Sapiosexuality: Sexual Attraction to People With High Intelligence

Sapiosexuality is the term given to people with a sexual attraction to people with high intelligence. People who are sapiosexual view intelligence as their main attraction, putting it above other traits such as humor, kindness, or trustworthiness.

Key takeaways:

While people may identify themselves as sapiosexual, it is often considered a secondary sexual identity, as many people who identify with the term also identify with other sexual identities, such as homosexual.

What is sapiosexuality?

The term sapiosexuality is used to describe people who are attracted to highly intelligent people. While intelligence is a trait many people find attractive, sapiosexuals differ, as they find intelligence the most attractive characteristic and are physically and mentally aroused by people they believe to be highly intelligent.

Sapiosexuals are attracted to people they perceive to be intelligent, but as intelligence is subjective, this could mean different things to different people. However, many people who identify with the term can only develop a sexual attraction to someone who stimulates their mind on an intellectual level. Without that stimulation, they are unable to become attracted to a person.

Is sapiosexuality a sexual orientation?

There is some debate regarding sapiosexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation. Some people believe that sapiosexuality doesn't relate to gender preferences like the other sexual orientations that fall under the LGBTQI+ umbrella and should not be considered a valid sexual orientation. However, others argue that sapiosexuality should be considered a valid orientation as intelligence is the primary motivator for attraction, much like a close emotional bond in demisexuality.

What are sapiosexuals like in a relationship?

For sapiosexuals, developing feelings for a partner may take a little longer than it would for people who have other forms of attraction, as sapiosexuals need time to explore their potential partner's intelligence. To help foster a connection, a sapiosexual may get curious about their potential partner's intellectual interests and passions over long, deep conversations. Once they see that their partner is intelligent, feelings and emotional connections may develop, and relationships can form.

Many people in relationships with sapiosexuals are also drawn to intellectually stimulating people, although this may not be their main form of attraction. Therefore, sapiosexuals and their partners often like to do activities together that they find mentally stimulating, like reading books, having deep intellectual conversations, watching documentaries, and visiting museums.

Sex may look a little different for sapiosexuals, as they may need their partner to stimulate them intellectually to become sexually aroused. This can manifest in a number of different ways, such as becoming aroused by watching and listening to a partner play guitar on stage, or becoming aroused from hearing your partner speak about their intellectual passions. However, it is important to remember that, as with other sexual orientations, sapiosexuality exists along a spectrum, and what might turn some people on may not turn others on.

How do I know if I'm sapiosexual?

If you or someone you know identifies with any of the following points, it may indicate that you fall along the spectrum of sapiosexuality.

  • Conversation. You like deep, intellectually stimulating conversations.
  • Intellect. You prioritize intellect and intelligence when selecting a date.
  • Stimulation. You stopped dating someone when you found out they weren't intellectually stimulating.
  • Arousal. You felt the urge to make out or have sex with someone after a stimulating conversation or activity.
  • Connection. You feel attracted to emotionally intelligent people.
  • Dating. You'd rather go on a date to a museum than to a noisy bar.
  • Preference. You prefer intelligence to attractiveness.
  • Identification. You identify with the label.

Sapiosexuality criticisms

There is a controversy surrounding sapiosexuality, as many people view it as ableist, classist, and Eurocentric. Sapiosexuality has been criticized as being ableist as it leaves out people neurodivergent people, as well as people with learning disabilities. Similarly, the orientation has also been criticized as classist and Eurocentric, as it devalues those who don't have access to formal forms of education, such as university degrees, and only considers Western forms of intellect attractive.

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