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The word sapiosexual describes one who is attracted to intelligence. And while it's formed from Latin roots (sapiens + sexual), it appears to be a very new word.

Google Ngram has no record of the word prior to 2008 (the most recent search available).

The Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't know about it.

Wiktionary offers half a dozen quotes, the earliest one from a usenet post in 2005, and all others post-2010.

What is the earliest known usage of this word?

  • 2
    I'm gonna give you a +1 here just for doing your research first! – Dan Bron May 7 '15 at 17:02
  • You have my upvote too. I'm with @DanBron, it's SOOO refreshing to see a researched question. – Tushar Raj May 7 '15 at 17:15
  • Urban Dictionary has the word from 2004. urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sapiosexual – user66974 May 7 '15 at 17:29
  • @Josh61: Good catch... although urban dictionary is quoting something else, which is referenced at sapiosexual.com, which claims a 1998 origin date, from LiveJournal. – Flimzy May 7 '15 at 17:32
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    @TimRomano: I'll see your Boethius and raise you Julian the Apostate, whom Gore Vidal in his fictionalised biography has discussing philosophy with his girlfriend throughout coitus. – David Pugh May 7 '15 at 20:05
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Below is an excerpt from the usenet link the OP provided:

Thu, 20 Oct 2005, 10:43:13
Newsgroups: alt.polyamory

… Geek flirting (for your future reference), engages our brains, not our nether regions. You see, for a true geek there's often little difference, because when you engage our brains, which are connected to our genitals, it often turns on our lust response (we're quite often sapiosexuals - people who lust after intellect first), but it's the brain you aim for, the intellect, to turn us on, not our genitals. […]

CatDeville

It's clear that the term sapiosexual was already well known and used among ‘geeks’ in 2005.

The © 1999-2015 Urban Dictionary ® entry has proved to be useful benchmark. It is dated December 05, 2002

Me? I don't care too much about the plumbing. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.

I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual.
Darren Stalder

Nine months earlier, on March 14 2002, a blogger called Jadine left the following entry on Live Journal; a social-network cum blogging platform, created in 1999.

sapiosexuality

Someone just asked me what sapiosexuality meant, so I thought I'd share here for everyone's benefit. (For the record, I heard the term from Glenn on sea-poly, who credited it to Torin . I don't know if this is what they mean by it, but it's what I mean.)

As a sapiosexual, I am sexually attracted to intelligent beings. This rules out many people, while simultaneously including all genders and sexes. As such, the term sapiosexuality is both more discriminating and more inclusive than bisexuality and other popular terms.

If you like this term, you may want to add it to your Interests list by clicking here.

The user mentioned by Jadine is Torin/Darren WhoEver (aka Wolfieboy), who started using Live Journal September 5th, 2001. Is this the same Darren Stalder from Urban Dictionary? It would appear to be so.

March 15 2002, 12:24:00

Stoked on sapiosexuality

So, I'm really stoked that quite a few people are listing sapiosexuality as an interest. Considering that on Sunday, the 10th, there were only two people that had it listed as an interest. Today, there are nine. Not bad for a word that I invented in 1998.

I think much of this is the fault of jadine and her entry from yesterday. In her entry, she asked what sapiosexuality meant and so I thought it might be good for me to attempt a definition as well.
Here's an e-mail that I sent out a while back on what I mean by sapiosexual. The message was in response to "What gender do you prefer in sex and/or a relationship?"

Me? I don't care too much about the plumbing. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.

I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual. I want to fuck with peoples minds. :)

I invented this term while on too little sleep driving up from SF in the summer of '98 and I'm trying to propagate it as much as possible. So please use it when appropriate...

But where's the gender in all that? That people that I find like that also happen to have marvelous, wonderful bodies happens to be a perq. Flesh is fun...

So, this is what I mean by sapiosexual. The last two sentences of the first paragraph aren't really a part of sapiosexuality; they're just what I want.

So, to steal a line from jadine's journal, If you like this term, you may want to add it to your Interests list by clicking here.

[Emphasis mine]


EDIT:
I've done my best to triple-check everything. The entry dated March 14 2002 is the earliest instance of the expression sapiosexual I found on the web.
For example, if you narrow the search dates between 1/1/1999 and 12/31/2000 Google yields only one result, a blogger on tumblr. But Tumblr was launched in 2007. Changing the dates between 1/1/2000 and 12/31/2001, produces links ALL dated January 31 2001 and they are either from tumblr, pinterest, twitter, pinsta accounts etc. None of these social networks existed in 2001. Note the link I posted is found on page 14 of Google.

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I believe one of Barbara Streisand's characters identified herself as sapiosexual. This was one of her older films, so much earlier than this post claims, and there's no way that was the first usage of the word.

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