Sapiophilia: What It Is & Signs You’re A Sapiophile

While good looks top many people’s list of must-have qualities in a romantic partner, that’s not true for everyone. Physical attraction is important, sure, but there are things many people find way more vital in relationships. For instance, a sapiophile needs to date someone who is intelligent and inquisitive. Otherwise, things will never work. Read on for the lowdown on sapiophilia and to find out if you might experience it yourself.

What is sapiophilia?

To put it simply, sapiophilia is attraction to other people based on their intelligence over all other traits. In other words, it doesn’t matter how physically attractive they are, whether they have a good job, etc. If they’re well-spoken, well-educated, with an innate sense of curiosity about the world and a well-rounded knowledge of various subjects, that’s hot to a sapiophile.

Those who experience sapiophilia experience all kinds of attraction to intelligent people: sexual, emotional, and romantic. They cannot imagine being in a relationship with or even having sex with someone to whom they are not attracted in this way.

The term has roots in both Latin and Greek. The latin “sapere” means “to have sense” while “philos” is Greek for “beloved” or “dear,” per the Merriam-Webster. It’s a recent term but has likely been experienced by people for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Signs you’re a sapiophile

  1. You hate small talk and crave intelligent conversation. People wasting time talking about nothing bores you to tears. People with sapiophilia want to get into the nitty-gritty of big topics. They want thought-provoking conversations that challenge their worldview.
  2. There’s no bigger turn-on than someone talking about something they’re well-versed in. Hearing someone talk a length about a topic they’re passionate about and well-versed in makes you want to hop into bed with them immediately. You could fall in love listening to someone give a speech about nematodes or the theory of black holes if they knew what they were talking about.
  3. You’d rather know someone’s favorite book than how much money he makes or how much time he spends at the gym. Physical attractiveness and material wealth don’t matter to someone with sapiophilia. While others concentrate on shallow qualities, you’re more interested in how someone’s mind works.
  4. You have a photographic memory. You pick up on little details after only seeing/hearing them once. Because of that, you appreciate others whose brains work in the same way. That high level of intelligence is charming beyond belief.
  5. It doesn’t matter how physically attractive a person is if they have nothing to offer intellectually. You could be dating a world-famous supermodel. However, if they’re not curious about the world around them or don’t care about education, it’s never going to work. You need mental stimulation at all times.
  6. Open-mindedness is one of the most important qualities a romantic partner can have. One of the best things about intelligence is that it can always change and grow. It allows you to keep an open mind in case new theories or proof comes along. If you have sapiophilia, you want someone who’s always seeking to grow their own knowledge by experiencing other ways of thinking and living.
  7. You hate people who play down their intelligence to be liked. Ugh, is there anything worse? You refuse to hide your insatiable love of learning from the world and wouldn’t want to be with anyone who feels differently.
  8. You’d rather have someone you can learn things with rather than someone you look good next to. As a sapiophile, you want a partner with whom to share the journey of life. You want someone who wants to learn and absorb everything life has to offer with you. Nothing less will do.
  9. You’d stay with someone if the sex was bad as long as the conversation was good. That’s totally true. Sexual chemistry is important, but what’s beneath it matters so much more. If you can talk all night and not run out of things to say, you’re smitten.
  10. You’re looking for a partner with taste. What that means will be different to everyone. For those with sapiophilia, taste is about a sense of refinement, and that only comes with intelligence. That doesn’t mean looking your nose down on things commonly perceived as “low brow.” It just means having an attention to fine detail.
  11. You struggle to overlook bad grammar. Seeing someone who doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” is absolutely cringeworthy. You know you shouldn’t judge, but you’re a sapiophile. You can’t help it.
  12. You need emotional intelligence too. It’s not just academic knowledge you’re looking for. Any partner of yours needs to have high emotional IQ too. No stunted or emotionally repressed people, please.
  13. Your home library is one of your most prized possessions. Books are a way to walk in someone else’s shoes for a few hundred pages. You truly believe reading makes you a smarter, more well-rounded and empathetic person. You can’t imagine being someone who hates reading.
  14. You consider good conversation a form of foreplay. It is, isn’t it? Nothing turns you on like intelligence. If someone can intrigue you in this way, you’ll be hopping into bed in no time.
  15. You’re intelligent and naturally inquisitive. Sapiophilia is rarely experienced by someone who’s not intelligent. All the qualities you’re attracted to are ones you possess yourself. Makes perfect sense, right?
  16. There’s nothing you hate more than willful ignorance. You can’t deal with people who are proud of not knowing things and who have no sense of curiosity or desire to learn. It’s a massive turn-off and one of the reasons the world is in the state it’s in. You simply can’t abide it.

How is being a sapiophile different from being sapiosexual?

The differences between being a sapiophile vs being sapiosexual are often hard to spot. That’s because in many ways, they’re very nearly the same. Sapiosexuals find intelligent people extremely sexually attractive and become very turned on by them. And while sapiophiles are the same, the root of their connection is emotional and mental in addition to sexual. In other words, a sapiosexual may only want to sleep with intelligent people, while sapiophiles seek relationships and sexual partnerships with brainy individuals.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill