I'm going to be totally transparent here. The reason why I even pitched this topic to my editor is because, while there are actually few things that I'm extremely comfortable saying that I am (label-wise), when it comes to sexual attraction, sapiosexual would absolutely have to top the list. Matter of fact, out of the 14 guys that I've sexually been with, something that about 90 percent of them have in common is how smart and witty they are. I won't lie to you—many of them were also commitment-phobes, narcissistic and selfish AF, but because I am such a sapiosexual, I tended to overlook a lot of that because of the good conversations and flirty banter that they had to offer. Plus, I always seemed to learn something new or gain a broader perspective whenever I hung out with them. Yeah, while some people are drawn to muscles or beards (which I totally get), I'm more into brains.
If you can relate to where I'm coming from, but you've never quite been able to put your finger on why you're wired this way, welcome to a very special club. Here's what it truly means to be a sapiosexual, sis.
What Exactly Is a Sapiosexual?
I know that I pretty much gave away the meaning of what a sapiosexual is in the intro, but just so your crystal clear, a sapiosexual is an individual who finds intelligence to be a sexual turn-on. Now, there's a clear thing that makes this different from people who are merely drawn to intelligent people. For those of us who are sapiosexuals, whenever we engage in a mentally stimulating conversation with a smart individual, it's more than just interesting or fascinating. If you're halfway our physical type, you have some level of chivalryand you're smart AF?! Whew chile, that is like a peak aphrodisiac. No joke.
I mean, if I'm to be really real about it, I think that's a main reason why I was such a "man recycler" for so long. While very few men were total assholes to me (and they know exactly who they are), some did take me for granted or ended up totally wasting my time. Still, every couple of years, we'd find ourselves back in, at the very least, a situationship. It wasn't because I had selective memory either. Hmph, come to think about it, oftentimes it wasn't even because the sex was outstanding (although, in some instances, it was exactly that). It was because a catch-up call would turn into a three-hour conversation, a few days in a row—and that would have me back feenin'-some-type-of-way. This is what it means to be a sapiosexual, y'all. It's when the mind of a person can have you so caught up, that it's seductive and entrancing—even when you want it to be anything and everything but.
What Are Some Telling Signs That You Probably Are a Sapiosexual?
So, now that you know a little bit more about what a sapiosexual is and how they can affect you, what are some of the signs that you have a super strong sexual attraction to intellectual men, perhaps without immediately realizing it? Let's touch on five of 'em real quick.
1. First interactions tend to be pretty intense (in a good way).
One telling sign that you are sho 'nuf a sapiosexual is you're not big on small talk. Anything that comes off as feeling surface or shallow feels like a complete waste of your precious time. Small talk also makes us wonder if still waters truly do run deep. That's why, when, upon meeting someone new, if they are willing to not break eye contact and ask a question that we feel, not only caught us a bit off guard but is profound in its own special way, that is the kind of individual who can hold our attention for longer than a couple of minutes. Or a few dates (and nights), if he's lucky.
2. Debating is flirting for you.
If nothing gets you all hot 'n bothered like a good (and respectful) debate with a man who actually knows what the hell he is talking about, you very well might be a sapiosexual. See, for us, what others might consider to be an argument, we tend to see it more as a match of wits; verbally sparring and flirting, if you will. Anyone who knows enough to even hold our attention long enough to where we want to make the time to debate with them, that is someone we want to get to know…even more.
3. You find a date at a bookstore or the reading of a famous author to be the perfect date.
While some women might find a first (or third) date at a bookstore or reading of some sort to be boring or cheap, that is so not the case for a sapiosexual. Knowing that a man doesn't just "know how to read" but makes reading a priority during his leisure time and/or knows enough about the literature world to keep abreast of authors and poets, that will bring butterflies into the stomach of a true sapiosexual like nobody's business. It's a sign that, not only is the guy in tune with his intellectual side, he makes learning more of a top priority. And that? That is dope. Sexy as hell too.
4. You LOVE a man who articulates himself well.
To be fair, most women probably appreciate this character trait. Still, this point hits a bit different for a sapiosexual. We adore a vast vocabulary. We profoundly appreciate when grammar is applied correctly. We look for clear indications of a man's emotional intelligence and self-awareness. It is sexy AF to us when a man knows, more than just a little bit, about pretty much any and every topic that comes up. If he's bilingual, that's even better, chile. Shoot, we don't even mind when he corrects us if we use a word out of context or mispronounce it because, if he's a sapiosexual as well, he doesn't mind when we return the favor. Yeah, a sapiosexual is all about, not just desiring a good communicator, but a master articulator too.
5. Acumen IS foreplay.
Although long-distance relationships can be challenging for a lot of people, sapiosexuals tend to be able to handle it better than many, so long as consistent conversations are had and each one is mentally challenging and stimulating. That's because, as long as we're being mentally stimulated, our longing to be physically with our partner can be satiated; at least for a (little) while. Matter of fact, because a man's acumen (keen insight) is such a turn-on for us, when we are with the one we're seeing, we can find ourselves wanting to rip their clothes off, before they even touch us, if they are able to share a fun fact we've never heard of or quote our favorite writer or all around brilliant person (even though they didn't know it). And don't even get me started on if they can master dirty talk in the bedroom. Mmm-HMMM. Yep, for us sapiosexuals, acumen is foreplay. ALL. DAY. LONG.
While I could go on and on about this (because that's just how comfortable I am with being a sapiosexual), I'm hoping that this shed, a least, a little bit more light on the topic. One, so that you can know if you are a sapiosexual. Two, so that whenever one comes into your path, you can know if the two of you are on the same page. Or not.
Now let me get off of here before I get myself any more worked up about this topic than I already am. (Whew.)
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Decisiveness is arguably a trait of nature vs. nurture. When you’ve been brought up in an environment that penalizes children for taking pride in themselves, it can manifest in your adult life in ways that fly under the radar. You may find yourself avoiding the spotlight, having the fear of being the center of attention, or shrinking yourself to make others feel more comfortable.
If you’ve found yourself adopting an agreeable, self-sacrificing personality, there may be a psychological reason behind it, and it’s called “echoism.”
What Is Echoism?
Echoism refers to a concept in psychology related to the patterns of behavior and traits exhibited by individuals who may be on the opposite end of the spectrum from narcissism. While narcissism is characterized by an excessive focus on oneself and a desire for admiration, echoism is considered the opposite, where individuals tend to be excessively focused on others, often at the expense of their own needs and desires.
The term was introduced by clinical psychologist, Craig Malkin, in his book Rethinking Narcissism and delved into the topic through additional articles for Psychology Today. As the author explains, “Where narcissists are addicted to feeling special, echoists are afraid of it. In the myth of Narcissus, Echo, the nymph who eventually falls madly in love with Narcissus, has been cursed to repeat back the last few words she hears. Like their namesake, echoists definitely struggle to have a voice of their own.”
People who exhibit echoist traits often prioritize the needs and feelings of others over their own to an extreme degree and can struggle with asserting themselves, setting boundaries, and may be overly accommodating to others.
Traits of an Echoist
The fear of coming off as “too needy” or expecting too much are driving forces in an echoist’s life. Echoists may go to great lengths to avoid conflict, even if it means suppressing their opinions. This can result in the individual having low self-esteem and regularly downplaying their own worth since they may not feel deserving of attention or recognition.
According to Healthline, individuals with elevated levels of echoism may:
How To Heal and Work Through Echoism
Identifying the cause of one’s echoism is an important step to healing the behavior. Experts say that this trait can develop in childhood when dealing with parents who struggle with emotional regulation or pass down their self-effacing values to their children.
In your early years, you may have coped with stress by soothing your parents at the expense of expressing your own needs. The constant focus on meeting others' needs could then leave little room to voice their own desires, leading to a loss of connection with one’s own aspirations.
Fearful that asking for things might upset the parents, young echoists may have found that avoiding burdening their parents was the best course of action, even at their own expense.
Taking the necessary action to heal echoism means developing a more balanced and assertive approach to relationships, where you prioritize your own needs without completely sacrificing your consideration for others. While it may take time to adjust to the change in behavior, there are steps to take in the process:
1. Set Healthy Boundaries
There’s nothing fun about setting boundaries, but they’re necessary to determine what is and is not okay in our relationship. When you set boundaries, we’re nothing just teaching others how to treat us, we’re teaching ourselves what we deserve. Practice saying "no" as a complete sentence and learn to establish and communicate healthy boundaries with those around you.
2. Practice Being Assertive
Take small moments throughout your daily interaction to practice speaking up for yourself and expressing your opinions and needs in an assertive, yet respectful way. Put your communication skills to the test and work to effectively convey your thoughts and feelings with close friends, family, or even co-workers when the situation presents itself.
3. Embody A “Star” Mentality
Going years denying yourself the joy of prioritizing your own needs and desires can take time to correct. Through your process to heal your echoism, remember that you are worthy of being seen and having your needs and desires heard. Gradually expose yourself to positive and affirming attention. When someone pays you compliments, hold it and say thank you without feeling the need to diminish it.
4. Learn To Love What You Like
An aspect of echoism is adopting people-pleasing tendencies, but it’s okay to be disagreed with if your preferences don’t match those around you. Our differences are what makes us who we are, and altering that to appease others only makes us feel smaller in the long run. Take time to identify and pursue your own personal goals, and have fun exploring your own interests and passions.
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