The instinctual variants of the enneagram, the self-preservation, sexual and social instincts.
In addition to the Enneagram type, people are also considered to be one of three instinctual variants (also called subtypes). The self-preservation instinct (dealing with oneself), the sexual (dealing with another person) and the social instinct (dealing with a group) can be most pronounced.
People of the self-preservation variant are generally trying to be comfortable and independent. Their well-being is very important to them, so they pay much attention to their health, house and financial position. They are less interested in interpersonal contact, and are typically less spontaneous and don't show as much emotion as people of the other two subtypes of their enneagram type.
People of the sexual variant are very much interested in one to one contacts. They are looking for intimacy and this may show in sexuality, though not necessarily. Being in a relationship is very important to them. They are the most passionate of the subtypes, being temperamental and having more energy. They have less of a problem with getting into a fight and care less about rules and responsibility.
People of the social variant prefer to be in groups or teams. They are more interested than the other subtypes in the position that they and others have in a group, and are consequently concerned with status. Wanting to be accepted, they try to fit in and be nice.