Romantic Attraction vs. Sexual Attraction: Learn the Difference

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Sunday September 20, 2020

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It’s thrilling to meet someone new who captures your attention. You may have found them through a dating app or a local event you volunteered at. No matter how you met this person, they’ve got your heartstrings in a twist because you’re not sure how you feel.

Sometimes people make romantic connections and other times, the only thing keeping two people together is their sexual attraction to each other. How can you tell which is the case with this new person in your life?

Check out a few of the key differences when it comes to romantic attraction vs. sexual attraction. See if you experience any of these things with your special someone to determine your relationship status and if they hold a place in your future. 

Romantic: You Feel Nervous Butterflies

When you answer the phone or open a text from your current interest, you feel the fluttering of nervous butterflies in your gut. Everyone experiences them at one point or another, and they’re a great sign that you have romantic feelings about the person on the other end of the phone.

This particular sensation occurs when your brain communicates with your gut about your sudden nerves. You most likely feel nervous because a tiny part of your heart has opened to this person, leaving you more vulnerable. Women tend to find certain traits attractive in men and may feel nervous when encountering these characteristics in a prospective romantic interest. Love is all about vulnerability, so consider nervous butterflies a sure sign of a romantic spark.

Romantic: You Love to Talk

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, especially when it’s a romantic one. When you’re daydreaming about what you’ll learn about your potential partner or reminiscing on a conversation that took your last phone call late into the night, you’re probably at the start of a romantic journey together.

Getting to know someone builds on that personal connection that’s the foundation for a romantic relationship. It opens the door to becoming partners, friends and learning to share insecurities to strengthen the bond you share. Each conversation brings you closer together, making life more fun to share with your partner.

Sexual: You Get Bored Quickly

At the same time, you may get bored quickly when conversations begin. Texting doesn’t lead to substantial conversational topics or you both find it awkward to sit down and chat. Instead, you may use your time together only to enjoy sexual activities. 

It’s healthy to consensually explore what you like and dislike with whoever you’re attracted to, but those people won’t always be relationship material. If you get bored easily when they talk to you or prefer to change the subject when things get personal, it’s likely that you only feel a sexual attraction towards them.

Sexual: You Only Experience Physical Thoughts

When you imagine this new person in your life, you mostly daydream about what you enjoy doing with each other. The chemistry is so intense that you can’t keep your hands off each other every time you see them. Even when you’re apart, you only think of them when it’s related to your sexual interests, not because you’re thinking about their health or wellbeing.

Sexual attraction is only concerned about the present moment. The next time you think about the person who holds your interest, watch your thoughts. Rarely thinking about their mental and emotional wellbeing is a sign that you’re sexually compatible, but maybe not romantically attracted to them.

Romantic: You Think of the Future

Romance often leads to long-term plans. You imagine introducing your love interest to your friends, schedule cute seasonal dates and even value the little things, like strolls along a downtown street. The more you picture this person in your future, the brighter it looks.

Sexual attraction is more about the present moment. Romance results in great sex, but you’ll also want your partner to meet your parents and eventually move in with you. Daydreaming about these things or looking forward to them at all means you’re falling in love.

Ask the Right Questions

Determining where you stand with romantic attraction vs. sexual attraction comes down to asking the right questions. Do you look forward to a future together? Do you only talk about when you should hook up next? The answers to these kinds of questions will give you an answer and help you figure out what you’re feeling.

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