Every person is quite different, và our individual preferences and identities extend to sexuality. There are at least 18 different types of sexuality,and in addition lớn those orientations, there are also certain sexual identities a person might have, like being sapiosexual. By definition, sapiosexual is a sexual identity characterized by being sexually attracted to a person"s intellect.

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Before going on lớn explain the sapiosexual definition, though, it"s key to lớn understand the difference between a sexual orientation & a sexual identity. Sexual orientation considers culture, sex, and gender presentation, whereas sexual identity focuses on how we move through our sexuality, says Roger Kuhn, PhD, an Indigenous (Poarch Creek) AASECT-certified sex therapist.

"There are a lot of similarities within , and there"s a lot of difference as well," says Dr. Kuhn, who adds that a person"s identity within any orientation is highly personal. When it comes to lớn sapiosexuality, for instance, "whether you identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bi, pan, or demi... those groups can be sapiosexual," says Dr. Kuhn. " is more a recognition of who I"m attracted lớn within the orientation."

The definition of sapiosexual, according to sexual health experts

“‘Sapiosexual’ is a term that refers khổng lồ an individual being attracted to lớn another individual based on their intellect,” says relationship and dating expert Jess Carbino, PhD, former sociologist for the dating apps Tinder và Bumble. “This attraction khổng lồ intellect supersedes their preferences for physical attraction và other characteristics that are deemed important among individuals when evaluating potential romantic partners.”

“‘Sapiosexual’ is a term that refers to an individual being attracted khổng lồ another individual based on their intellect.” —Jess Carbino, PhD

According to lớn Shamyra Howard, LCSW, a sexologist with sexual-health brand Lovehoney, sapiosexuals value intellect over other traits because that intellect is deemed the most attractive, alluring trait. “A sapiosexual is someone who finds intelligence erotic, sexy, và attractive," she says. "People who value intellectual intimacy identify as being sapiosexual.”

Intellectual intimacy refers to lớn the idea that people can have good, stimulating conversations, even when they don"t agree on the topic, adds Howard. This, of course, will vary from individual lớn individual, but the best marker is that you"re "comfortable, free, and, most importantly, stimulated by the mental connection shared with another person," Howard says.

That said, it"s important to lớn point out that a strong intellect is broader than high thử nghiệm scores & knowing all the Jeopardy questions. A2018 study published in the scientific journal Intelligence found that sapiosexuality "appears lớn be influenced by non-intellective factors,” too. Essentially, this means that there’s more to lớn intelligence than IQ. The way that a person giao dịch with their problems and how they treat others may also point to emotional intelligence, which may matter lớn a sapiosexual person as much as if not more than cultural và academic intelligence.


While this size of sexual identity has likely been experienced by many for countless years, it hasn"t been officially recognized for quite so long—think: less than a decade. “Sexuality has long been studied by psychologists and sociologists, but the emergence of "sapiosexual" as a term in the cultural zeitgeist is a more recent development,” says Dr. Carbino, who says she first encountered the term in 2014. Also in 2014, dating platform OkCupid added sapiosexual khổng lồ its list of personal identifications from which to lớn choose. With this term entering the cultural zeitgeist through dating apps và pop-culture examples like producer Mark Ronson publically identifying as sapiosexual in 2019, we stand khổng lồ benefit from learning more about not only what it means but also what a sapiosexual might look like in action.

What it means when someone identifies as sapiosexual

Of course, “the primary và defining characteristic of being considered a sapiosexual person is related lớn being attracted khổng lồ individuals whom they deem intelligent,” says Dr. Carbino. “This attraction khổng lồ intelligence among sapiosexuals is considered khổng lồ be the primary và most critical criterion in lãng mạn partner selection.” (Read: if you think someone isn’t intelligent, you’re probably not going to lớn pursue a lãng mạn relationship with that person.)

Again, it"s important to lớn point out that a sapiosexual person is attracted khổng lồ someone who they feel is intelligent, which is not necessarily an objective measure. For instance, let’s say a sapiosexual person is a huge movie buff. If they meet someone who is also a cinephile & enjoys long conversations about film, they may be turned on by & attracted to lớn this person"s cinematic intelligence.

"People who consider themselves sapiosexual determine what intelligence is, & whether that"s attractive lớn them," says Howard. For example, movies might not be something you particularly care about. Instead, you might find it arousing that someone can solve an algebraic equation—and someone else might be attracted khổng lồ someone who"s reading their favorite book.

If you think you might identify the with the sapiosexual definition, Howard suggests you introspect on a few questions khổng lồ determine whether it might be the case: "Does your toàn thân tingle all over at the thought of having a stimulating conversation with someone? Are you turned on when someone eloquently teaches you something new? vì chưng you find it"s easier for you khổng lồ be sexual with someone who is highly intelligent?” she says. If the answer lớn any (or all) of these questions is “yes,” Howard says you may identify as a sapiosexual person.

She adds, though, that“being sapiosexual does not mean that someone is only attracted khổng lồ people if they"re intelligent.” In reality, the term actually points to lớn the fact “that we"re most attracted to intelligence versus physical appearance or other attraction factors.”Also, perceived intelligence is, by nature, highly subjective, so there will inevitably be a varying degree to which someone identifies as sapiosexual.

What khổng lồ know about dating a sapiosexual person

The experts agree that there isn"t a blanket answer lớn this question because, since the term itself is relatively new, researchers are still looking into evidence-based answers. But, according to Howard, someone doesn"t have to lớn date a sapiosexual just because they"re sapiosexual themselves. This means your relationship isn"t necessarily doomed if all parties involved don"t all identify as such.

That said, if your partner identifies as sapiosexual and you don"t, Howard suggests you be mindful to lớn not put up an intellectual front—whether intentionally or subconsciously—just to lớn try khổng lồ stimulate them. Because it"s likely that your partner will sense the lack of authenticity, Howard says overcompensating might damage the intellectual intimacy you"ve worked to establish. Furthermore, not presenting yourself authentically does a disservice khổng lồ you in the relationship, as well; in a healthy relationship, you should feel comfortable being yourself.

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To avoid situations like this, Howard suggests sticking khổng lồ conversations focused on your mutual interests. Sapiosexual or not, if you are in a relationship with someone, there must be certain delights and enjoyments you share.

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