The Five Feminine Sexual Archetypes. ~ Kevin Macku

Via elephant journal
on Mar 5, 2013
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There was once a man who was visited by three goddesses.

They were attempting to settle a dispute between them, a trifling matter to determine which of them held claim to the golden apple that had been mysteriously rolled into the middle of their party. It had been enigmatically labelled “for the Fairest one,” though without its bearer to better describe who exactly it meant, the three chief aspects of Woman each attempted to lay claim over it.

Hera represented woman’s maternity. Her role was that which woman was born to accomplish. Not all women were pretty, nor all women smart, but all women were designed to be mothers, she argued. Therefore she was the fairest.

Pallas Athena represented woman’s power, intelligence, courage and heroic endeavor. After her was the greatest of Greek cities named. So long as women aspired, she was their champion, she argued. Therefore she was the fairest.

Aphrodite represented woman’s beauty and sexuality. Whether by war or progress, all actions required inspiration and desire. Even if men’s hands turned the world, it was women who made them want to turn it, she argued. Therefore she was the fairest.

Before they resorted to bribery, Paris admitted that each of them was equally fair. However, in today’s society, Paris’s settling on Aphrodite seems certain. She is everywhere; on billboards, in magazines and in every corner of the internet. However, we are just now beginning to see the dawning of an age where Paris’s judgement returns to the table; the qualities of woman which society holds in chief renown might no longer be her looks and sexuality.

In other words, there was not—and we’re returning to a time where there is not—any one archetype of sexy. To say, “This, this, and this are what make (all) women sexy,” is being recognized as not only subjective, but alienating to the parties possessing of different (though equally valid) qualities.

And I’m a firm believer that no woman likes to be told she isn’t sexy.

The Five Feminine Sexual Archetypes

Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite represent archetypes: broad brushstrokes of psychology given human shape. All three reside in each woman on the face of the planet (men, too, but they’re not the important part of this discussion). Before I delve into the feminine archetypes of sexuality, I must make clear a few things about archetypes in general:

1. Archetypes are incomplete pictures. Imagine that they are masks to be donned or removed at will. The actor beneath the mask (that is, you) does not change; no archetype can ever constitute the entirety of a human being.

2. Archetypes are all contextual. Look at the boy bands of the 90s. Normally, they were separated into five, because five is a great number for archetypes (as are three, seven and 12). Any of the five, in any other setting, would likely represent the same archetype—the singer/performer/pretty-boy. But when five of the same archetype are in the same spotlight, they rearrange themselves around one another, subdividing further: he’s the shy singer/performer, he’s the sexy singer/performer, he’s the funny one, etc.

3. Archetypes are how the brain solves a problem. When two people first meet, they have histories and stories that have already left their marks on them, manifesting as the trappings of archetypes. Archetypes are the brain’s attempt to find the shortest and most efficient “template” to describe the self’s relationship to the other: my mother, my (best) friend, a jerk, my rival, a really attractive girl/guy, my muse, my husband/wife, and so on.

These are the Five Feminine Sexual Archetypes most commonly found in today’s society. For the purposes of this exercise, I have given the archetypes the names and characteristics of the five planets visible without a telescope. And as we are looking from the one point of view around which they all revolve, I have taken the liberty of casting their partner as the Sun.

“What’s his type? Wilting flower? Bright and bubbly? Or smoldering temptress?”
~ Satine, Moulin Rouge!

Mercury: the Girl Next Door

I discovered her reading by the bank of the creek. From across the yard, I could tell that she was completely engulfed by her novel, probably something by Nicholas Sparks or Jane Austen. As I approached, I occupied my attention with anything else that could catch my interest along the way—she knew I was nearby, but would only put the book down when she came to a good place to stop.

“Hey!” she finally cried, leaping into my arms before I noticed she’d gotten to her feet. When she hugged me, her feet kicked off the ground.

“Well hello, Little One,” I replied, spinning around once obligingly. She giggled all the while, but then chided me for calling her Little One and took me by the wrist to the bank of the creek. Along the way, we passed some butterflies dancing in the wildflowers. How alike she is to them, I reflected.

“You should be cautious,” I teased as we came to the water’s edge. “If we keep vanishing into the woods together, people might start to suspect that I hold wicked thoughts for you.”

“Well? Do you?” she asked; though she feigned boldness, my remark had struck her; I could see from her side that her cheek began to rust.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. As such, they are most often friends long before they become lovers. Mercurial relationships hide in coworkers and conspirators, best friends and secret admirers. They are marked by unburdened, almost childlike joy or whimsy. Mercury will happily endure the pain of watching their love love another, at times even serving to bring the two together to win favor for the Sun.

When portrayed in movies and stories, Mercurial relationships often end sadly, as for one reason or another one party “friendzones” the other, or—in more extreme cases—Mercury dies just before or as the Sun realizes the depth of their connection.

However, in many cases, Suns will hold their long-term relationships to the standard of their best Mercurial relationship, even if that Mercurial relationship never became romantic.

Mercurial women enjoy literature, and are good at writing themselves. They are the most likely to keep their own journal. They will likely have something written that they are too shy to show anyone but that one special person. It is a rare honor to be granted a Mercury’s secrets, and they must be handled with care. This is the archetype of the journalist, the writer, the unofficial therapist, the intern and the librarian.

Notable Mercurial women in stories: Eponine (Les Miserables), Nancy Callahan (Sin City), Meg (Paperman), Eliante (The Misanthrope), Indiana (Indiana)

“If Celimene should choose to wed another,
I’d feel no shame to stand in as his lover.
His tender heart would be no sad abasement
When his affections find a fond replacement.”
~ Eliante, The Misanthrope (IV.i.)

Venus: the Painted Lady

It was perhaps the most important test of my entire education. Not just what college I went to, but the question of my attending college at all might just have rested on my performance during the next two hours. So imagine my dismay when I hear the chair across from me grunt as it was scooted out and down in it sits the most beautiful girl in the entire school.

Her name I’d made a synonym with beauty (and recited it from time to time). Her talent in my mind was unquestionable. Had I the hands for it, I’d make sculptures to preserve in three dimensions her shape, her figure, her smile. She was everything that set my passions aflame: big doe eyes, a dancer’s figure, laughter like windchimes…

Some even say she kissed a girl during a party once.

To make matters worse, not only was this goddess sitting across from me at a time that I required focus more than anything; she had just gotten out of what appeared to be a particularly rigorous ballet class, and she was still in her leotard and tights. She had sweat just enough that it made a reflective sheen under the ugly white lights of the classroom, and one single bead crawled down from her collarbone, following the contours of her flesh as if it were an artist’s pencil tracing the curve of only the top of her breast before it vanished into the valley where the leotard stretched, leaving the rest to the artist in my head.

At some point, people had started to fill out the front of their tests. I had sat frozen for I don’t even remember how long.

“Hell,” I thought to myself, “is temptation in the shape of angels.”

Venusian women start stories and wars. In today’s society, they are our sex icons, our swimsuit and runway models, our strippers and our whores. They live, walk and breathe sex, when it isn’t oozing effortlessly from their pores—and they know it, too. When aggressive, Venusian partners talk dirty and like to be spoken to as such, for they have forgotten the meaning of shame; when this is done poorly, it may create distance, and they push themselves towards the orbit of Jupiter.

Not all Venusian women are prostitutes; they are simply the women who champion their beauty and/or sexuality. This is also the archetype of the head cheerleader, the ballerina, the debutante and the princess.

Depending on the time and nation of the story, the Sun may find he loves someone other than the Venus in his life. But it will almost always be the Venus that sends him on that journey of discovery.

Notable Venusian women in stories: Beatrice (The Divine Comedy), Satine (Moulin Rouge!), Inara Serra (Firefly/Serenity), Angela Hayes (American Beauty), Lolita (Lolita)

“Every boy in the village was in love with Victoria Forester.”
~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust

Mars: the Femme Fatale

Our game of pool was merely to give the illusion of decorum, though at this point why we kept it up was anyone’s guess—her parents had long since gone away, and her little brother was either playing video games or asleep in his room two floors up. The convenience of having a pool table in the basement was such that there were no windows; none to spy, none to fool.

No, the game between us was not one of 8-ball, but rather a game in that we both knew what each other felt, we both knew that the other knew, but who would be the first to crack and admit it?

So we passed more than an hour, as she nonchalantly demonstrated the proper stance (as I had, until this point in my life, never actually played pool), talked of the rules of the game and mildly complained at how little room there was in her little basement, which she used to justify why she kept bumping into and brushing past me as we negotiated with one another for shots.

Even when she was in the lead, she would attempt little distractions, like blowing gently on my ear or grabbing my thigh. She was not in danger of losing, but like a killdeer she feinted fear and weakness to draw in a predator. As the game came closer to ending, we became more bold with our distractions. When, as these little amateur games so often end up, only the final ball remained on the table, she set her cue aside and looked me straight in the eyes with a look that I would later discover meant only one thing: hunger.

“What do you say we make a bet?” she growled, as she hooked her thumb under one of the straps that held her top up.

Where Mercurial relationships are based on proximity and equality, Martian romances often look more like competition. These are fiery encounters where the participants often climb and clamor over one another for dominance. They dance the tango and wear pointed high heels. They won’t settle with being just as good as their partner at the things they do. Not only do they strive to be better, but they’ll look damn good doing it.

Masculine fantasy has a tough time dealing with Sun-Mars relationships. To compensate for the Sun’s own inability, Martian women will often be granted “super-human” traits to explain their prowess: perhaps they’re half dragon, entirely inhuman or possess larger-than-normal body parts (e.g. Lana’s hands in Archer).

They are the expert fighters, but also dancers and assassins, Amazons and gunslingers. Dominatrixes, we’ll discover, fit more into the Saturnine archetype: not only would a Martian frown on using tools to do their dominating, their purpose is not conquest, but competition.

Notable Martian women in stories: Annie Oakley (Annie Get Your Gun), Nini (Moulin Rouge!), Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), Lana (Archer)

“…learn me how to lose a winning match.”
~ Juliet, Romeo & Juliet (III.ii.)

Jupiter: the Guys’ Girl

“So tell me again why you don’t like Radiohead.”

I opened my eyes just enough to check the clock. Yep, I would certainly not be making it to that thing-I-had-to-do today. She was already on her way to make a pot of coffee, having taken only the time to slip on a pair of boxers and the button-down I’d been wearing the night before while we strolled through the art gallery opening—which I began to recall was where this ill-fated discussion on Radiohead began.

“I said I don’t like Radiohead as much as I feel like I should.” It was the same retort I’d more passionately delivered at the dive bar after the art gallery. My mouth still had that cottony taste leftover from cheap beer and pot, both indulgences I’d remembered promising myself I’d never do again a long time ago.

I found some of my clothes scattered about amongst the records we’d listened to as she tried to convince me of this or that band’s worthy contribution to music and began to dress myself.

Back she came with two mugs, which she set on the stand beside the bed and set the vinyl to play where it had left off the night before: “Everything in its Right Place.” A gentle but firm hand pressed me back to the bed. My shirt on her was still unbuttoned, and I wondered why she’d bothered to put it on at all.

But with her hair and my shirt draped down towards me, I couldn’t help but notice how hot she looked in it.

Maybe it really was the music.

Jovian women drink their Sun’s beer, wear his clothes and steal his music. They listen to classic rock on vinyl and wear flannel. They’re handygirls, likely as good with tools as most of his other friends. Their idea of a good time might be putting up new shelves or painting that room with their Sun. They probably drive either big trucks or beat-up hand-me-downs. This is the domain of the hippy, the stoner and the vegan, but also the carpenter, the artist, the guitarist (who runs her own band) and the girl working most trade professions that are normally considered “masculine.”

In storytelling, trappings of the Jovian archetype include some level of fine dexterity and coordination with the hands (not just knitting and makeup, but surgery, car mechanics and machinery, science that involves microscopes, video gaming and other crafts/do-it-yourself projects all fall under the Jovian scope) and a penchant for sexual humor—though they make sex jokes all the time, it’s rare that they ever actually “get laid.”

These are the most easy-going relationships, as Jovian woman are the most comfortable with sexuality, drugs and taboo without romanticizing them. They make the poorest manipulators, as they’ve never seen enough reasons to practice lying so as to be good at it.

Notable Jovian women in stories: Kaylee (Firefly/Serenity), Abby (NCIS), Summer (500 Days of Summer)

“I am such a nerd. I’m not one of those girls that goes, ‘Ha, ha, hee, hee. I’m a nerd!’ No, no, no, my brain mentality is the same as a 12-year-old little boy. The video games that I play, the things that I like to watch…I’m a Trekkie.”
~ Mila Kunis

Saturn: the Enigma

She had been dancing with another man, for all the world to see. But what they did not see was that over her shoulder, her eyes kept finding mine. Against the wall, across a table, he tried to chase her down, but in a fateful moment she grabbed my wrist and ran with me down a long hallway.

Part of the agreement of this little event was that we were not to speak, no matter how strange things became. I had no idea of her name, nor she of mine. When we escaped her pursuer, she led me into a room and sat down on the corner of a table. I thought she was about to light up a cigarette.

Instead, she bade me come closer by curling her finger, until she seized my shirt and tugged my face down towards hers, brushing her lips along my jawline.

“Fair is foul, foul is fair,” she whispered into my ear, in a voice so devious that I could hear the effect of the wicked grin on her lips. It was then that I noticed the company we kept in the room: birds. All manner of birds, in drawings and paintings on the wall, or stuffed and perched on the bookshelves. They stared about and at us, like something from a Hitchcock movie.

Fair is…fowl?

I hadn’t time to solve the mystery; the phone beside her began to ring. She placed the receiver next to her ear, listened for a few moments, and then she giggled wickedly. She drew a finger along my jaw and handed me the receiver before dancing out of the room and out of my life. Lacking any other option, I slowly put the phone up to my ear.

You have no idea who she is, or where she came from, or what she’s doing here. Suddenly, however, there might as well not be anyone else. Rather than seeking to end all the mysteries, Saturnine relationships thrive off the unknown, the anonymous and the hidden. The Lady in Red is an iconic American Saturnine archetype. This is also the domain of the dominatrix, the gypsy girl, and anyone who restricts the senses or hides behind an alternate persona during sensual encounters. Writers of erotic fiction who adopt pseudonyms call upon a Saturnine archetype.

Sun-Saturn relationships thrive in darkness and mystery, as the partners find themselves emboldened by sensory exploration, as well as by being able to take action without repercussion. Blindfolds, lights out, handcuffs and ropes sit in the purview of Saturn, often coupled with exploration of other senses: feathers, food, sudden changes of temperature and so on.

These are the rarest of relationships, because they are the least sustainable: the Sun-Saturn relationship is one of distance, and as such, is incredibly fragile. If the Sun closes the distance between them, she finds another orbit, perhaps as his Venus or his Jupiter. More often than not, however, she leaves his orbit entirely, leaving the Sun to dream and tell stories about a woman he only saw once, across a way—a woman who might never have existed at all.

The aptly-named group Enigma plays heavily on Saturnine relationships, invoking the sensuality of the unknown and forbidden. The music video for “Gravity of Love” demonstrates this.

Notable Saturnian women in stories: Vesper (Casino Royale), The Customer (Sin City), Adelle DeWitt (Dollhouse)

“Woman, especially her sexuality, provides the object of endless commentary, description, supposition. But the result of all the telling only deepens the enigma and makes woman’s erotic force something that male storytelling can never quite explain or contain.”
~Peter Brooks

Archetypes are jewelry to the Self.

It’s a temptation to go looking for which of the shoes fit. Don’t; all of the shoes fit, but no one’s wearing gym shoes to the investor meeting. When picking an outfit to go out in, the shoes must be considered. Just the same, when with company, a person must consider their archetype. When it comes to expressing sexuality and courtship, there is no one right way to go about it, or believe me, sex would be one of the most boring activities of human concern.

Next time you’re in a solid group, look around the room and “cast” it, like life was a TV show. Who in the office (or wherever) is the funny one? Who’s the one everyone wants to sleep with? Who’s the jester, the one who takes charge and the antisocial one? From here, a person can figure out both what they need to work on, and what people will notice about them because of the people around them.

This can be done for multiple circles. Where someone in one circle is a Venus, they may in other circles find themselves cast as Jupiter. It is absolutely a possibility for someone to move from one archetype to another. Archetypes are not who someone is, but rather how they fit in to and complete the circles around them.

Rather than chaining oneself to an archetype, use them as tools of expression. When looking to evoke a certain archetype, consider the trappings I listed above. Confidently don a mask, play a character, surrender to a role. What you’ll hopefully come to realize is that you have an arsenal at your disposal.

And when someone points out, “You don’t seem like the same person,” quietly smile a little smile to yourself, and go about your way.


Fear: You’re doing it wrong:


Bonus: We could all learn something from the woman:


Kevin Macku
 is a 20-something fledgeling yogi with a love of words. He is a trained actor who occasionally appears in local movies and on stage. His preferred methods of expression are based in movement: Suzuki’s Training for the Classical Actor, Viewpoints and Butoh to name a few, all of which benefit from the practice of yoga. In the midst of a rigorous physical practice, he discovered he was undergoing a spiritual transformation, and began to document the experience. These entries can be found at Kevin himself can be reached at [email protected], or you can now “like” his page on Facebook!



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Ed: Kate Bartolotta


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76 Responses to “The Five Feminine Sexual Archetypes. ~ Kevin Macku”

  1. Corrina says:

    Curious as the the sources of the excepts preceding each archtype. Thanks!

  2. kmacku says:

    They're original. I wrote them. 🙂

  3. Nichole says:

    lovely. a beautiful read.
    what happens when a woman fits into all of the categories?!

  4. Amanda says:

    I really enjoyed this article! The only thing I would have added, is a "Test yourself" option haha as I can't figure out which areas I lean more towards. Not that I want to box myself in to one way or the other 😉 but I'm often in the middle on just about everything. But I do love this article. After seeing a wide array of negative press this morning, this was very refreshing.

  5. kmacku says:

    Again, I'll just refer back to the post.

    "It’s a temptation to go looking for which of the shoes fit. Don’t; all of the shoes fit."

    The archetypes are not things *you* fit in to. They're the things that fit into you. All five are present in all women (and men, but again, they're not the point of the article. I may do one for men, but that feels a little vain and narcissistic—look at boy bands of the 90s. Male sexual archetypes through the lens of performers).

    So, knowing you possess all five, say you're in a group of people, and you see two or three candidates who you might cast for the archetypes. You have a few options; if you know you can play the role better, cast yourself and play the role, but understand that this can make you turn invisible. It might be easier to play a different part.

    There's a whole subset of actor training that focuses on this. Venus and Mars-types will stand directly in front of whoever they are relating to. If you're seeing a lot of Venus and Mars, but you know you can play Mercury or Jupiter, stand to the side of whoever you're relating to. Side by side is the stance of allies and companions, front is for lovers and enemies. You'll subconsciously be seen as more friendly. In contrast, if you've been playing Mercury for someone, to shift to Venus, stand directly in front of them.

    Of course, there's several other things a person can do to consciously shift their archetype, but start to notice how you cast people and how they relate to others. Good storytelling relies heavily on this subconscious communication, and science is only catching now up to what artists didn't know they knew for the last several hundred years.

    Hope this helps, and thank you for reading!

  6. kmacku says:

    But that's the thing with archetypes. There's no test. In different groups, you'll be cast different ways, based on the people around you. Think about it again like a TV show; if you were a director, and you could only cast from the people in the very room with you, who would you cast, and what would you cast yourself as? That is the ultimate test, and the results will be different based on who is in the room with you. I hope that clears things up!

    Thanks for your feedback!

  7. JoTownson says:

    Hmm. I had commented on this on the FB and see now that the thread was deleted. I still think this is trash, and not insight. After reading your responses on the FB post, I see what you are saying to a point, Kevin, but I'm not really buying it. It seems to me that interpreting the world through the lens of recurring myth and archetype, ultimately, gets in the way of human connection and intimacy, and also of spiritual growth, and, for that matter, living in REALITY. I agree that, yes, there is fun to be had using archetypes as tools of expression, but suggesting that women try to "cast" the room as if it were a tv show is really just poor advice to a group of people who already struggle with the nonstop inner dialogue of "how do I compare to her?" This is the last thing we need to be doing as women.

  8. I think we all play different roles at times, even if it isn't calculating. We are different when we are with different people. It isn't a bad thing to notice who we are and how we shift and change in different circumstances! As you say, looking at these archetypes is a fun tool of expression. The point isn't comparing value at all (at least as I read it) but instead saying, all women are valuable and desirable, and these are a few of the ways that plays out.

    To each her own, but to me, this debunks the typical comparisons that portray one type of woman or one way of being feminine as the best.

  9. kmacku says:

    I'll disagree (with Jo), only because I have to stick up for Joseph Campbell and other leading researchers from whose work mine is derived, and from there we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    But allow me to restate the points I made in the beginning another way: right now, in America, you're right. There's an absolute problem with women comparing themselves to one another (refer to the "Queen Bee" post also currently up on elephant journal), because it's through the lens of Aphrodite. I dare say all women have a part of themselves that will compare their whole self to other women to see which one is more like Aphrodite, rather than celebrating the things that make them unique. In essence, there are many standards by which women are amazing and awesome (and, in this case, sexy).

    Because of the advertisement "revolution" (I hate that word; can we come up with a better one?) of the 1960s and the development of the internet shortly after, the judging of women (not just by men, but women too) through the lens of Aphrodite skyrocketed. However, after and likely because of the feminist movement that followed, I believe, and I truly hope that the judgement of Paris again is coming back to the table. We are seeing women championed by things other than their looks, and I do not take this as a bad thing. Look at the comments responding to some of the "How to get more sexy" articles on elephant journal, on Cosmo, or on any publication.

    Believe it or not, this article is in direct response to those, after reading several comments from women saying, "But I'm not anything like that; are you telling me I'm not sexy?" These are women who swing hammers, who lead in law school, who do things that society scandalously calls "unladylike". What I am trying to say is that those women are sexy, too, but in their own way. Rather than holding sexy to a single standard, what I am hoping to argue is that those women are just as *equally* sexy if not sexier by claiming their individuality.

    I apologize that this article had to be written by a man, and that it's possible to hold that against me, but judging by the "Queen Bee" article, I think it's actually better this way.

    If I were to satirize this notion, I'd make a web short about some guy checking out a woman's work resume online, and his girlfriend catching him and getting jealous. The thought that women can be attractive based on their successes and their experience is one I want to champion, and I want to offer a ray of hope to those women.

    Yes, as I mentioned in the FB thread, all of the pictures represented (except Saturn) are Hollywood's examples of the archetypes, and for that I apologize, but there is no other visual medium I'm aware of that can link the reader's experience to examples of the archetype.

    I'm also not saying that this is morally right. I'm saying it happens. The science is there. Subconsciously, all but perhaps the highest of spiritual paragons are going to use archetypes to solve the problems I mentioned above. The science is simply there. That's reality, and I apologize for not sugar coating that truth. In fact, by increasing awareness of it, I'm hoping to offer readers a chance to *more clearly* see and experience reality.

    We stand side-by-side with our friends, that's part of us, and to deny that is to deny both our humanity *and* reality. Archetypes are not barriers we put up; they're bridges we connect between ourselves and other human beings—they don't prevent connections, they're *how* we connect. If you're looking at archetypes as fantasy, then you're looking at them wrong. Yes, the characters who we use as examples of archetypes are fantasy, but they are grounded in the truth we hold within ourselves.

    The facebook thread was taken down at mine and my editor's request. The header that was used to describe the article was the exact opposite of the point I was trying to make. It will be reposted at a later time with a better header, or an excerpt from the article itself.

    Finally, thank you for your feedback. What's more important than the article itself is that we have these discussions. I hope I answered your concerns, and I thank you once again for taking the time to read the entire article (as I fear some of those FB commenters did not) and then express your opinion. You do us all a great service. Namaste!

  10. Jim says:

    I wish I had read this when I was a teenager. It would have explained what I saw, but didn’t quite get at the time.

  11. Donna says:

    Perhaps I'm a bit shallow as I just found this to be a really beautiful read……….beautiful flowing words that made me want it to keep going and going and never end 🙂 And a wonderful thought that we have a little bit of each in us – the possibilities are endless – thanks a lot!

  12. Corrina says:

    Whoops. That should have read 'excerpts'.

  13. JoTownson says:

    How does an article celebrating stereotypes – young, white, skinny, heterosexual, hyper-sexualized, stereotypically "beautiful" – debunk the typical comparisons? I don't see it. For five archetypes that are supposedly representing a pantheon, there ain't a whole lot of diversity up in here, ladies! This ridiculous, over-intellectualized, trash. Just like you would find in Cosmo, though admittedly better written.

    I don't mean to personally provoke the author. Sir, I think you have demonstrated intelligence and thoughtfulness, though I wish you would do something better with it than round-up all the old stereotypes only to serve them up on a different platter. Namaste.

  14. Being a Gemini, I can so relate to this article. We all have a bit of everything and everyone in us. And yes, Donna, I thought this was just a really beautiful read, and I didn't want the words to end at all… 🙂

  15. Original! WOW! You're an amazing writer!

  16. At least this is better than the controversial "Ten Things I Find Sexy in a Woman (That Has Nothing To Do With Looks)" article that's also on Elephant or even the "Ten Things I Find Sexy in a Man (That Has Nothing to do with Sex)" article that also caused a firestorm because she mentioned hearing only "Wa Wa Wa" when a man was explaining how he changed a light bulb, leaving Jovian women out of the picture. Yes, we all have at least a bit of everything and everyone in us. Thanks for bringing sexy back to women who feel left out.

  17. iambethanne says:

    I just re-read this piece because after my first time something didn't sit right with me about it. I was attracted to the article because I am very interested in archetypes, and as a 43 year old woman I am *still* trying to figure out aspects of my sexual experience and expression, so I thought maybe there would be some answers in here for me. Not so much. I felt like this was a young man's idea of sexual fantasies he has about women. Maybe I've just had a different life experience? Or perhaps 5 archetypes aren't enough and are still making me feel boxed in? Not sure. Interesting though, both the writing and my reaction to it. Thank you.

  18. JoTownson says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I had to cringe at the "science is there" comments. You really can't say that without anything to support. Joseph Campbell is lovely, but he's no scientist. "Grounded in the truth we hold within ourselves"? While a breakdown of the world into five arche(stereo)types may be your truth, there isn't anything objective about that.

    I'm glad you find a variety of women awesome and sexy in their own ways, and you have fun thinking and talking about it. Have fun with that – seriously! I'm all for it. But I would suggest you be open to the idea that you might be missing something. Not that there is anything wrong we that; we all have our lens from which we view the world. It's just that when it comes out in such a blatantly narcissistic and sanctimonious tone …. ew.

    With all due respect, the pantheon is a lot wider than you may think.

    Namaste you too.

  19. RobZorfull says:

    Kevin, your awareness, your knowledge, your writing style and all of those preceding stories… well, they just belie your age. This is a beautifully written article.

  20. Amanda says:


  21. Amy says:

    I enjoyed the writing but found something unsettling about it, too. Whenever women are captured in a light that suggests their value les in their ability to sexually stir a man, it feels kind of Cosmo-esque. None of these vignettes or women rang true to me as a woman. I'd be curious to read your take on men.

  22. I hear what you're saying. Compared to similar articles we've had about both sexes (and worse ones elsewhere, obviously) I felt like it explored a variety of ways of being a woman. As far as the pictures, well…sometimes that is the limits of what we have available to us courtesy of Hollywood, stock photos, use on the website. There isn't really anything in the descriptions that implies: "young, white, skinny, hyper-sexualized, stereotypically 'beautiful,'" though it is clearly an article about heterosexual relationships.

    All the best!

  23. JoTownson says:

    Very well. I get what you're saying too. And you are right about the descriptions vs. the imagery. I was clearly VERY put off by the imagery, I think it's safe to say!
    But that's just the problem, right? Using Hollywood's imagery to explore various ways of being a woman. I can't be the only one who has had enough of that crap. As well as the presumed heterosexuality. Gag!
    Thanks for replying! I appreciate it.
    All the best to you too.

  24. kmacku says:

    Yes; I'll concede to that point about Joseph Campbell not being a scientist. I think his addition to Jung's work is critical for modern psychology, but you are correct in that he is technically not a scientist.

    And yes, you're also right about the pantheon of archetypes being far *far* larger than the 5 archetypes I gave above. Most of the time we can't have a discussion about archetypes without mentioning the dreaded Shadow (wooga wooga!). But the article was already at nearly 4,000 words; any longer and I'd seriously have to consider just writing a book! This is actually the first time I've ever touched on sexuality; I try to avoid it because it's such a polarizing topic, and many people still have a difficult time discussing it. And—to be honest—writing about sex and sexuality is, at times, very uncomfortable, especially recalling those people and events that I drew from to write those "excerpts" at the start of each blurb. But it was part of a challenge I made: do one thing every day that scares you, right? Well, writing this did scare me.

    I selected the five specific archetypes because I was writing this article in response to a few of the other articles addressing a singular point of view of sexuality. I felt that some parties were underrepresented (as another commenter pointed out, the Jovians mostly), even here on elephant journal. But, again, you are absolutely correct in that there's far more to woman than her sexuality, far more archetypes out there to be explored.

    Since you mentioned that you did at least enjoy the writing, here's some of my other articles that you may want to take a glance at if you like my writing without the whole buggery sex talk. I really hope you enjoy them:

    Again, thank you for concisely stating your point of view. In a world of "rah, rah, burn him at the stake!" it's really, really kind of you.

  25. kmacku says:

    Because of responses like this, I am considering doing one for men, just to show that it's not all buggery masculine fantasies about women. I'd personally find it far more narcissistic to do so, however, but maybe that's just me.

    I should mention that there are archetypes well beyond the scope of sexuality as well, and if you want to do some research into them, I'd recommend Joseph Campbell or anything by Carl Jung (though I found Jung to be a really boring writer, but the research is totally awesome). I was only touching on the archetypes of sexuality because of a few elephant journal articles recently only offering one "set" of standards for what they held as "sexy".

  26. kmacku says:

    That's actually really fascinating! I'm no psychotherapist; I'm a storyteller (which, two thousand years ago was *basically* the same thing, right?). In the scope of stories, though, I would assume that indicates repression. There's a great line in a spoken-word poem I heard recently: "If you can't see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer." I think the same can be said about sexuality (though I admit, there I might be wrong).

    I hope you find your answers someday. Keep looking, just a little longer!

  27. Gloria says:

    WoW! 😀

    I am amazed to see the amount of brainy comments to this article! Congrats Kevin! You’ve def touched something in many people’s minds/hearts…

    I liked it very much too. It is interesting, revealing, fun, it is clever & too me it comes across as a genuine writer piece.

    I was going to ask where do the introductions for every type came from & I am glad to know that they are actually yours. It seems that your acting is really helping your writing 😉

  28. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Ohh, lighten up … this is a game. Cosmopolitan used to have all those personality quizzes (before their editors decided that they've never met an orgasm they didn't like, and long before iVillage and the internet); we also have long had the Enneagram.

    It's a 'labeling" game that helps you play the larger game–the game of life.

    Unless someone is really off the wall, people act amazingly consistent in the same kinds of situations, e.g. work, relationships, recreation.

  29. Linda V. Lewis says:

    I agree. The Peter Brook quote said it all–not only about women, but about men!

  30. JoTownson says:

    Ha! I wasn't trying to be kind. I was all riled up, as a matter of fact. But a day later, with more perspective and distance, I'm glad you didn't take it personally. Writing about sex and sexuality is difficult. You're bound to alienate someone, you know? I can't be the only one that takes issue with the imagery associated with your article. I think a lot of us have had enough of Hollywood ideals defining our experience.

    You're writing is really great. Best wishes to you! I love Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung and these topics as well. We have a lot of common ground.


  31. graceonthefly says:

    Ladies, I say try them all on for size and try them more than once! Well written, loved it!

  32. kmacku says:

    Thank you! Yes, those were drawn from my experiences and translated into text. I'm glad you enjoyed them; it's something I found really fun to do, so I might start incorporating them into future posts. We'll see!

  33. […] The Five Feminine Sexual Archetypes. ~ Kevin Macku ( […]

  34. Isabel says:

    After reading I started to look at when I donned certain caps, and if they fit these roles, and how. I think I most frequently find Mercury and Saturn comfortable, though I wonder, what does Mercury look like when in a relationship? Again, not suggesting that these are essential selves in any way, but I find that in my current relationship, my Mercury cap has two sides. 1) The best friend- which feels comfortable and easy and relaxed, and 2) Fatalistic – which feels as though I'm somehow loving from afar, someone who doesn't reciprocate my feelings, though my partner is kind, caring, and clearly invested. I do believe I've now read too far into this post, but I wonder if when I'm feeling #2, I might find another cap to consider, which could help me perhaps overcome some feelings of insecurity or lack of confidence. Maybe I should find my Jupiter. Or Venus.

    And there I've gone over-intellectualizing again.

  35. slsimms says:

    An interesting read for sure! I personally saw myself in all of these women with the exception of the "guy's girl." It's the only one that never really fit me very well.
    As an aside, I don't know that it's fair to call this trash just because it doesn't delve deep past the surface. As women, most of us know these roles intuitively, but it is nice to find out a little more about it. Well done Kevin.

  36. Kim says:

    Who wants to be limited by five or any number of archetypes? not I.

  37. steve says:

    why no male archetypes…maybe your next article?

  38. Keri says:

    wow. I'm speechless. Mostly because I'm a nerd for mythology and astrology. Thank you.

  39. kmacku says:

    I might have mentioned it here or in the comments, but boy bands are essentially parallel transitions, and if you want to see them in action, just look at Backstreet Boys/N*SYNC from the 90s. Five boys, all singers/performers, but within that, each pigeonholed themselves into a clear and definitive archetype. Each boy had their respective fan following, so while Justin was *clearly* the Venus, there was something in each of them that young girls (or boys) resonated with strongly. That's part of the point of the article—sexuality isn't just a Venusian concept.

    I've considered writing a parallel post for men, but as I don't have that sense of expertise in interacting with and observing men on that level, it would have to be styled a little differently and drawn more from my own personal experience…and while it has happened from time to time, I tend to make a very poor Martian.

  40. Guest says:

    I think it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you do "The Five Male Sexual Archetypes." And just to underline…make sure they are SEXUAL archetypes.

  41. Robyn says:

    I guess I'm not making a comment about the article directly, but I find it intriguing that, like the Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, a woman wants to be perceived by others (usually by a man) and I always am drawn to articles that give me a personality type or archetype, and most woman do. Why do we do that? Personally, like others who commented I don't think I had any of these archetypes in particular and had some aspects of a few, but I do appreciate the disclaimer at the beginning! Also, I know that this is in the Elephant Gets Sexy section but crimony, these goddesses have other things to do than just be romantic and trying to seduce a guy, I would have liked to read about their other activities – probably would have helped understand which one would fit me (and others) better.

  42. Erica says:

    Well researched and executed, yet somehow still mysterious and passionate. Good work.

  43. kmacku says:

    The desire to be seen and perceived by others is a human trait: look at the explosion of social media. Given the tools, people want to share themselves in every way from what they had for breakfast to where they're going on their honeymoon. In this way, we're all princes and princesses. The desire to know *how we are seen* is a trait shared by a number far fewer, and further to know how to change that image fewer still.

    Mostly, this was a sort of challenge from my editor to see if I *could* write something for the elephant gets sexy column. Good editors with dedicated writers issue such developmental challenges to their writers—my challenge was an aversion towards writing anything for that column. Yes, I know it's not so glamorous a truth, but this was the best I could come up with.

    In order to make the goddesses platonic, simply take the element of sex out of them: Mercuries still love to read, Venuses love to be pretty, Marses are probably in some form of competition with everyone around them, Jupiters are installing *something* *somewhere* (mind the pun; they like sexual humor), and Saturns are being reclusive. However, again, archetypes are how we relate to others; we cannot have an archetype sitting by ourselves—it's only in the presence of another that both people assume a relationship, and the templates of those relationships we share with others are the basis for our archetypes. This is why a Mars in one circle may be a Mercury in another.

    In any case, thank you for your thoughtful comments, and I hope you enjoyed reading!

  44. Helen says:

    I work with female archetypes myself, offering personal development coaching and writing about the goddesses of Greek mythology and the way they are relevant to women’s lives. I think the sexual archetypes here are far less empowering than simply exploring the goddesses I work with, who all have a sexual side. Further, Aphrodite is often trivialised and misunderstood in our culture, she is far more complex than we allow her by reducing her to seduction and beauty. Aphrodite connects to the world and others through the heart. She is sensual and enjoys her own sexuality. The archetypes described here are far more about how men perceive women! Feminity is so much more. However, I love your use and description of archetypes and agree they are powerful tools for understanding ourselves. Join my website and Facebook page to find out more about the goddesses – my Aphrodite post is coming soon! facebook/goddessacumen

  45. Janel says:

    Fantastic article! My favorite one yet. I tried to apply this to my group of friends and laughed because it’s true we do create templates for people. But that’s only the outer layer. And it’s variable. Your statement that we all fit each one it’s true. For example I’m a completely different person in front of my father then in front of my friends. And even more different if I’m out on the town feeling gorgeous. At the same time I can put together furniture or hook a fishing a line. And even more different with my husband, however I feel I’m most my complete myself around him.

  46. kmacku says:

    Yes! If our psyche is as a house, archetypes are not the foundation, but rather the finish; the paint and the cabinets and the kitsch on the wall. Absolutely surface-level. What's fun is when you get people who are the same archetype in other circles together, they rearrange themselves to once again fit into these orbits around each other. The best example of this I've seen is the boy bands from the 90s; on their own, they're each Venusian; but put them on stage together and you have the brooding one, the boy next door, the total sex icon, etc.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the article! It's been a long time since writing it, but it's always a joy to come back to something I had such fun writing!

  47. Ashley says:

    phenomenal. beautiful work and thank you – proud to be a Jupiter 😉