What Sapiosexual Actually Means

Last week musician Mark Ronson publicly stated that he was sapiosexual on TV show Good Morning Britain.

It’s a term that many people hadn’t heard of before, including Ronson himself. He was backstage when the hosts and another guest were discussing the term after Britain’s French minister Marlèna Schiappa had identified as sapiosexual.

“I didn’t know that there was a word for it… but yes, I feel like I identify as sapiosexual,” Ronson said once on the air.

If you’re still not sure what it means, we’ve got you covered.

People who identify as sapiosexual are attracted to intelligence. As Urban Dictionary states, a sapiosexual is someone “Who finds the content’s of someone else’s mind to be their most attractive attribute.”

Speaking to Health, sex therapist Holly Richmond explains that sapiosexuality is non-gendered, non-binary, and not heteronormative. Sapiosexuals can identify with another sexuality, such as bisexual or straight.

“The primary attraction is the person’s mind, but the next point of attraction is up to the individual—like someone’s body type or a common cultural history… Anything that people prioritise when they’re choosing someone to be in a relationship with.”

The term itself was allegedly born from online dating site OK Cupid, which listed “sapiosexual” as a possible sexual orientation.

There have been questions raised around whether sapiosexual should be considered an orientation, or simply a sexual preference – especially because it often accompanies another preference.

With Ronson publicly identifying as sapiosexual, this question is pertinent. It’s also why referring to this action as “coming out” (as the hosts of Good Morning Britain did) can be considered problematic.

In the case of Mark Ronson, he made headlines and is being rewarded for essentially saying he likes smart people.

Comparatively, coming out as queer or trans can result in familial and social rejection, employment issues, physical and mental abuse, and even death.

Of course, that isn’t to say that Ronson isn’t queer. Perhaps he would be open to relationships with people who identify as men, trans, or non-binary. But he didn’t make that clarification and has publicly been known to date and marry women.

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with having more names and labels for different sexual preferences, orientations and gender identification. Being able identify with a group can mean support and legitimacy, as well as inclusivity and normalisation.

But perspective and experience is important. While sapiosexuality is a real thing, “coming out” as such isn’t the same as it is for those who have been attacked for going public with their marginalised gender or sexuality.


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