Sapiosexual. Let the word roll off your tongue. If you savor the sound of its multisyllabic seduction, it may be that you align with its definition. A sapiosexual is someone who really, really has a thing for intelligence in others. You might even describe a sapiosexual as someone with a fetish for smarts. An arousal for perspicacity. That’s not to say that looks are not important, but a chiseled body is far less interesting to a sapiosexual than a well-shaped mind. Brains win over brawn any day of the week, when it comes to generating sexual interest and attraction in the mind, body, and heart of the sapiosexual.
Editor’s note: Being sapiosexual is not an actual sexual orientation. It’s just a fun way to describe someone who really, really has a thing for intelligence in others.
Dating as a sapiosexual can be challenging, as you may find yourself stifling a yawn, underwhelmed by your date’s attempts to wow you with stories of their wealth, exercise regimen, or favorite car. However, if they drop a five-syllable word, or offer a simple breakdown of quantum physics, the heat is on. Without an intellectual tête-à-tête, no love prospect stands a chance with you. No amount of flowers, chocolates, dinners, or the like will woo you as successfully as someone who speaks multiple languages or whose mental acuity and cognitive sharpness lead the charge of any debate.
Preference for a strong intellectual prowess is truly subjective, and one person’s simple may be another person’s smart, so someone’s IQ or academic achievements are not the end-all-be-all benchmarks of intelligence. What is important to a sapiosexual is that they are kept on their analytical toes and challenged by the aptitude of their partner. What that looks like is unique to each sapiosexual, who may fancy themselves to be a ravenously engaged student of life.
1. You have no bandwidth for small talk and prefer only deep, insightful, or intelligent dialogue.
Being around people who are committed to shallow conversations bores you to death. You are easily fatigued by the comings and goings of one-dimensional interactions and find yourself trying to take the conversation to deeper, more stimulating, and authentic depths. When you meet a prospective partner who shares your passion for the profound, you cannot get enough.
2. Your version of foreplay is witty banter, trading clever discourse, or reading aloud from your favorite books.
Sure, you enjoy touch and sexual intimacy, but nothing makes your clothes fall off faster than a hot debate with someone who can hold their own. Forget the standard lingerie and candles—you get hot and bothered by the sound of your partner’s voice, blowing your mind with the bold whispers of someone whose knowledge is multifaceted and who isn’t afraid to learn more.
3. A robust lexicon and insatiable curiosity tickle your fancy far more than superficial charm.
A lifelong learner yourself, you value someone who is constantly trying to learn more about themselves, you, and the world. Never satisfied with the first layer of knowledge, you love a partner whose passion for learning remains untampered and unshakable. They are not intimated by your intelligence and see it as an invitation to learn more. You are constantly inspiring each other to grow.
4. Your idea of being catfished includes learning your date has poor grammar or can’t spell.
Nothing disappoints you more than someone who does not know the difference between there, their, and they’re. You would rather meet up with someone whose photo on the app is 10 years old, and not an accurate depiction of their appearance, than meet up with a date who, no matter how sincere, tells you “Your pretty.”
5. It is a complete turnoff when someone exercises brute force or primitive posturing to get their way, but watching a date outfox someone makes you weak in the knees.
Some people love a good peacock display of arrogance or aggression, but for you, there is nothing more unattractive than boorish and basic displays. However, a proper word lashing, one that leaves a foe speechless and without retort, just may land you and your date in a steamy situation for two before dessert.
6. You know intelligence does not equate to snobbery, and you are turned on by someone who is smart enough to pair intellect with humility.
You know the true mark of intelligence can be observed by how someone treats others (emotional intelligence), so when you see your partner set aside ego to complement the wits of others, no matter who they are, you know their intelligence is replete with virtuosity and you feel safe to learn without being shamed.
Luckily there is someone for everyone, and if you have not yet found your cerebral catch, keep your eyes open, your learning vigorous, and your curiosity continuous. You never know when your knight in brainy armor will appear. In the meantime, keep polishing your own intellect because like attracts like, and if you let your wits shine unabashedly, your sapiosexual glow will attract others who find the brain to be the sexiest organ.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist, certified sex addiction therapist, PACT therapist, and founder of Modern Intimacy, a group practice in Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Listen to her podcast, Modern Intimacy, and follow her on IG @drkatebalestrieri.
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