The Intimate Two

The Seductress

Start with an American classic: the sexual seductive type. In popular culture and in the movies, this is usually a feminine role. Adolescent males (of every age) show a cultural preference for this type and often pay dearly for this preference.

These are the seductresses. What is the difference between being attractive and being seductive? The seductive Two has unconscious hostility, even hatred, for the person she is trying to attract. She is not inwardly clear about the distinction between being sexually desirable and being loved. When she (and I'll use the feminine because my examples from the movies are both women) offers herself to men sexually, she expects true love in return. She is invariably disappointed.

Psychologically, this is rooted in fatherlessness. This may be actual or perceived. A distant or frequently absent father who then periodically showers inappropriate attention on the little girl can create the polarity. "Either I'm totally lovable (which will later mean sex) or I'm overlooked." This prompts the little girl to work hard to please men. With her natural radar, she learns that sex is how to please men. But by sex she intends an exchange for lavish attention and love. The men in question may mean something else entirely.

Hell hath no fury

To see this acted out vividly, watch Angelica Houston (the doctor's mistress) in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Then watch Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. If you watch those two movies you will get a vivid demonstration of what the dynamics are. Notice that both women are abjectly dependent on men they hate -- and want. Both see themselves as really having no power, yet exercising considerable power. Both see themselves as nothing without the man, while at the same time scorning him. Both see themselves as little children. Neither of the women have a life independent of the man. They are obsessed with him precisely to the degree they have no substance of their own. He and only he can give them inner reality. His responsibility is in direct proportion to her need. Guilt is the currency of love.

The seductress wants love in the worst way and gets it. She begins by defining love inwardly with painful narrowness. "If you love me, you will take me sexually." No other form of love will do.

The high side of the intimate two is Tammy Wynette, "Stand by your man," in which the woman remains a faithful partner through various difficulties. As one cultural meme shows the low side of the enneagram style, the country western ideal shows the nobler side. Both are exaggerations, but they also both illustrate how style two lives in an interpersonal world. The intimate two makes the romantic union their whole world.

Control is the issue

Then, because seduction is a way of life, she includes Divine Love in the same dynamic. "God, my father, doesn't really love me. He's distant, just like men. But if I do whatever good things I can, (if I seduce Him), then he will have to love me. He will have to honor his responsibilities toward me. He will have to take care of me. I will be so good, so loving that I will be loved in return. God is not outdone in generosity."

Every community is apt to have a few unhealthy Twos whose love is feared by many. Invested love is a control mechanism. (Enneagram ego styles are control mechanisms. The world is not very manageable when we are young, so we find ways to get it to do what we want. Then we extend the effort to include God.) When God doesn't answer prayers of the Two when they are sooo pious, they can get deeply hurt and angry. God broke his (implicit) part of the bargain, just like men do!

If a male coach has a female Two client, he will have to be careful not to fall into the role of father. She will pull for that. It may appear to be seduction, and sometimes is, but the more common pitfall is to become a father-figure.


  1. Begin with observation. If you look into the vacant eyes of the models who are so alluring, you can probably see the chasm. I've always wondered why the vacant look was so popular, perhaps this is the explanation. Seduction is always an act of hostility and desperation. If you prefer real life, go to the mall. Read the expressions on the faces of those who are dressed the most seductively - male or female. (That hostility has been hard-earned, they've most likely been abused before and some may have had a role in bringing it about).
  2. Watch the dynamic of oscillation between need and rejection in relationships. They can alternate or they can be simultaneous. (I hate you but you owe me...)
  3. When you are tempted (!) to do something for anyone, to meet their needs as only you can, examine your motives. If it is done out of gratitude for what you already have, you're clear. If this is part of your spiritual portfolio, an emotional investment policy, you're in trouble. When Jesus told us to let our right hand know what our left was doing, this is the dynamic he was trying to break down. Anonymous kindness is healing for both the giver and the recipient. Do some.
  4. Seductive Twos vividly personify Thomson's law, "What you don't get up front, you get out back." Ask for what you really want. But before you do, get as clear as you can about what you want. Twos have a tough time even knowing what they want.

    Discussion questions:

  1. How old does your Enneagram style feel? Describe (at least for yourself) in some detail how odd you feel if/when you're being seductive.
  2. Enneagram energy shows up in patterns. Do you have any patterns of being exploited? If so, can you discern how you may have set them up? You can take it for gold that if you recognize a pattern in your life, you have a hand in creating it. We have a number of vulgar synonyms for exploitation. Do you use them? When? What's the usual context? Any pattern there?
  3. If this is your strategy, ask yourself a) How do you seduce? What are the inner movements? Do you feel it in your eyes? your shoulders? your gut? Where? (Many Twos feel a confusion in their upper chest right below the throat, for example.)
  4. If you want to let go of some this strategy, ask yourself what you will lose. What does your strategy do for you? Are you willing to dispense with it (or at least part of it)? We need to count the cost of our changes or they will be frightening because they loosen what we perceive to be our control over our environment.