How I Realized I'm a Sapiosexual
Through the years, I often heard classmates, friends and coworkers mention how “hot” some person or another was after catching only a glimpse of them across the room or on a TV show. Usually, I'd just roll my eyes and offer a quick smile in response. But for me, the idea of experiencing attraction on the basis of looks alone has never translated.
To this day, I've never been attracted to someone I just met based solely on appearance. It wasn't until recently that I learned the term for how I experience attraction: I'm a sapiosexual.
A sapiosexual is someone who is attracted to intelligence in another person. Yes, it's a very general definition, but it aptly describes the way I experience attraction. I'm simply attracted to someone's knowledge and wisdom rather than their looks.
While it's not uncommon for sapiosexuals to be turned on by people with advanced degrees or specialized careers—think neurosurgeon or lawyer—it's important to keep in mind that the way intelligence is measured varies from person to person.
Some sapiosexuals may feel attracted to individuals with a deep knowledge of subjects they find particularly fascinating. For example, I'm a writer and longtime lover of the English language, so men who are avid readers are like catnip to me.
My attraction isn't solely tied to fancy degrees or certifications, but if I'm being honest, they don't hurt.
Realizing my identity
The first step in my journey to finding my label was discovering a common thread in situations in which I felt attracted to someone. For example, in college I met a quiet guy in class; we liked to discuss music, art and books. He wasn't attractive in the conventional sense, but I found myself drawn to him anyway.
To me, going on a first date with an attractive guy who is sweet and kind but can't hold a conversation is torture. Instead, I crave deep conversations full of intelligence and wit. Oh, and good grammar? Also a major turn-on.
When I stumbled across the term sapiosexual, something in me just clicked. I had finally found a term with which I could really identify.
Sapiosexuality vs. demisexuality
Sapiosexuality is similar to demisexuality, a sexual identity wherein people experience attraction only to people whom they've gotten to know. So, no strangers.
However, there is a clear distinction between the two.
Demisexual people experience attraction only after forming meaningful emotional connections. And while this may be true for some sapiosexual people, others may experience attraction to someone they've never known solely based on the knowledge that they are exceptionally intelligent in some way.
To use myself as an example, there are times when I experience feelings of attraction just seeing a man read a book or listening to a guest lecturer give an intriguing talk.
At the end of the day, sexuality is a spectrum, and everyone falls along it in different areas. But, please remember, while labeling sexuality can be freeing and provide a sense of belonging for some, it's OK to just exist as you are without describing it in any formal terms at all.