Being highly intelligent can impact social and sexual relationships for many people, growing up and as adults.
The character ‘Dr. Lisa Cuddy’ on the tv series “House” finds Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) “hot.” The actor who plays Cuddy, Lisa Edelstein, was asked if she would you be attracted “to a guy like him” and replied, “Yeah, I like smarty-pants. It’s sexy when a guy is that witty and bright. Even at the cost of social skills.”
But high ability people are often introverted, which can make it more difficult to relate or mate. Giftedness expert Lesley Sword says introverts “form the majority of gifted people” in her article The Gifted Introvert.
In her article “Can You Hear The Flowers Sing? Issues for Gifted Adults,” Deirdre V. Lovecky, Ph.D. notes that many gifted adults “are lonely because of a lack of true peers.”
From my post Gifted adults: Relationships for exceptional people.
High Intelligence Specialist Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D. notes “The level of giftedness has a profound effect on how comfortable in different situations the young person will be…”
What about sex?
Here are excerpts from the article “Study: IQ linked to virginity” By Leslie Finlay, The Daily Collegian:
Recent studies on sexual activity among adolescents and young adults show that being an “average Joe” may have benefits outside of the classroom.
The studies show that female and male adolescents with an IQ score either below 70 or above 110 are more likely to be virgins.
Adolescents with IQ scores ranging from 70 to 110 had the lowest probability of virginity, according to two researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The average IQ score is 90 to 110.
Mariah Mantsun Cheng, a research associate, and J. Richard Udry, professor of maternal and child health and sociology, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted the study. They discovered that 39.8 percent of boys with an average IQ score have had sex while 29.2 percent of boys with an IQ above 110 have had sex.
They also found that 63.3 percent of adolescent men and 81.6 percent of women with IQ scores below average have never had sex and most have had fewer experiences of romantic attraction.
Another study in Gene Expression Magazine entitled “Intercourse and Intelligence” confirms this data, citing research that shows a bell-shaped relationship between IQ scores and sex.
According to the research, an adolescent with an IQ score of 100 was 1.5 to 5 times more likely to have had intercourse than an adolescent with an above average score of about 120 to 130.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with nationwide university studies support this research. …
Intelligence vs family influence
This photo of a teen couple is from the article Why don’t smart teens have sex? (Prevention Action, 5 October 2011), which quotes researchers at two U.S. universities who say intelligence is linked to age at first sex by environmental differences between families.
“Families who, on average, have higher intelligence also delay, on average, initiating sexual activity, but twins raised in the same family who differ in their intellectual capacities do not differ in their age at first sex.
“Thus, it is not intelligence, per se, that results in delayed sexual activity; rather, intelligence represents a proxy variable for socioenvironmental differences between families that are associated with both higher average levels of intelligence in family members and later average ages at first sex.”
In her article Sex and the Highly Gifted Adolescent, Annette Revel Sheely (at the time, a counselor at the Gifted Development Center), writes about a number of aspects of teen sexuality:
“Many parents find it difficult to acknowledge their adolescent’s emerging sexuality. Yet they are the very people who can be most influential in guiding their teen towards a positive adult sexuality.
“In any family, this emergence can be quite a challenge. For families with highly gifted adolescents, however, it can be especially confusing. Some characteristics innate to the highly gifted can complicate an adolescent’s developing sexuality. These include asynchrony (either early or late sexual development), social isolation, sensual overexcitability, and androgyny.”
Annette Revel Sheely is a contributor to the book High IQ Kids: Collected Insights, Information, and Personal Stories from the Experts.
Upper photo [for illustration – I just like it; it is not directly related to the topic of this post]: Women engineering students at Brown Univ., from Brown Engineering News.