Everything You Need To Know About Dating A Sapiosexual

Aka, how to ask someone on a date to the museum.

Originally Published: 
What is a sapiosexual and what are some date ideas to attract them?
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If you've always been more interested in someone's bookshelf than their gym selfie, you might be a sapiosexual. The same is true if you only ever agree to museum dates, crush hard on folks who write for literary magazines, and/or get weak in the knees whenever someone possesses a fancy talent, like playing the piano.

OK, so that last part may have been a bit of an exaggeration. But it does illustrate the point that sapiosexuals prioritize a partner’s intelligence — which could include hobbies and general knowledge — over their physical attributes, financial status, and even personality. In fact, they don’t just prioritize it, but actually get turned on by it.

“Some believe it is an actual [sexual] orientation, [while] others see it as a ‘conversational’ orientation,” Dr. Tari Mack, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. “Like any sexual orientation or preference, it exists on a spectrum. Some sapiosexuals are purely attracted to people based on their intelligence and some find it simply one of the most attractive qualities in a potential partner.”

If this describes you, and you’re looking for a partner who feels the same way, try out some of these flirting and dating tips that are positively essential for sapiosexuals — and see who you can meet.

1. Focus On Your Own Hobbies & Interests

“We attract what we are,” Mack says. “So if you're looking for an intelligent partner, be sure you are engaging in intellectual pursuits and activities that light you up.” Read books, play instruments, watch movies, listen to music. “Don't wait for a partner to do these things with,” Mack says. “When we foster our own interests, we develop ourselves, feel happy, and we put out a vibe that will attract like-minded partners.”

2. Skip The Small Talk

Whether you’re reaching out to someone on a dating app or chatting over coffee, try to get past the small talk as quickly as possible. No talk of the weather or about having a “case of the Mondays” — just dive right into the meat of a conversation. This will be the best way to “assess their intellectual interests and whether it’s a match for you,” Mack says.

Need some ideas? Ask about their favorite authors, directors, and areas of study. “Make sure while you are connecting on an intellectual level that you are also sharing some personal things about yourself and asking some personal questions,” Mack says, all of which will help the convo go even deeper.

3. Keep The Conversation Flowing

If you want to say you’re a sapiosexual without saying you’re a sapiosexual, show interest in keeping the conversation flowing. “When they share an intellectual pursuit they are excited about, you can ask, ‘When did your interest here start?’ or ‘What excites you the most about this topic?’” Mack says.

If the conversation flows, you may have found your match. “If not, you won't want to say, ‘I'm sorry, you're not intelligent enough for me to be interested in you,’” Mack says. “But you can give a more generic reason like, ‘I just don't think we're a match.’ Never apologize for what you are attracted to — we like what we like!”

4. Get Thyself To A Museum Or Independent Theater

Of course, the best way to connect is by immersing yourselves in situations that are steeped with culture. “Have dates that will elicit deep intellectual discussions that will turn both of you on — museums, reading the same book and discussing, watching a documentary — any activity that will allow the two of you to bond on an intellectual level,” Mack says.

5. Ask Tough Questions

This may go without saying, but it’s also super important to remain informed, as this will “make sure your conversation is engaging and challenging,” Sara Sharnoff Tick, MS, LMFT, a licensed couples therapist and dating coach, tells Bustle.

And again, don’t shy away from focusing on intelligence as a priority. “Intelligent partners challenge us and make the world a more vibrant and exciting place,” Tick says. “This newness and excitement that comes with learning and exploring leads to better intimacy in relationships.”

6. Don’t Worry About Seeming Too “Nerdy”

Want to geek out over board games, trivia nights, and puzzles? Go right ahead. “Dating should include mentally stimulating activities,” Tick says.

And if you’re bored on a Sunday morning, you might even want to whip out The New York Times crossword, complete a Sudoku puzzle, or challenge yourselves to a Mensa Workout, courtesy of the high IQ society.

7. Gift Them A Selection Of Anais Nin's Delta Of Venus

Start swapping books pretty much immediately, first as an excuse to see each other, and then as a way to pick each other’s brains. Not only will it offer the perfect excuse to talk, swapping books will also help you bond over a shared love for all things literary.

Heck, you could even center an entire date night around perusing each other’s bookshelves, gushing over favorite authors, or visiting a favorite dusty bookstore. This is most likely when you’ll find out you both have dual English and Philosophy degrees — and immediately fall in love amongst the stacks.


Dr. Tari Mack, clinical psychologist and relationship expert

Sara Sharnoff Tick, MS, LMFT, licensed couples therapist and dating coach

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