Why Is There a Belief That Intelligent People Have Less Sex?

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Intelligence and Sex - Why Do Intelligent People Have Less SexDo you envy smart people? You know, the ones who whiz through school, land amazing jobs and seem to have it all thanks to their intelligence?

Well, you can stop being jealous of all those smarty pants. Turns out, intelligent people might be brilliant in the classroom, but in the bedroom? They may be having less sex than your average Joe.

Intelligent people and their sex lives: what the research says

There have been several reports and studies looking at intelligent people and how frequently they have sex. One study, led by Rosemary Hopcroft at the University of North Carolina, came to the conclusion that “Intelligence is negatively associated with sex frequency.”

In other words, if you’re intelligent, you make love less. That’s interesting to a degree. But what’s more fascinating is why smarter people have less sex. Is it because they don’t want it? Or because their libido is low? Are they too nerdy? Socially awkward?

What’s the deal? Well, there are several different theories, and they’re definitely worth thinking about.

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High libido and high intelligence

While young gentlemen are busy getting their degrees, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re having sex with other people. According to the 2011 National Survey of Family Growth, it appears that if a man has a college degree, he is 50 percent less likely to have had four or more partners in the past year, compared to men who only have a high school education.

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A report from Lovehoney, a sex toy retailer, found a correlation between being intelligent and having a high libido. But that doesn’t mean these people are having lots of sex to match their sex drive. In fact, it looks like they’re not.

When Lovehoney analyzed their sales, they found that students from some of the top university in the UK spent more money on sex toys than other students.

In fact, according to a piece published in The Telegraph, students from Cambridge University spent the most – £9,793 – followed by Oxford students, who spent £9,689.

According to Lovehoney, all of this spending seems to suggest a “heightened interest in sex amongst students in the Russel Group of elite Universities.”

One of the reasons why smart students from Cambridge and Oxford spend precious pounds on sex toys may be to relieve the high levels of stress that come with the pressures of academic life.

A former Cambridge University graduate student told The Telegraph, “It seems Oxbridge students know that sex and sex toys are the smartest way to relieve stress. Cambridge definitely has a work hard, play hard culture so it comes as no surprise Cambridge students spend the most to relieve the pressure of studying at a top university.”

But we know students from high-ranking universities aren’t having as much sex from other reports, too – not just from the sale analysis of sex toy retailers.

In 2007, the article “Intercourse and Intelligence” showed that 80 percent of American men and 75 percent of American women have sex by the time they’re 19. But when it came to undergraduates from Princeton University, that number dropped to 56 percent.

At Harvard University, it was 59 percent, and for MIT undergraduate students, that number hit 51 percent.

Here are some potential reasons why intelligent people might hold off from sex, while many of their classmates are rolling in the hay.

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#1: Sex is fun but risky

It may be possible that individuals with higher intelligence aren’t just focusing on getting pleasure in the present moment. Perhaps they’re looking a couple steps ahead, aware that sex can lead to pregnancy, infection and even disease.

Obviously, sex isn’t bad, but it does pose a risk. And it may very well be that intelligent people weigh the pros and cons before they give it a try.

#2: Are you too busy studying?

Earning a degree can be pretty time-consuming. And many students may not have time for a relationship. Sure, you could still have sex, but it appears that they’re choosing not to. And besides, when tuition fees are as high as they are, it’s no surprise that students prioritize their degree.

#3: Are higher IQs linked with social anxiety?

Is it possible that smart people don’t have sex in part because they’re socially awkward or struggle with social anxiety? This may certainly be the case, as individuals with higher IQs also rank high with social anxiety.

However, this may be a bit unfair, making intelligent people look like victims without much choice in the matter, rather than individuals who choose to abstain.

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#4: Intelligent people and slow life history strategy

Aurelio José Figueredo, an evolutionary psychologist from the University of Arizona, says that people with high executive functioning (when it comes to judgment, decision-making and impulse control) tend to follow a slow life history strategy.

What does that mean exactly?

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The life history theory attempts to explain how people make important decisions, like if they want kids, when they want to have kids and how many kids they want. Some people are really focused on creating sons and daughters.

But others are perfectly content with honing in on their skills and perfecting their talents.

Many brilliant people have died as virgins, like Sir Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla. Perhaps they were just too busy inventing, creating and scheming. And perhaps that’s why intelligent people today aren’t having lots of sex. They’re just excited and preoccupied with the intellect, with ideas and with dreaming.

As we’ve seen, research looking at both American and British students in top universities came to the same conclusion: intelligent people have less sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean intelligent people don’t want sex, or that they’re not very good at it.

Perhaps for these people, it’s all about “Less is more” and “Quality over quantity.” What do you think?