Decoding more datespeak: What do women mean when they say they want intellectual stimulation?

I hear a lot of women and some men complain that they cannot find anyone who intellectually stimulates them.

I love to be intellectually stimulated. I enjoy visiting museums, reading non-fiction, watching TED videos, etc. But these are THINGS that provide intellectual stimulation.

How can a person provide intellectual stimulation? Do they mean they want someone who likes going to museums with them? Enjoy discussing their favorite books? Debating of hot current issues of the day? Something else entirely? I’m confused.

Hands-on lectures: “This is the clitoris. Here, let me read the Wikipedia entry as I proceed…”

Basically something like this. My wife and I keep up with science news, go to museums, watch TED talks and documentaries… and then discuss them.

In a dating situation? Just try to start conversations about interesting things. “Oh, that reminds me of something I read the other day. Did you know that…?”. Don’t be afraid to go a bit beyond each other’s comfort zones. Invite her to a museum she normally wouldn’t think to visit. Go along with her to a play that you normally wouldn’t think to see.

Of course everyone is different, so while one person might see you as erudite and intellectually stimulating, someone else might see you as an insufferable bore.

I think it boils down to “I don’t want to spend all our time watching sports, blockbuster movies and It’s Always Sunny in Philidephia.”

People want to know other people who challenge them, expose them to new ways of thinking and broaden their horizons.

It’s possible that people say that they want to be with someone intellecually stimulating in order to make themselves look more intellectual.

When I run across that phrase on a dating site, the person who posted it is almost invariably average.

Yes, all of this. Basically, it means that people are interested in people who are curious about the world, and willing to make efforts to explore aspects of that world that are in-depth and complex and diverse.

I would guess it means their last boyfriend was a boring idiot. They are now looking for the other type.

A stimulating idiot?

Exactly. But I’m taken.

I have to say, if this phrase confuses you, then you’re not the man for the woman in question.

No, a boring genius. Like me, but I’m taken too.

Intellectual stimulation, mental masturbation, tomayto, tomahto…


I suspect it mostly means “I’d like to be able to carry on a conversation with you without having to supply 90% of the words myself.”

A lot of women I know have this problem. I think that part of the issue is that women and men can sometimes want to talk about wildly different things. Like when we went to go see the Harry Potter movie recently, when I wanted to do in-depth character analyses I called my sister and my best friend from college. My husband is basically useless for those kinds of convesrations. When I turned the talk to CGI and set design he was more than happy to contribute quite a lot to the conversation.

This is obviously only my take FWIW.
When kids are young they tend to ask questions about everything. Why this? Why that? I loved this phase of kid raising because I love to teach and explore for answers. I feel like I have to have answers for everything. When I see a word I don’t understand, I look it up. People think of me as a “doubting Thomas” because I question everything. So I think intellectual stimulation is about questioning things and actively seeking those answers.

I suggest asking them what they mean, as many “levels” of people might use the same phrase while seeking different levels of stimulation. Are they looking for someone with whom to watch and discuss Inception instead of sitting at home watching tv? Are they looking to discuss the latest Terry Pratchett book? Or someone with whom to debate Kantian philosophy?

I knew a guy in college, who was home-schooled, and came to college as a philosophy major thinking that people were going to walk around pontificating wisely and using the Socratic method all day long, or something. Many other philosophy majors expect to spend 5% of their time on schoolwork, and the rest on partying.

To me, it simply says “dumb-asses need not apply.”

This translates to: “I’m looking for a wo/man who does not bore the ever-loving shit out of me. You know, the sort of person with more intellectual curiosity than the level of simply wondering who’ll win the big game/reality show. S/he doesn’t run away screaming from the desire to discuss ideas, but instead also embraces this yearning.”

I suspect that another translation is “holds a college degree.” Another one is “has read an entire book in the last three months for fun.” Another is “is not afraid of a smart woman.”

When I say it I mean I want to go to museum/discuss books or movies/debate hot current issues without the exercise becoming a win-at-all-costs competition. Thoughtful discussion - you don’t have to agree with me, nor I you, but we need to respect each other’s opinions, as opposed to calling the other person words like “stupid” or “ignorant” or “mistaken”.

Yes! and a couple of :p:p