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What is sapiosexuality, and can we really be aroused by intelligence?

Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Humans, we’re mysterious creatures. What floats my boat might not float yours – and as for attraction? We’re all turned on by different qualities, especially in a partner. From their sense of humour, to their height, their gender, their eye colour, their confidence, their background, their morals, their aims and even their occupation, different factors will matter more or less to us.

There are numerous ways that people identify themselves: bisexual, heterosexual, pansexual, gay, lesbian, queer, but one sexuality you may not have heard of, is sapio-sexual. We asked Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist & clinical director of The Private Therapy Clinic to explain everything we need to know.

What is sapio-sexuality?

“Sapio sexuality is when someone finds another person’s intelligence attractive or arousing,” says Dr Becky. Intelligence is the most important trait a sapio-sexual person would look for in their partner and LGBTQ+ people and heterosexual people can identify as sapio-sexual.

Aren’t most of us attracted to intelligence?

“Many of us are attracted to individuals who are very obviously intelligent, but in most instances, other factors such as appearance do matter,” explains Dr Becky. “There are aspects of sapio sexuality present if we refuse to date anyone possessing anything less than high intelligence but if we also look at other physical aspects or qualities in the other person, then we cannot be said to be truly sapio sexual,” she adds.

How do you know if you're sapio-sexual?

“Someone who is truly sapio sexual will not look at a potential partner’s other traits such as physical appearance,” says Dr Becky. “There will not be a whole list of criteria that the person needs to fulfil but the sapio sexual person will focus purely on the type of intelligence that they find attractive; becoming increasingly more intimately attracted to the individual purely on that basis.”

How does sapio-sexuality work in relationships?

“Within a sapio sexual relationship, both partners spend a great deal of time talking and communicating with each other. Learning from each other is very important,” says Dr Becky. Things like political debates, literary discussions and an intellectual connection are what drives sexual arousal.

What are the criticisms of sapio-sexuality and is sapio-sexuality a real sexual orientation?

“Often, sapio sexuality is considered to be something that’s not real and that attraction cannot be based on intelligence alone,” explains Dr Becky. “However, every individual has the right to give themselves a label that they feel fits should they choose to do so, without criticism from others,” she argues. Nonetheless, there’s been much debate over whether sapio-sexuality is a sexual orientation or a fetish and some believe that while sapio-sexuality is outside of traditional binaries, it cannot be considered a marginalised group in the same way that other members of the LGBTQ+ community, as sapio-sexuality in itself (being attracted to intelligence) doesn’t face the same discrimination as other sexualities, especially if they’re heterosexual and cisgender.

This was originally published on Glamour UK.

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