Mom, I’m a sapiosexual

I finally have a sexual identity!

In my 20’s, it became clear to my friends and I that we each had very specific “types” when it came to who we were attracted to.

We’d often go to Burning Man parties together, and this is the way the night would go. Every. Single. Time.

Friend A would always find a pretty, stylish, and very boyish DJ with a Peter Pan complex.

Friend B would always find a foreign guy with an accent, who would, more often than not, end up living with her within days of meeting at the party.

Friend C, who we called the Rehab Hag, would always find the guy with tons of tattoos and a history of serious addiction – like heroin or cocaine – which he swore was absolutely totally not a problem anymore.

And then there’s me. I would always find the guy with a degree in physics or engineering, or a job designing cameras for the Mars Rover, and spend the entire party in a corner talking to him about science.

The difference between me and my friends is that they often hooked up with those men, many of whom became their boyfriends.

But I never even kissed most of the guys I met at those parties, which I’m sure confused and surprised a lot of them. And why shouldn’t it? In party culture – hell, in most cultures – it’s fair to assume that a woman who ignores her friends, the music, and the dozens of other men at an event to ask you about your job and your brain and your taste in punk rock, a woman who turns her gaze and her smile and her charm only to you, is actually attracted to you. And fair to assume that attraction means actual attraction. Like, physically. Romantically.

But here’s where things get confusing for me.

Because I am attracted to smart men (and sometimes women, but mostly men). Insightful men. Thoughtful men. Nerdy science-y men. That attraction is so strong, I do forsake all others, in that moment, for witty banter and informed conversation with them. But that attraction doesn’t always translate to wanting to kiss them.

In my 20’s, I sometimes missed the nuance, and ended up kissing them, only to be confused by the fact that my body didn’t seem as excited as my brain. I even thought, for awhile, that I might just be asexual.

Now that I’ve learned sapiosexuality is a thing, I’m starting to understand that, like any kind of attraction, just because I find a particular trait attractive doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll also find that person attractive. Like, if a girl gets turned on by six-pack abs, that doesn’t mean she’ll want to sleep with every guy she meets with six-pack abs.

Understanding my attraction triggers helps me understand just that: they’re triggers, not neon signs saying “This guy is the one!”

Which means I can go on enjoying men with big brains, and only kissing the ones whose brains are also attached to bodies I want to kiss. Yay science.

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