Sexual Intelligence : The IQ You Need for a Mate!
Sex and Relationships / By The Emotional Wellness Initiatives

Have you ever wondered why some people are so much better at flirting than others? Have you ever sat by yourself at a pub and watched men strike effortless conversations with women and women respond with a confident yet flirtatious body language and thought, how do they do it? Well, they have honed their Sexual Intelligence!

In this article you’ll learn:

What is Sexual Intelligence?
How can I become more Sexually Intelligent?
Top 5 Ways to Up Your Sexual Intelligence Quotient!
In over fifteen years of my practice as a relationship therapist and intimacy expert, I’ve seen a wide variety of mating styles. I’ve had a super active social life myself which has given me ample opportunity to engage and observe different kinds of “attraction-interactions” and it is more than evident that some people are higher on sexual intelligence quotient than others.

What is Sexual Intelligence?
Before we ask this question, we must first look at what intelligence is. Intelligence is not book-smarts. It’s not the ability to commit millions of facts to memory. It does not mean that one is a storehouse of information. It doesn’t even mean that one is a high-scorer in all examinations. True intelligence is the ability to adapt. 

In the very first comprehensive definition of intelligence, psychologist Robert Sternberg defined intelligence as “the mental abilities necessary for adaptation to, as well as shaping and selection of, any environmental context”. So when we can effectively adapt to our environment and take decisive, informed action to enhance our experience of that environment while achieving our goals, that’s true intelligence!

So when we talk about sexual intelligence, it is a no-brainer that to be a desirable mate, one has to be able to tune into their partner’s body language, to intuit their desire levels, to respond rather than blindly forge ahead with one’s own motives, and most importantly, be naturally mindful of boundaries. In his book ‘Sexual Intelligence’, Marty Klein, Ph.D – a renowned sex therapist writes,

“(Sexual Intelligence is) not the ability to be great in bed, or to function the way you did when you were 22. Rather, sexual intelligence is expressed in the ability to create and maintain desire in a situation that’s less than perfect or comfortable; the capacity to adapt to your changing body; curiosity and open-mindedness about the meaning of pleasure, closeness, and satisfaction; and the ability to adjust when things don’t go as expected.”

Marty Klein
Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

How can I become more Sexually Intelligent?
Ah! I wish all men and women asked this question! Yes, sexual intelligence is necessary for all! This is not a gender problem. While there is a general perception that men are clueless or crude when it comes to flirting or making a move, the situation isn’t much better on the other side. So many times my women clients who are dating ask me, “Who are these girls men fall head over heels for? I go on a date and I’m always afraid of giving out the wrong signal!” I find a lot of women on dating sites who just don’t get clever verbal repartee and flirtation. They would end up responding to a really witty flirtatious remark with just “Ok” or a sheepish “he he”. Talk about killing the mood eh?

It is no one’s fault really. In a country like ours, flirtation and expression of sexuality is seen as cheap, dirty or a character flaw. So we don’t have good sources to learn from. Neither are we coached in any way about healthy flirtation, consent, boundaries, and witty conversations. But it’s never too late to start! And that’s what this article is all about!

Top 5 Ways to Up Your Sexual Intelligence Quotient!
Own yourself. Many times it’s very hard to respond to a flirtatious move because we are embarrassed by ourselves. We are self-conscious about some aspect of ourselves – be it our body, our hair, our face, our teeth, our voice, our style of talking, the list is endless. When someone compliments us with the intention of making a move, we immediately think “Oh he must be trying to get into my pants” or “Oh, she doesn’t mean it; she’s probably just saying it to chuff me up”. Worst case scenario, even if it’s either of the two things, what’s wrong with graciously accepting a compliment? Hold your head high, flash a smile and say, “thank you!” A person who can confidently accept a compliment immediately rises up the attractiveness meter!

Boundaries are good! We usually have extreme reactions to a flirtatious move. Either we get angry and indignant (‘How dare he!’) or we get sheepish and embarrassed (‘Oh my God, what do I say’). This happens because we feel encroached upon and end up reacting with “fight or flight”. But there’s always a confident, healthy way to establish your boundaries. If you’re really not interested, how about responding with “Well, thank you for the compliment, but at this point I’m not looking to take this forward”? Or, if you are interested but feel shy, simply say, “Hmm…let’s get to know each other a little bit more” or “Hmm….tell me more.” This kind of a response clarifies that you want to keep your distance right now and yet you’re curious. Again, makes you immensely interesting!

Authenticity is most attractive! If you want to be attractive to your mate, don’t feel the pressure to be someone else, even if you think he/she would like you to be in a certain way, because it is very hard to maintain facades for long. You don’t have to play a mind game all the time to be able to flirt and have fun! Respond with a clear, authentic response and avoid defensive comebacks which are aimed to outsmart! This is not a competition!

Bust all the myths! “I must play hard to get” is the most common myth, especially believed in by women, but played out in a very off-putting manner. When you want to play hard to get, then PLAY, don’t create a barbed wire fence around you! A play is supposed to be fun, engaging and entertaining. But a lot of time “play hard to get” is interpreted as “shut him down”. If you really want to play (and this applies to men too), engage in a back-and-forth witty exchange using oblique references, word play, puns and playful comebacks. Don’t give the other person headway if you aren’t comfortable yet, but don’t make them feel like a criminal if all they are doing is trying to get to know you, especially if you too are interested!

Learn the art! Any art must be learned and practiced and to learn you have to go to resources. Pick up books about witty conversation, practice it with your friends (without telling them!), and get out of your shell! A lot of people think that it’s silly to learn how to talk as an adult, but at the same time you feel awkward when the occasion arises where you really want to have a  good conversation! Remember, to have a good conversation first you need to have the skill to recognise a good conversation starter, and that can only come if you allow yourself conversations with different people!

The cornerstone of sexual intelligence is recognising that sexual desire is a two-way street. the more you’re able to tune into and respond to your partner’s cues, the better your experience will be. So the next time you spot someone you find attractive across a bar, walk up to them and really get to know them in the moment! Then watch the sparks fly!

This article has been written by Prachi S Vaish, our founder and relationship and intimacy expert. If you would like to learn the art of intimacy, click here to book an appointment with her!