What Sexual Attraction Actually Feels Like

Photo: New Africa / Shutterstock
woman and man flirting
Sex

What does sexual attraction feel like?

Is it the butterflies in your stomach, the wave of anxiousness that rushes over you, and the giddy laugh you get when you have a crush on someone?

According to a study on interpersonal chemistry in friendships and romantic relationships, your brain knows right when you meet a person what kind of relationship you want with them.

That's why you experience both a physical feeling and romantic attraction when you meet someone and your brain tells you whether or not you want to pursue the relationship because you're feeling sexual.

Sexual attraction works in mysterious ways, and it's not just about personality traits, interests, and whether you're physically attracted to a person.

What does sexual attraction feel like?

RELATED: 15 Men Explain The Major Differences Between Sexual Attraction & Intense Chemistry

The science of sexual attraction is very complicated and hard to understand, however, we can tell by a few signs of sexual attraction how it works. 

Sexual attraction isn't just about wanting to rip each other's clothes off. It's also about feeling a genuine spark or a connection with a person romantically and sexually.

When you're sexually attracted to someone, you experience a type of feeling that you can't even describe what it feels like, you just know, and it can be both positive and negative. 

According to relationship coach Keith Dent, for a man, his nether region will sort of dictate his sexual attraction to a person as he will become sexually aroused. "It's those specific physical things that you are attracted to. The attraction goes up a notch if there's some flirtatious conversation going on, especially if it is received and reciprocated." 

For some people, when they experience sexual attraction, it's a positive feeling, so much so that seeing them is more exciting than the feeling you get before receiving your delicious dinner or dessert at a restaurant.

However, for others, sexual attraction can be a negative feeling, linked to feelings that stem from past sexual trauma. "In today's dating environment men need to be careful and gauge that the flirtatious banter is okay," said Dent.

Whether positive or negative, you will definitely feel something when you are sexually attracted to someone. 

How do you know when you're sexually attracted to someone?

1. Your body is giving you signs.

According to hypnotherapist Keya Murthy, sexual attraction feels raw and real as it's a feeling that's instantaneous in your body

"You might know nothing about the person and yet can't stop looking at the person or thinking about the person. Sexual attraction often feels like an obsession. It is a 24/7 emotion you carry around with you no matter where you are," she explains. "Sexual attraction is the most powerful attraction and is easy to take over you and also easiest to get over when not supported by emotional attraction."

2. It feels easy with this person.

You might not even realize this, but somehow talking and connecting with this person is so easy even though you don't know much or anything about this person. You might even feel like you're being pulled to this person like a magnet because the two of you attract each other. 

3. You can't stop thinking about this person.

After meeting someone who you're sexually attracted to, you will start to think about them often because there's something about them that makes you intrigued or turns you on. You might go to bed thinking of them and then again when you wake up.

4. Your body mimics the person you're sexually attracted to.

For some reason when we are sexually attracted to someone, our bodies can sometimes tell us faster than our minds. You might start to mimic movements and experience interactional synchrony with the person you're sexually attracted to, including facial expressions, body language/movements, and the way they laugh or even talk.

RELATED: How To Tell A Kink From A Fetish (& Why Attraction Is NOT The Same)

5. You feel very warm.

You might feel this even more if you've been drinking, but when you're sexually attracted to someone you might get hot and flustered and feel the heat rise up from your toes up your body. Your heartbeat increases and you might even start to sweat a little if you're nervous as well. 

"Sexual attraction has no thoughts or emotions involved, it is purely sexual," says Murthy.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

6. You can't stop looking at this person.

Something about being sexually attracted to someone makes you not take your eyes off of them. You keep making eye contact with them, staring at them, and cannot stop checking them out. 

7. You keep touching them.

Just subtle touches, but you want to feel this person and let them know that you are sexually attracted to them. You might not even realize you are doing it but when you laugh you might touch them on the arm or shoulder. Playful touching is a major sign of sexual attraction. 

8. You remember the small things.

If you have a conversation with someone you're sexually attracted to, you might remember small details from a simple conversation you had with them. It might be something like what their favorite movie is or a story about their childhood or college story.

Whatever the case is, there's something that they told you that you will remember because you have created this bond between the two of you.

9. You are attracted to their smell.

Smell actually plays an important role in sexual attraction because according to science, when you're sexually attracted to someone, a "releaser pheromone" is involved through compounds androstenone, androstadienone, and androstenol.

10. Other people tell you that they can sense the sexual attraction.

Sometimes it's so easy to tell when two people are sexually attracted to each other because so many people can see it.

It's not too hard to realize when two people have great sexual chemistry with each other. Your friends might comment and tell you how cute the two of you look and that they can see the sexual attraction radiating off the two of you, sparks literally do fly!

RELATED: 7 Super-Bizarre Things You Never Knew About Sexual Attraction

Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.