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.