Surprisingly, one of the hardest questions to answer is ‘What’s your type?’ Especially since dating now extends to the mass market thanks to an abundance of digital options, it’s normal for folks to dabble here-and-there to determine what they want in a partner. Though finding a lifelong love definitely involves plenty of trial and error, some people may struggle more than others if they don’t address what really gets ‘em going. It’s important to ask yourself about what grabs your attention — but more importantly, what keeps it. If you can only commit to someone who shares your witty banter and keeps you engaged in stimulating conversation, you may identify as a sapiophile — and not even realize it. For those who are turned on majorly by smarts, this type of orientation may be your best match. Here, a guide to what a sapiophile is, and some signs you may be part of this group:
What is a sapiophile?
Close your eyes and think about your happiest, most fulfilling relationship. What did you like about this person? What made you stick together? What got you in the mood to get jiggy with it? While you may have thought they were super-cute, if you’re a sapiophile, a great smile and fit body won’t be what keeps you interested. Instead, it goes deeper than that and includes a more mental stimulation. As online dating expert Julia Spira explains, a sapiophile is someone who favors intellect over physical attraction in a partner. “When you’re a sapiophile, you’ll be attracted to the intelligence of someone, which then can result in stimulating a sexual attraction,” she continues. Sometimes, a sapiophile also considers themselves sapiosexual, where they actually favor conversations over sex. Or, they need those intense discussion to be sexually attracted to someone else. As with every orientation, there is a sliding scale of how important smarts are to a sapiophile — while some need partners who challenge them, others are just-fine with those who are in equally playing ground.
You may be a sapiophile if you’re turned on by deep discussions.
On a first date, your new match goes off on a long-winded tangent, explaining — in great detail — something that’s important to them. Regardless if it’s 15th century European art or modern-day politics, the way they conduct themselves, express their passion and engage in conversation is sexy to you. In fact, you find it irresistible, which makes you a saphiophile, according to certified sex coach, sexologist and author, Gigi Engle. Sort of like foreplay, having inspiring, provoking conversations is what melts you into a partner — regardless if they’re traditionally attractive to others.
You may be a sapiophile if you’re attracted to someone who will debate you.
Some folks shy away from any sort of conflict as disagreements make them uncomfortable. In an effort to avoid strife, they’ll nod along with anything and agree with statements of all kind — no matter how absurd. For a sapiophile, this type of person would be a no-go. Without someone to push their boundaries, expand their knowledge base or open their perspective to new ideas and philosophies, they would find themselves bored quite easily, according to psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas. Instead, they would actively seek someone who would not only start a debate with them — but win it. “It is alluring for a person to be around someone who can assert his or her opinions and speak one’s mind,” she continues.
You may be a sapiophile if you aren’t instantly attracted to partners.
Most sapiophiles don’t experience love at first sight. Even if they are physically intrigued by a pretty face — it isn’t what keeps their mind piqued. Spira shares sapiophiles fall into the category of people who take time to fall for a person. And you may even end up with a person who isn’t your physical type — but really checks all of your personality and mental check boxes. “When you’re a sapiophile, you’re not initially attracted to someone, however, in the course of a conversation, it becomes so intellectually stimulating, that you start to get turned on by the person, and want to spend more time together,” she explains.
You may be a sapiophile if you need to share interests with your partner.
Sure, opposites attract but having some sort of common ground is essential for any relationship to work. While your partner may be Team Tea and your Team Coffee, when it comes to champagne you both say ‘more, please!’ For sapiophile duos, Engle says shared interests and activities will help take their relationship to the next level and cement it’s long-term capabilities. “If you want to try putting your sapiosexual-ness into dating, only date people who have a lot in common with, people who are very passionate about their work, their side projects, and good books,” she explains. If you’re single and looking for your sapiophile match, make sure you put extra effort into finding communities that you’re excited about, since that’s likely where you will find someone who has the same fascination.
You may be a sapiophile if you need someone to be curious.
Or as Spira puts it: you would say ‘next’ quickly if someone spent a lot of time discussing superficial topics like the weather or the Kardashians. Instead, you seek someone who will actively discuss a landslide variety of topics — from politics and science to best-selling books. More than anything else, you seek someone who is openly curious about things, how they operate, how they can be improved and why they matter. “A person like that may investigate and do research about different topics to gain a deeper understanding of them which is may be similar to what the sapiophile does, too,” Dr. Thomas explains. When you’re this type of orientation, the surface level won’t cut it. You need — and will always seek — more.
“When you’re a sapiophile, you tend to spend time together with your partner talking about the news cycle, watching television news shows or political shows together, and find yourself more often at lectures or educational events over spending times at bars and watering holes,” Spira adds.
You may be a sapiophile if you need emotional intelligence, too.
There’s a difference between book smarts and social smarts — and most sapiophiles need a little bit of both to build a happy relationship. Since sapiophiles are often attracted to fellow sapiophiles, it’s reasonable for you to find a variety of types within the spectrum. While some will invest more in literature and research, others will also immerse themselves into emotional intelligence, too. Dr. Thomas makes them more nurturing partners, since they not only care about the state of their brain, but the purpose of their heart, too. “It is necessary for you to show your own intelligence and to admit how important intelligence is to you in a significant other so that you can find someone compatible to you. Sapiophiles also need that person to be emotionally intelligent as well so they can have a non-sterile, loving, warm relationship,” she explains.
You may be a sapiophile if you need to get off dating apps ASAP.
Though Spira is an online dating expert, she stresses the importance of communicating offline. This is true for all singles but even more so for sapiophiles, who needs to connect, in person, with a match to understand their level of intrigue. She suggests putting your sapiophile orientation in your profile, and being blunt about how vital intelligence is to your happiness. “Even if a potential partner doesn’t know the definition of a sapiophile, if you explain that you’re a political junkie, love strolling through bookstores, reading newspapers, and magazines which may be historical, political, or tend to be on the intellectual side, they’ll know that you’re not solely interested in reading tabloids,” she explains.
Once you’re in person? Spira says to prioritize habits: what does your potential partner do when they have free time? What keeps them entertained? As she explains, you’ll know right away if you’ll be happy with him or her: “If a date’s habits don’t include reading a newspaper or watching the presidential debates, they won’t be a good match for a sapiophile, who might be recording documentaries and news programs on their DVR to watch together over scheduling a ‘Netflix and Chill’ night.”