Whether you’re a sex coach or a person interested in sexuality, you may be familiar with the word archetype. It’s a concept that rings a bell for many people but not everyone is able to explain exactly what it is. In this essay, I will shine some light on what archetypes are, and how you can use four of the sexual archetypes for your pleasure and the pleasure of your clients.
“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, and I do not feel ashamed.” – Meredith Brooks in her song “Bitch”
Archetypes were originally developed by Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, who believed a collective unconscious exists that is passed from one generation to another. This unconscious “contains all of the knowledge and experiences that humans share as a species,” according to Jung. He believed that archetypes are universal “signs, symbols, or patterns of thinking and behaving that are inherited from our ancestors” that express the collective unconscious.
In other words, this theory suggests that societal beliefs and attitudes toward sexuality are part of the collective unconscious. Of course, these attitudes may differ depending on culture and society. Expression of archetypes is also influenced by personal experience.
Since Jung coined the idea, others have built upon his concepts and identified a multitude of other archetypes beyond those he identified.
For sex coaches, it’s important to remember that we all can embody different archetypes no matter our gender and sexual orientation. What’s more, being aware of different archetypes can be of great use to every sexuality professional because the archetypes are present in people all over the world.
Hundreds of archetypes exist and each of us can identify with more than one. The great news is that if we’re aware of them, we can consciously choose to embody them and we can also notice their shadow. According to Jung, the archetypal shadow can form when we try to force ourselves to adapt to cultural norms and expectations that don’t fit who we are.
Plus, as the archetypes we manifest change throughout our lives, we can use them as guides on each step of our journey.
The Four Sexual Archetypes for Female-Identified People
Let’s examine four sexual archetypes for female-identified people: the Mother, the Virgin, the Slut, and the Witch. We can look at both the “traditional” meaning of these archetypes and the sexual energy of each one. Learning more about each sexual archetype and its shadow side can be helpful for amplifying both your own and your clients’ pleasure.
It is highly possible that your understanding and expression of these archetypes differs from the ways described in this article—after all, we are all beautiful in our diversity and we all can experience the sexual archetypes in unique ways. If your definition of the archetypes differs, we’d love to hear about them, so leave us a comment!
Let’s begin our journey around the sexual archetypes by introducing the archetype of the Mother. According to Jung, this archetype is the most important. It symbolizes birth and nurture, but don’t let it fool you! This sexual archetype is related to creativity, as well.
In Western society, the mother figure is the one who prioritizes others’ wellbeing, especially children. When you think about mothers, you may have an image in your head of a perfect woman from TV commercials—the one who is always happy, smiling, doing everything she can to satisfy the needs of her child and taking care of the family.
When it comes to sexual life, Mother energy is something you and your clients may channel and not even be aware of. The caring part of this sexual archetype may be present when you’re making sure that your partner is having a great time during sex. It’s there when you practice aftercare in the form of a cozy cuddling session. As you approach a new partner and ask them for what they like in bed and how to make them dissolve in pleasure, you may be channelling the archetype of the Mother.
At the same time, this and every sexual archetype has their shadow side. The societal value of this archetype is strong, and with it, the pressure to be the “perfect” mother persists all around. The result is that sometimes you may be so focused on your partner(s)’ pleasure, you may forget about your own. Another dark side of the Mother energy is that, at times, you may think you know what’s best for the other person.
However, you can use the shadow of this archetype to your advantage. What if you could boss someone around and you both had fun? Then, you may want to try being a dom/domme! Just make sure, in this scenario, the person(s) you play with consent to everything you want to do to them.
The sexual archetype of the Virgin is another one you may be familiar with. Virginity is a social and cultural construct that many people glorify. Religion plays a big role in praising virginity, as well. The archetype of the Virgin is most commonly depicted as a woman who is not having sex (with emphasis on penetrative sex) until she marries. Virginity is often associated with being pure and innocent. When you think about this sexual archetype, you may also imagine a damsel in distress, a trope popular in many Western movies and TV shows.
The energy of the Virgin is one rooted in innocence and in new experiences. You may be channeling this archetype when you want to try something new in your sex life, whether with yourself or your partner(s). When you embody this sexual archetype, you may be an exuberant force of creativity in the bedroom, as well! You may feel inspired to explore sex that is not focused on P-In-V intercourse.
With all the archetypes, it’s worth considering whether we’re channeling them consciously or if it’s something our society/culture/religion pressures us to embody, either overtly or subconsciously.
The shadow side of the Virgin is a tendency to cling too tightly to the damsel in distress energy and be passive during sex. Similarly to the Mother archetype, this may result in forgetting about your own pleasure.
On the other hand, you may find strength in that passivity. Try being a pillow princess! You can ask your partner to focus on you while you completely soak in all the sensations. And the kinky side of this sexual archetype can be great to spice up your sex life. Imagine embodying the persona of someone who contradicts societal beliefs. After all, breaking the taboo turns a lot of people on! It may be hot to feel like a virgin who wants to have sex right here, right now, and completely focus on this experience.
The complete opposite of the Virgin archetype is the Slut. Virgins and mothers are held in high esteem in Western society. Sluts are thought of as people who have a lot of sex with a lot of people, in societies where sexual promiscuity is looked down upon. The word slut is often used as a slur. Slut-shaming someone is a common way to control their sexuality.
On the other hand, there’s a movement in the sex positive community to reclaim the word slut. As an example, take a look at the book by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton called The Ethical Slut.
A person channeling the Slut sexual archetype is someone who takes full control over their own pleasure. In the bedroom, it may be a person who’s taking charge and is “all in.” They also know their self-worth and are not ashamed of their sexuality. When you’re confident and know what you want, you may be embracing this sexual archetype. The energy associated with the Slut is intense and dynamic.
The shadow side of the Slut is that they can be be so focused on getting it on, they may forget about the connection with the other person. If you’re invoking the Slut and letting the passion of the moment carry you away, you may not realize if the energy shifts. You could be taking so much, you’re not paying close enough attention to your partner(s).
Make sure to talk to your partner(s) about what you’re hungry for. In the end, taking charge in bed and focusing on your own pleasure can be really hot, provided everyone is on board with that!
Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you may want to consider channeling the sexual archetype of the Witch. Note: the Witch archetype described here is not necessarily the same as the spiritual practice known as Witchcraft.
In comparison to the Mother, the Virgin, and the Slut, the Witch is characterized by her independence. As Mona Chollet writes in her book, Witches. The Undefeated Power of Women, society dictates a woman shouldn’t become a witch. According to her, a Witch is the only archetype that is not defined by their relationship to others.
The image of a witch in popular culture may be one of a woman who is outside the definition of canonical beauty and is focused on her own wellbeing. As a result, she may be considered “evil” and unattractive. On the other hand, another common portrayal of a witch is similar to that of a slut–a beautiful woman who seduces men to her advantage, like portrayed in the movie, The Love Witch.
When it comes to the Witch archetype, imagine a person who takes their pleasure in their own hands (sometimes literally!) because they don’t need others to be sexually fulfilled. A Witch is also someone who loves rituals. When you embrace this sexual archetype, you may want to surround yourself with flowers, crystals, and lit candles. Dress up in a way that makes you feel powerful in order to ignite your desire. You may want to look for sensuality within the four elements: air, water, fire and earth.
The dark side of the Witch is that you may not want to rely on other people to receive pleasure and even feel that you should not need others. While masturbating is great fun and can be empowering, it’s worth wondering whether it’s something you’re in the mood for or whether it’s coming from (internal or external) pressure to be self-reliant that’s knocking on your door. Of course, you might flip this shadow on its head by masturbating in front of your partner(s)!
Using the Archetypes in a Sex Coaching Practice
As a sex coach, you may use the knowledge about the archetypes to help your clients. When you get to know them, you may keep in mind which archetype(s) you think they are embodying in their life. Make sure to pay attention to whether it’s their choice or a narrative that someone else has written for them, be it a partner, family, society, culture, or religion.
You may also want to ask your client about other archetypes that are or were present in their lives and which ones they personally want to try consciously channeling. Together with your clients, you may also explore the shadow side of their archetype to help them heal and reclaim their true selves.
Join the discussion!
Have you heard about archetypes before? Which ones are you familiar with? Let us know in the comments!