Sexual Intelligence: A Skill We All Need to Learn

Sexual intelligence has nothing to do with your prowess as a lover. It's related to your generosity, honesty, and intelligence. The kind that breaks down prejudices, fears, and stereotypes.
Sexual Intelligence: A Skill We All Need to Learn
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

We live in a seemingly modern society yet one that treats sex in a distorted way. For instance, we only have to look at the power of the porn industry which behaves as if it’s the main and only source of education in this area for our young people as well as the eternal taboos that still exist for many. For these reasons, our world needs to develop adequate sexual intelligence.

We’re referring to the type of intelligence that starts from honesty, knowledge, and respect for each other. That’s because, in an area that we label as ‘natural, such as sex, which everyone finds out about in their own way, there still exists an excess of biases, false myths, and dangerous beliefs.

As a matter of fact, we often forget that the most important organ in any sexual encounter is the brain. We overlook that prejudices and insecurities often limit the opportunity to have a fulfilling sex life. Furthermore, we tend to ignore that, without respect for the other party, sex has no place or meaning.

Possessing sexual intelligence requires time and will. It forces us, above all, to go beyond stereotypes, religious beliefs, and websites for adults. Indeed, society transmits such contradictory messages to us on this subject, that we’re obliged to develop adequate skills for ourselves.

Great lovers are made, not born.

Elderly woman hugging her partner developing her sexual wisdom
Science claims that older adults often enjoy fulfilling sex lives.

Keys to sexual intelligence

According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota (USA), a significant part of the population aged between 60 and 80 years old demonstrates what experts call sexual intelligence. This competence goes beyond their own skills in the sexual act. It’s linked to aptitude, generosity, and good communication.

Two key aspects are highlighted here. The first is that sexuality in old age can be just as enriching and rewarding as in youth. The second concerns the importance of dismantling another myth and recognizing that people aren’t born good lovers, but it’s something they learn over the years and with experience.

Sexual intelligence is a type of learning linked to three specific areas. The first area relates to being an objective and sensitive connoisseur of everything related to sexuality. The second concerns possessing good self-knowledge. And the third involves having the ability to connect with a partner.

Finding true satisfaction in this area requires a holistic approach. It involves accumulating learning, working on ourselves, and knowing how to create intimacy with sexual partners. We’re going to look at the components that make up sexual intelligence.

Sexual intelligence goes beyond sexual education. It doesn’t just involve knowing how to avoid STDs, it implies understanding what elements favor pleasant experiences for the couple. It means knowing how to communicate, demystify false ideas, and stop being selfish.

Objective and demystified knowledge about sexuality

It’s great that teens are taught in high school about sexual health diseases (STDs) and how to prevent them. It’s also positive that they’re provided with information on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, this knowledge, although important, has little to do with sexual intelligence.

True sexual intelligence is linked to the following:

  • Knowing that you have the right to enjoy your own sexuality, whatever it may be, freely, without anyone submitting or forcing you. You own your body and you decide what you want and what you don’t want at any given moment.
  • You have the right to know your body without shame. In addition, to enjoy relationships without feeling afraid or limited by insecurities.
  • Sexual intelligence involves acquiring knowledge about sexual practices in order to deactivate myths and prejudices in this area. Indeed, there’s nothing negative in informing yourself about this subject so long as you do it in a respectful way.

Sexual intelligence and self-awareness

Everyone has a sexual fingerprint, so to speak. Discovering it, knowing what you like, what incites your fantasies, desires, and needs facilitates your relationships with other people. That said, just as it’s important to ‘discover yourself’ in order to have a more pleasant sexual life, you also need to know your boundaries.

Therefore, what you don’t like, what bothers you, and what doesn’t feel right for you is also something you should tell your sexual partners. Past experiences often come into play here, those that are sometimes enriching and at others traumatic. That’s because learning from what you’ve experienced and understanding how you are is essential to achieving adequate sexual intelligence.

Young couple applying sexual wisdom
Communication in the couple is the most important element of achieving a full sexual life.

The connection, the game of intimacy

We could say that the most powerful ingredient of sexual intelligence is intimacy. It’s the bond that brings you closer to your partner in a free and curious way. It starts from authentic respect for your partner, added to your desire to connect with them in every possible way.

Sexual intelligence means favoring an emotional, mental, and sexual approach, knowing what your partner wants, what they need, and what they like. Furthermore, it implies putting selfishness aside and taking care of the pleasure of your partner. Communication is key.

Knowing how to communicate without shame and without fear, opening yourself up emotionally, and revealing your desires and thoughts feeds the game of sexuality, and also of love. In fact, we should all qualify ourselves in this art. Unfortunately, it’s an art that’s not learned in schools, that’s almost always veiled in our society, and that’s only acquired with experience, responsibility, and sufficient emotional maturity.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Oronowicz-Jaśkowiak, Wojciech. (2016). Does sexual intelligence exist? Do we need another intelligence construct?. 10.13140/RG.2.1.3856.5523.
  • Forbes MK, Eaton NR, Krueger RF. Sexual Quality of Life and Aging: A Prospective Study of a Nationally Representative Sample. J Sex Res. 2017 Feb;54(2):137-148. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1233315. Epub 2016 Oct 31. PMID: 27798838; PMCID: PMC5235964.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.