Wet for Wit : Confessions of a Sapiosexual
Hello, I am sexually attracted to intelligence. By that I mean brainstorming the next big app or discussing all the ways we would change political policies if we had the chance, or debating the pros and cons of flying cars in the future. This is what gets me all hot and bothered. Not kidding.
As a single girl for almost my entire life I have often wondered what has been holding back in my love life. Of course I’ve had friends whose opinions go in opposite directions and the standard, “Don’t worry girl, keep calm. Someone will validate you eventually.”
At the moment, I’m not super concerned with whether I’ll be the princess in the fairytale of life. I am very well content with my incredible work, family and friends. And of course, I have my truly trusty shaky friend, if you catch my drift.
So recently, upon jumping around to different blogs and squelching my thirst for more pins on Pinterest, I came upon a term I had never heard before. Sapiosexual. Sapiosexual is defined by Urban Dictionary as “a sexual identity label for people who are attracted to intelligence”. This term rather resonated with me. Physical looks, while granted are a factor, have always taken a serious backseat to whether or not you can intelligently debate gun control or animal rights with me.
Thinking back, this helps me understand why during my sophomore year, I fell in love with the witty, thick-rimmed glasses Philosophy Major in my design class. At the end of the semester, we were to persuasively argue and pristinely present our theories about something or other (truly don’t even remember what the assignment was, sorry, Prof). The Philosophy Major gave an incredibly rousing speech about identity, community and how to grow inside a network. I was squirming in my seat, biting my lip at his passion and intellect. We still debate current events and other things too … in and out of bed.
Some women are attracted to striking abs or bulging muscles. I am most attracted to one of the biggest muscles, the hunky, hunky brain.
Now, there has been a lot of shade thrown at this word. More than a lot, actually. (Google it.) There are some who say that they are just tired of it being used pretentiously in the world of internet dating. And there are people saying it’s disrespectful to those who have had to fight to legitimize an actual sexual orientation like homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, etc. I am certainly not trying in anyway shape or form to diminish the struggle of accepting sexuality and gender outside of straight cis gender. So I hope you don’t take it that way.
My thoughts in championing this word and maybe bringing some light to the topic was only because in the mad dash of life, filled with insecurities, discoveries, atrocities and confusion this word helped me to discover and embrace a little bit about my sexuality and expression. Maybe the thought of intelligence being a factor in sexual relationships could help change a society and culture that is rather hell bent on what someone is wearing and less concerned about what is coming out of their mouths.
Fore-playing into Society
While Samantha Allen at The Daily Beast argues that sapiosexuality “is redundant when smart is already considered sexy” and that “intelligence already enjoys a privileged place in our erotic economy”. I think I would have to beg to differ with her. Our society as of currently, very, very rarely thinks of intelligence as sexy. While I hope a good portion of people still value intelligence (fingers crossed), they do not think of it as sexy.
I think (or maybe I just hope) that the tide of popular culture is coming around to value intelligence as a factor in attraction. Look at the hit series, Dexter or Elementary. The male leads in these shows are portrayed as desirable due to their intense intellect. That has not been done very often before. Men are usually seen as nerdy, boring, plain, small, or even demeaningly feminine if they have above average intelligence.
And forget women being idolized as sexually attractive because their intelligence. Most of pop culture has completely desexualized female intelligence. If a girl is smart, then she most certainly is the unkempt, unglamorous, nerdy, quiet girl who sits in the corner of the library pining for the popular boys to notice her. She is very rarely played as sexy.
Now there are some exceptions to this, and they are more recently coming back to popular references; Dr. Brennan in Bones, Jessica Day in New Girl, Veronica Mars, House of Cards’ Claire Underwood. But you also have to keep in mind that even though these women are recognized as intelligent characters, they are still absolutely gorgeous actresses. They are not sexy BECAUSE of their intelligence. They are beautiful and also happen to have a brain. But maybe it’s a step in the right direction? Moving away from the 90’s movies like “She’s All That” and “A Cinderella Story”, where the only way the intelligent, non-popular girl could ever catch the eye of the guy was after a makeover.
And maybe we don’t have to live and die by this actual term of “Sapiosexual”. I understand that it can get pretty dicey when you are trying to say that Sapiosexual has anything to contend with gay or trans sexualities. Because it doesn’t. Don’t hate me, please. I did not invent the word.
Maybe this is me struggling to tell myself that it’s okay to be nerdy because some people find that sexy too. Or maybe it just means that like most people, I would like to be with someone who I can intellectually collaborate with even when wrinkles are the new black. Or maybe I only mean to argue for the notion that intelligence should not just be valued, but considered sexy.
Regardless, I want to let those out there know, that if listening to NPR gets your panties in a twist, you’re not the only one.
Written by Mayda Ezure, Social Media Editor in Chief at The Smear Campaign, a cosmetics company that advocates for healthy and responsible sexual education, awareness and sexual autonomy for women worldwide.