Understanding Sapiosexuality: What It Is and What It Isn’t

The term “sapiosexuality,” which was first used in the early 2000s, describes a preference for another person’s intelligence over their external characteristics. In recent years, the word “sapiosexual” has acquired traction, with an increasing number of self-identified members of this community. OkCupid found that approximately one-third of its users identify as sapiosexual in a recent survey.

But there are arguments for and against sapiosexuality, just like there are for every other sexual orientation. Those who are concerned about the fetishization of intelligence and those who believe it promotes ableism both have their doubts. If we want to encourage a welcoming and accepting attitude towards all expressions of sexuality, it’s crucial that we have a firm grasp on what sapiosexuality is and is not.

This article will discuss what it means to be sapiosexual, how it differs from other sexual orientations and the characteristics of sapiosexual people. Other identities that overlap with sapiosexuality will also be explored, as will the criticisms of sapiosexuality. When finished with this essay, readers will have a better grasp of what sapiosexuality is and where it fits on the spectrum of human sexuality.

What Sapiosexuality Is?

Photo: The Daily Dot

To be sapiosexual is to be sexually attracted to another person’s intelligence and to share a strong intellectual bond with them. This perspective has grown in popularity as people have come to value intellectual compatibility in their intimate relationships.

Sapiosexuality, as used here, is the view that an individual’s inner attributes, such as their intelligence and emotions, are more important than their outward looks.

1. Sapiosexuals Have These Defining Characteristics

Those who identify as sapiosexual are attracted to others based on their brains, humor, and intellect, rather than their physical attractiveness. Those with a high level of education and a genuine interest in learning more about the world tend to attract them.

Those who identify as sapiosexual tend to be intellectuals who like to bond intellectually rather than physically. People value these traits in a mate more highly than any others, especially intelligence.

2. Value of Sharing Ideas with a Partner

For sapiosexuals, a shared intellectual interest is a must. Physical contact isn’t as satisfying to them as intellectual and emotional exchanges. When a partner intellectually challenges them and they are able to have a meaningful conversation, sapiosexuals may feel a great sense of satisfaction and closeness.

For them, a partner’s critical thinking skills and capacity to see things from several angles are fundamental to building and maintaining a happy, healthy marriage.

3. Contrasts Between Sapiosexuality and Other Sexual Identities

Sapiosexuality is not a “real” sexual preference. It has less to do with biology and more to do with a preference or attraction to a particular trait.

Sapiosexuality is not motivated by sexual chemistry like homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. In a relationship between two sapiosexuals, physical attractiveness is not the driving force.

What Sapiosexuality Isn’t

Sapiosexuals are those who find intelligence and/or intellect sexually attractive. Many people have the wrong idea of what sapiosexuality is not because of common misconceptions. What sapiosexuality is not, among other things:

1. Not a Way to Shame or Judge People Based on Appearance

Sapiosexuality is not intended as a means of ridiculing or labeling people based on their appearance. It’s just a personal preference of highly educated, well-read people who share a similar worldview.

In addition to not discriminating on the basis of appearance, sapiosexuals also don’t look down on or otherwise disregard those who aren’t very bright.

2. Not a Superiority Complex

The superiority complex associated with sapiosexuality is not warranted. Anybody who identifies as sapiosexual is not arrogant or thinks they are better than everyone else because of their mind or curiosity. People are naturally drawn to a spouse who possesses these traits.

It’s crucial to note that sapiosexuals don’t always prioritize intellect as the top trait in a partner, but it is a major draw for them.

3. Not Exclusive to Certain Genders or Sexual Orientations

Sapiosexuality does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Sapiosexuals can be of any gender or sexual orientation. Some people call themselves sapiosexuals because they are drawn to others who are smart and emotionally connected, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

The Intersection of Sapiosexuality With Other Identities

Sapiosexuals are those who find intelligence and/or intellect sexually attractive. This orientation may be impacted by cultural and societal standards and may overlap with identities like demisexuality and asexuality. Some of the identities with which sapiosexuality interacts are as follows:

1. The Relationship Between Sapiosexuality and Demisexuality

With a demisexual identity, one does not feel sexual attraction to another person unless they have formed a deep emotional bond with them.

Demisexuality and sapiosexuality can overlap, as sapiosexual people may also need to have a strong emotional bond with their partners to experience sexual desire.

In this situation, the strong emotional connection required for sexual attraction could be achieved through the mental connection and depth of emotion sought by sapiosexuals.

2. The Relationship Between Sapiosexuality and Asexuality

If you don’t feel sexual attraction to other people, you may identify as asexual. In other words, sapiosexuals experience sexual attraction, but it is based on shared intellectual interests and experiences rather than on physical attraction.

An individual may self-identify as both asexual and sapiosexual; the two orientations are not exclusive. In this situation, it’s not the physical features that draw you in, but the shared experiences and perspectives.

3. The Impact of Cultural and Societal Norms on Sapiosexuality

Sapiosexuality can be affected by cultural and societal norms in a number of ways. Examples include the pressure many cultures put on their members to put effort into their physical beauty and sexual allure rather than their intellectual and emotional connections.

As a result, it may be more difficult for sapiosexuals to locate partners who share their interest in intellectual and mental connection.

Sapiosexual attraction can also be affected by cultural expectations around gender roles and intelligence, as some people may be conditioned to feel that one gender is inherently more or less bright than the other. This can lead to irrational feelings of attraction between people of different sexes, regardless of whether they share similar interests.

Problems with Sapiosexuality

Certain people and groups have looked down on sapiosexuals, just like any other sexual orientation. Some common arguments against sapiosexuality are as follows:

1. Arguments that Sapiosexuality is a Form of Ableism

People with impairments are often discriminated against, and some have argued that sapiosexuality is just another type of ableism. The argument against sapiosexuals is that they may be tacitly demeaning those with intellectual disabilities, mental health disorders, or neurological differences by placing an emphasis on intelligence as a sexual attraction element.

Because of this, the stigma that people with intellectual disabilities are not sexually desirable is likely to persist. It also risks excluding those who are brilliant but not in the conventional sense, such as those who are dyslexic or neurodivergent.

2. Concerns about the Fetishization of Intelligence

The fetishization of intelligence is another charge leveled against sapiosexuality. An example of this is the sexual fetishization of intelligence.

Some people think this is problematic because it can lead to an overemphasis on one part of a person’s identity at the expense of others, such as their values or how well they get along with others emotionally. Also, some people might not feel respected as a whole person, but rather their intelligence alone.

Some members of the sapiosexual community have responded to these critiques by arguing that their attraction to intelligent people is not motivated by a desire to demean or fetishize any group, but is, rather, a perfectly reasonable preference, just like the ways in which people can have preferences for other aspects of their appearance or their character.

In addition, they state that intelligence is not just one single feature, but rather includes a wide variety of qualities like emotional intelligence and social awareness, and hence is a real and essential aspect of attraction.

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