Mating Intelligence: Effective Dating for Smart People

white woman with asian man

Maybe you’re smart… But when it comes to dating, are you smart where it really matters?

Because not all intelligences are created equal.
It’s mating intelligence that is the most relevant mental ability to help you find a great partner and enjoy a great relationship.

This article will explain what mating intelligence is, what it’s not, why it matters, and how you can develop mating intelligence.

white woman with asian man

What’s Mating Intelligence

The dictionary of power dynamics defines:

The set of cognitive and intellectual abilities, as well as the knowledge and proficiency of power dynamics and sexual strategies that support effective mate selection, courtship, reproduction, and relationship management.

Mating intelligence also includes the psychological abilities that deal with competition, as well as understanding the motives of rivals and mates alike.

Mating intelligence is most likely not the latest fad in coming up with new types of intelligence, but it’s been measured to “account for a significant portion of the variance in mating success” (Geher, Kaufman, 2016).

The Types of Intelligence

The literature on the types of intelligence is large and contradictory.

Some people even deny the existence of different types of intelligence.
And that alone, to me, raises questions about the intelligence of those people 🙂 (read here for a better take on this topic)

Just take a look at Elon Musk social intelligence, or Albert Einstein’s letter to his wife, and it will become obvious how some super-high-IQ men understand little about psychology, mating, and the opposite sex.

Here is how psychologist Geoffrey Miller groups the various types of intelligence:

From Geoffrey Miller, except he calls “domain intelligence” academic intelligence

In truth, intelligence and its various sub-modalities are quite complex.
So don’t take the above chart not as a deeply scientific representation, but more as a tool to give you a quick idea.

All types of intelligence actually overlap with each other more than this diagram shows. And “mating intelligence” is at the center, not because it’s necessarily more important, but because it’s the focus of this article.

Let’s review the types of intelligence:

1. General intelligence

General intelligence is at the top because it predicts all the others, and it’s what women are indirectly trying to evaluate when they meet you.

However, just being intelligent does nothing to your attractiveness or to your sexual market value
In simple words: IQ by itself does nothing to increase attraction

Yes, there are a few sapiosexuals, and yes, it’s not just a thing in Tinder’s descriptions; it exists (Gignac et. al., 2017).
But even then, sapiosexuals have no idea how to assess intelligence unless the intelligent person knows how to convey that intelligence.
Yes, at the right time, pure displays of “smarts” can work -and bonus points if it’s accompanied by passion-. More than once I was passionately explaining something to some women who stopped listening to what I was saying, but instead looked at me languidly, and sometimes muttered: “I love you”. She didn’t care what I was saying -which I wished she did-, but she cared that it sounded smart.

But it has to be at the right time.

Intelligence that is presented in the wrong way, by being smug or belittling others, can even be negative. 

So when does intelligence become relevant?
Intelligence only becomes a sought-after trait when you convey it appropriately and through mating-relevant signals.
For example: humor, emotional connection, intellectual dominance, and sounding intelligent. Or, as well, through seduction techniques sometimes referred to as “game” (ie.: push-pull, screening, tasking, etc.).

2. Social intelligence (SI)


Social intelligence is the ability to understand other people’s interests and drive, and to operate effectively within social groups to achieve both personal and shared goals.

statue of cesar

Social intelligence is attractive both directly in dating and indirectly for what it allows men to achieve.
Socially intelligent men are better at working with others, acquiring status within groups, climbing social hierarchies, and acquiring leadership roles. All of these traits are also highly attractive in the sexual marketplace.

Because some very bright guys are not good socially, some people think that there is no connection between social intelligence and general intelligence, but that’s not true: the two are linked.

3. Emotional intelligence (EI)

Definition of emotional intelligence:

The ability to understand and leverage your emotions to guide effective thinking and behavior, coupled with the ability to read other people’s emotions.

As for social intelligence, general intelligence, and emotional intelligence are positively correlated.
Bright people are better both at managing their emotions and at creating better emotional connections with others.

Needless to say, don’t confuse emotional intelligence with being “touchy-feely” or “gushing”.
Emotionally intelligent men make for better daters and seducers because they know when to push, when to step back, when to talk a bit more, and when it’s time for a bold move.

And they make for better life partners, too.
Men high in EI are also less dangerous to both women themselves and to children, which makes these men ideal candidates for long-term relationships. 

And since men high in EI are less moody and better control their feelings, it also helps men become relationship leaders.

Finally, there is a special place in women’s hearts for those few men really high in EI.
Women love men who can get inside their heads and know what they’re thinking. And if he can explain it to them as well, that’s intellectual dominance as well.

4. Verbal intelligence (VI)


Verbal intelligence is the ability to understand both spoken and written language, as well as the ability to speak and write well.

In a practical sense, verbal intelligence, sometimes referred to as “linguistic intelligence”, is the extent to which an individual can use language to achieve goals.

And since people heavily rely on language for communication, being high in verbal intelligence means that you are good at getting what you want -which is also the definition of power-.

And of course, verbal intelligence has a special place in courtship and dating.

After all, just think about it.
What do the girl and boy do upon meeting?
99% of the time, they talk.

VI also predicts more highly relevant courtship skills, such as:

  • Your ability to tell good stories
  • Your humor
  • Exciting conversation
  • Good conversational flow
  • Active listening 

And, of course, pillow talk as well (never underestimate the power of good pillow talk :).

5. Practical intelligence (PI)

Practical intelligence is the most relevant intelligence in the real world.

It includes both manual dexterity, fixing things around the house, and “street smarts” as well.
It also includes the ability to construct makeshift devices to achieve goals, which you will often see in movies (McGiver was built around practical intelligence).

Here is one example:

light spot covered thanks to practical intelligence

Behind that flier, there is a light spot. 
It was on my balcony, without a switch to turn it off. Since I prefer sleeping in fully dark rooms, I had to find a way to cover it.
I found a flier in the room, went to the garbage room looking for packages, removed some Scotch tape, then put it on top of a dustpan facing upward, and pushed the dustpan against the ceiling.

Women always like men to show practical intelligence because men with practical intelligence seek ways to control the environment and win.
Practical intelligence is how we moved out of the stone age, and it’s the true original impetus behind high-tech engineering.

Women instinctively value high PI because many challenges that potential partners and dads will face are at this level of practical problem-solving.

Today, PI includes knowledge and dexterity in:

  • Circuit breakers
  • Car engines
  • Maps
  • Tax forms
  • Food recipes
  • Guns functioning

Yes, basically all things that bookworms tend to ignore. Again, it’s why people tend to think that general intelligence and practical intelligence are not linked. 
But, again, they are.

6. Academic intelligence (AI)

This is what is most often measured with IQ tests.

And it’s also the type of intelligence people associate the most with general intelligence. 
And yet, it’s not very highly correlated with dating and sexual success.

Some academics, though, like to cling to the idea that “real” intelligence is only shown in the halls of universities and in debates with big words thrown around.
But it’s all a game of status, of course. Academics who place academic intelligence “higher” than other intelligence are indirectly implying they are somewhat “better” than a good plumber or an effective seducer.

albert einstein smoking pipe

Instead, the sexually unsuccessful academic would be better advised to admit he’s not as smart as he thinks he is in all types of intelligence and get to work to improve at them.
Because he can improve at them. 
If he can put his ego aside, that is.

However, since our society has become what Miller refers to as a “cognitive meritocracy” (Miller, 2016), academic intelligence still helps in dating.
Book smarts predict how well people do on the SATs, which college they get into, which grade they will receive, and how well they will do at work and at building wealth.

Eventually, unless the academically intelligent fella is very poor at everything else, those qualities will also help him lend a woman.

7. Mating intelligence (MI)

It’s funny, isn’t it?

There are official and well-recognized ways of increasing and working on all of the above forms of intelligence.
Yet nobody teaches how to effectively find and keep a partner, which is what most people care the most about.

Well, this article is here to fix that.

The “Intelligence Handicap Myth”

Some people think that intelligence doesn’t matter in dating.

Funny enough, this myth is perpetuated by smart men even more than non-smart ones.
Look at this example:

nerd jock and blonde woman

That’s a psychological self-defense mechanism, not a realistic analysis

When those who think of themselves as smart do poorly in dating, they will be the first to say that “intelligence doesn’t matter in dating”. 

Most of the time, these guys are being victims of psychological self-defense mechanisms. 
Such as they seek to defend their own self-esteem by accusing others of stupidity and by keeping their own self-image of “smart”.

The mistake here is two-fold:

  1. Conflating “book smarts”, which is only one type of intelligence, with “intelligence,”
  2. Assuming the successful athlete is dumb, which he might not be

The chances of the athlete being dumb are lower than for any other given random man.
A successful athlete learns to master his sport and its rules through practical intelligence. If he’s in a team sport, and even more if he’s the captain of that team, that’s all social intelligence.
And if he can tease, joke, and talk, he’s also verbally intelligent, which makes him the complete package.

By the way, you can see these “false myths” propagated by everyone who is not having success and wants to preserve his self-esteem.
The poor guy says that women only want rich men, thus excusing himself for all the other traits he lacks.
And the “nice guy” says women only want assholes, thus excusing the fact that he’s possibly a pushover.

Why Women Select for Intelligence

From an evolutionary point of view, it makes a lot of sense for women to prefer more intelligent men.
Intelligence is not only a strong indicator of an individual’s success but also overlaps with body symmetry, physical health, and longevity. And it has a very high heritability.

Intelligence also works as an indicator of the absence of negative traits.
The human brain is a very complex organ, and it’s easy to mess it up. And that makes the brain a very good indicator of genetic qualities.

Intelligent people and people with healthy brain functions have fewer mutations that mess up their brains. So by choosing a man who’s smart, a woman gets a huge range of genetic benefits.

Traits Correlated to Intelligence

A BBC study of 120,000 people across fifty-three countries showed that the most attractive traits in a long-term mate were, in the order:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Humor (which is a form of intelligence)
  3. Honesty
  4. Kindness
  5. Physical attractiveness
  6. Moral values
  7. Communication skills (another form of intelligence)
  8. Dependability

In some way or another, most of these traits at least partially depend on intelligence.
Humor and communication skills depend on verbal intelligence. Kindness and moral values depend on emotional intelligence. Honesty and dependability partially depend on social intelligence.

There are many important traits that help increase one’s own sexual market value which are also linked to intelligence.
Intelligent people:

  • Achieve more power and status in life
  • Accrue resources
  • Remember more things (including physical-related tasks, like her favorite sexual positions)
  • Are more mature at any given age
  • Lower rates of drug addiction and unemployment
  • More likely to live longer and avoid accidental death
  • Make for better mentors and teachers to the children

Why Mating Intelligence Matters The Most

Mating intelligence is not “superior’ to any other type of intelligence in any way.

It matters more to dating simply because it’s dedicated to mating and dating.

To fix a pipe or a car, practical intelligence matters most.
To understand complex equations and do well in research, academic intelligence matters most.
And to bang more women, but also to snag the highest quality men and enjoy better relationships, mating intelligence matters most.

Mating intelligence helps men get laid in two ways:

  1. It makes courtship run smoother (direct way)
  2. It signals general intelligence and good genes (indirect way)

Focusing on the indirect boost, says Miller:

A guy’s clever courtship reveals his general intelligence, which reveals his general brain function, which reveals his general genetic quality, which predicts how well his kids will survive and reproduce in turn.

So, how can one go about increasing his mating IQ?

How to Increase Your Mating IQ

To increase your mating intelligence:

1. Learn general psychology

You can check out my list of the best psychology books to learn about human nature and psychology.

2. Learn about mating psychology

From an evolutionary point of view, our psychology is based on only two things: survival and reproduction (and the tradeoff between the two).

So to learn about human mating psychology, evolutionary psychology is best.
See here for the best evolutionary psychology books, or go straight for Dating Power Dynamics, which summarizes all the most mating-relevant information.

3. Learn about dating power dynamics

Cooperation is stronger than competition.

But competition is also real and possibly dangerous. So you should learn about sexual conflict and dating power dynamics.
Best resource is Seduction University:

4. Learn good seduction strategies

See here:

5. Make lots of experience…

Theoretical knowledge and personal experience are two sides of the same coin.

But if you had to choose just one, it’s simple: practical experience gives you a real chance of getting your girlfriends (or boyfriends).
Just reading doesn’t.

… And take notes

Go out and meet people of the opposite sex… And take notes. Reflect on what happened, and you will increase your effectiveness twofold.

6. Make female friends

Yes, you shouldn’t be in the friend zone.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have female friends.

As a matter of fact, the more female friends you have, the more you can learn about female psychology.
The trick, of course, is to make them feel free to talk about anything without being judged.

Overall, avoid locking yourself up in all-male “lairs”, or hanging out with men only.

7. Develop critical thinking

Critical thinking is truly the meta-skill of learning.

Critical thinking is the superpower that shields you from snake oil, self-serving gurus, and clueless advice-givers.
Once you have critical thinking, you can truly read and learn from anything and anyone.

8. Learn from mentors mixing both science and experience

Dating is a huge industry, which of course means that there are also a lot of quacks.

Ideally, you want a mix of both scientific theory and experience.

Having only one is limiting, especially if the guy’s experience is not very broad.
The guy who’s been with more than 1,000 women doesn’t always and necessarily know a lot about women. He might just happen to be famous or super attractive. Or he might be using the same strategy, which might or might not work well for you, and that’s why sometimes I force myself to go to clubs and bars, even though I don’t like it-.

And the guy who studies attraction lacks the experience to discern “paper attraction”, or what people say and report, from what can actually work in real life.
I can see this a lot from scientists who write books on attraction, including science-based dating books to which I have given 5 stars (i.e., “Attraction Explained“).

9. Stay away from your friends’ advice

If I had a dollar every time a clueless guy gave advice about dating and seduction…

As a rule of thumb, avoid what your friends are telling you.
Especially if those friends are not getting laid.

Most guys are not really giving advice, which is helpful; they are just “pretending to know” so that they can gain social status.
And that’s especially true when it comes to women and seduction.

Even some of the people teaching dating and seduction are not always real experts (see below).

Advice Lacking Mating Intelligence

There is plenty of advice when it comes to dating.

Some of it is good, while others spread dating idiocy.

Example of bad dating advice:

1. Sweeping generalizations

You’ve heard these.

At the very basic level, they start with “all men are…” and “all women are..”.

Some examples are:

  • Men like to chase
  • Women want money

But there are also less obvious generalizations, such as “moving quicker is (always) better”, or “making him wait is (always) better”.
Even otherwise, very good sources are not immune to generalizations.

2. Made-Up Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology is the new dismal science.

Not because it’s not good, but because every idiot makes up evolutionary theories.
As a rule of thumb, stay away from anyone who uses evolution to sell something or to support a strong ideology he strongly adheres to (ie.: extremists among feminists and manosphere authors).

3. One-Issue Focus

Some authors or sources focus only on one side of the coin.

These sources give the appearance of being intelligent because they go beyond the mainstream.
But they’re still skewed. 

For example: 

  • Mainstream advice focuses on feelings: it’s PC, and it forgets about power dynamics, diverging sexual interests, and often, what really works
  • Red Pill focuses on sexual conflict: and misses out on the opportunities for cooperation and relationship-management
  • Pick-up advice focuses on active effort: it’s about approaching lots of women, forgetting about deeper power dynamics, and leaving out potentially more efficient strategies 
  • Self-development focuses on passive values: work on yourself, go monk-mode, etc., and forgets that experience matters

All of them are right.
Even in mainstream media, Dr. Phil and Steve Harvey have some good things to say.
But by focusing on one single element of the equation, many authors in those niches miss out on the complete forest.

4. One-Issue Solutions

You know, things like:

  • Get rich
  • Get ripped
  • Get game

Again, they all work.

The problem with one-issue solutions is that they often appeal to guys who are not yet well-rounded enough.
So, the (very) few who do indeed get good with one-issue solutions end up very unbalanced.

A few men do get good at one of those. 
While getting good in just one aspect will increase their SMV, it will not increase it nearly enough compared to those who have taken a wider angle at self-development.

Being rich while still low in mating intelligence only increases the risk you will be used by some gold-diggers.
Do you want to see an example?
Just check out Elon Musk’s relationship with Talulah Riley.

Focusing on “game” only will make you into a barfly, and it will get sadder and sadder the older you get.

And that’s why, at the end of the day, to be successful at both dating and life, you truly do need a holistic approach.

5. Advice Based on What One Prefers (Not What Works)

People often don’t give advice based on what works.
Or even on what they believe.

They give advice based on what they choose and what makes them feel good.
People defend their niche of choice because they need confirmation and reassurance that they are doing it right.

So you get this:

  • The gym guy says muscles get you laid (i.e., “I’m doing it right; follow me”).
  • The PUA says it’s all about the game (i.e., “I’m doing it right; follow me”)
  • The poor guy says it’s all about sexual escalation (i.e., “I’m not at a disadvantage because I don’t get money)
  • The famous guy says it’s all about vibe (i.e., “i’m not getting easy lays because I’m famous; it’s because of my personality”)
  • And those who seek the “lifestyle game” point to the harems of stars and millionaires (i.e., “it’s not that I’m afraid of approaching women; it’s that I’m working the long game”).

And actually, all of the above can be helpful.
But what’s worked for those people won’t necessarily be the best strategy for you.
And it’s certainly not the only strategy for dating success.

Furthermore, in many cases, the most ardent proponents of a certain strategy aren’t even having success with it.

  1. They are trying to convince themselves by convincing others
  2. They are misleading the competition to gain a competitive advantage (a manipulation technique)

Instead, different male types can all be successful, as long as they’re good in their niche.

10 Types of Male Seducers: Pick Your Niche!

6. The Truth: Embrace Complexity & Find Your Own Way

Human social behavior is complex.

Human mating behavior is also complex, with different and sometimes opposing strategies that work or not work depending on the individual, the circumstances, and the culture and environment.

That’s great news.
It means that, if you understand the game, you can find something that works for your personality and the type of friends you like.

Displaying Your Intelligence (The Right Way)


So we get it.
Intelligence matters.

But how do you display it?

This is how, in descending order of importance:

1. Convey Your Sense of Humor

Yes, it’s true that women like men who make them laugh (Bressler et. al., 2005), and good humor predicts mating success (Greengross and Miller, 2011).

And it makes sense for women to like men who make them laugh because a good sense of humor reveals an intelligence of multiple varieties.

Don’t go overboard with the humor, of course. 
The backbone of your conversation should be about getting to know a person, and humor should be sprinkled over it to also make it fun and engaging.

You talk about important stuff, then make a little joke or tease to lighten up the mood. Talk more about important stuff than another joke. And then repeat on a loop.

2. Learn Conversation Skills and Storytelling 

What you did and who you are, are the products.

How you present it is the marketing.
And, as we all know, marketing is important.

When you talk about yourself, are you presenting yourself in the best possible way?

When she asks about the most typical things, such as “what’s your job”, “what do you like doing”, or “what about your exes”, do you have a clear, engaging, and funny response?

If not, that’s your exercise: prepare the answers to these most common questions.

3. Keep Some Myster: Leave Dots to Be Filled 

When you tell your story, it’s always more intriguing to leave some blanks to be filled.

And it’s always more powerful if she asks you for more information, instead of you saying everything.

For example, instead of saying “I moved to the city because I wanted to get a great job”, which is quite plain, you would say:

You: And then I moved here because I’m a guy who demands more from life

More of what?
What else do you demand more of? Maybe you’re also more demanding when it comes to women.
That gets her thinking, and in a very positive way—plus, she invests more mental cycles in you.

4. Focus On The Conversation (& On Her)

There is nothing worse than a conversation partner whose eyes keep darting around, who is distracted, and who cannot keep his focus.

It’s not just bad for the conversation; it also communicates many negative traits.
So when you do something, learn to give it your full focus. Including your conversations.

5. Do Talk Feelings and Emotions

Many guys think that talking about feelings and emotions is effeminate.

Well, many guys don’t get laid much.

This doesn’t mean you have to cry or only talk about feelings and emotions.
But when talking about something touching and important, do ask her “how did that make you feel”.
And when you talk about your story, add what it means to you. How you felt when you did whatever you did

Being able to talk and convey feelings communicates emotional intelligence and makes women feel more understood and at ease.

Also, as a nice power move, you can mix emotions with sexual hints. See an example here:

text example of mixing art, emotions, and feelings

6. Use More Nonverbal Expressions

In a politically incorrect forum post, I describe why Slavic men are not stereotypes of lovers and why Latin men are.

One of the reasons is that Eastern men use almost zero facial expressions, a flat voice tonality, and little hand gestures.

That communicates emotional distance, and women feel like there is a gulf between you two.
Instead, learn to use your face as a communication tool.

You can even take acting classes to improve your facial expressions.

And since you’re there, do use more hand gestures as well, and active listening is highlighted by interjections such as “ah-ah”, “hm-hm” and “I see”. 
All of these have been proven effective in increasing attraction.

7. Showcase Creativity and Creative Skills

Creativity starts with the way you dress and groom.

Are you bland, plain, and boring?
Or do you communicate your personality and taste with the way you dress and groom?

And of course, it goes all the way up to everything artistic you do and appreciate.

There is a good reason why women love creative men: creativity and intelligence are tightly linked.
So if you can play an instrument, talk about it and put one in your room. Then play it when she comes over—it’s not corny, it’s effective.

A friend of mine used to play guitar and sing for the ladies. Then, to take some of the edge off, he’d say: “I used to be very romantic…”.
That hints at some darker story in his life. What happened to him? And maybe she could be able to make him love again?

romantic and mating intelligent man plays guitar

And of course, the way your house looks and the ambiance and vibe it communicates says so much about you that you can’t really leave it up to chance.

8. Teach Her and Explain Things

Don’t be afraid of the 1% of angry women who coined the term “mansplaining”.

You don’t need me to tell you that many women love their teachers and professors, right?

Women love it when a man can explain things to them.
As long as he can do it well, of course.

Doing it well means you can explain things in an entertaining way, relating them back to her life and to you two.

Teaching well is also attractive to women because men will also be good at teaching children.

9. Be Intelligently Humble

One mistake some people make is that they feel they need to show off.

Huge mistakes: braggarts come across as social retards.

And they do it when they don’t know sh*t, too.
That has the opposite effect and makes them come across as total douchebags.

Humble means knowing your limits and not being afraid of admitting them.
Remember: the greatest strength is knowing your weaknesses.

10. Be Curious About Her and Her Story

One of the most underrated traits of intelligent people is curiosity.

When someone talks about something you don’t know about, ask more, ask for more, and ask for examples.
The attitude must be “I don’t know about it; tell me more”.

I always ask so much when I don’t know about something because I’m genuinely curious.
And I always ask for examples. Or even pictures.
When a girl tells me she draws or cooks, I always ask to see some pictures.
It gives her a chance to show off (soft power) and makes her invest more in the relationship.

11. Use “Philosophers’ Frames”

Philosophers’ frames make you sound smart, erudite, and powerful.

For frames, please check “frame control” or, more in-depth, Power University.

12. Listen More (AKA: Know When to Shut Up) 

No matter how well you are talking, it’s often better to let your speaking partner talk more.

However, that doesn’t mean that you just let the conversation develop randomly.
Indeed, it’s best to combine listening and power with this last advice:

13. Act Like a Host

Direct the conversation as if you were the host of that conversation.

Your goal is to make that conversation entertaining and fun while you also get to know her more in an atmosphere of emotional safety where you are not going to judge her.

Being a good host who directs the conversation for mutual gain combines power and kindness at the same time.
And it’s what will truly make you stand out.


Intelligence matters in dating.

Intelligence is also not just a trait that we select for, but the meta-trait that allows us to play the dating game itself.
Mating intelligence is the most relevant type of intelligence when it comes to dating and relationships, and it can be increased with conscious effort.

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