September 18, 2015

The Search for Sexy Intelligence

I read an interesting article the other day about sapiosexuality. 

It was interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I actually had to look up the word “sapiosexuality”.  Here’s what I found: 

  • The sexual or spiritual attraction to intelligence. Sometimes referred to as 'sapiosexual', a neologised (meaning recently constructed) word that has come into common usage, especially on social networking sites where some people are self-identifying as sapiosexual, meaning they are sexually aroused by or attracted to intelligence in others.
  • A person who is excited, aroused or elevated by intelligence equal (or more commonly) greater than their own. Sapiosexuals can either have some form of sexual intent or have no intimacy of a physical sense (asexual); while still being attracted to intelligent others.  
  • One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature.
  • This sexual orientation has become more common in recent times, having many people claim to be or identify as sapiosexual and may in future be a generalized term.  
  • Etymology:  sapiosexual:  from the Latin roots sapien, wise or intelligent; and sexualis, relating to the sexes

 While the article claims that there are multitudes of people out there who find intelligence very sexy, I can’t say I’ve ever encountered one in my life to date. 

I’ve always been intelligent.  As a child I was very precocious and always scored well on IQ tests.  I was one of those kids who completely threw off the curve at school.  As a teenage girl, I refused to dumb down in order to get a boy to like me, so in that sense I’ve always been something of a rebel with an attitude of “I don’t really care if you don’t like me the way I am”.  This never really changed as I grew. 

I will admit that for the most part the men in my life have been what I’d consider intelligent.  However I wouldn’t say that it’s a sexual attraction for me to meet an intelligent man.  I’ve always considered a sense of humour, self-confidence, and a sense of adventure to be the most appealing traits (physical attraction aside because that’s a whole other thing). 

In my early 20s I wrote the Mensa qualification test and was subsequently offered membership.  While I’ve been a card-carrying member for about 25 years now, it’s never been something I flaunted or bragged about.  In my experience, I’ve always found that men I meet fall into one of two categories: either they’re fascinated or intimidated by intelligence in women.  Theoretically I guess you could argue that fascination might be sexual attraction, but not necessarily.  I’m not sure that these same men were attracted to me because of my brain, but if they were attracted to my intelligence, I’m also vain enough to hope that wasn’t the main attraction. 

My husband falls into the “fascinated” category.  He thinks it’s something to brag about that his wife is a member of Mensa.  On the other hand, when we were still dating, he wanted me to meet and talk to one of his coworkers about Mensa because he knew that individual was interested.  He thought this person had a fascination with intelligence because he spoke about trying to gain membership in Mensa.  However, when we sat down over coffee to talk about it, the person showed they were actually one of those intimidated because after learning that I was a member, he clammed up and didn’t want to talk about it.  After that time, he avoided me as much as possible.   

One topic the article fails to really cover in any way is how much or what kind of intelligence is attractive.  For example, my husband doesn’t consider himself to be Mensa material, but I think he’s really smart.  He can pull a laptop apart into 18,000 pieces, then fix and reassemble it.  He can change my brakes, starter motor, and install a new stereo, and do a plethora of other car-related things.  He knows all about home renovations and has the tools to back this up.  I can’t do any of those things, and what I know about home reno I pretty much learned from him.  Am I smarter or more intelligent than him?  I don’t think so at all.  I’ve never considered that I was attracted by his intelligence.  He’s easy going and has a fantastic sense of humour.  He’s my equal when it comes to being adventurous.  Probably the most attractive thing about him to me is that he loves me despite my quirks. 

Sapiosexuality?  I think it’s a word that might just end up on the lexical trash heap one day.  In our need in this era to define everything, some words are little more than a passing fad.