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A few weeks ago, I tuned into an episode from the popular podcast, “Sex with Emily,” on Spotify.
I began listening to this podcast out of sheer curiosity about who this sex therapist, Emily, was. Her face popped up on my Instagram feed a couple of times and I liked her content. It seemed refreshing and sex-positive in a way that felt supportive and nourishing and free of kink-shaming.
I’ve been wanting to understand my sexuality more, and after listening to a few episodes, it just became a regular thing to chuck an episode on while I’m changing to get ready to go out, or while I’m making dinner. Listening to an episode felt like the kind of conversation you’d have with your girlfriends when you’re talking about something spicy. To me, it also feels like a time where I allow myself to listen to something that is promoting my feminine well-being and my pleasure. It’s one of the ways I am healing my feminine energy after years of being in more “masculine,” defensive skin. Allowing pleasure is allowing receptivity and a deepening of the divine feminine within—and I’m here for it.
In one of her recent episodes, she interviews Dr. Helen Fisher who is a renowned biological anthropologist and author of Anatomy of Love. It was, by far, one of the most informative episodes I’ve heard on the show. Dr. Fisher talked about her personality test, which was taken by over 14 million people in 40 countries. She basically divides personalities into four basic brain systems: dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen systems.
She also calls these four types:
>> Explorer: those who primarily express the traits linked with the dopamine system.
>> Builder: those who primarily express the traits linked with the serotonin system.
>> Director: those who primarily express the traits linked with the testosterone system.
>> Negotiator: those who primarily express the traits linked with the estrogen system.
Even though we are mostly a combination of all types, we still have our unique blueprint or qualities that feel inherently natural to us. She recommends looking at your top two systems as these will be the ones you likely express yourself most with. Your primary and secondary types can help you understand your personality style.
I did the test and my primary type was Builder, and secondary type was Negotiator. The result felt damn accurate. There’s something exhilarating about reading something that confirms what you feel inside but in a different, more creative way.
When I sat back and analysed how I’m primarily a serotonin-driven person, it made so much sense. Builders are usually calm, social, they have an eye for detail. Negotiator was a close second, and they are estrogen-driven and can usually tolerate ambiguity, have strong mental flexibility, and are like natural psychologists, which also sounds a lot like me.
Understanding this more allowed me to embrace those qualities as part of who I am rather than feeling like I had to be all types at once. My years of perfectionism always made me want to prove that I can be everything if I just work hard enough. But healing from the damaging effects of perfectionism now makes me appreciate being selective. I can simply be who I am rather try to prove that I’m good at being super empathetic, logical, idealistic, altruistic—all my brain systems don’t have to drive me in equal measure. I can lean into one thing more than the other.
I think it’s really amazing that we can understand our natural predisposition toward something in our life, whether through personality tests like this, or through astrology birth charts, or the science of numerology, or chronobiology health tests, or all the other methods available to us. None of it is set in stone, determining who we are in a rigid way, but we can definitely begin to understand our natural inclinations a bit more.
I make it a point sometimes to do a test a couple of years down the line again to see if I’ve changed. I remember when I first did the MBTI test, I was an introvert. After I moved to Sydney, lived, and worked here for a few years, I did the test again and I was an extrovert. All very true, because I had noticed a fundamental shift in how I express myself in that time. I had become more outgoing and more in need of community compared to how comfortable I was back home.
Nelson Mandela said it best:
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
You can find the test, here.