Everybody who's ever had a Tinder or OKCupid account (which should be every single person, because the miraculous future is now and in this glorious future we order men from the Internet like twee sweaters with dogs on them from Modcloth) is probably familiar with a handful of online dating cliches — dudes posing with drugged-up tigers, men and women who are looking for a "partner in crime," everybody being so deeply into their bikes that you wonder why they don't just stay home and make love to their fixed-gears or whatever. SERIOUSLY, DUDES, SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR BIKES.
And while we're at it, how come everyone on the Internet is into eating pizza and doughnuts and Netflix and being lazy, but everyone on every dating site is apparently into going to museums and CrossFit? I WANT TO DATE THE INTERNET PEOPLE.
But I digress. Recently, I've noticed a new cliche oozing its way up from the world of mating and dating and that's the term sapiosexuality. Sapiosexuality isn't a "real word" in the sense that it's not yet formally recognized by reputable dictionaries. Urban Dictionary, despite defining almost every other word with something filthily sexual, defines a sapiosexual as "one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature," and sapiosexuality as "to become attracted to or sexually aroused by intelligence and its use."
OKCupid recently rolled out a bevy of new options for users to self-define as things like agender, androgynous, genderfluid, gender nonconforming, and trans, all of which are great, valid options to help people identify themselves. But according to this NPR article, sapiosexual is one of the most popular of the newly introduced identifications, leading the headline to proclaim the lexicon is entering the online dating mainstream.
On the surface it doesn't sound so bad. But the equation of being attracted to intelligent people with a "sexual preference" rubs me the wrong way for a few reasons.
First of all, who isn't looking for a smart partner? I'm sure there's a handful of folks out there who prefer pretty people without much to say, but for the most part nobody's ever like, "Damn, I wanna find a dummy to spend my life with." It's right up there with "I like to have fun" in the realm of things that applies to basically everyone, and therefore doesn't really seem worth stating.
And then there's the idea that a sapiosexual's physical attraction to another human being is based solely or largely on that person's brain power. Sure, positive qualities in another human being can increase your attraction to them, but if you're telling me that physical attraction matters not a whit to you as long as your potential partner both made it through and understood Ulysses, well...I kind of don't believe you. You can't fuck a mind, no matter what this vaguely upsetting song I discovered called "Sapiosexual" by Ab-Soul says.
According to a self-described sapiosexual writing for Psychology Today, "As foreplay, the sapiosexual person may crave philosophical, political or psychological discussions, because this turns them on."
As foreplay, I prefer, I don't know, having my clitoris touched, but I'm willing to buy that there are some people in this world (like maybe three) who get all hot and heavy discussing Kant instead of cunt. (That was such a gross thing to write. Should I leave it? I'm leaving it.)
The implication of sapiosexuality seems to buy that physical appearance and chemistry doesn't matter — that intelligence is the sole ingredient when it comes to sexual attraction. And I just kind of don't buy it. You don't often see anyone fetishizing the homely librarian or the unsightly professor. As one xo editor put it, "All the people I've heard calling themselves 'sapiosexual' also date conventionally attractive people, so I smell a rat when they say that intelligence trumps all."
And finally, what the hell is "intelligence" anyway? There are a million different ways to be smart — are we talking IQ? Street smarts? Excellent reading comprehension? Clever wordplay? Mechanical or technological talents? Military acumen? Someone who considers themselves too good for emojis and says "I'm sorry" when you say you're going to see a dumb romantic comedy?
My cynical suspicion is that most sapiosexuals are generally defining intelligence as owning a copy of Infinite Jest, NOT owning a television, and generally feeling just a little bit superior to the rest of the world. The term itself basically forces those who use it to stereotype and narrowly define the concept of intelligence in a way that strikes me as super pretentious and elitist. In which case, I guess I hope they find one another? And then just kind of hang out together in their houses where I am less likely to encounter them?
Perhaps more importantly, this whole discussion led us at xo HQ to find out about lumbersexuals, which one xo editor explains as basically just "dudes (often hipster dudes) who are into the rugged aesthetic yet still use moisturizer." Also, "neat and tidy bears who might be (probably are) straight." We also uncovered the fact that at least two xoJane editors had previously believed sapiosexuals to be people who preferred to have sex with human beings and one thought it meant people who wanted to have sex with brains. So it all got kind of dark for awhile.
ANYWAY. Do you find this term as annoying as I do? Or are you a card-carrying sapiosexual and prepared to defend your case? Do you understand what a lumbersexual is? Let's talk it out in the comments.