Some men are adept at intellectualizing their sexual desires; put another way, they spend an awful lot of time thinking and talking about what makes the blood flow to their peeners. John Mayer, who gave an infamous Playboy interview referring to his “Benetton heart and David Duke cock,” is one such example; Thomas Middleditch, who gave another interview to that same publication explaining how he finagled his wife into agreeing to an open relationship after they got married, is another.
The most recent male celebrity to join this esteemed canon is producer Mark Ronson, who courageously came out to ITV’s Good Morning Britain as sapiosexual, a term used to describe when someone is more attracted to intelligence over other factors, such as physical appearance or gender.
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Ronson’s landmark coming-out moment was prompted by hosts Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway’s on-air conversation with author Nichi Hodgson, who was commenting on French minister Marlèna Schiappa self-identifying as sapiosexual. On the air, Hodgson too said she self-identified as sapiosexual: “I have dated men, women, transmen, transwomen, and across the gender spectrum and identify now as bisexual,” she added. “The thing that has linked all these people has been their brains.”
After Ronson, who had been watching backstage, joined the conversation, he admitted that he, too, self-identified that way. “I didn’t know that there was a word for it … but yes, I feel like I identify as sapiosexual,” he said. The hosts then applauded Ronson for being “out and proud.”
Now, is being sapiosexual actually a thing? Yes, it is — but not quite as Hodgson and Ronson applied it. The term originates not from the LGBTQ community, but from OKCupid, the dating site that made headlines when it added “sapiosexual” to its list of sexual orientations.
Since then, the term has been popularized in mainstream culture and received a trend piece in the New York Times. One woman in the piece described sapiosexuality as being able to “access my wisdom and love and ability to analyze in this incredible way,” and attributed her first marriage to her attraction to her husband’s “brilliance” (which may not be saying much, considering her first husband was a magician).
Since then, it has become increasingly common for self-styled intellectual types to cite their sapiosexuality on dating sites, usually in the same context as their love of David Foster Wallace and cold brew. But sexuality experts like Debby Herbenick have argued that sapiosexuality isn’t so much a sexual orientation as it is a sexual preference, and that categorizing it as such could be perceived as a slight to those with marginalized sexual identities. Others have also argued that identifying as a sapiosexual is elitist or, worse, ableist, in that it excludes people who do not have what is perceived as a requisite level of intelligence.
On Twitter, many skewered Ronson for having the courage to “come out” as something that doesn’t really require a lot of courage to disclose. “Proud to announce I’m coming out as incredibly annoyed,” one person tweeted, while another criticized Out magazine for implying that Ronson’s disclosure was tantamount to him saying he was “a little queer”: “Can’t believe out dot com claimed Mark Ronson as queer bc he said he was a sapiosexual when the only people who say that are straight men who cum on their bookshelves,” he wrote.
Either way, congratulations to Mark Ronson for having the courage to come out as another male celebrity who loves attention.