What Is A Sapiosexual & What Does It Mean?

By: Michael Arangua

Updated December 24, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Nicole J. Johnson

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as a "sapiosexual"? Have you ever said to yourself: "what is sapiosexual?" Continue reading for the definition of sapiosexual.

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Define: Sapiosexual

Merriam-Webster added the term “sapiosexual” to its dictionary in September 2020. It defines the term as being sexually attracted to a person's intelligence. In other words, asapiosexual is someone who is aroused by how smart another person is. Someone might be good-looking, which is enough to gain a sapiosexual's interest, but once that person reveals how smart they are, that's when they become more of a turn-on.

To define "sapiosexual" in another way: this term is used to describe a person who is only turned on by smart people. You could be the best-looking person in the room, but a sapiosexual will only be interested in you if you also have something smart to say. Now, if someone asks you "what does sapiosexual mean?" or "what is a sapiosexual?" you'll have the answer. And if the idea of receiving books as a gift over flowers is superexciting to you, then you too may be a sapiosexual.

"Sapiosexual" is a relatively new term. Merriam-Webster breaks down the roots of the new word by explaining that “sapio” was picked because the Latin verb “sapere” means “to be wise” or “to have sense.”

Sapiophile Vs. Sapiosexual

You may have heard the term "sapiophile" to describe someone who is attracted to intelligent people, and you may have thought to yourself: "what's the difference between a sapiophile and a sapiosexual?" The answer is nothing. The term "sapiophile" is a term that is less often used to describe the same exact thing. Both the sapiophile and the sapiosexual define themselves as being sexually attracted to smart people.

Source: flickr.com

Signs You May Be A Sapiosexual

Do you think you may be a sapiosexual, but you're not quite sure? Chances are, if you are turned on by smart people, you may be a sapiosexual. If you need further proof, though, here are some more traits that are typically indicative of sapiosexuals.

You Are More Turned On The More You Get To Know Someone

Have you ever met someone or watched someone on TV that everyone was fawning over because they were so attractive, yet they didn't quite grab you? But then, after watching how they conduct themselves and listening to what they said, you instantly felt more attracted to them? This is a sign that you may be a sapiosexual.

Because sapiosexuals are more turned on by a person's mind than their body, it stands to reason that even if someone is physically attractive, a sapiosexual won't be truly drawn in until they gets to know that person. And the more they get to know that person, the more attractive that person becomes.

You Don't Fall In Love As Quickly

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The beauty of being a sapiosexual is that, because you don't fall for someone instantly just because of how attractive they are, you get the opportunity to vet someone before falling in love with them truly. For sapiosexuals, while they may be attracted to someone enough at first to be interested in getting to know them further, that spark may not light until much later in the relationship.

This may sound sad or frustrating, but consider the benefits, This gives you the chance to truly get to know someone before falling so deeply in love with them that it's difficult to turn back. And this saves a lot of heartbreak in the end when you can tell the other person early in the relationship that things are just not working, rather than allowing enough time to pass for the other person to fall so in love with you that you are forced to hurt them.

The Idea Of A Long, Intelligent Discussion Is More Appealing Than Sex

Some people would rather curl up with some chocolates and a steaming mug of tea or coffee rather than a glass of wine. Others would rather have an intelligent discussion rather than meaningless sex.

Sapiosexuals are happier in a relationship if their physical stimulation is often supplemented with intellectual stimulation as well. This isn't to say that sapiosexuals won't also engage in occasional casual sex. But casual sex is more like junk food insofar as indulgences go, and sapiosexuals would much rather dine on a healthy meal of intriguing conversation. Bonus points for those relationships that subsist on fantastic sex followed by deep conversations.

Brains Are More Of A Turn-On For You Than Possessions

Sure, he may have the latest and greatest in technology or a fancy sportscar that turns heads every time he comes to pick you up. But if he isn't capable of carrying on an intelligent conversation with you, then none of his possessions mean anything. Sure, they're nice for a little while, but they won't sustain the relationship.

You've heard the phrase "money isn't everything," and for a sapiosexual, this couldn't be truer. While both money and good conversation can keep a relationship going for a long time, the sapiosexual would much rather remain intellectually stimulated by their partner than reap the benefits of dating somebody who's rich.

Having Fun With Sapiosexuals

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In today's world, or at any time really, who isn't attracted to the idea of dating someone intelligent? But how do you weed out the smart from the, well, not-so-smart? If you're interested in someone and you know them well enough to have their email address, you can always send them sapiosexual memes to get their interest. If you two can share an intelligent joke, that may be a real turn-on for a sapiosexual.

Sapiosexuals may also enjoy nerdy things, like taking tests or taking on challenges for fun. You can even take sapiosexual tests together, like this one from BuzzFeed, to get a better idea if you might be a sapiosexual.

Did you also know there is a sapiosexual flag? The LGBTA Wiki also has more information on how sapiosexual may fit into the LGBT+ community.

Sapiosexual Quotes

There are plenty of quotes out thereto sum up how it feels to be a sapiosexual. Most of them have a humorous slant and are from unknown sources, mainly because they are the very definition of internet quotes.This is no surprise, considering the term originated on the internet in the first place. Here are a few:

"I love big brains,and I cannot lie."

"Never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary."

"Brains are the new boobs."

"Please, say it again: how big is your library?"

"Talk nerdy to me."

The Cons Of Declaring Yourself A Sapiosexual

While there's nothing wrong with finding intelligence sexy, some people feel that to declare oneself a sapiosexual is to be pretentious or even insulting to those who may experience a learning disability. Others believe that being a sapiosexual is a more of a reference than a sexuality.

However, for others, having a definition brings a feeling of relief. They may have gone their entire lives wondering and stressing over why they simply don't feel the same level of attraction to people who are otherwise generally accepted as being incredibly good-looking. It may also be frustrating for them to have to get to know someone first before truly being aroused by them.

Once they realize that being attracted to someone's intelligence over their body is a thing, this normalizes how they have been feeling and allowed them to attach a label to it. While a label isn't always considered to be a good thing, it can be a relief to know that they are normal enough that a term has been created to describe it.

For anyone who is looking to understand more about their sexuality, dating preferences, or how to connect better with other people, BetterHelp is available with both individual and couples counseling.

If you are questioning your sexuality or already know that you are a member of the LGBT+ community, therapy and finding the right counselor may be especially important for you. There still aren’t many large studies on how therapy can positively impact the LGBT+ community, but it is clear that LGBT+ folks often need additional support. NAMI highlights that it’s important to find the right mental health professional and gives some tips as to how to find one.

BetterHelp has more than 14,000 counselors to potentially match you with, some of whom specialize in LGBT+ issues. BetterHelp often is accessible more quickly than traditional therapy as well. Most people are matched within 24 hours.

Here are some recent reviews from BetterHelp users with similar issues of their counselors:

“Christina is very knowledgeable, and she's willing to admit if she isn't familiar with something and looks into it. I saw Christina for grief counseling and she treated me with empathy, kindness, respect, and understanding. I recommend her services and she's LGBT+ friendly, which is always a great thing for my community.” Read more on Christina Keogh.


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