“Sapiosexual” – My New Favorite Neologism

You know that feeling when you find a new word that describes an identity or characteristic and you just think, “OMG! That’s totally me!” and you get really excited? It’s that feeling of shared reality and lack of aloneness that comes from realizing you aren’t a freak (or are at least, you’re one of many freaks). I can remember feeling this way the first time I heard the term “sex geek” but more recently I felt this way when I learned the word “sapiosexual.”

Sapiosexuals are unique in that they find intellect (rather than appearance, wealth, or even gender) to be the most desirable and erotic trait in their partners. The word comes from the Latin sapere, which means “to taste, have taste, be wise.” If that sounds familiar, that because it’s from the same linguistic root as homo sapiens. Ah etymology, the lubricant of sapiosexuality.

I’ve been a sapiosexual for as long as I can remember. It was always the nerds, rather than the jocks, who attracted my amorous attention. I joke with friends that size only matters when you’re talking about vocabulary. Other traits like physical attractiveness, kindness, and sense of humor are also important to me – it’s just that brains are the gateway drug. Not surprisingly, my partner is also a sapiosexual. We joke about how playing Jeopardy together is a kind of foreplay and I love that he calls me his “favorite endotherm.”

One of the benefits of being a sapiosexual is that while appearance may fade over time, you can always get wiser and learn new things. Variety is a turn-on for most people but it can fade over the course of a long-term relationship. When that which is most erotic to you can be enhanced by opening a book, that variety is easier to nurture.  As John Waters said, “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”

Stitch that on a pillow and give it to a sapiosexual in your life.

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About Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator + blogger. She's the founder of Sex Geekdom, a global community for sex educators, researchers, and other folks who love having geeky conversations about sex.

  • Rama

    On one of our first dates, my future wife said to me “I’m gonna make you think so hard.” It remains the sexiest thing that anyone has ever said to me.

  • TheSpecialLadyFriend

    Oh my goodness gracious I really want that quote on a pillow now. That is definitely what I’m asking for for Christmas.