As you probably know, I’m all about new words, but dating sites are taking nomenclature to a whole new level. According to NPR, some dating sites now give the option to categorize yourself, not just as straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise, but are also giving options such as sapiosexual–meaning “one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature.”
This year has seen important progress made in terms of social media recognizing a wider spectrum of gender and sexual identity, such as Facebook adding over 50 gender options last year. However, are terms like sapiosexual–which basically describe “characteristics I’d prefer in a partner”–equally foundational to one’s sexual identity? Most of us (hopefully) would prefer to date a person we consider intelligent; I would also hope that person likes dogs and roller coasters, but I’m not sure I would list those as core components of human sexuality.
One commenter seemed to agree, at least when it comes to sapiosexuality, sardonically noting that:
“Sapiosexual implies that there is a single, simple, measurable form of intelligence that has some reasonable bearing on what a person is actually like… Sapiosexual means: I’m a smug, inflexible twit looking for someone else who will be impressed with me. For the sake of clarity, narcissist would do just as well.”
What do you think? Is designating oneself a sapiosexual or otherwise an important marker of sexual identity, or do terms like this trivialize the true spectrum of sexual diversity and gender identity?
In the meantime, if anyone is looking for a must-love-dogs-osexual, I have a friend for you ;).
I study bilingualism, literacy, and critical pedagogy. Assistant professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Former High School English teacher in Lawrence, Massachusetts, ESL Faculty Manager in South Korea, and Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Follow on Twitter @ChrisChangBacon
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