What Is A Sapiosexual? Meaning, Definition, Signs

Sapiosexual people find high intelligence particularly attractive, whereas most people rate it below kindness and being understanding.


Sapiosexual people find high intelligence particularly attractive, whereas most people rate it below kindness and being understanding.

The definition or meaning of a sapiosexual is a person who finds very high intelligence a sexually attractive trait in others.

While many people appreciate those of above-average intelligence, a sapiosexual prefers people with IQs over 120 and looks for it to the exclusion of other traits and characteristics.

Sapiosexual is a new word and sapiosexuality is claimed by some as a sexual orientation, although it is really a preference that sits alongside all the other sexual preferences.

Sapiosexual meaning and signs

Sapiosexual people focus less on appearances and more on intellectual qualities.

Typical signs of sapiosexuality include:

  1. Sapiosexual people enjoy intellectual conversation about subjects like literature, philosophy or politics.
  2. Being attracted to a potential partner based on their intelligence rather than their appearance.
  3. Sapiosexual people find intellectual connections more important than an emotional connections.
  4. Requiring an intellectual discussion before even thinking about having an intimate relationship.

One-in-ten are sapiosexual

For almost one-in-ten people, researchers have found, high intelligence is particularly arousing.

The results come from a survey of 383 people aged 18 to 35 who were asked what traits they valued in a romantic partner.

They found it a more attractive trait than looks and personality combined.

A sapiosexual is as likely to be a man as a woman and are typically very turned on by high IQs.

The sapiosexual is more likely to endorse statements such as:

“Listening to someone speak very intelligently arouses me sexually.”


“It would excite me sexually to have an intellectually stimulating conversation with a potential partner.”

Dr Gilles Gignac, the study’s first author, said:

“The emergence of the popular culture notion of a sapiosexual, an individual who finds high levels of intelligence (IQ) the most sexually attractive characteristic in a person, suggests that a high IQ may be a genuinely sexually attractive trait, at least for some people.”

How much intelligence is enough?

The same research found that the most attractive IQ for the majority of people is 120.

An IQ of 120 means that a person is more intelligent than 90 percent of the population.

A higher intelligence than 120, though, started to become less attractive to the majority of people, but not to the sapiosexual, the researchers found.

In ranking the most attractive traits overall, intelligence came behind being kind and understanding and ahead of having an exciting personality and being easy-going.

The study was published in the journal Intelligence (Gignac et al., 2018).

Author: Dr Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004.

Get free email updates

Join the free PsyBlog mailing list. No spam, ever.