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Sapiosexual: What It Means, 41 Signs & Ways to Attract Them with Intelligence

Being attracted to intelligence is a real thing; these people are called sapiosexuals. They believe that someone’s mind is sexier than their body. Could this be you?

sapiosexual attracted to intelligence

Attraction is a funny thing. Some people are into tall, dark, and handsome, some people have a soft spot for blondes, and some people (sapiosexual) are attracted to intelligence. In an age where everything is about instant gratification, Tinder hookups, and internet dating sites, finding someone “real” is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Is the notion of sapiosexual merely a thing of the past, or is an attraction to intelligence just as strong and flourishing today?

What is Sapiosexual and what does it mean to be attracted to intelligence?

Sapiosexual means you fall in love with someone for something other than the way that they look or the external beauty they display to the world. But it isn’t just about falling in love with their intelligence. 

It is about finding a connection with someone that goes beyond the physical and is in the realm of the real. Sapiosexual relationships have things to offer besides something fun to look at.

There are still some of us who find that love is truly more than skin deep. Loving someone for their wit, charm, or even intelligence is a special quality. Do you have it? [Read: Attraction theory – what it is and 4 factors that make you desirable to others]

How common is sapiosexuality?

A study conducted by the University of Western Australia found that about 8% of people between the ages of 18-35 are sapiosexuals. 

However, it seems that being attracted to intelligence is becoming more common among 30-45-year-olds on dating sites and apps.

For some people, intelligence is a major factor in sexual attraction. Intelligent men and women trigger sexual arousal because they take people beyond mundane superficiality. [Read: Psychology of attraction – 6 types and the ones that make you fall in love]

People also tend to associate intelligence with making good decisions, being respectful, and understanding, all qualities that surely we’d all like to see in a partner.

How sapiosexuality works in relationships

People who are sapiosexuals usually find themselves in relationships with people who have a similar orientation. These types of couples often enjoy intellectual activity as an integral part of emotional bonding or even physical foreplay.

Here are some other ways that being attracted to intelligence works in relationships.

[Read: What is pansexual? The full guide to everything you MUST know]

1. Foreplay is different

While most people’s foreplay is physical and includes things like dirty talk or naked pictures, sapiosexuals are turned on by debate or stimulating conversation.

They might do things like reading an intellectually stimulating book out loud or discussing an intellectual concept with their partner.

2. The relationship moves more slowly  

When people are primarily attracted to each other through physical attraction, the relationship can move more quickly in the sexual department. [Read: Exactly how slow is too slow in a relationship? Must-know details]

But getting to know someone on an intellectual level takes more time and can delay sexual attraction until they’ve fully connected.

3. One partner might feel pressure to be smarter

If you’re a partner to someone who is attracted to intelligence, you might be worried about not meeting their intellectual needs. So, there could be insecurity in the relationship because of it.

However, even if you’re not highly educated, that doesn’t mean you’re not smart enough. If you ask them about a certain topic and want them to teach you about it, they’ll gladly do so. [Read: How to finally get over the fear of not being good enough]

Are you a sapiosexual?

People who identify as sapiosexual admit that they’re highly attracted to people who are intelligent, well-read, and allegedly possess an extraordinarily high IQ. Even without proof, just hearing the numbers will probably make a sapiosexual swoon.

According to a sapiosexual, a person’s intelligence plays the biggest part in the attraction, and everything else, well, they claim that’s secondary. [Read: Sapiophile – what it is, 20 signs and why it’s not the same as sapiosexual]

There are a variety of reasons why sapiosexuals find intelligent people oh-so-hot, but it seems that it’s mostly related to how you perceive intelligence. 

Some are looking for extremely intelligent people who have careers in one of the many scientific fields, while some like people who are simply well-read, eloquent, and highly artistic.

Others, however, seem like they don’t care as long as they know someone’s smart. [Read: Panromantic asexual – what it is, 23 signs, FAQs, and ways to recognize them]

That’s mostly a vague appropriation of how smart they think a person is, but sometimes they’re actually just looking for someone who has common sense.

There is also a less obvious group that won’t readily admit that they just want someone who is smarter than they are. They won’t admit this because doing so would mean that they acknowledge that they are dumber than their dream girl or guy. [Read: 15 highs and lows of dating someone smarter than you]

The signs that you might be a sapiosexual

There are many reasons why finding someone based on what they have underneath their smile and dashing looks makes for a much deeper connection and lasting relationship. [Read: Why inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty]

If you’ve read this feature so far and related to a few points, you may be wondering if the outward appearance of someone even matters to you at all or if you’re more attracted to someone who is mentally stimulating.

Whether you don’t understand why your friends swoon over a conventionally attractive stranger at a bar or you’re tired of shallow, meaningless relationships, you may be wondering if you are showing any signs of being a sapiosexual.

If you’re still unsure, read our points below to find out for sure if you’re more attracted to brains than beauty!

1. Your favorite foreplay is bantering

The phrase “they have a good personality” doesn’t frighten you. Typically something someone uses to cover up the fact that a person might not be so kind on the eyes, to you a good personality is a good enough reason to meet someone.

After all, what else is there? Beauty fades, and although senility might take some of your mind in old age, you age intellectually alongside your partner. [Read: Ready to charm? How to be witty and win over anyone]

2. Your notion of the best date ever is having coffee while discussing the complexities of life

When you think about your first date, it isn’t about a fancy restaurant or a concert. You know that those are the types of places people go to meet each other without ever really getting the time to get to know them.

A cup of coffee, perusing the bookstore, or sitting on a park bench discussing the meaning of life is a much better way to know if they are the one you want to put any more time or effort into getting to know.

3. You understand that intelligence isn’t about grades on paper or the higher learning degrees you receive

Being attracted to someone’s intelligence isn’t just about the list of books they absorbed, their degree, or what they read in a book somewhere. Intelligence comes in many forms including emotional intelligence. [Read: 15 highs and lows of dating someone smarter than you]

Being attracted to someone because of their intelligence means you are on the same emotional level. They are intuitive, kind, thoughtful, and caring – all things that make your heart swoon. The way they look takes a back seat to their inner beauty and heart.

4. You don’t want a resume, just someone to love

You aren’t impressed that someone is a Fortune 500 executive or that they come with all sorts of anagrams or titles. [Read: What are twin souls? 16 signs to know if you found yours]

Instead, you look for someone who you can have a witty conversation with and who is too cool with who they are to be a walking resume billboard.

You know that when people use their background to tell you how smart or worthwhile they are, they really don’t believe it themselves. Otherwise, they wouldn’t feel the need to let their titles talk for them. [Read: When will I find love? 25 secrets that WILL help you find the one]

5. You are looking for someone who can work a room, not by having all eyes but all ears

Instead of walking in with the prettiest date on your arm, you want to enter the room knowing that when you two separate they can hold their own. 

No one will be scratching their head wondering what the two of you have in common or what you see in them. [Read: Demisexual – what it is, 21 demisexual signs, and how to connect with one]

You know that their intelligence and ability to adapt says it all. They don’t have to have a high cup size or bench lift a certain amount. They can talk to anyone from fifteen to ninety and in between.

6. You look for someone who isn’t about cutting corners… even in communication

You are slightly, if not altogether, turned off by a text message from someone you consider dating using the wrong “there, their, or they’re.”

U isn’t a word in your vocabulary, and, if you are going to write it on text or paper, you think “for goodness sake, use proper grammar.” It isn’t that hard! [Read: How to read people: The 12 secrets to figure anyone out instantly]

7. Going to the theater is not even in the realm of what you want to do together

When you date someone and are attracted to intelligence, you find you don’t even consider going to the movie theater until well after you are a couple.

The first few months are filled with exploration of the mental kind. No shortage of challenging topics to talk about, or theories to test with one another, the last thing you want to do is waste your time staring at a screen when you could be meeting minds.

8. You would rather discuss the Pythagorean theorem than what’s on the cover of “Us” magazine

Not into what celebrities are doing, or the latest fad, whatever it is, you are more comfortable talking about things that are intellectual and real. [Read: Intellectual questions – 43 cues to spark smart talk with anyone]

No time for gossip or shallowness, you look for a deep emotional connection with the person you are with, not one that you can have with the person next to you on the train ride home.

9. When you do go to the movies it better be meaningful

When you do decide that you want to go to the movies, you choose something with a major plot, something complex, or a psychological thriller.

There is no entertainment in watching a sequel, a comedy that is all bathroom humor, or a remake of something crappy to begin with. [Read: 22 things to do on a date that aren’t Netflix and chill]

If you spend your time at the theater, it better be a mentally-worthy two hours.

10. Questions aren’t irritating, they are thought-provoking

Not everyone likes the endless questions that can come from getting to know someone. 

But a sapiosexual is someone who wants to stay up all night debating religion, politics, or even Aristotle. The more questions, the better. [Read: 40 very deep questions to ask someone before you get close to them]

That doesn’t mean they can only be emotionless questions either. Talking and sharing about your goals, desires, and dreams, are all within the realm of attraction for the sapiosexual.

What are the types of sapiosexuals?

If you are indeed a sapiosexual, there’s still the matter of what type of smart person you’re attracted to. But there’s no way to gauge a person’s intelligence or what they’re knowledgeable about unless you get to know them better.

The funny thing, however, is that people who say they like smart people still tend to judge the appearance of a person first. Whether it’s online or offline, intelligence still comes second or even third. [Read: Heteroromantic orientation – what it is, the different types, and must-know facts]

Ironic, yes—but it’s for that very reason we’ve compiled a list of stereotypical smart people who are most likely the stars of many sapiosexuals’ fantasies.

The most common sapiosexual fantasies for women

Really, any guy with a pair of thick-rimmed glasses and a well-thumbed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird might fulfill your sapiosexual fantasies—but here are 8 sapiosexual “types” that might get you hot under the collar.

1. The Bill Gates

He’s the guy wearing glasses under a mop of unruly hair that looks uncombed but is probably clean enough to run your hands through. [Read: Dark triad personality – what it is, and 25 signs, and ways to deal with them]

He may or may not be a computer genius, but just by looking at his horn-rimmed glasses, you know he is definitely the man you’re going to make smart babies with.

2. The Mark Zuckerberg

This is The Bill Gates, except he wears the same-colored shirt every day.

3. The Reincarnation of Plato

Oh, the existentialism of it all. [Read: Aromantic asexual – what it is, and traits and challenges of this sexual identity]

This guy is one of the many men who can quote philosophers *sometimes erroneously* and can make you feel as if he’s the smartest person in the room, even though he just said a whole lot of bullshit that you will never understand *with or without a dictionary*.

4. The Artist

These people are said to have very high IQs. Yes, they’re just as eloquent as the Plato guys and yes, they wear the same-colored shirt most of the time like The Mark Zuckerberg’s. 

Still, nobody’s really collected standardized IQ test results of artists, so we can’t prove anything—but does this matter? [Read: The types of guys you’ll meet in every college]

Society has already generalized, so they are probably all smart, and some of them can also be really big smart-asses.

5. The Doctor

They’re the most prized catch for late twenty-somethings, but unfortunately, the only available ones you’ll find are either married to their college sweethearts or are too old to carry you over a threshold. 

Some are still bachelors, but they prefer to be that way because of all the pain and suffering they’ve seen inside the ER. Kind of a buzz kill. [Read: The sexiest male jobs that impress women easily]

6. The Scientist

They have the ability to save the world using only a microscope and a petri dish. They’re rarely available because of their hectic schedules and their relocation to Zimbabwe, but you still find time to Google them just to see if they’re still alive. 

Thank goodness, the Nobel Prize committee continues to update you on their status. [Read: Reasons you should definitely date a nerdy guy]

7. The Activist

One of the markers of their intelligence is their ability to recite the constitution. It’s totally sexy, especially when they express it with ire or passion. 

Their hobbies include watching out for and lobbying hundreds of laws to be passed and rejoicing passionately when a politician finally puts up a stop sign in a danger zone. 

Their favorite outfits include hemp-made fabrics, statement shirts with ironic, erm, statements—or a print of their favorite activist/politician. [Read: Ways volunteer work can help heal depression]

8. The Guy Who Can Change a Lightbulb

This guy could be any guy.

The most common sapiosexual fantasies for men

For men, their image of the perfect intelligent woman is a little bit different from the women’s version.

Is your preferred sapiosexual fantasy one of those girls with messy hair and glasses that always slip off her nose as she grabs another falling book? Or is it one of those well-put-together philosophy tutors that always looks in control? 

Chances are that your ideal smart girl falls into one of these categories:

1. The Tina Fey

This woman is so quirky that you can’t even keep up with her. She can wear anything she wants and still looks glamorous. [Read: How to look hot – 24 sexy tips to go from boring to irresistibly desirable!]

Age is never a factor as long as she can whip out a witticism at a moment’s notice and make you look really bad because of your idiotic thought. But this just only makes you want her more.

2. The Hipster Geek

She’s insanely attractive with proportionate vital statistics. She’s a gamer, cosplayer, bibliophile, cinephile, and foodie all rolled into one—with bonus points for having huge tattoos all over her body. 

The marker of their intelligence stems from their sarcasm and ironic remarks about anything that is deemed mainstream. They read a lot of books/comic books/articles; ergo, they’re smart. [Read: How to date a book lover like you’re in a romance novel]

3. The Golden Girl

Every school, workplace, and hobby location has one. This girl is the prettiest, nicest, most levelheaded girl you will ever see. 

You can’t help but admire her overall effect because every one of your 50 colleagues/classmates/gym buddies pales in comparison. She is probably the smartest as well, just because it’s the only thing you haven’t thought to describe her with.

4. The Amy Farrah Fowler

She’s so awkward, but she’s so smart. At first, you really don’t want to like her because she looks like she’s wearing everything that your great-grandmother left in a box in the attic. [Read: Arousing sex fantasies to try in real life]

But when you get to know her better, you’ll see that she is indeed smarter than you and can actually do so much better. That’s why they prefer Sheldon Coopers.

5. The Asian Girl

It’s a stereotype, but guys who like these girls are expecting them to be incredibly smart and incredibly submissive. You’re hoping that she’ll take a break from her books to cook you dinner and even give you a nice shoulder rub before convincing you to take her to bed. 

You might find that the stereotype is far from reality, however. A smart girl is unlikely to ever let herself be a doormat. And, just in case you don’t already know this, Asian women aren’t only one thing. [Read: Ways to make a guy laugh without dumbing down]

6. The Angelina Jolie

She’s too hot for words, is passionate about charity, follows ancient new-wave traditions, and wants to have as many babies as possible without stretching out her womb too much. 

This is the worldliest woman you will ever find. The only problem is that it’s so expensive to date this kind of woman because she keeps jetting off to third-world countries. Frequent flyer miles, anyone?

7. The Megan Fox

She may look like she’s not that smart, but you’re really, really hoping that she is. She’s incredibly hot, so it’s not too much to ask that she be an undercover Amy Farrah Fowler, right? [Read: List of sexualities – 15 gender orientations you need to know about]

But she’s so mysterious that you can never know. All you can base it on is her slightly witty, sardonic answers when you ask her a stupid question like, “What do you do to stay fit?”

8. The Perfect Girl

She’s better than the Golden Girl because she doesn’t need to be in an isolated community in order to shine brightly. 

She’s witty, she’s classy, and she has such a wide range of interests that there’s no way you can stereotype her at all. Unfortunately for you, a thousand other guys are lining up to date her. [Read: How to be perfect in everything you do and lead a fulfilling life]

Kidding aside, every one of these fantasies exists, but they don’t take kindly to people who assume the best or even the worst of them. They have their own identities that do not revolve around intelligence alone.

How to attract and turn on a sapiosexual with your intelligence

If you are interested in dating someone who is attracted to intelligence, or if you already are, you might be a little concerned that you’re not turning them on enough. It’s normal to feel that way even if you are very intelligent yourself.

But don’t worry. There are many things you can do to turn on a sapiosexual. Just try some of these things. [Read: How to get turned on – 26 sexy secrets to turn yourself on and get in the mood]

1. Pay attention to their unique interests

They probably have niches that they are particularly interested in. Maybe it’s mathematics, space, spirituality/religion, politics, or any other number of options.

Start studying up on the topics they love so you have something fascinating to talk to them about.

2. Plan book club and library dates

If they are very intelligent, then there is a good chance that they love to read. So, in order to make it a bit more social, you can join a book club *or start one of your own* or go to the library on dates. This will get the intellectual juices flowing.

3. Let them teach you

Just because they are intellectual doesn’t mean that they expect you to know everything. In fact, smart people frequently like to teach other people what they know. [Read: What is lust? 25 typical signs to look for and ways to turn it into love]

So, ask them about their interests and get them to teach you all about them.

4. Align your interests

You might feel like you don’t have a lot in common because of how highly intelligent they are. But you can always find common ground.

Try to figure out what you are both interested in and then talk about those passions with them.

5. Share your passion

You probably have a passion of your own that they would be interested in hearing about or partaking in. Maybe you love reading books about ancient Egypt, but they haven’t done much research on it. [Read: How to find your passion – 17 secrets to seek it in simple things]

Get them excited about your passions.

6. Documentary and chill

With sapiosexuals, they would much rather lay on the couch and watch a documentary instead of Netflix and chill. They might find movies or stupid comedies to be mind-numbing, so you can help them enjoy themselves by watching documentaries with them.

7. Talk nerdy to them

No, we’re not talking about the classic song, Talk Dirty to Me by the band Poison! A sapiosexual wouldn’t want you to talk dirty to them. Instead, you should talk nerdy to them. [Read: How to get a nerd to like you and win over the intellectual badass]

Talk about deep topics that most people wouldn’t care about.

8. Write a short story together

You can also get creative with your sapiosexual partner by writing a short story together. This takes a lot of brain power and the two of you can collaborate on it.

If it’s good enough, you might want to turn it into a full-length book.

9. Read to them

As you are winding down in the evening, you can also read them a book. Now, they probably won’t like a fictional romance novel. Instead, they might want non-fiction such as history or something that helps them learn something new.

10. Pretend-host a podcast episode

Many podcasts have people who have deep, intellectual conversations. So, you could pretend like the two of you are hosting a podcast. [Read: 60 deep and fun get-to-know-you questions to peek into their soul]

Choose a theme or a topic and get talking. Or if you prefer, just go ahead and start a real podcast and have fun with it!

11. Get controversial

People who are attracted to intelligence love to talk about controversial topics. Many of them have the ability to look at them from all angles, which stimulates their brains. [Read: Emotional connection – 38 signs, secrets, and ways to build a real bond]

So choose some controversial topics you can talk about that you both would enjoy.

12. Learn a new skill together

Sapiosexuals aren’t just interested in information. They also want to learn new skills too. Learning a new skill also engages their brain and keeps them from being bored. So, choose something you both are interested in and would have fun doing.

[Read: The 33 best places to meet attractive, smart, and eligible men]

All about a meeting of the minds, being attracted to intelligence is about falling in love with what makes someone an intellectual, both book-wise and emotionally. A deeper-than-skin attraction, it is about finding the inner soul that matches yours.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...