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Do you find intelligence sexy? You might be a sapiosexual—Here’s how to find out

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Summary: Is your intellect your biggest turn-on? Find out if you’re a sapiosexual and how to navigate the dating world with tips from relationship experts.

Some of us are attracted to the way a person looks. Others are smitten based on how the person makes us feel.

Then, there are some who find a person’s smarts incredibly sexy. This is the world of the sapiosexual, where intelligence is the ultimate turn-on.

It’s like Amy’s infatuation with Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. Or Rory’s crush on Jess on Gilmore Girls. Or Fitz’s love for Olivia on Scandal.

If you get that kind of attraction, if you feel drawn to someone’s mind more than their looks, you might be a sapiosexual. And that’s awesome.

The thing is, when you better understand it, you can find partners who also value intellectual depth just as much as you do.

What does it mean to be sapiosexual?

Physical attraction is great, but being a sapiosexual means that the mind sparks a real connection for you. You crave stimulating conversations, witty banter, lively debates, a shared passion for learning—anything intellectual that provides you with mental stimulation, challenges your thinking, and broadens your horizons.

After all, the “sapiosexual” definition itself describes someone who’s attracted to intelligence—sapio, meaning “wise” or “intelligent” in Latin, and sexual, referring to attraction or desire.

However, it’s not just about raw intelligence. Rather, it’s how that intelligence translates into communication, empathy, and connection.

Now, there’s a nuance to this. Research suggests we’re generally drawn to intelligence, but there might be a sweet spot.

The study found that while most people prefer partners with above-average intelligence, a very high IQ wasn’t necessarily the most desirable. What does that mean? Simply, there’s a certain charm in finding someone who challenges you intellectually but is still relatable.

Sapiosexual and demisexual

You may wonder, “What is sapiosexual?” You may also wonder, “What is demisexual?” And, most importantly, you may question what the two love styles have to do with each other.

The thing is, while the “sapiosexual” meaning is about initially being drawn to someone’s intellect, the “demisexual” one is about craving an emotional connection before experiencing any sexual attraction.

Here are a few more differences between the two:

SapiosexualDemisexual
Primary attractionIntelligence, sharp mind, stimulating conversationDeep emotional connection
Initial sparkPossible without emotional bondRequires emotional bond
FocusIntellectual attraction and compatibilityDeep emotional intimacy
ExampleFinding someone’s witty banter incredibly attractiveOnly feeling sexually attracted after a long friendship develops

Here’s where it gets interesting, though: The two can sometimes intertwine. And that creates a unique desire for a partner who is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally fulfilling.

How can I tell if I’m sapiosexual? 10 signs to look out for

So, how do you know if you fall into the sapiosexual category? Here are some common telltale signs:

  1. Deep conversations and intellectual debates excite you more than small talk.
  2. You have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
  3. When it comes to emotional connection, it’s formed through intellectual discussions and shared understanding.
  4. Active listening and contributing thoughtfully to conversations are important to you.
  5. You enjoy being challenged intellectually.
  6. Knowledge and wisdom are highly attractive to you.
  7. You value gifts that show someone puts thought and effort into understanding your interests, not just emptying their wallet.
  8. Your interests span a wide range of subjects.
  9. Physical appearance is secondary to intellectual and emotional depth.
  10. You love exploring new ideas and learning alongside your partner.

These signs can help you pinpoint exactly what you get attracted to and how to be attractive to partners who value the same things. It’s as Neelam Verma, the founder of Integrity Dating, says in her Finding Love with Integrity Dating Quest on Mindvalley: 

When you feel comfortable in who you are and what you have to offer, you have the courage to show up as the real you. And what happens is, is you give others permission to do the same.

Dating as a sapiosexual 

The dating game can be a whole new ball game when you’re a sapiosexual. Here are a few ways that can help you navigate the world of romance with a heart (and mind):

  • Seek out stimulating environments, like lectures, book clubs, or museums.
  • Skip the cheesy pickup lines; instead, start a conversation by asking thoughtful questions about the other person’s passions, current events, or intriguing ideas.
  • Pay attention, ask follow-up questions, and show genuine interest in what they say.
  • Don’t shy away from friendly debates or challenging their perspectives.
  • Showcase your own intellectual pursuits by sharing your hobbies, what you’re reading, or what you’re learning.

As Neelam advises, it’s all about dating with integrity—that means showing up as your authentic self and not hiding behind a persona or facade.

Show up authentic on your dates,” she says. Not afraid to love; not afraid to open your heart; not afraid to be intentional or transparent; not afraid to be you.”

A couple holding hands

How to date a sapiosexual person

What if you’re not the one who’s sapiosexual?

What if you’re Leonard and your partner’s Penny? (That’s a The Big Bang Theory reference for you.) 

With their smarts, what can you do to connect deeply with them?

Taking pointers from Mindvalley experts like Neelam, here’s where you can start.

1. Know yourself first

Before you run off into the sunset like every great rom-com, it’s important to know yourself first. This means understanding your own values, needs, and desires. 

All relationships mirror the relationship you have with yourself,” says Neelam, “and the ones that thrive are the ones where you have a great relationship with you.”

The thing is, when you know yourself, you date from a place of wholeness. You have a strong sense of self, you have confidence, and you bring clarity to your relationships. So, rather than finding someone to complete you, you look for a partner to share your journey.

And that is especially important when you’re dating someone who values intellectual and emotional depth. They will appreciate your ability to articulate your thoughts and emotions clearly, which will help foster a deeper connection.

2. Engage in conscious conversations

It’s no secret that communication is such an important element of dating and relationships. In fact, statistics show that 65% of experts chalk up communication (or, really, the lack of it) as the number one cause of divorce.

But there’s a difference between having regular conversations and conscious ones. While the former is about surface-level chat, the latter is, according to Neelam, when you “speak from a place of honesty, authenticity, transparency, and intentionality.”

This means sharing what you genuinely feel without fear of judgment or rejection. And when you do so, you create a safe space for your partner to do the same.

3. Use your charisma

Charisma is not just about being charming or having sexual confidence (although they can be a part of it). It’s about having a magnetic presence that draws people to you.

Often, people with charisma possess the ability to charm and influence others,” says Linda Clemons, a body language expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Body Language for Dating & Attraction Quest. “It makes them irresistible.”

The good news is, charisma isn’t a born trait. It’s a skill you can develop, and here’s how:

  1. Believe in yourself. When you do, you radiate a positive energy that others can sense and appreciate.
  2. Be kind, supportive, and trustworthy. These qualities make you likable and help build genuine connections.
  3. Be present by connecting authentically with your partner’s thoughts and feelings. 
  4. Praise and validate your partner. This empathy strengthens your bond and demonstrates your genuine care.
  5. Use positive body language, smile often, and maintain an upbeat demeanor. This makes your partner feel good in your presence and enhances your connection.

When it comes down to it, Linda highlights the golden rule for magnetizing people: “Be interested in the person of your desire, not just interesting.”

FAQ

What’s the opposite of sapiosexual?

There isn’t technically an opposite for sapiosexuals. However, some orientations might seem like the flip side, like…

  • Demisexuals, who only experience sexual attraction after forming a deep emotional connection, or
  • Fraysexuals, who find someone less sexually attractive the more they get to know them.

Ultimately, attraction is complex. While sapiosexuality emphasizes intelligence, most people find a combination of factors attractive, not just one.

What is the difference between pansexuals and sapiosexuals?

These two terms might sound similar, but they describe different attractions.

Pansexuality is when you’re attracted to someone’s personality and soul, regardless of whether they’re a man, woman, or somewhere on the gender spectrum.

Sapiosexuality, on the other hand, is when you’re drawn to people with sharp minds and a thirst for knowledge.

Deep connection is important for both orientations. However, the focus differs. Pansexuality celebrates the inclusivity of gender, while sapiosexuality prioritizes intellectual attraction.

Is sapiosexuality just a way to seem more intellectual?

Not at all. It’s a natural way for some people to find fulfilling relationships—ones built on brains and mutual respect for each other’s smarts.

For sapiosexuals, it’s about finding someone who clicks with them on a mental level. Deep conversations, shared interests in cool ideas, and so on.

Love deeper, connect stronger

The greatest pleasure in life is love, as the saying goes. So if you’re seeking connections beyond the superficial, take this as a serendipitous sign to transform your dating life.

At Mindvalley, you can learn from Neelam Verma on how to end the cycle of bad dates and attract amazing partners. Or master the art of nonverbal communication with Linda Clemons and radiate confidence, unlock your magnetism, and spark instant attraction.

Not sure if you’re ready? Here’s what you can do: sign up for a free account and get a sneak peek at the first few lessons of their programs.

It’s time you discover the secrets to attracting love that lights up your mind, heart, and soul—and you can do that at Mindvalley.

Welcome in.

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Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Picture of Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Neelam Verma
Expertise by

Neelam Verma, an upcoming Mindvalley trainer for the Finding Love with Integrity Dating Quest, is a former TV presenter and Miss Universe finalist. After a near-death experience, she embarked on a spiritual journey, learning about love and relationships from experts and healers.

She founded Integrity Dating to revolutionize dating with a conscious, heart-centered approach. Neelam offers transformative courses, events, and coaching, helping people find love with integrity. Her mission is to change dating from mere entertainment to finding true love.

Linda Clemons - Trainer
Expertise by

Linda Clemons®️ is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Body Language for Dating & Attraction Quest. She is also the CEO of Sisterpreneur® Inc. and an award-winning record-setting sales producer, as well as one of the top sales trainers in the world in the resort/timeshare industry, where clients have generated over USD 2 billion in sales.

How we reviewed this article
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.