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Photo credit: Timetravelling Ivy @ Medium

The word sapiosexual is often considered to be problematic. For me however it’s a good description of the way I feel sexual attraction, or more specifically that first spark of sexual attraction which makes you stop and say ‘Oh’.

The main arguments I’ve heard about sapiosexuality are based around it not being inclusive of neurodivergent people. Another is that it’s classist, because only certain kinds of people have access to the level of education needed to be attractive to sapios. Whilst I accept this could be difficult, I question whether the problem is with other people’s idea of intelligence rather than my use of the word. Intelligence for me is not counted by Mensa membership or Suduku prowess. Some of the most intelligent people I know don’t have qualifications. Most are neurodivergent in some way. We do more than sapiosexuality a disservice when we start measuring intelligence in such narrow spheres.

However, this is not a post about why I’m right to use problematic terms, so I’ll introduce a different word and explain how this works for my sexual attraction instead. That word is Noetisexual, being attracted to someone’s mental attributes rather than their physical ones.

For me this is the initial attraction stage. I’m not completely noeti, I can see a hot body and think it’s hot, I can see beautiful eyes and appreciate them. Those things wouldn’t be enough for me to feel full sexual attraction. Often partners and friends have suggested maybe I have a demisexual streak. My horny loins severely refute this. I feel a whole world of instant sexual attraction, but it doesn’t work like you would maybe expect.

For example, I watch a lot of live bands. I see someone playing an instrument (who am I kidding, it’s usually the bass guitar… occasionally the guitar…. mostly the bass) I’m impressed by the energy; I watch them create rhythm and hold the space. My jaw has dropped and my breath deepening. It’s so hot. I then start wondering what music they listen to, whether they write it themselves, can they create lyrics too? Only at this point do I realise they have nice shoulders and look at those hands. I might check their hair out even and their clothes. All before I have any idea what their face looks like. And at this point I’m checking out the emotion in it, watching them get lost in their music.

I go and see a political rally and see someone giving a talk. Their words are beautiful, I empathise with their cause, I enjoy their discourse and their argument. I feel instant sexual attraction. I could easily take them to find a quiet space for funsies and not know their name. No demisexuality here, but I probably couldn’t tell you how tall they were, or what colour eyes they had.

Just today I read an article written by the BLM protestor who carried the hooligan to safety. His words, his empathy, his strength of personality had me feeling incredibly horny. I then thought ‘ooh he must be physically strong too, maybe he could throw me around a bit’ and then I looked at the photo and yes, he was hot. But I’d already made that noetic connection which allowed me to be physically attracted to him.

Mind first, then body, then face. You might wonder why I’m whinging about this. It doesn’t seem like an issue, after all, it makes me a great person, right? I can honestly claim looks are secondary. Fabulous.

Except the rest of the dating world is set up for facial attraction, or at least physical in some way. On poly dating groups people post faces. They expect a decision from me whether to accept a message based on a ‘hey’ and a photo. I can’t do that. Tinder gives you a few words and some photos, mostly facial. I look out for bookshelves behind a person and whether they have any I recognise. I swipe right on people with instruments in the hope I can connect with them because they play one. I check for ‘No Tories’ requests because I hope that means they can talk politics.

It’s not that I don’t find faces cute, it’s just that I don’t find them cute until a bit later in the relationship. I must admit to being a bit face blind too which doesn’t help. Asking me to choose a date based on a face swipe system is like the Norse gods asking Skadi to choose her husband based on their feet. My husband laughs at me because a lot of my partners have had beards and glasses. It’s not a kink it’s a way of distinguishing a difference between face after identical face.

In bars people ask me if I want a drink as a form of flirting. I don’t know if I want to flirt with them, their physical appearance holds no interest for me. Sometimes I try a little conversation, but it mostly revolves around how physically attractive they find me. I have no interest in this. I *might* fancy them, but how can I tell? I’ve had huge crushes on people which didn’t start until I added them on facebook and realised they were brilliant socialist shitposters. They’ve mostly gone away thinking I’m not interested in them and wondering what changed so dramatically when I’m suddenly all ‘heyyyy’. Physical attraction wasn’t there until I hit on the noetic attraction. Sometimes it can look like I’m playing hard to get when in reality I’m trying to catch a glimpse of what I find attractive. Give me that and I’m suddenly engaged.

Why am I posting this? Mostly to make people think about how they approach potential love interests. I don’t know how rare or otherwise noetisexuality is but for me if I haven’t instantly been attracted to you it doesn’t mean you aren’t pretty; it means I have a different attraction response. Maybe you can’t connect with that person you want to because you’re assuming their attraction style is the same as yours. (Although I don’t suggest keep hitting on the same person in different ways over and again, that’s obviously a bit creepy).

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Rantings of a polyamorous, pansexual, switch-bitch bipolar-bear warrior. No expert, no guru, just navigating my world

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