Are Men Threatened by Intelligent Women?

Rumor has it men are threatened by intelligent women. This rumor is spread, for the most part, by intelligent women who are overlooked by men in favor of someone else who they deem to be dumber. The assumption is that men prefer less intelligent women because women with a high IQ are often passed over in favor of “ditzes” — according to these smart, rejected women.

Cool story, ladies! But there’s more to it than that. As a matter of fact, intelligence isn’t really a huge factor in attraction. If you’re smart, awesome. If you’re not so smart, hell, that’s ok too. He’s not looking for a business partner, he’s looking for a lover, friend, partner, spouse. And therefore, his criteria is different for selecting someone than for instance your bosses.

According to the study mentioned in the article “Men are threatened by intelligent women” by the Independent; “Men are attracted to the idea of dating intelligent women — but don’t actually like the reality of it.”
I myself at one time believed this to be true and I’ve spoken with many women who had this suspicion as well. In the dating scene, to self-identified intelligent women, it appears true that men prefer dating women who aren’t as smart, who don’t have careers, who aren’t an “equal.” I’ve confronted men with this idea and heard rounds of denial that they love smart women and smart women excite them, but the reality is different. Men can profess all day that they love intelligent women, but when I watch my smart, educated, successful and very attractive friends struggle with dating, I am suspicious.

So, whenever something appears to be true but receives adamant denial, I know that the problem is typically the way we are thinking about it and describing it due to societal hang-ups and an inaccurate view of ourselves.
To get past this, I have to get rid of any preconceived notions or biases or grudges I might have and I try to see the dilemma in as raw a fashion as possible. Doing this means thinking about what we might be “trying to say” instead of what we are saying. Doing this means thinking about if the words we are using are describing the reality or creating the reality. Usually, I have found that if I let go of my reactions and distance myself emotionally, I will find some truth.

Here’s the truth I found this time. There are several kinds of intelligence, although when speaking of intelligence most of us assume we are talking about book smarts. And we tend to believe that a reflection of someone’s book smarts is how far they have gone in their career or education. Not only is intelligence multi-faceted, but also intelligence can’t be isolated as a singular trait. When we think of book smart intelligence, we also think of many of the traits that often accompany intelligence. Intelligence and success are very attractive to most. But someone who is successful does not achieve that success based on intelligence alone. In addition to intelligence, successful people tend to also be driven, competitive, single minded, goal-oriented. While these are very attractive traits to a company seeking a new hire, these are actually very unattractive, counterproductive traits in a woman while dating.

In the dance of dating for traditional, heterosexual men and women, the chase is part of the excitement and fuels the attraction.

“Men chase, women choose.” Kitten Holiday

Men use their drive, single-mindedness, goal oriented traits in both the boardroom and on the way to the bedroom. These traits suit them well in both arenas. Their intelligence and creativity are used to entice and seduce the opposite sex. Their desire and pursuit attracts the woman.

A woman who is driven, goal-oriented in dating comes off as desperate, pushy and aggressive. It’s not that these are bad traits, but they go against the grain of natural sexual tension and attraction.

Tension is defined as a feeling of nervousness and excitement. We don’t feel tension when we feel certain or comfortable. We feel it when we are uncomfortable, uncertain, excited, full of anticipation. Sexual tension is the same. It is created by mystery, uncertainty, excitement and anticipation. When a woman pursues a man, not only does she rob him of his desire to pursue and chase the object of his affections, but she also destroys any natural sexual and romantic tension possible in the relationship.

“The essence of romance is uncertainty.” Oscar Wilde

Some women who are very driven, have found ways to compensate for this. They will seduce the man, then to create romantic tension artificially, they will create drama. Drama makes us feel the same emotions associated with healthy, natural sexual tension like uncertainty and nervousness and so many often mistake drama for passion and embark on a toxic roller coaster ride. But drama lacks the excited anticipation, the admiration for the other that natural sexual tension has. Further, a dramatic relationship drains you of energy and ends in ruins, whereas a passionate one creates energy for both and hopefully ends in a fulfilling, sex and laughter filled relationship.
So, to say that men are “threatened” by intelligent women is misleading and meant to ruffle men’s feathers because of course they are not. Likewise, to say that men don’t want to date an intelligent woman is incorrect because many men do want a woman who will turn him on sexually and intellectually, that is part of passion as well. However, given society today and the way many people ignore or deny how passion and attraction work, with so many women taking the lead in both dating and relationships, intelligence in academics or career may be detrimental to a woman’s dating habits. Unlike with men, the skills and traits that make women successful at work actually work against them in romantic situations.

If we describe this as intelligence we are missing the point. It implies that men want women who are not intelligent. That is absolutely not true. Men do want intelligent women but they are not attracted to many of the traits that are very often found in high quantities in intelligent successful women. Men don’t want to compete with their partner. In fact, competition is the opposite of partnership. But too many women compete inside a relationship. To be the better parent, to be a bigger martyr, to make more money, etc. Men want smart women but they want partnership and a lot of women don’t know how to leave their type A tendencies at work. If a woman can learn to channel her drive and intensity into her career, but turn it off or turn it down when dating so that she can let herself be pursued, so she can enjoy being chased then she will have more success romantically.

I’m not making a comment on how women or men “should” behave. If a woman wants to chase a man, she can do that. I’m simply pointing out that actions and attitudes have an effect on other people. A woman chasing a man is a turn off to most men. Sex and attraction are one of those things about humanity that pay no attention to politics, religion, education and social pressure. Someone turns us on or they don’t. There are things women can do to make herself more attractive to the opposite sex, to entice a man to chase her, to raise his curiosity and his pulse when she’s around. Intelligent women would have more success with men if they studied how to attract and excite the man they want and then let him chase her, than pursuing him outright. If we don’t understand the basics of seduction, attraction and sex, we will never get what we want and have the relationships we desire.

“Eroticism is mystique; that is, the aura of emotion and imagination around sex. It cannot be ‘fixed’ by codes of social or moral convenience, whether from the political left or right. For nature’s fascism is greater than that of any society. There is a daemonic instability in sexual relations that we may have to accept.” — Camille Paglia

Men aren’t afraid of or threatened by intelligent women. And they aren’t threatened by successful women. The truth is that men are disinterested in a woman who have a potential to be competitive and controlling romantically. Men do not want to feel controlled and they don’t want to compete with their partner. But many of these Type A successful women have a tendency to be controlling, demanding and competitive romantically and that’s a turn off. Further, men love the chase and they want passion and excitement in their romantic lives. He is not going to feel attracted or feel sexual tension with a woman who chases him.