Are Men Intimidated By Smart Women?

Human sexuality has always been an interesting part of our existence. In recent times, it has become a norm to hear young Nigerian men and women declare their sexuality as sapiosexual—attracted to or sexually aroused by intelligence and its use. When critically analysed, however, are we really sapiosexual?

According to a friend, most Nigerian men aren’t sapiosexual; they feel intimidated by smart women. This echoes the recent findings of researchers at the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University, and the University of Texas at Austin, which showed that men are sapiosexual in theory and usually lose interest in smart women after encountering them.

Maybe there is an iota of truth in both opinions. I do like smart women, but there’s much more going on than merely a meeting of the minds. Naturally, intelligence often comes with a certain amount of arrogance, pride, autocracy and being opinionated. Some smart women exhibit sheer arrogance and a dire need to be an authority in the relationship. And this is what often scares Nigerian men away, not the lady’s smartness.

Masculinity comes with a big ego as well as social and hierarchical dominance. As a consequence, anything that puts men in danger of having their ego bruised or losing their territory makes them scamper and run for the hills.

This doesn’t mean that the man is weak or intimidated by a smart woman—even though in most cases it appears so. In dating, we are being evaluated on far more than our most attractive traits. And as aforementioned, there seems to be a strong correlation between our attractive traits and some unattractive traits.

For example, it is still an enigma why women turn down nice guys. American singer, Mary J Blige said in her song, ‘Mr Wrong’, “Good guys ain’t no fun.” A female friend went further to succinctly explain it to me. She said, good guys have a certain mentality: the things should be easy for me because I’m good mentality. The same applies to smart women. Smart women have a similar type of mentality: the I am a strong woman who is not scared of sharing my opinion mentality. If you can’t handle this strong woman, you are weak.

Men do value intelligence as much as women value nice guys. Women want nice guys who exude masculine energy and scoff at the constant need for others’ approval whilst men do want an intelligent woman who gives them warmth, affection and peace of mind thus making their lives easier and more pleasant.

Human relationships require social and emotional intelligence, which are based on viewing people through the lens of their own social and emotional needs. Nevertheless, many people focus their attention inward instead of outward. As a result, they find it hard and painful to acknowledge that their strong traits are often accompanied by significant downsides. If you are smart, opinionated and domineering, don’t be surprised if some of your actions turn people off.

P.S. These things go both ways. Some ladies are too awed by a smart man’s intellect and demeanour that they lose interest. They want someone who completes them and sometimes a smart person lacks the qualities they seek in a partner.

What side do you fall on? Is being sapiosexual even a real thing? Does intelligence play a role in attraction? Let’s hear your thoughts.

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Arturo Zinga


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    Wow, aptly put together. I immediately screamed (in my mind though), ” men are intimidated by smart women “. But I paused a while and read through, and got a better and different understanding.

    July 11, 2017
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    interesting read, thought provoking

    July 12, 2017
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    Reading from the top made my decision on what side of the divide I belonged easier. Subsequent paragraphs however, made me doubt that choice lol. My brother, it’s a sorta “lesser evil wins” decision here. I’ll still choose a smart intelligent woman over the opposite and would accommodate the little excesses here and there. Why? I don’t want to be too comfortable in my own ways and a lil challenge here and there aids growth, I think.

    July 12, 2017
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    Yeah, this was absolutely well written.

    I am not sapiosexual; not in the way that it is usually used anyways.

    July 12, 2017
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    Arturo, the generalizations here can sweep Africa clean at once. But it’s your opinion. Faulty, but yours.

    July 12, 2017
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    Mojisola Salaudeen

    First of all, who do you define as a smart woman? Is it just the educated well employed woman? I know women who may not be considered as smart but know they have a right to their own opinion, who can be rude and proud. There’s a lot of stereotyping going on here. A person need not be intelligent to be arrogant and/or proud and/or opinionated, these traits are not mutually exclusive to intelligence, you just have to be human.

    July 13, 2017
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      Iseyemi Ayotunde

      Very apt comment Mojisola. Who exactly is the ‘smart woman’. Lets demystify the stereotype. Because a woman who is really smart/intelligent will know how to behave. She will understand mutual respect. Bold yes…with enlightenment comes boldness, a smart woman is not afraid to speak loudly and intelligently on matters she feels strongly about. No man should be intimated by that kind of smart. The only reason why there is a stereotype is cos no one is patient enough to look beyond assumptions and classifications. A lot of goods things are beneath the surface but we are all too impatient so we pick the ones that suits our selfish egos or we pick the smart woman and punish her emotionally for eeverything that she is. It’s sad.

      March 9, 2018
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