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What is physical attraction?


1Eleven1

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This has probably been discussed before, but all the same I want to ask. My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a month now and we're very happy together. Recently, I talked to my parents about us since we're long distance and I've been able to come out to more and more of my friends. I mentioned to one of my very close friends, who has been in sexual relationships before, that I wasn't interested in doing anything sexual with him at the point, and she said "But... you're physically attracted to him, right?" And I sort of stared at her and she said "You have to be physically attracted to him at least!". I just told her that I was and left it at that... but what does physical attraction mean, and what does it feel like? Does she mean I find him visually attractive? I'm a little confused.

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Sockstealingnome

I think it means wanting to touch, caress, hug, cuddle, or anything physical short of sex. Finding him visually appealing would be aesthetic attraction.

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Means different things for different people. I have asked many people what that means and no one gives me exactly the same answer and none of the answers make sense to me anyway. I pretty much came to the conclusion that it means when you see a person, you want to do physical things with them, whatever those physical things are depends on what the person is comfortable doing. At least in my experience - some have said "you know, you just want to kiss them" or "you want to bang them" or others might say "you just want those big, strong arms wrapped around you". But they say this about strangers, so it has nothing to do with personality, just their looks.

Most people I know consider finding someone "hot" very important. I personally have never felt the need or want to do anything with a person based on their looks, so I still get very confused at the explanations people give me when I ask them. To me it's kind of like someone trying to describe the color "red" to a blind person, no matter what, I can't feel it so I don't quite get it.

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Bellaitalia

Physical attraction I feel is aesthetic. You admire the way they look and wouldn't be turned off if they kissed you. I can think someone is physically really good looking but be completely turned off if they would express interest in me. And someone could be not that good looking and I would still be interested in a romantic way. Basically, it's someones personality that plays a huge part in it, but then also their morals, goals, mannerisms, hobbies, attitude and looks come close as well. You may not want to do sexual things with your boyfriend but that doesn't mean that you aren't physically attracted to him; you're just not sexually attracted. I guess it depends on what exactly you'd be okay doing with him.

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The Bearded One

What 1Eleven1 and Liara say.

I don't feel attraction until I start "talking" to someone, usually nonverbally (eye contact, facial expression, gesture, posture, personal space). By talking to someone I am learning about their mind, rather than their body, so that wouldn't be physical attraction, would it?

I don't experience physical attraction as far as I know.

I do experience aesthetic attraction. They "look good". Then I want to look at them, not move closer or touch them.

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It is for this reason - there seems to be so much ambiguity over what physical attraction is - that when someone DOES ask me about it, I try to be very careful in my response. I reply pretty much what has already been said - I know when someone is beautiful or pretty but I don't find them sexually attractive and have no desire to sleep with them.

I know it doesn't exactly help answer the 1Eleven1's question, but it is my two cents!

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I feel that physical attraction is a desire to do something with someone that stimulates your senses other than sight. Mostly touch, but for me also smell and sound, being physically close enough to them so you can experience those.

Example, there's a friend of a friend who I seem to be only physically attracted to, in the way I just described. Not sexually attracted to her and not really aesthetically either, but I do want to hug her and tickle her and stuff like that. Even more so than with my best female friend, which I still have a hard time getting my head around.

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Prince of Tea

Sensual attraction, perhaps?

That's immediately what I thought of.

I do experience sensual attraction. It often manifests as wanting to cuddle with someone, play with their hair, maybe even kiss them. I'm aro-ace and I still get these feelings about people that I'd classify as sensual attraction. I also experience aesthetic attraction, too. So I don't know if maybe these types of attraction are what's meant by physical attraction or not.

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Missundaztood

I'm not very clear on this either. I'm probably way off. -_-

I think Aesthetic Attraction would be like admiring a beautiful picture. You admire a person from a distance but feel no need to act upon it.

Physical attraction would be finding someone appealing to you physically and wanting to be around/close to them, etc.

Sexual Attraction having the desire to do sexual things with someone and just thinking of them in sexual ways. I heard my friend she say she wanted to do so and so thing to this girl she liked. O_O Awkward moment...

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Sockstealingnome

I don't think you'll get a clear definition from sexuals since for them, sexual attraction is accompanied by physical attraction and wanting to touch and kiss their object of desire. We may never come to clearly define what physical attraction is here but I suggest not answering yes again in the future for reasons stated above. Unless of course you would like to engage in those things with a person. It's just all too easily misconstrued since we all have differing definitions.

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Sexuals don't feel anything different... there's not some secret "sexual attraction" feeling. It's just being tingly, nervous around them, excited to see them... all the same stuff you feel. We just also want to have sex. That doesn't mean we want to have sex the moment we see someone we're attracted to, that doesn't mean we imagine fucking them or that all we can think about is sex. It's more like we feel the giddyness, blushiness, weak-kneed-ness, and once we're around the person and we're in a situation where sex makes sense, we'd maybe like some sexual interaction. That's it.

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Sockstealingnome

Sexuals don't feel anything different... there's not some secret "sexual attraction" feeling. It's just being tingly, nervous around them, excited to see them... all the same stuff you feel. We just also want to have sex. That doesn't mean we want to have sex the moment we see someone we're attracted to, that doesn't mean we imagine fucking them or that all we can think about is sex. It's more like we feel the giddyness, blushiness, weak-kneed-ness, and once we're around the person and we're in a situation where sex makes sense, we'd maybe like some sexual interaction. That's it.

Fair enough. I'm an aro ace so I can't speak from a perspective of how romantic attraction can make a person feel.

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Physical attraction to me seems like something more "physical." their looks. Do you find them beautiful or handsome? Another words. Sexual attraction would seem to imply that it is of a sexual nature, meaning that, you might become aroused at either the sight or thought of them. It might actually be triggered by a physical attraction, but if you are asexual then sexual attraction may be detracted from the equasion. It would blossom into more of an emotional attraction where by you become endeared to the person through a more romantic means, I.e. the need to touch, hold, hug, cuddle, talk, joke and laugh, etc.

I have come to believe I am asexual. I am very attracted to some people. Meaning, I find them physically attractive and then once I get to know them then it progresses into a more emotional or romantic type of attraction but I dont want to have sex with them. The thought never crosses my mind because I dont have a sex drive. None the less, I still might feel a, "tenderness" (for lack of a better term) for someone.

Having no sex drive allows a person to really soul search and realize a lot of things. We understand things on a level that most "normal" people will never understand, like: sex does not mean you love someone. Sex is an urge or a desire based on physical response. If sex were about love then you would want to have sex with anyone you loved or found attractive. Its quantifiably physical, not emotional. If it werent then there would be no one with a lack of sex drive because having a mere attraction to someone would be enough to light your fire.

Also, I have a problem with sex therapists saying that its all mental. Back in my younger years...waaaaayyyy younger years, (try 22years ago) when i was just a teenager, there was an incident where a boy touched me, on accident, and I wont bore you with details, in a sensitive place. Of course he got slapped and he oppologized but in that split second, I felt a tinge of arousel and I didn't even find him attractive.

In a well oiled machine, it is simply a physical response.

Bottom line, physical and sexual attraction are two different things.

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As Skullery said, how attraction itself feels isn't any different, there's no big mystery behind different distinctions other than the feelings that come after the initial attraction. Attraction is merely attraction, a catching of one's attention. So unless you're desiring to be with the guy because of his looks, or because of something more tactile with his body, I doubt the attraction could be called a physical one.

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