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Let me explain the psychology of a ‘sapiosexual’ like myself

Anyone can a be one!

Call me a little twat if you will, but I’ve decided I’m a sapiosexual. From what I understand you can’t be diagnosed or given formal qualifications in the area of sexual attraction to the mind. It’s just like being bisexual, if you say you’re bisexual then you’re bisexual. There are no tests or exams.

So that’s what I am. I’m a sapiosexual with a blog to tell everyone about it.

You may or may not know that I pretty much didn’t have sex for three years before I started dating the Colombian. (Unless you count the fleeting affair I had with a girl in 2017, which I don’t because I’ve not declared myself bisexual – do you see how this works?) I didn’t not have sex on purpose. It’s not like I was abstaining or caught up in any ideas that sex should be reserved for someone sexy special. I just didn’t experience the urge to get jiggy with anyone. I wasn’t inspired to relax my boundaries, or share awkward moments of intimacy, or get up close and personal to the natural aromas of anyone else. No one warmed up my mind enough.

When I told people that I hadn’t banged anyone in over a thousand days, people were shocked and confused. ‘But how did you survive?!’ They would exclaim as if I’d told them I’d been eating grass for three years. Then they’d navigate their way into all the uncomfortable questions about my sex drive, of which I didn’t really have any answers for. Because I never felt there was a problem with my sex drive. In fact, I didn’t feel there was a problem at all.

All I was doing was avoiding using sex as a means to receive human connection. And this, dear readers, leads me into this very interesting idea about sex:

Sex is a strategy we use to meet our psychological needs and not a need itself.

Mark Manson

Get a load of this for an idea:

As humans we all have psychological needs which need to be met, right? Right.

Well according to this fun theory called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there are a bunch of physiological needs that need to be met before we have the capacity to address our psychological ones.

Stay with me…

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Basic Needs are what keep us alive – food, water, warmth, rest.

So, once we are hydrated and have a blanket, we then have the capacity to better look out for danger and threats. Enter: Safety Needs.

Then, after we put a lock on the door, or get a gun, or build a bomb shelter, or whatever, it’s only then that we have the capacity to think about our psychological needs. Enter: Psychological Needs.

And this is where sex occasionally comes in as Psychological Needs’ dinner guest. It hangs out with our desire for connection and belonging sometimes.

You see, sexual intimacy is one experience, that some people use, to get all those fuzzy wuzzy psychological hits like feeling love, connection, intimacy and belonging. But sexual intimacy is not the only experience available to meet these needs. Ask the Virgin, Mary.

Enter: Virgin Mary.

Or if she’s busy, I can vouch for it too.

I “survived” three years without sex because I sought my sense of belonging from other experiences with people. I didn’t need to touch their slippery areas to feel connected. I just needed to feel part of something. Like my team at work or my healthy family unit. Or just fun nights with friends where we had conversations about things I enjoy. Like emotions, the universe, or how to make a delicious vegetarian stir-fry. This is the stuff that kept me psychologically satisfied. And because I was getting enough of that good stuff, I was able to feed my self-fulfillment needs at the top of Maslow’s chart.

I was FINE not having sex.

Honestly, I was fine not having sex.

Like, I was fine in the sense that I didn’t mind no one touching me. I’m the kind of person who loves social distancing because DON’T TOUCH ME I DON’T LIKE IT. But of course it’s also nice to have a snuggle buddy to bore first thing in the morning by telling them what you dreamt about. Or that special pookie pie who lets you put your cold hands on their warm body before you go to sleep in the depth of winter. So I won’t lie. At times when I wasn’t talking about vegetables with friends, I occasionally felt lonely. Because when you’re not in a relationship with someone, you also have less opportunities to gain this human connection. You have to work harder to seek it out in your day-to-day. Which is why we tend to have romantic partners in the first place, we love to feel loved… constantly.

But the thing is, people who are in sexual relationships often feel lonely too. Because loneliness isn’t something that any Tom, Dick, Harry or Priscilla can fix with their crotches. Loneliness is psychological suffering that must be attended to with psychological stimulation. And psychological stimulation doesn’t always go hand in hand with sex. Capeesh?

*Snap forward to present day*

Guys, I waited out my big fat drought though. I spent all that time with no rain doing a bunch of introspection and self-healing, true to the big nerd that I am. And now I’m getting all my connection needs met by an emotionally in-touch Latino who watches documentaries about the universe for fun. And as a result I’ve gone from sub-zero sexual encounters to on-demand fornication. Quarantine means I’ve got sex on the menu for breakfast, lunch and tea.

“Hey babe, should we Netflix and chill or Netflix and f…?”

Okay, sorry, I’m getting crass. Plus, that’s not entirely true. I’m not now some super human sex freak who doesn’t suffer mood swings, anxiety and a preference to get up early and write over staying in bed to romp. Truth be told, things aren’t always spectacularly saucy because that’s not sustainable, IS IT!?! Even Playboy Bunnies have fat days, get their periods and chase ambitions to do bigger things with their lives.

And it goes both ways. Sometimes Cosmos is far more interesting than my sexy new lingerie.

I mean, that hasn’t happened yet, but I’m ready for when it does.

But the point of all of this is to say, that for my sexual relationship to survive, my psychological connection has to be prioritised. Whereas I believe that some people use sex as a way to create and then maintain psychological connections with their partner, others use it as a way to express existing psychological connections made with a partner outside the bedroom. For some people a sense of connection and belonging can be built and maintained with stimulation of the genitals, for others it needs to be exclusively built and maintained by the stimulation of the mind.

Put simply:

There are people who see someone’s naked body and want to get nasty with it right away, and there are people who will only want to get nasty if they are first seduced by the mind associated with that naked body.

Thus making sex a mechanic for fulfilling a human need, not the human need itself.

Sex and communication

But I find that the further I get outside my comfort zone with communication, the further I get outside my comfort zone physically. 

And while maintenance via genital stimulation can be tough because it’s physically exerting, very messy and has to happen in private, maintenance via mental stimulation can be tough because it regularly comes in the form of hugely awkward conversations.

Weird conversations about feelings, insecurities, past experiences and personal fantasies can be excruciating to delve deep into and share. But I find that the further I get outside my comfort zone with communication, the further I get outside my comfort zone physically. And this always has a happy ending. And I dare say this could work for non-sapiosexuals too.

There’s so much research and TED Talk flying around about the power of vulnerability for one reason: it is really fucking helpful. You don’t have to be a “sapiosexual” to appreciate the benefits of feeling like a freak for sharing your deepest darkest secrets with your boo. Every human gains from being vulnerable and verbal because communication draws us closer to each other. So while you may think it’s enough to just feel very comfortable naked with your partner of 10 years, if you’ve never told them that you fantasise about pretending to be enemy spies trying to get information out of each other, well, you’re missing out buddy.

Communication in a relationship is one of the most important facets of the whole thing. Whether it’s bedroom related or you just hate that they cut their toenails on the couch, you have to have the difficult conversations and awkward moments to get to the good ones.

Now, go have sex. Or don’t.

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1 Comment

  1. Mmmm Sapiosexual a made up word to describe what exactly? From the dictionary descrption it means that “anyone” who is intelligent you find sexually attractive or arouses you when clearly that is not the case. Not everyone that you have met over the last 3 years that was intelligent did you find sexually attractive much less become aroused by them.
    So there has to be something else.
    Everyone can have sex but sex without intimacy or a connection is just sex, a physical action like going for a run except you do it with a another human.
    Sure we can be attracted to others physically, nice eyes, great bod but if they open their mouths and nonsense or vitriol comes out then we are immediately “unattracted”.
    So then it becomes a meeting of the minds, intelligence plays a major part, I agree but someone can be intelligent and hold views that are diametrically opposed to everything you believe in, while this can result in great conversations it rarely leads to a long relationship because the two are so different.
    So a relationship and sexual arousal is built out of many things, intelligence, emotional intelligence, physical attractiveness, agreement on the important things in life, tolerance and temperament to name but a few.
    I am delighted that you have found much of the above with “The Colombian” and wish you every happiness.

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