Talk nerdy to me: Why intelligence is the ultimate aphrodisiac
Summer is upon us, as is our desire to achieve the pinnacle of human accomplishment: a beach body. We live in a world where beauty is glorified and the perfect physique is idolized. Sex appeal has become the ultimate currency. Which begs the question: What’s sexy?
If, like me, you melt at witty banter or blush at a big vocabulary, you likely find intelligence a turn-on. You might even consider yourself a sapiosexual. And we’re not alone (just rare). Up to one-in-10 people get hot over a high IQ, and research on desirability found intelligence the second-most attractive trait in potential partners. Kindness being the first.
There’s a good reason we find cleverness sexy — science. While it might sound too simple for progressive cultural values, we’re programmed to seek partners for baby-making and studies on sexiness found links between high intelligence and virility. With that said, much attraction occurs outside of our conscious awareness. We can’t always pinpoint why we want to roll around with someone; we just do. And for some, the mind does things hands never could. Still, my inbox is filled with notifications reminding me I need to look good in a bikini.
We’re conditioned to believe that beauty is the most important thing in attraction. We see it in magazines and movies, and we’re shadowed by billboards flaunting flawless skin we’d like to rub up against. Despite all the creams and denial we slather ourselves in, beauty fades. I hate to break it, but we’re all aging, and many people who might have gotten between our teeth before no longer want to.
Intelligence is a never-ending journey that keeps us kindled for life — the difference between a quickie and a night of flaming passion. Like forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, intelligence is impossible to resist and seductive because it can’t be bought or faked. So why don’t we celebrate good brains like we do good looks?
Perhaps we’ve never been taught to. Or perhaps we’re afraid to learn. What would a rebalancing of the sexy scales mean? Intelligence is harder to quantify. With looks, we have a set of criteria to measure ourselves against. We know what the perfect body is. We know symmetrical features when we see them. And this pursuit of physical perfection keeps us spending.
Intelligence is multifaceted. Some people are great with numbers, others with words. Some have a talent for creativity, while others excel at logic and analysis. My weakness? Philosophers. A long and deep exploration of big ideas makes my loins tingle. There’s nothing more attractive than someone who can engage in interesting conversation. It’s the kind of connection that can turn a casual encounter into a sizzling romance.
Intelligence isn’t just about smarts and swagger. It’s also about playfulness and curiosity. Geeks are some of the most adventurous people out there. They’re willing to take risks and push the boundaries of what’s possible. But the beauty of intelligence doesn’t end at being book smart. Intelligence enhances physical experiences like travel and sex. When you appreciate and understand a situation’s nuances, you can enjoy it on a deeper level.
Geeks are passionate about their interests and continually seek new ways to explore whatever makes them tick. Imagine if what made them tick, was you.
It’s more complex than intelligence = attraction. Some factors affect our expectations and desires, such as the seriousness of a relationship. I’ve not had many partners, but I’ve dated people on both sides of the brains/brawn debate. My ex was well-stacked but had less muscle between his ears. There was as much chance of a lofty discussion as there was of me becoming the pushover wife he wanted. And while my friends found him pretty, I found the relationship pretty lonely.
Physical attraction can only take things so far. Eventually, it’ll fade, and you’ll be stuck in a shallow courtship. Entangle yourself with someone who can challenge your mind and expand your horizons; things will stay exciting. Physical attraction might be skin-deep, but intellectual appeal goes much deeper. Who needs a six-pack when you’ve got a six-figure IQ? If you want to get off, get off with a geek.
My lust comes with caution. Let’s not create a new set of rigid standards for intellect or elitism around it. Society should avoid narrowing its definition of brains like its narrowed definitions of beauty. Intelligence has been equated with academic achievement and intellectual prowess for too long. Some intelligent people are idiots, and there’s nothing bed-able about them. When it comes to IQ, size matters. But like all body parts, the thrill of brainpower is what you do with it. True intelligence goes beyond monologues about existentialism. Creativity, compassion and the willingness to be wrong are all makings of a brilliant person.
None of this is to lie about physical attraction having its place in partnerships. I’m not immune to the pull of a well put together physique. But a passion for knowledge and unique perspectives is incredibly sexy to those who find intellectual curiosity a turn-on. Nice boobs or muscular shoulders might catch your eye, but a big brain can hold your attention far longer. While physical attraction and intelligence are not mutually exclusive, the oddballs with both are harder to find.
There’s been some sway in society toward brainiacs, but we’ve a way to go and a bunch of double standards to straddle en route. Helpfully, we all have our kinks. You might melt for the gap in your partner’s teeth or that freckle on their inner thigh. Whatever floats your boat. Yes, the apple may have been the downfall of humanity, but knowledge is the key to its future. Our ability to think critically and problem-solve has become increasingly important in a constantly evolving world that’s forever bickering. While physical attractiveness holds power, there’s no doubt big thinkers will gift us our happy ending.
And if you’re between the sheets with someone who can find the meaning of life, you have a better chance of them finding which of your buttons to press.
Reach Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook (EmmaLeaning) and Twitter (@LeaningEmma).