Some men and women claim that they are sexually attracted only to people with outstanding intelligence. Can intelligence really be an aphrodisiac?

The British online dictionary Collins Dictionary has this definition: “A sapiosexual is someone who considers a developed intellect to be the most sexually attractive trait. The British actress Marianne Faithfull, dropping this outlandish word in an interview one day, seems to have expressed what has been on the lips of many intellectual fashionistas.

The traditional features of the school nerd image, such as being awkward, obsessed with science and knowledge, and autistic behaviour, have become part of the new youth lifestyle. The “geek-chic” fashion made popular images with ridiculous square-rimmed glasses, backpacks and plaid shirts buttoned up to the neck.

The heroes of films and TV series were strange-looking but brilliant scientists, eccentric writers and philosophers, expert screwballs. And the invention of the term “sapiosexual” finally confirmed intellect as an aphrodisiac.


“We talk about metrosexuals, sapiosexuals, but it is important to understand: all of this has nothing to do with sexual orientation or any other fundamental elements of human sexuality. It’s just that from time to time certain types appear, above all in the images of popular culture, which we could be guided in our choices,” says sexologist Evgeny Kashchenko. But why are sapiosexuals being talked about now?

We are only talking about a new name, whereas the phenomenon itself has been known for quite some time

“Like the metrosexuals who became the modern reincarnation of the nineteenth-century dandies, sapiosexuals also had counterparts in other eras. Typically, the fascination with intelligence, rationality and complexity of judgement was at its peak during the technological boom, when scientists, inventors and rationalisers became idols. Today, when technology is developing particularly rapidly, this reaction in society seems quite natural,” says psychologist and life coach José Herrera.


If we turn to the heroes whose image has already become canonical for sapiosexuals, we find many blatantly contradictory and even unattractive traits in them. Doctor House, Sherlock, the theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory – all these heroes can boast neither imposing physical features, nor charming manners, nor noble character.

On the contrary, they often fail to look after themselves, are dismissive of those around them and generally allow themselves too much unnecessary

But that’s their charm – that they can afford a lot. What’s more – without their eccentric behaviour they would look less spectacular. When Sherlock teases John Watson’s friend, as well as the police and criminals, he once again confirms his authority over them.

Being only a private consultant, i.e. without high status, power or money, he nevertheless finds himself on top thanks to an inalienable quality – intelligence. And what is more – the hero despises formal regalia, preferring to remain independent and always do only what is interesting to him. And that is a luxury.


There is another reason why intelligence as an indicator of sexual attractiveness is being pushed to the forefront right now.

“Today, forums, chat rooms and social networks have become a common medium for young people to communicate,” says José Herrera. – Electronic communication, instant messaging, all limit the tools of seduction, such as body language, intonation, gaze. But at the same time, the role of text increases. Your success with others depends on how well you express yourself, how witty and precise your remarks are.

So, in a world where information has become the main value, things like gender, age, personal status and even physical attractiveness are less important

“Each of us is given a body at birth and can improve it, but there are limits here too. And intelligence can be developed in a much wider range,” emphasises the psychologist.

In addition, intelligence is also a convenient platform on which to build relationships later on. “If we talk about harmonious relationships, the union of two intelligent, intellectually developed people is certainly favourable,” says Evgeny Kashchenko. – Both partners know what they want, and in this sense it is easier for them to avoid situations of misunderstanding.