Understanding that it is often a sliding scale, are you more attracted to physical characteristics or mental characteristics?
Show notes and links:
A History of the Wife (Goodreads)
‘Sapiosexual’ Deemed New ‘Uber-Trendy Sexual Orientation’ (National Review)
Pretentious Is Not A Sexual Orientation (The Daily Beast)
Full episode text
Sexual attraction is quite the complicated mix for just about anybody. In 2004, a new term appeared on Urban Dictionary – sapiosexual. Someone who is attracted to another’s intellect and discussions more so than their physicality. It’s a term that is called everything from “pretentious” by the Daily Beast to “uber trendy” by the National Review. Yet the debate is that “sapiosexual” is not particularly a sexual type, given that it’s an attraction to a characteristic instead of a particular physical reality.
Yet there’s more historical basis for sexuality not being directly tied to physical attraction. In the book The History of the Wife, the author discusses the fact that sexual attraction was very rarely considered a factor in mid-class and upper-class marriages, because the fact of the matter was you were expected to have sex and produce babies with someone that was socially and financially a good match – not necessarily physically attractive. There’s also a long history of arranged marriages in many countries, where the attraction between partners was expected to develop over time.
For most of us, though, attraction is a blend of some kind between physical and mental.