellion, the counterphobic continues to feel anxiety, although he may enjoy not respecting either his prosecutor or the rules. He even finds great satisfaction in the transgression, but he will continue to watch carefully what the other's reactions may be. He will oscillate between the pride of his strong image and the fear of having committed something irreparable that will lead to rejection.

Theirs is a rebellion linked to the ideal of the hero: one who challenges the world for a just cause, willing to lose his life to save others.

Observant and Inhibited

The sexual E6 explores the world cautiously. Although it is the most active of the subtypes, it limits itself, circumscribes the field of curiosity and prefers to move in already explored terrain. He is capable of dreaming of great trips to the ends of the world, but he is satisfied with having glimpsed them; then he comes back satisfied that he had stuck his head out, and frustrated that he hadn't involved his whole body.

“Observe to confirm what I think, observe as control of the situation, always alert, observe to assess the convenience of being in a place or with someone.” (B.)


It is almost impossible to believe that the counterphobic is shy, but it is something that he has lived with since his childhood, and that for many represents hell. It's like having an infectious disease with fear that everyone will find out. Obviously, being shy clashes with the heroic and strong image you want to give to the world. Despite your efforts to hide it, shyness is always there like a devouring monster.

“At the age of twenty-six I had to present my first paper before a congress. She was obviously happy and wouldn't have backed down even with an earthquake. Ten minutes before I went up to the box, my neck, chest, and arms were covered in red spots. He was terribly embarrassed that they would see each other. Since then, I have had this kind of reaction every time I had to expose myself in public. I learned to dress so that those parts of the body would not be seen. Two years later, on a similar occasion, exhausted, I spoke to the director of the school where she worked as a teacher and he told me: “Don't worry, it's just the narcissistic need to be perfect.” The arrow had hit the target: the symptom disappeared.” (G.)

Shyness is connected with the deep feeling of inadequacy, with the constant fear of being ridiculous. The humiliation experienced during childhood and the lack of basic trust left an insecurity installed in the body. Like a soldier who appears alone in the enemy camp, he tries to be invisible so that they don't kill him.

This experience is similar to that of an E3, with the profound difference that a Vanity character bids to be seen, in his desire for a relationship with the other, while the E6 prefers to be “left alone,” taking away value to relational need.

Afraid of tenderness

The counterphobic instinctively seeks sexual intimacy, as if the intensity of these encounters were enough to satisfy their need for human contact. He has no difficulty in surrendering to the sexual act, which he tries to differentiate from the emotional. Always distinguish in relationships what is only sexual and does not imply love. In a kind of double life; in the face of a discreet, shy, almost straight and normative behavior, he is a collector of experiences: he seeks to feel something deeper, again and again, impulsively, whenever the opportunity arises, without success.

“Atrocious situations followed one another: from the way I gave my virginity to a stranger I never wanted to hear from again (for me it was a procedure that had to be done sooner rather than later, stripped of tenderness), to the sexual encounters, so many as possible, in search of orgasm, to which it was difficult, and sometimes impossible, to surrender.” (R.)

He does not want the other to realize that he likes or desires him, because that would be putting himself in his hands, allowing him to do what he wants with him. The tenderness can be a space of no control and he does not allow himself to take off his armor. Just as he has not been able to rest peacefully in mom's arms, he cannot give himself over to loving effusions either.

“If I liked a man, I preferred to show that he did not interest me at all. It was better to give up than to endure the shame and the risk of being ridiculed. I always imagined this thought in the other: ‘But who does he think he is to believe that I could like him!’” (G.)


This experience has to do with the lack of references, or criteria. The sexual E6 has not had a model. Or, in which there was, he does not trust and, therefore, has moved away from him. But there is no confidence in his own signals either, because he grew up doubting them, with messages of the type: “you don't know,” “they won't love you,” “they will cheat on you,” “they will tease you”; and fundamentally, because he doubted the reality he was observing;

“Could that be true? Really? Wouldn't I be wrong thinking what I thought?”

So, in an uncomfortable situation, she tries to take the pulse of the environment, quickly see what the others do, if they accept or reject her, as a test before making her own decision. But she is left evaluating all the factors without making any decision. In this wait he can endure very difficult situations. It might seem like an adaptation; actually it is an anesthesia; inside himself he knows perfectly well that he does not want what is happening, but it is impossible for him to move until the “certainty” arrives. At the same time he measures his strength by enduring hardships, psychic and physical weights, to later feel satisfied that he has not fallen.

“Putting up with an uncomfortable situation is staying “waiting” for the other to see that I'm right, that I'm right... and to do what I think is necessary. If I don't receive a signal, I tend to repeat it several times, as if to listen to myself and stay calm so that what I'm saying is clear.” (R.)


He likes to look triumphant. It is a victory over oneself: over that “oneself” that, deep down, knows that it is injured in its integrity. And under the pressure of needing a constant demonstration or reliable proof of what he is capable of; that is, that he is able to get out without harm, without pain, whether physical or emotional.

It is not enough for him to prove something to himself introspectively, in silence. For it to acquire validity, for it to be real to itself, the sexual E6 needs to show it, say it out loud, explain the battle…

This results in bragging, that fearless attitude that hides the inner insecurity for which you need to explain yourself over and over again, checking that there is no criticism, that there is acceptance. And there is also, deep down, a need to justify oneself.

Of course, he only needs to share it with those closest to him, with those who will not question him, who will accept his bravado and agree with him, which will validate him and allow him to feel moral superiority.


This is a trait that most sexual E6 recognize. By “honest” they mean that they do not tolerate any hypocrisy, falsehood, or deception. Even telling a lie is impossible. The honesty that he seeks ensures that he who fights for himself and for others is also correct, consistent and, therefore, worthy part of his ideal of a hero without blemish and without fear, justice and the rescue of the oppressed. And it is a way of going against the enemies: the exploiters, the powerful and those who abuse power, even people who have money because how can you have money if you are honest?


The ambition of the sexual E6 is camouflaged as idealism, by the pretense of wanting success or power at the service of justice and honesty. The idealization of himself as righteous justifies his desire to be recognized as the best, or perhaps the only one, in competition with others, whom he likes to look at as fools or people who are not up to the task (whatever they are).

Obviously, fear does not allow us to live this competition openly and visibly, which it condemns as immoral or selfish. So in this field, too, the counterphobic E6 will advance with one accusing finger and the other timid hand. He will continue to feel that a persecutor is going to come and punish him for being competitive and castrate him for being ambitious. There remains a feeling of frustration and rage against those who do not allow him (according to him) to raise his head, and also of guilt for wanting to raise it so much.

Claudio Naranjo's Sexual 6 Description

E6 Sexual – Strength[3]

And here is the so-called counterphobic character: sexual E6 goes against fear. So we could call this neurotic need force. On a descriptive level, we can say strong in the same way that a conservation six can be branded as a weak person. One is a rabbit and the other is a bulldog: a counterphobic is much like a barking dog. It doesn't always bite, it barks more than it bites, but it has a fierce appearance. The need is not only to feel strength, but also to be able to intimidate. The internal program says that the best defense is a good attack.

A very illustrative joke about it: a woman went to visit several psychiatrists because she heard wing noises in her bedroom that prevented her from sleeping. A novel psychiatrist gives him a gun telling him that he is going to end his phobia by shooting, “because you know you are stronger.” The next thing was a big scandal: the man killed his guardian angel.

So these are the madmen who go against danger, who can kill anyone because anyone can become something dangerous.

Psychology of the enneatype[4]

The sexual subtype of trait Six is also called "counterphobic". This adjective underscores a reactive style that, instead of being in touch with the dominant passion (fear) defends itself from it by reacting to fear through aggressive and belligerent behavior. Motivation is fear and what he uses to defend himself from the world is to provoke fear; hence his intimidating and authoritarian aspect.

The term "cowardice" (used by Oscar Ichazo) defines very well the passion of enneatype Six. What distinguishes the counterphobic subtype is precisely the feeling of shame it feels in the face of cowardice.

The sexual E6 lives a typical ambivalence regarding contact and withdrawal, the relationship with oneself and with the world. He has a desire for fusion but also fears it. It therefore leaves in the unconscious the desire for intimacy so as not to face the fear of annihilation and the anguish of loneliness.

Great vitality makes him live between self-protection and open rebellion against all kinds of control. It does not give up the desire itself but neither does it develop. Rather, it denies the fear and the need for intimate union with the other, to which it approaches with an impulsive and unconscious action, dissecting the sentimental aspect.

It is easier for the counterphobic to indulge in the sexual relationship than to the loving one. In any case, tenderness and instinctivity must be separated in order to handle the two aspects. Naranjo describes the sexual subtype as the one that "escapes against." It goes towards sexual intercourse to escape from deep intimacy, thus perpetuating its split between action and emotion.

As a good E6, the illusion is that thought has the same value as action (I think, then I do). But with a challenging style, which allows you to make decisions and act, and feeds your illusion that you face pain and fear. It is the most active of the three, but the counterphobic is actually a control-dictated, reactive action.

To resist your feelings you become emotionally impenetrable: you must show strength in the relationship to keep distance and not be attacked.

In order not to feel that anticipation of loss, the illusion is made that if you prevent the estrangement of the other, that anguish will be avoided. He also anticipates abandonment when he feels that the intimate relationship is transformed into a threat to his identity, and thus pursues, more than anything else, an illusion of autonomy.

Even when exposed to danger, sexual E6 is extremely ambivalent. It presents challenging and competitive behaviors, but never annihilate the "enemy", especially if it has established an important relationship at the affective level. Often the battle is fought in your thoughts. He needs the other -threatening- in order to feel the "force" of exercising dominion over him and restoring to himself an image congruent with the ideal of the Self.

Sandra Maitri's Sexual 6 Description[5]

6+Sexual – Strength/Beauty

Sexual Sixes have an underlying attitude of self-doubt regarding their sexual attractiveness and their desirability. Fundamentally they are afraid that they will not be loved, and this is where their passion of fear shows up most strongly. They are afraid to make intimate contact with another, and try to hide their fear behind exaggerating their strength (in the males) or their beauty (in the females). Male Sexual Sixes emphasize their machismo, attempting to appear virile, manly, and tough. Emotionally they may appear callous and arrogant. Female Sexual Sixes play up their attractiveness, using their capacity to attract as a way of stilling their fear about really connecting with another.

Beatrice Chestnut's Sexual 6 Description

Sexual (One-to-One) 6 Subtype description (2021)[6]

This subtype is more confrontational, intense, and intimidating. They respond to fear by expressing anger. For them, the best defense is a good offense. They come across as strong and they usually don’t feel or express their own fear or vulnerability. Although fear drives their behaviors, it tends to be more unconscious. They are “counterphobic” and move against perceived danger from a position of strength. At times, this gives them the appearance of rebels, risk-takers, adrenaline junkies, or troublemakers.

If this is your subtype, you act from fear, not courage, when you move toward risks and express strength and aggression. You intimidate others as a way of coping with fear and to ward off attacks. You need to get in touch with the fear under your strong exterior to develop real courage. You must develop more emotional strength to tolerate the experience of feeling vulnerable to become more grounded and aware. To be more conscious in your life and relationships, you need to explore your tendencies to be contrarian, controversial, thrill-seeking, and rebellious.

Sexual 6 Subtype summary (2021)[10]

Sexual Sixes express fear by going against fear—by becoming strong and intimidating. Trusting themselves more than others, these Sixes have the inner programming that when you are afraid, the best defense is a good offense. They take on a powerful stance, both in what they do and how they look, as a way of holding the enemy at a distance. Their anxiety is allayed through skill and readiness in the face of an attack.

Sexual 6 Subtype description (2021)[10]

The Sexual Six: “Strength/Beauty” (Countertype)

The countertype of the Type Six subtypes, the Sexual Six is the most counterphobic Six, the one who turns against the passion of fear by assuming a stance of strength and intimidation. Instead of actively feeling fearful, these Sixes have an inner belief that when you are afraid, the best defense is a good offense. As Naranjo explains, anxiety in this Six is allayed by skill and readiness in the face of a possible attack. They often appear bold and even fierce. They go against danger assertively, and even aggressively, as a way of denying and coping with their (often unconscious) fear.

Through denying their feelings of fear to one extent or another, Sexual Sixes go against danger from a position of strength; therefore, they have a passion for searching for or securing a position of strength. And it’s not just a strong character they seek, but the kind of strength that makes somebody else afraid—they want to assume a powerful enough stance to hold the enemy at a distance. These Sixes display a forcefulness that comes from not wanting to be weak, and they don’t allow for weakness in themselves.

Sexual Sixes’ strength is often physical. They may develop this physical strength through sports or exercise that serve to build muscles and make them feel strong in their bodies. They tend to have marked control over their bodies as a way of cultivating a sense of inner strength to guard against feeling the chaotic emotions associated with the release of rage or other impulses.

These Sixes also seek to be strong in terms of endurance; they seek to feel tough in the face of fatigue, repression, humiliation, and pain. (In this aspect, they may resemble the Self-Preservation Four.) For the Sexual Six, strength is often directly connected to an illusion of independence and a sense of being able to remain “unscathed” by trouble. They may also have a feeling of being somehow “bad” inside, and their strength protects them from their own inner attacks on themselves.

Sexual Sixes have a need not just for strength but for intimidation. As Naranjo suggests, this expression of intimidation is very much the essence of the character: if they appear strong, they won’t be attacked. While Naranjo explains that Ichazo’s title for this subtype, “Strength/Beauty,” originally meant “strength” in men and “beauty” in women, it may also be true that being beautiful is a source of strength in both male and female Sexual Sixes.

These characters walk around with the idea that anyone can become dangerous, so they do everything they can to not feel cheated, manipulated, taken advantage of, or attacked. If you are someone who thinks and feels this way, you need to be prepared to be strong and mount a resistance. That’s why Sexual Sixes not only develop strength but also intimidation—in the service of resistance, of being prepared to scare someone off, rebel, or be contrary.

Sexual Sixes give off the impression that they could get violent with anybody at any time, but that doesn’t mean that they have no fear. It is precisely out of a sense of fear that their anticipation of an attack comes—there is a somewhat paranoid imagining of danger, a belief that anyone can turn into a threat. However, these Sixes usually do not look afraid; their visible character could hardly be called “fearful” from the outside.

In contrast to the Self-Preservation Six, who backs away from threats, the counterphobic Sexual Six tends to move toward risky situations, feeling a sense of safety in actually confronting danger rather than hiding from it or avoiding it. They convince themselves (and others) that they are not victims of fear; they are convinced that fear is an emotion that should be eliminated systematically.

Despite being aggressive as part of their effort to intimidate through strength, Sexual Sixes tend not to acknowledge their aggressive side and may not be aware of it—or at least of the intensity of it. Their aggression is expressed mostly in the social arena and not as much in their private lives, as they will usually have needed to develop some level of trust with those they are close to. They also tend to separate their emotions: aggression is disconnected from fear, and sex is disconnected from feelings of love and intimacy.

The fact that these Sixes regularly move against danger (or perceived danger) can, at times, give them the appearance of a rebel, a daredevil, a risk-taker, an adrenaline junkie, or a troublemaker. In some cases, Sexual Sixes may be prone to megalomania or having a “hero complex.” In their own way, they seek to be “good guys” to avoid being punished. They may have the illusion that they are spontaneous, but they tend not to be.

Sexual Sixes tend to be very contrarian: they always have an argument at hand to refute and contradict an opinion. Instead of thinking in terms of “best-case” or “worst-case” scenarios, they think in terms of contrarian scenarios—if the trend is for others to focus on the worst, they will focus on the best; but if everyone is focusing on the best, they will assert the worst.

Although they may seem certain in their assertiveness, Sexual Sixes may hold doubt in their minds for a long time—doubting which road to take and so getting caught between choices. They often believe that there is only one truth, and they prefer concrete and pragmatic ideologies because they feel safe and allow control of the world. They fear making an error, and the consequences of doing so.

The Sexual Six can look like a Type Eight because both types can appear intimidating, strong, and powerful. However, in contrast to the Eight, who tends to be fearless, the Sexual Six is motivated by an underlying fear, even when they don’t consciously feel it or show it. Also, while Eights like to create order, Sexual Sixes often like to disrupt order by stirring up trouble. Sexual Sixes can also look like Threes in that they are actionoriented, fast-moving, assertive, and hardworking. They differ from Threes, however, in that they have more paranoid fantasies and their assertiveness has its basis in fear rather than in the need to achieve and accomplish goals in the service of looking good.

Richard, a Sexual Six, speaks:

For me the world is a dangerous place and as a result I maintain a constant vigilance. Scanning and looking for inconsistencies in people and the world around me is an ongoing and never-ending task. Dealing with the outside world is exhausting as a result.

Social occasions are especially taxing. On a recent night out with my wife, we went to a party where there were twenty to thirty other couples in attendance. Everyone was in a fun and festive mood...including myself. However, I quickly noticed that while my wife was easily approached and engaged by the new people around us, I, on the other hand, seemed to maintain a three-foot "No Fly Zone" around me for at least the first hour.

I've realized that my automatic and unconscious approach to dealing with uncertain and potentially threatening situations is to present myself as a potential threat. I don't literally threaten people, of course; it's more of an energy, or an aura, I create around myself without always knowing I'm doing it. I often wonder how others experience me when I'm in that mode, reserved and somewhat stoic, critical and watchful, and physically intense. From the inside, I have the sense that I’m ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. Recently, through therapy, I've realized how important it has been for me to squash fear (and even potential hints of fear) aggressively, assertively, and with prejudice.

Specific Work For The Sexual Six on the Path from Vice to Virtue[10]

Sexual Sixes can travel the path from fear to courage by learning how to be more vulnerable. If you are a Sexual Six, you may at times feel courageous, but don't mistake aggression and "strength" born of fear for real courage. As Naranjo says, the courage of the Sexual Six is the courage of having a weapon. Put down your weapons and learn to tap into your vulnerable emotions as a source of real strength, real power, and real courage. Notice how being strong masks your fear and other vulnerable feelings, and work to get in touch with those instead of always taking refuge in your ability to squash fear and look strong on the outside. Work toward having the courage to be able to let your guard down with more people more often. Allow yourself to feel pleasure without ambivalence and tenderness without reserve. Notice how the fear of losing your freedom and independence may lead you to push people away, and work on learning to trust people more with your more vulnerable feelings. Allow yourself to be guided more by instinct, intuition, and softer emotions so you can expand the ways in which you relate to yourself and open yourself up to others. Recognize that you can be liberated from the fear that keeps you locked inside the hard shell of your "acorn" self by seeing and accepting that you don't always have to be so strong and so vigilant.

Haiki Sexual 6 Description[7]

Sexual Six: Strength

The Sexual Six is the counter-Six. They function in the direction directly against fear. We could associate the apparent lack of fear of this Six with strength, and therefore, the contact with fear the Self-Preservation Six has with a certain type of weakness. Both of these analogies are obviously just that - approaches to understanding the subtypes.

They tend to intimidate to not be attacked and they present an image of being cool and arrogant. They take the idea that the best defense is a good attack to the extreme. They even have a very forceful tone of voice. In this sense, Claudio Naranjo’s right-hand, Grazia Cecchini, notes: “In counterphobic Sixes, strength is often cultivated on a physical level (sports, working out, etc.). Another trait is showing resistance to fatigue, repression, humiliation, and pain itself. This quality makes them seem like Self-Preservation Fours at times. The difference is that the Sexual Six cultivates strength as an hope to be able to keep away attacks from others and fear. However, for them to transform themselves, they must recognize they use strength as an identity to cover up a deep sensation of not being worthy and that it works to make them not feel dependent on others. “If I am strong, I will not get into relationships and they won’t harm me.” “If I’m strong, I can exist, whether you are here with me or you abandon me.” This neurotic illusion of strength is directly connected with the illusion of independence and wellbeing, and also the narcissistic trait of megalomania.”

A lot of people of this subtype (and there are a lot more than it may seem!) do not type themselves as Sixes initially because they struggle to see their fear. They don’t react from a state of paralysis. If they smell fear, they go right after it. For them, dangerous situations don’t exist, they react from a type of impulse and often get into big messes. In addition, even if they begin to feel fear, it is very hard for them to acknowledge it publicly.

All of this being said, it is not hard for them to jump into action as it is for other Sixes. They tend to want to impress the other with what they are doing.

Sometimes, they do not seem like head types and they can be confused with an Eight or a Sexual Four. Physically, they are often very strong, and even though sometimes we encounter small Sexual Six women, they often still have a strong energy.

Carmen Durán and Antonio Catalán's Sexual 6 Description[8]

SX6: Strength/Beauty -> Protection

Instead of Strength and Beauty, we opt to call this subtype “Protection,” as through Strength and Beauty we see a desire for protection. Strength is translated into an attitude of power which hides the need to be protected. They are looking for protection, on an unconscious level, but adopting at the same time, in the foreground, a protective attitude, as if these relationships, they form a pact of mutual protection. Beauty shows confidence, nonchalance, and solidity, and also has this connotation of power and hiding the desire to be protected, to placate their fear. Through denying their fear, they become the strong one, the beautiful one, stemming from their own desire and valuing of strength. Strength is like a demonstration of courage, where internal fear is neutralized through an externally tough attitude, a need to be a fighter whose origin is feeling threatened. The anxiety of being threatened is drowned through intimidating the other, whatever scares them. When this strength is debilitated by fear, they counteract in a reactive way, not coming from basic instinct, but rather from a type of purpose of not letting anyone or anything inhibit them, the challenge of staying on top and not being crushed down.

La Mirada Libre's Self-Preservation 6 Description[9]

E6 Sexual: Strength

It is the most active of the subtypes of 6, an action motivated by the impulse to defend itself, so it is more of a reaction. In the face of fear, he defends himself with the Force, understood as a passion to defy fear, to hide it because it generates a very strong shame.

According to wikipedia, a counterphobic response is a response to anxiety in which, instead of fleeing from the source of fear in the manner of a phobia, one actively seeks it out, hoping to overcome the original anxiety. The sexual subtype of 6 is the counterphobic of the 3 subtypes and therefore the counterpassionate.

His constant motivation is to fight fear and make sure he doesn't succumb to it, adopting an image of bravery that replaces the lack of faith in his deep self.

6 sexual women also use their beauty as strength and have a masculine sexuality. Quick and lucid thinking, direct and quick words, invasive and aggressive gestures, he acts on impulse, living the illusion that he is master of his destiny.

The typical anxiety of all enneatype 6 is linked to the fear of being the cause (experienced as guilt) of the separation, rejection or aggressiveness of the other (father or mother in the initial stages of character formation).

Force is actually an identification with a persecuting executioner superego (authoritarian parent figure) that expresses itself through restrictions of desires or needs as well as self-punishment, exposing oneself, for example, to danger without protection. It is capable of hard work and extreme physical tests without feeling fatigue or pain. This may resemble the tenacity of the conservation 4 but while the latter is motivated by feeling capable of suffering, the sexual 6 seeks not to feel pain or fear.

The fear of the sexual 6 is seen in his hard, defiant and disconnected gaze. Menacing look, eyes that attack. He walks fast and rooted in a boastful plan, but his neck and shoulders remain rigid because they cannot hide their fear.

In his love relationships he is cynical, because he does not trust the intentions of the other or his own. Being a sexual subtype, he feels the impulse towards sexual union and falls in love easily, but romanticism is a fragility for him, a risk of exposing himself to ridicule, so he masks it with cynicism and pragmatism.

It is a phallic character (both in men and women), he seeks discharge in the sexual act but does not feel comfortable with preliminaries or displays of affection since they would put him in a situation of fragility that is not allowed. He is also very afraid of abandonment, so he usually leaves the relationship before him so as not to go through the pain of being left. He does not allow himself to surrender to love and always believes that the other may want to manipulate him.

Self-rejection (based on enneatype 6), in the case of the counterphobic, is about attributing to the other the blame for one's own suffering of being rejected. There is a lot of projection on the other of his rejection of himself, so as not to connect with his low self esteem, his own falsehood, weakness and dependence.

In intimate relationships, aggression transforms into sadism, cynicism, distrust, a constant aggressive attitude and an automatic defense. When he finally decides to accept the other in his intimacy, he is very loyal, but if he discovers that the other is not as faithful as he thought, he ends the relationship without feeling, like a cold and rational breach of contract. This may be similar to enneatype 8 but the 8 feels that he owns the other, while the 6 wants from him a non-threatening pact.

A curiosity that I see in the 6 sexuals is that they really like to have aggressive dogs or rather aggressive-looking dogs as pets. They are seen walking down the street with their boxer dogs, pitbulls... as if wanting to give the appearance of "beware that I bite" through their pet as well.

Another characteristic of the sexual 6 is that he is a rebel without a cause, but it is not the rebellion of the 8 who enjoys his desire to do what he wants and does not care about the feelings of the other and what he does, the 6 feels anxiety in his rebellion carefully observing the reactions that the other may have.

It is the active-instinctive subtype of the six and its movement is "against."

Don Riso and Russ Hudson Sexual 6 Description[11]


Symbols of Power and Connection. In the average range, Sexual Sixes develop physical strength, power, and/or physical attractiveness to feel safe. More aggressive Sexual Sixes rely on strength and displays of toughness that can resemble Type Eight ("Don't mess with me"), while more phobic Sexual Sixes use their sexuality and coquettishness to disarm others and attract support in ways that can resemble Type Four. They mask their insecurities through open assertion and defiance of authority, or through flirtation and seduction.

Sexual Sixes are highly aware of their physical attributes—for instance, spending time in gyms—although not for health reasons but to enhance their strength and appeal. Sexual Sixes want to attract a powerful and capable mate, so they frequently test the other, both to see if they will stay with them, as well as to give themselves time to assess the other person's character and fortitude.

Sexual Sixes are more openly defiant of authority than the other Instinctual Variants of the Six, especially when anxious. They are also the most doubting of others and of themselves. They can have explosive emotional reactions when their own insecurities are exposed or their connections with others are threatened. When anxious, they may assert themselves against their own supporters or third parties rather than at the true source of their anxieties. Attempts at sabotaging others, or undermining their reputations in various ways, especially through rumor-mongering, are typical.

In the unhealthy range, Sexual Sixes can be depressive and erratic,especially if they feel that their reactivity has undermined or ruined their intimate connections. Impulsive, self-destructive behavior alternates with irrational lashing out. Paranoia may become part of the picture, although usually with a distinctly focused and obsessive flavor since it is aimed at particular, personal enemies.


[1] Lilly, J. C. & Hart, J. E. (1975). The Arica Training

[2] Naranjo, C. (2017). "Ensayos sobre psicología de los eneatipos"

[3] Naranjo, C. (2012). "27 personajes en busca del ser"

[4] Naranjo, C. (2017). Cobardes, desafiantes y fanáticos: las formas del miedo

[5] Maitri, S. (2001). "The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram"

[6] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Enneagram Guide to Waking Up"

[7] The Haiki Enneagram Website (Link to Subtype Translations)

[8] Durán, C. and Catalán, A. (2009). "Los engaños del carácter y sus antídotos"

[9] Psychology of Ennea-types Volumes by Claudio Naranjo Interpreted by La Mirada Libre

[10] Chestnut, B. (2021). "The Complete Enneagram"

[11]Don Riso and Russ Hudson (1999),The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

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