The Most Underrated Attractive Quality in a Man

Holly Slater

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People often discuss matters of the head versus matters of the heart. We sometimes think of falling in love as an intense chemical reaction — an overwhelming physical and emotional yearning that drives us to connect with the object of our affection.

But what if we fall for someone because of matters of the head? What if one thing that attracts us the most and drives us especially wild is a potential partner's intellect?

One of the traits I find most attractive in a man is his intelligence. Is he a book lover? Is he a tech genius? Maybe he has a ridiculous amount of knowledge about film or can tell me everything I don't know about modern music.

I’ve dated guys in school because I was really into the size of their large…GPAs. I’ve fallen for men because of their thirst to devour the written word and their ability to write well.

If you were to say I found smart guys especially attractive, you'd be right.

Finding a smart guy in the dating world

There’s nothing new or original about being attracted to a keen intellect, but sometimes, in the superficial nature of online dating, it's glossed over.

Yes, we also want someone we're physically attracted to. The mind and the body of a potential date are obviously a packaged deal. But while you can tell right away from a dating profile pic whether or not you find someone physically attractive, that's not always the case for smarts.

There's also the matter of personal interaction. You can typically glean if someone is on your level of smarts by texting, talking over the phone, or meeting in person—but seeing their photo and reading their profile info isn't always the best indicator.

And, like so many things, there's a matter of variety and balance. Is the guy super book smart but not at all emotionally intelligent? Does he know how to teach physics to college students, but can't grasp how I like to be kissed?

Intelligence comes in many different forms, and they all have their appeal. If you've worked to become an expert in your area, and if you understand that being arrogant about it is completely unappealing, you have something incredibly attractive going for you.

A lust for learning

A few years ago, I dated a guy I met by chance at a bar. We started chatting because we were standing next to each other as we waited for our drinks, and I learned he was a grad student close to finishing his master’s in psychology.

Someone who loves learning and has worked hard to earn their master’s or — gulp — PhD is incredibly hot to me. And someone who’s also fascinated by psychology?

This guy had my attention instantly.

So as young bar-goers stumbled and shouted drunkenly around us, we talked about literature and writing — and we discovered we liked a lot of the same authors. I brought a book out of my purse, as I had just been shopping at the bookstore with my girlfriends before hitting up the bar. He’d already read it, and he told me, without spoiling the story, what he loved about it.

We dated for a while — and half of our relationship was him recommending authors and alternative bands I’d never heard of. He seemed to have a steel-trap memory, and I loved how much I was learning.

I look back at the beginning of dating him as one of the most intellectually stimulating relationships I’ve had. And, as a woman who gets turned on by intelligence, it was also one of the most intense physical attractions I've felt.

If your long-term partner or the person you’re newly dating happens to be attracted to intelligence, don’t let that intimidate you. It’s not so much a matter of being the smartest person in the room — it’s more about taking an interest in developing your mind.

You can drive your intellect-loving partner wild simply by tending to her intellectual needs, just as you tend to any needs that come up in a relationship.

How to address a woman's intellectual needs

1. Ask questions

Ask her questions about her. About yourself. About the meaning of life.

Ask questions about the movie you’ve just watched together or the woman you both see in line at the store who carries a pet rabbit as her emotional support animal. Being inquisitive allows us to learn, uncover challenges, find solutions, and explore each other’s minds. Curiosity is a major appeal for us.

2. Read

Read nonfiction books, current events articles, novels, peer-reviewed journals— or listen to audiobooks and informative podcasts. Then, go talk to your love about what you’ve discovered. Maybe send a link and a flirty little message about how they’ll be intrigued by this piece you’ve just read.

3. Keep cultivating your passion

Maybe your thing is marine biology. Maybe it’s rebuilding Mustangs. Maybe it’s studying philosophy. Maybe it’s special effects makeup or music or some other art form. Whatever you do, whatever you love, keep learning about it, improving on your skills, and sharing your work. But leave room to talk about your partner's passions as well — because they have plenty!

4. Offer to do something stimulating together (stimulating for the mind, I mean)

Suggest a date beyond dinner, Netflix, and chill. Normally you could see a play, attend a lecture on a topic that pique’s your interest, or take a class together. With COVID-19, brainy dating looks a little different, but you can adjust depending on what’s open in your area.

Consider a virtual lecture, course, concert, or museum tour. Find an outdoor spot you can visit together — like local parks, art installations, or even just hiking in the woods. Taking in nature while engaging in the lost art of conversation is super underrated, especially when we’re relying so heavily on digital communications right now.

Love smarter

For many who are out there dating, whether casually or in the search for long-term partnership, it takes more than a pretty face and a strong physical attraction to hold our interest.

What is it about deep thinkers that does it for some of us? What is it about book geeks or music aficionados or men who can speak multiple languages that drives women like me absolutely mad?

What is it about a potential lover who enjoys reading philosophy or knows when to use lay versus lie that makes me melt into a puddle on the floor?

It’s because the brain is a highly sensual organ. And the mind is indeed one of the most attractive parts of a person.

Keep feeding your brain. That way, when you find yourself with someone for whom lust and intellect are interconnected, you’ll be able to love your partner that much better.

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