Skip to content
July 13, 2012 / JayMan

IQ and Kink?

Anecdotally, I have noticed that those who have sexual fetishes (or paraphilias as they are known technically) as a group have a higher average IQ than those who don’t. I don’t know of any data that verifies this (I haven’t seen any studies linking sexual fetishes to IQ), but I suppose that runs into the issue of how you define a fetish.

In any case, if this is a real phenomenon, then why would this be so? A possible explanation recently came to me.

Higher IQ individuals—or perhaps more specifically, higher average IQ groups—tend to feature much more sexual restraint compared to lower average IQ groups, being more K-selected and often having evolved under centuries or millennia of civilization. In such situations, sexual arousal had to be limited. (Indeed, Jason Malloy and Half Sigma have discovered that higher IQ individuals tend to have lower sex drives.) Sexual expression was confined only to specific circumstances—typically with one’s “approved” partner (usually, though not always, one’s spouse).  This had to be so, because these people typically lived in higher population densities and in much more socially stratified societies than did pre-farming or pre-state peoples. As such, they were constantly encountering people who were potential mates (that is, non-relatives, defined here as those outside the immediate family, so that cousins would be included as potential mates in consanguineous societies) but were not necessarily available as such. As well, behavior had to be much more regulated thanks to much more complex social rules. Strong states probably punished excessive sexuality (primary rape) as much as they did violence. Hence, people with overly sensitive sexual triggers were culled from the gene pool.

But, of course, people still needed to breed. In the correct circumstances, intense sexuality would be beneficial. What if an individual developed sexual arousal to particular objects or situations (a “kink”)? Being in the presence of the object of one’s of desire, be it rope, blindfolds, or geisha make-up—especially when this object or situation was offered by a willing partner—meant that it was “safe” to become aroused. It was OK to unleash one’s sexuality, where in other social situations one had to keep such urges tightly controlled. Higher IQ individuals would be especially sensitive to such forces, as they are typically descended from individuals who had evolved considerable behavioral restraint. Special triggers may have had to have been necessary to get many of these individuals to disarm this restraint and express their sexuality (and hence, reproduce).

This may be why peoples who have been long-time residents of cold and highly orderly societies—such as Germans or Japanese—have a reputation for sexual eccentricity—and a reputation for fairly strict compartmentalization of sexuality.

(Of course, many of the implements involved in many kinks, such as manufactured objects, can only be found in civilized societies.  Hence, such desires could only appear in civilized societies—for the most part.)

Two of the more common fetishes, it appears, are male dominance and female submissiveness.  This seems fairly straightforward to understand, as these are just exaggerations of classic gender roles.  These likely represents idealized forms of masculinity and femininity, and this likely explains their sexual allure.

I’ve seen a few commentators in the HBD-sphere critical of sexual activities other than straight intercourse, deeming them “aberrations” because they don’t lead to reproduction.  But these views miss the larger function of sex. In addition to its primary function (reproduction), sex serves the function of emotional bonding between its participants. This is the whole reason humans lack an estrus cycle to which sex is mostly confined, as it is for most animals. For a species where strong bonds between male and female are necessary (thanks to human paternal investment), a whole host of non-reproductive but mutually pleasurable sexual activities is to be expected (look at bonobos if you don’t believe me).

This hypothesis, incidentally, is in line with Satoshi Kanazawa’s Savannah Hypothesis.  This states that traits related to things that are evolutionarily novel will be more common among more intelligent individuals.  For example, intelligent people are more likely to like classical music (or more accurately, instrumental music, as I prefer) because it is devoid of vocals, and the ancestral environment didn’t have musical instruments (perhaps, save drums)—only singing voices.  Just the same, more intelligent people are more likely to enjoy kinky sex because the ancestral environmental didn’t have latex, chains, handcuffs, or candle wax (though it did have ropes and whips, and they were probably used for a sexual purpose then, too 😉 ).

This idea is admittedly conjectural. But, I’m putting the idea out there for others to consider. Only time and data will tell if I’m on to something.


Leave a Comment
  1. asdf / Jul 16 2012 7:53 AM

    In my own life there is a definate correlation between high IQ and kink. Also a correlation between kink and being fucking crazy.

  2. Seo Sanghyeon / Jul 17 2012 11:41 AM

    I think I have a simpler explanation. Five Factor Model is the standard personality trait model, and IQ correlates with Openness. Openness, almost by definition, should correlate with sexual kinks. So it is not that surprising. (Actually, I won’t be surprised if there already are data supporting this if you search for IQ/Openness correlation literature.)

    • JayMan / Jul 17 2012 3:30 PM

      Yup, I’ve considered that, and I’m not so sure that that is really a different explanation. For example, why is openness correlated with IQ? If anything, what you’ve noted is more a reductive generalization like the savanna hypothesis itself. Whereas my explanation perhaps explains the mechanism in more detail.

  3. Anthony / Jul 18 2012 4:01 PM

    I suspect that the drives which are expressed as “kink” in higher-IQ individuals are more likely expressed as “domestic violence” in lower-IQ individuals. A smart person with sadistic desires will find a willing masochist, control their sadism, and have a “safe, sane, consensual” kinky relationship. A dumb person will beat up their significant other until the cops notice. And a dumb masochist, like Rihanna, will want to go back to the guy who beats her up.

    Sometimes, even smart people get into the low-IQ dynamic. Look up what’s been going on with San Francisco’s sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi. He’s presumably smart (I think he has a law degree). He beats his wife, and she’s normally ok with it, unless it goes too far. If they’d been part of the local kink community, they would have worked it out in a way that wouldn’t have him about to lose his job before he’s even started it.

    • JayMan / Jul 18 2012 4:29 PM

      That is an interesting way of looking at it, especially with battered women being masochists to a degree.

    • SFG / Feb 12 2013 11:37 PM

      That’s what I’ve found (not that anyone will ever read this comment). Crazy dumb people get into domestic violence, either as victims or perpetrators. Crazy smart people find willing victims or perpetrators and negotiate it all out so everyone’s happy and nobody goes to jail.

      Sane dumb and smart people do neither.

    • JayMan / Feb 12 2013 11:46 PM

      I see all comments. Interesting.

    • Anon / Jan 16 2018 1:47 PM

      Interesting idea. But true dom/sub relationships come with a bond of trust. The sub must have trust that even though their dom may be inflicting physical damage on them the dom always cares for/about their sub and they keep it to sexual moments only. Bad “doms” are just assholes using a loophole to cover for the reason of the beatings. The sub may follow along with to purely because they’re submissive and therefor predisposed to sticking with someone who mistreats them.

      Everything in this world has a stigma. For every action equal and opposite…. you get the point. For every good dom there is a bad dom, as well as with subs. A good dominant takes extra time to provide the best aftercare following a session that they can. They love and care for their sub. Where as a bad dominant is just pissed off and wants to beat on someone. Someone who allows it and continues to stick by them through it all is all the better.

      Human condition. Deny and justify. When we think with emotions we will find any way we have to to deny the truth and justify the reality. Because emotions are like a drug. Just as with drugs anyone can be addicted to the feelings achieved through emotion. So yeah. No matter what it is there is always gonna be a good and bad, people who care and believe in what they’re doing and people just looking to hurt and do wrong to make themselves feel better.

    • Anon / Jan 16 2018 2:52 PM

      Also, the dom must have trust that the sub will always communicate their likes and dislikes to them. Safewords are always smart and communication is key. Good doms don’t want to be doing damage that the sub wants and good subs will tell their doms when they’ve truly had enough. It is quite amazing the pai some people can take.

  4. The Initiate / Jul 22 2012 9:05 AM

    Interesting post! Could we not look at IQ as how much information one can store and then eventually access?

    It’s all about information, of course, so this all makes sense.

    I only ponder.. what if this is just the product of over stimulating the brain with information, as it creates a pattern which we then must fulfill to get the same effect again.

    I don’t know whether we should see all of this as negative or positive. One thing that comes to mind is the connection to feeling versus thinking. In a sense, we may just be losing our “feeling” while progressing into a more materialistic life, where information is king. We are ever changing. Is this a type of evolution occurring here? I think so, but I may have some fear about where we’re going with this direction.

  5. live4life201 / Jul 22 2012 11:33 AM

    Reblogged this on live4life201.

  6. mindofmascarita / Jul 22 2012 9:37 PM

    This is interesting!

  7. Greying Wanderer / Jul 24 2012 3:47 AM

    “Also a correlation between kink and being fucking crazy.”

    hehe, very true.

  8. meezletoe / Jul 27 2012 2:18 AM

    Hmmm, I haven’t heard of any correlation between high IQ and sexual fetishes (especially growing up watching Jerry Springer…), but your thinking of compartmentalized sexuality fetish/kinks and highly orderly societies (that value/demand restraint) being linked makes sense to me…

  9. mindofmascarita / Aug 2 2012 12:13 AM

    Reblogged this on Inside the Mind of Mascarita and commented:

  10. Anonymous / Feb 24 2013 5:07 PM

    Anthony is basically right. There is a huge overlap overlap between the people who would go to comic-con and the kinky subculture. That subculture has high IQ’s because it’s a high IQ (nerdy) version of the sexual preference which is expressed differently in other groups.

    Wife beating is a bad example though. Non-geeky masochists are much more likely to just get off on being used (especially giving oral without it being reciprocated) or just from their partner being aggressive in bed, or controlling in the relationship. More real world and social compared to sex-toy and porn inspired.

    I can’t figure the evolution of male masochism however. It might be related to religious masochism/asceticism though.

  11. Bottledwater / Jan 19 2014 7:15 PM

    Pedophiles have low IQs. I suspect it would be the same for other perversions too. They all likely reflect developmental brain damage. Now maybe the subset who are open about it might have high IQ’s because that requires some fortitude but that’s a filtering effect.

    • JayMan / Jan 20 2014 9:19 PM


      Pedophiles have low IQs

      Has this actually been studied?

      . I suspect it would be the same for other perversions too.

      Apparently not.

      They all likely reflect developmental brain damage.


    • Bottledwater / Jan 21 2014 1:10 PM

      JayMan, here’s a study showing pedophilia and same sex preferences are negatively correlated with IQ.

      My guess is that all paraphilias (whether criminal or just kinky) reflect early insults to the brain.

    • JayMan / Jan 22 2014 1:33 PM


      Sample sizes were small. As well, is this representative of all pedophiles, or just the sample that happen to get a hold of?

      I seriously doubt pedophilia is related to sexual fetishes.

    • Bottledwater / Jan 22 2014 11:41 PM

      Pedophilia is a type of paraphilia thus it seems reasonable to lump it in with other sexual fetishes. The study is not representative of all pedophiles, but the key point is that even among convicted criminals and sex offenders, pedophilia and homosexuality were negatively correlated with IQ and memory using physical measures of sexual arousal.

    • JayMan / Jan 22 2014 11:57 PM


      Even something like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia aren’t each single disorders, but a collection of disorders with somewhat similar traits. For that reason, there is limited justification for lumping pedophilia as a single disorder, much less lumping it with sexual fetishes.

      Further, was the study controlled for race?

      As well, Satoshi Kanazawa found the IQ is uncorrelated with male homosexuality, which itself is unrelated to either pedophilia or fetishes.

    • Jesus / Jan 16 2018 1:11 PM

      The ignorance behind this logic is ridiculous. Let the trend of the few set the course for he many. You know plenty of Christan’s are pedophiles. Does that mean I can lump all Christan’s in as pedophiles? Even though, I’m sure that relative to population a certain percent of human beings are pedophillac. Which would mean it’s most likely that percentage wise any group of any people, high iq, low iq, any of the races, and whatever other differences that seem to matter so much because we say so, are bound to have pedophillac tendencies. It’s just a matter of who is better at hiding their wrongdoings.

      Now you can call me a sexual deviant, or whatever else you’d like to say. But your statement is highly indicative of lower iq, at least to me. Because you seem like the kind of person who remains ignorant to the truths that upset you while embracing the lies that make you feel better, superior, or whatever power trip your on. The truth is, we’re all humans, each one different yet the same, we all tend to have similar wants in life, financial security, significant other, a nice house in a good neighborhood. We all want happiness and to feel loved and cared about yet majority just want to put others down and make them feel subservient (sign of dominance and potential masochistic behaviors), or at least the people that are talking the loudest.

      Now please don’t mistake my rantings and ravings of that of a lunatic or someone whose angry because I assure I am not. I’m just a guy who has ADHD, and a keen sense of logical fallacies, and while you may disagree because my mind is open to sexual stimulation passed regular intercourse (despite me being completely respectful, kind, caring, compassionate, law abiding citizen who is sickened by pedophillac actions) i have an amazing moral compass and will be the first to punish myself when I’ve done wrong. What the world truly needs is for people to admit when they’re wrong, admit when they’ve intentionally done wrong especially if harming others in the proces, take the punishment deemed fit, and pay for your wrong doings. I don’t believe in god, at least that of any religion, but I also don’t believe that you should feel at peace after wronging someone, or doing something you knew you shouldn’t have, if you simply ask the concept in your mind for forgiveness (since it’s in your head it will be granted) biding you say however many Hail Marys. Be you someone famous or rich. I feel we should all be prosecuted by the same standards. I feel that the true criminals in this world are the ones telling us we’re doing wrong and they shall chose the punishment. The jury only selects from options they don’t create the punishment. I think it’s been proven power causes corruption but don’t quote me on it and please feel free, in fact I encourage you to, do some research, stray from normal sources of information. Read with an open mind. Ponder and opposite view, just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s attacking you. It’s entirely fine to be wrong about something. Also please never ever forget, that the path to hell be paved with good intentions.

  12. Anonymous / Nov 29 2015 3:16 PM

    Hi Jayman. I have read your blog and twitter feed off and on over the last year or so. I really enjoy your posts. This is the first time I have read this post, though.

    I have a question I would like your views on. Right now in the black population of the US, there is a high level of single motherhood. In the past under Jim Crow laws the black family was much more intact. Many people (mostly conservatives) argue that the welfare state created a situation where women started to see men as being less important, as the state would take care of them and their children. I think there may be something to this as the rates of single motherhood has gone up for whites as well, just not nearly to the same extent as among blacks.

    Now here is the question that I think must be asked, even if it is distasteful. Do you think that things like Jim Crow and the structured ‘white supremacy’ of the past may have also kept down the rates of single motherhood within the black population due to blacks being more afraid of being negatively judged by whites at that time then they are today? I think even among white people in the past, there was more social pressure to get married and not have bastard children. There is less social pressure among whites today, so those whites more disposed to act in an r-type way, do. Could it be that because blacks are more r-type as a group then whites, that once the institutionalized discrimination that put real pressure on blacks to act within white norms was removed that blacks simply returned to the breeding patterns that come more naturally to them? That in the past, the two parent norm of the black family in America was just created due to powerful social control by the white majority to follow their norms? Once that pressure was largely lifted, that they moved more toward more ‘natural’ African breeding patterns?

    Also, slightly off topic but kind of connected: I seem to remember reading somewhere (sorry, don’t remember where) about when HIV and AIDs was really first breaking out in Africa, many African governments understated the problem partly because they didn’t want the white western countries to think that their people where behaving in sexually immoral ways. Then when they realized that white countries as a whole didn’t really care so much about that anymore, and would give them money and other kinds of aid due to the outbreaks, they started to overstate how bad things were to get more money from western governments.

    Anyway, I enjoy your writings and I hope you will give your views on this topic.

    • JayMan / Nov 29 2015 4:18 PM

      Welfare and birth control are primarily responsible for single motherhood. But since fatherlessness doesn’t cause bad child outcomes, it’s hardly a matter of concern.

    • Anonymous / Nov 29 2015 9:33 PM

      Yes, but why is the single motherhood rate so much higher among the black population then the white population if it is mainly just welfare and birth control (I am guessing that you mean birth control creates an environment were women will have more sex with more men, leading to ‘oops’ babies when they forget)? The availability of welfare and birth control would seem to be just as open to whites as blacks. The abortion rate is also higher for blacks. Would you guess that the disparity is simply an IQ thing?

  13. DataExplorer / Oct 21 2016 12:01 PM

    Have you considered that submission / domination fetishes are a survival strategy in themselves? In colder climates children need more parental investment, what better way to insure that parents stay with the family and not leave to find another mate if one is submissive and the other dominant?

  14. Kn83 / Jul 21 2017 9:32 PM

    The belief that non-reproductive sex is “pathological” is the mark of an resentful, miserable prude. There is no neurological evidence for most paraphilias including pedophilia being a result of brain damage nor any mental disorder (most alleged “disorders” are actually features rather than bugs, as you explained).

    If sex was primarily for procreation then any non-reproductive behavior would have never came to be. The very idea of a perversion is based on the false assumption that nature is teleological and normative when in reality norms and values are merely projections and rationalizations of a person’s self-interest, not objectively real. Even if such behavior were absent in animals and/or hunter-gatherers (which isn’t even true) that still wouldn’t be evidence of a disorder.

    • JayMan / Jul 21 2017 9:48 PM

      The belief that non-reproductive sex is “pathological” is the mark of an resentful, miserable prude

      There’s sex that is per se non-reproductive but takes place in an reproductive coupling and hence adaptive, and then there’s sex that can never be reproductive, such as a man having zero interest in women. This is a very important distinction.

    • kn83 / Jul 22 2017 10:39 AM

      I was mainly referring to heterosexual behavior in my last post. I’m fully aware of how male homosexuality is fitness reducing and more or less believe gay-germ theory.

    • JayMan / Jul 22 2017 10:48 AM

      Most heterosexual behavior is adaptive because it helps to cement bonds between male and female.

  15. Steven / Jan 16 2018 12:09 PM

    Thank you very much for taking the time to expand your thoughts on this subject. As an hsp/empath I have been living with the guilt and shame of my “taboo kinks and fetishes” since I was around 10-12, so roughly half my life. Granted at times I wonder what the hell is wrong with me this is sick and wrong, I always know that I’m not harming anyone, doing anything even remotely illegal (at least in the United States, can’t speak for other countries lol) and I’m keeping it to myself and not forcing it upon others. I do one day hope to have a partner that shares my niche views. But I’m rambling so I digress. I am almost certain studies show that people of high iq are more likely to be hsp’s/empaths. The more I read on this fascinating condition the more I think on other aspects of it. And it got me to wondering, hey maybe my high sensitity is in part a cause of my sexual proclivities, obviously I factor in possible influence of my environmental surroundings too. But thinking on it more and more I realized there has to be a connection, one that I’m not seeing and one that no one has really taken the time to look at. Which brings me here. I also kind of figured that since hsp/empaths are capable of truly feeling what others feel whether they want to or not, it opens up their mind more to other possibilities beyond the societal standards that create the illusion of “normalcy”. Normal is a word I don’t much agree with. It implies that there are two objects one in the same down to a molecular level, at least under the microscope of my mind haha. Since we all know no two objects can be completely the same all the way down to the molecular level and beyond, then normalcy is a word created to divide. Divide a group of people who thinks they’re better than another group based on the characteristics they show instead of the ones they hide inside so they’ll fit in. I know I’m rambling like crazy and completely off topic. Haha sorry I do that a lot. Circling back though just as with ADHD I have long felt that kinks and fetishes are atributed to high intelligence and high sensitivity as well. Sadly though as I learn more and more about myself and my condition it does some to alleviate the guilt and shame but does not make me completely comfortable with who I am in regard to kinks and fetishes. I know other people’s views of me shouldn’t matter and that if I do what makes me happy the right people will surround me. I guess growing up over weight and vastly insecure about myself has really burned the social stigmas in my brain. Wanting to act normal so I fit in and others like me. But that’s just me denying myself happiness for false hope that happiness will come through the people I am friends with. Even when being friends with these people tends to only further worsen feelings towards myself as I’m not the real me when I’m around them. I feel as if I’m a particle bound to another by quantum entanglement, I exist in every possibility at one time but when observed I take on the traits and characteristics I need to to fit in with them. But it’s mentally and emotionally draining. My energy is already zapped enough from thinking too much throughout the day. But I’m gonna shut up now lol thank you very much again for writing this article. I hope to one day use a little t/f quiz from the book “the highly sensitive person” by Dr. Elain Aron on the Tumblr I have for my fetishes to ask the community, at least the ones revolving around similar interests, how many they identify with and to like the post if they answered more than 12 of the questions true. It’d be fairly conclusive proof that kink and hsp are linked. Not necessarily everyone will have an above average iq but I’m sure majority will. Thanks again! Keep up the great work!

  16. Anonymous / Jun 30 2019 3:41 PM

    I have always wondered if kind and IQ were correlated myself, which is how I ended up on this page. I’ve told this hypothesis to many of the men that I have dated. I just want to point out that there is data that reflects that IQ and cuckolding are correlated. Sex is just physical stimulation, but kink adds a mental component. I think that is the most parsimonious explanation. If one is open minded and curious, exploration happens. What one finds most stimulating is the behavior that one would repeat. Then when that is no longer stimulating, the boundaries get pushed a little more.


  1. Me… « JayMan's Blog
  2. Kinky sex | Beta+

Comments are welcome and encouraged. Comments DO NOT require name or email. Your very first comment must be approved by me. Be civil and respectful. NO personal attacks against myself or another commenter. Also, NO sock puppetry. If you assert a claim, please be prepared to support it with evidence upon request. Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: