Scantling, Sandra - Sexual Styles

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

In her clinical psychology practice counselling couples around intimacy issues, Sandra Scantling perceived structure of concern dynamics operating in adult sexual interaction (Scantling, 1998). She names the sexual-style quadrants after representative animals, written in PAEI order as follows:

P – Bear: The Stabilizer
A – Bee: The Worker
E – Otter: The Player
I – Lion: The Energizer

P – Bear: Bears are gruff and not terribly articulate about needs or emotions. They would prefer if their partners just “knew” or could “guess” what their sexual wants or boundaries were, so things could “just happen” without much need for discussion. They need to be handled with care because they are not adept at negotiating emotions, but they can be extremely giving. They sometimes get more focused on pleasing their partners than themselves, which can lead to problems of arousal and performance.

A – Bee: Bees are systematic perfectionists. Their houses are impeccable, and they may be unable to settle down for sex if a chore remains undone. They may take a technical approach to sex, trying to plan sex dates or to apply all the recommendations of a sex manual to their lovemaking. They have a hard time with spontaneity and affective decisions. To get Bees to relax and play, you may need to plan a romantic getaway, far from the daily grind. Loyal and devoted, they can find it hard to relinquish control in bed.

E – Otter: Otters are boundlessly enthusiastic and creative, so long as activities are fun and the restrictions and limitations are minimal. They will resist doing routine tasks and activities, unless they are presented as a prelude to a fun payoff. Otters dislike strong, categorical commitments, and base decisions on instinct. Enjoy their passion and playfulness, and help them stay grounded enough to get through the daily tasks of life.

I – Lion: Lions love attention, and fear abandonment. They care about fashion and appearances, and can be critical of themselves and others if they don’t measure up. They want to be socially central and to lead, but they like following too sometimes. They love sexy and romantic talk. Lions tend to be comparative and thus sensitive about their prowess, which can hinder performance. If they feel appreciated, their passion blooms.

Scantling points out that most people have a mixed style with primary and secondary animals, and one can reflect one’s style to varying degrees. She also discusses the sexual and relationship dynamics that develop between lovers with matching or different styles.

1. Scantling, S. R. (1998). Extraordinary Sex Now: A Couple’s Guide to Intimacy. New York: Doubleday.
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