Brains over beauty: Attracted to intelligence

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Leilah Busienei.

Sandra Wekes  @wekesa_sandra

Many times you might wonder what exactly attracts you to a potential partner.

What exactly makes you look forward to hanging out with someone you consider your soul mate? 

Although, chemistry does play a huge part in a relationship, there are other characteristics such as physical appearance, and even one’s intellect that could be the most attractive thing.  

For instance, Leilah Busienei says the only people she finds attractive are those who keep her on her toes on matters of knowledge. 

It wasn’t so hard to realise that she was attracted to more than the six pack, chiselled jaws, biceps and a crowning moustache.

It was simply looking at someone beyond what the eyes met, and this was their brain. 

She realised this when she was 20 years— she went on a date with a banker who initiated conversations that suit her way of understanding things and made her discover new things.

This was quite new to her because such guys were hard to come by for her . “I just wanted to go on dates with people who I could be able to hold a conversation with the next day rather than just sit down and look at each other,” she says. 

Looks fade

However, this didn’t happen all the time. She recalls a time when she dated a guy for one year and he turned out to the dumbest person she had ever known.

“This guy wouldn’t hold a conversation and wasn’t inquisitive. It was terrible. I don’t know why I stayed at the time, but I had a hard time even taking him to places.

I preferred being with him alone, not with people because I was embarrassed,” she recalls.

Many people say she has high standards, but there is nothing as bad as dating one who doesn’t have an idea of what you are talking about half the time or doesn’t pick a book to learn anything new outside their comfort zone.   

It’s not any different for Stephen Mwangi, a physician, who says there is no way he would go on a date with someone who he doesn’t share the same mind-set. 

As an enthusiast of science and knowledge, and a master’s degree graduate in medicine, he just expects to meet a smart woman.

To him, looks might be important, but after five minutes of having a conversation, then they eventually fade away.

“I would prefer a woman who would win debates against me or actually tell me something new, something that I actually don’t know, this then becomes a turn on,” he says.

Although this term is relatively new, Merriam Webster defines a sapiosexual as a person who is attracted to intelligence and values. 

Natural selection

Geoffrey Wango, a psychologist at University of Nairobi, defines a sapiosexual as someone who will put looks and personality on the back banner and prioritise on knowledge.

This means that they are turned on by the brain and tend to be teased and excited by the insights of another person.

The person whom they are attracted to might have a tendency to have an incisive, inquisitive, and irreverent mind.

“For instance, this person might crave to have a philosophical, political or psychological discussion because this turns them on as opposed to your physical appearance,” he says.

The UON don says sapiosexuals argue that looks don’t last, hence they are attracted to someone  who can easily challenge their way of thinking and have fulfilling conversation with people.

He highlights that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder— this is why attraction may be complicated and what one finds attractive may be revolting to another person.

“We all have different preferences, but there are some behaviours that stand out to be universally attractive to women, hence it is normal for some women to be sapiosexuals,”  he says.

Women find intelligence sexy because of natural selection and their desire to reproduce, which drives them to make the subconscious choice to be with an intelligent man.

A 2009 study found that men with higher IQs have healthier sperm and are more virile, something women are seemingly able to perceive. 

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