Over the years, I have wondered about what attracts us to some people more than others. In particular, what attracts us to a potential sexual partner? Indeed, chemistry between people plays a huge part in our relationships, but there are also certain personality characteristics that draw us to one another. Some people are attracted to physical appearance, others to status or an individual’s personality, whether it is charismatic, friendly, kind, thoughtful, or even brilliant.
Recently, a new word has come to my attention that describes what often draws me to the opposite sex. That word is “sapiosexuality.” As defined by Urban Dictionary, a sapiosexual person is someone who finds intelligence and the human mind to be the most sexually attractive feature for a potential sexual relationship. The origin of the word comes from the term "sapiens," which means wise or judicious, as well as the word "sexual."
Looking back on my relationships with men, I realize that I have always been attracted to intelligent men, because I believe that the brain is the largest sex organ. Those who admit to being sapiosexual will say that they are turned on by the brain, and tend to be teased or excited by the insights of another person. This means the person whom you are attracted to might have a tendency to have an incisive, inquisitive, and irreverent mind. As foreplay, the sapiosexual person may crave philosophical, political, or psychological discussions, because this turns them on. Although the attraction is not always connected to sexuality, it often is. Sometimes, however, platonic friendships between the sexes are also dependent on sapiosexual desires. This intellectual synergy simply fires up the relationship. This is often seen in the workplace and may be viewed as another aspect of being sapiosexual — that is, a desire to be connected with intellectuals, although the outcome is not always an intimate encounter.
Those who are sapiosexual are stimulated or challenged by the way another person thinks. They are basically in love with the mind. Sometimes, sapiosexual individuals have also been called “nymphobrainiacs,” or individuals who find it arousing to engage with the intellectual perspective of another person. To some, the word nymphobrainiac sounds a bit extreme or pathological.
Librarians, teachers, professors, and others associated with learning institutions are often targets of sapiosexual persons. In an anthology released a few weeks ago, called The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, Bix Warden writes in the introduction how librarians are often featured in sexual fantasies. He agrees that the brain is the sexiest organ in the body and says that intelligence is sexy. Though you don’t have to be a librarian to be sexy, he states that librarians are often smart and sexy, read across many genres, and can converse on many different subjects.
In so many realms, including sexuality, much of who we are has its roots in our childhood. What happened during our childhoods serves as a foundation of who we are, especially in connection with intimacy. Much depends upon our relationship with the opposite-sex parent, our first love experience, and our first intimate encounter. Perhaps what we look for in a partner is what we always wanted in ourselves. It also might be the catalyst or portal to knowledge of our deeper selves.
For example, I know someone who, as a child, was told by her mother that she was not smart. For this reason, she always craved intelligence in herself and in her lovers. It has long been known that women who were adored by their fathers expect or desire the same in their mates. They tend to stay clear of those who treat them poorly or with disrespect. On the other hand, if a male had a mother who was unavailable, needy, or narcissistic, then he will try to receive love from a woman who is also unable to provide it. If you were safe and nurtured as a child, then you will feel safe, valued, and protected by your adult partner. Feeling these sentiments invariably leads to better sex and intimacy.
According to Mark Banschick, M.D., in his article,"What Makes Something Sexy?” an individual’s personality is very important to sexiness. He uses Plato’s dialogue in The Symposium as an example. The main character, Socrates, had no money, no position, and no looks, but what he did have was charisma and brilliance. This is sure proof that the nature of relationships has not changed over the years. Thus, we can safely assume that the sapiosexual draws to potential sexual partners, goes back more than 2,500 years.