Looking for a sapiosexual?

Unlike gender-specific restrictions, sapiosexuality has no limitations. Sapiosexuals are attracted to and focus on the inner workings of a person's mind and sexuality becomes less of an entity, writes Madhuri Ramesh
Last Updated : 10 April 2022, 03:28 IST

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Have you ever heard a person say they are attracted to you just by the way you think? While you would’ve initially brushed it off as a polite flirtatious gesture or probably considered them as someone who values your ideas, the truth is… you might’ve actually come across a sapiosexual person! We are all aware that valuing a person’s thoughts and character over their looks is necessary to sustain a long-lasting, healthy relationship. However, ‘sapiosexuality’ is far more complex than just a general preference for a smart partner.

As defined by relationship therapist Dr Shivani Misri Sadhoo, sapiosexuality is when an individual is sexually attracted to one having high intelligence. The factor is so strong that they consider it to be one of the most vital traits or qualities in a partner. In short, everything begins and ends with the brain for sapiosexual individuals. Like every other person, a sapiosexual individual also craves deep and meaningful connections. However, more often than not, finding the perfect match can prove challenging.

Unlike gender-specific restrictions, sapiosexuality has no limitations. You can like men, women, trans people, bisexual people, or any person of any gender or sexual identity. You are free to be attracted to whoever you choose. Sapiosexuals are attracted to and focus on the inner workings of a person’s mind and sexuality becomes less of an entity. This means that sapiosexual people can also be queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual or pansexual etc., and they might also identify as genderqueer or non-binary.

Often confused with asexuality

The problem usually begins with a lack of understanding. If you aren’t already aware, the term sapiosexuality is a fairly new addition to the broader sexual identity terminology, with its first known use being in 2004 according to Merriam-Webster. Moreover, the word ‘sapiosexual’ doesn’t appear in the top five acceptable or even heard of names in the gender spectrum, which is why it is often misunderstood or confused with other commonly used terms such as ‘asexuality’. In most cases, once people come to understand that sapiosexuality is all about being attracted to the intellect, they tend to wrongly perceive that sapiosexuals are completely disinterested in sex. “Many people have asked me if I am not into sex and if I have any issues,” says Kevin, a resident of Mumbai who identifies as sapiosexual. “I’m like, why are we even discussing sex? It’s the way you think and speak that matters and then sex is the second step forward. In short, if you meet a sapio, he or she may be open to sex but attracted to you because of your brain.”

Kevin also mentions that ‘acceptance’ is another common challenge that most sapiosexuals face while getting into relationships. This means that a majority of people would rather prefer to stay out of complications by dating someone they consider ‘normal’. “Even if people kind of feel that being sapio is acceptable, they would not try to know more about it and talk openly about it because they themselves feel that this is something which isn’t generic,” he adds.

Counselling psychologist and sex therapist Dr Vinod Chebbi also emphasises the importance of emotional connection in sapiosexual relationships, pointing out that a lack of emotional connection could act as a barrier and prevent a sapiosexual relationship from flourishing. “Eventually if you remain only sapiosexual without being emotionally connected, then ultimately you turn out to be like a competitor,” he says. “You will never agree because you only want to add more intelligence to that. Then it becomes an unhealthy combination,” he adds. The ‘swipe left or right’ phenomenon which is prevalent in today’s dating culture is also a major turn-off for sapiosexuals since casual hook-ups just don’t seem appealing to them.

It’s all about trust

Moreover, apart from these challenges, sapiosexual individuals also face varying levels of discrimination largely based on their environment or setting. For instance, sapiosexuals might often fall victims to gossip and backbiting even after being initially accepted for who they are. This is most common in professional environments and is one of the main reasons why most sapiosexuals are often hesitant to open up. Being vocal can lead to acceptance, which can in turn cause a person to enter their comfort zone. However, being misinterpreted, judged or backstabbed can eventually lower a person’s self-esteem, resulting in trust issues.

As we know, building and maintaining trust forms the backbone of every successful relationship. Therefore, when sapiosexuals develop trust issues, their relationships tend to automatically crumble.

Kevin believes that awareness regarding these lesser-known terms would definitely help sapiosexuals overcome common challenges. “I think that there should be something called a ‘city index’ to determine acceptability. I feel that in Goa, 70 out of 100 people would accept these terms. In metros, it would be around 60 to 65%, but when you come down to Tier 1 and Tier 2, it will be only 20 to 25 people out of 100 who would even be knowing these terms.” Dr Shivani hints that open communication, being authentic, and giving importance to other human aspects besides intelligence are keys to successful sapiosexual relationships. “Every individual is different and there is always a possibility that in search of a specific good aspect you may end up finding another good side of that person,” she says.

Published 09 April 2022, 18:55 IST

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