It was sometime in early 2022 that I found myself reading a few romance novels. I remember being mildly annoyed about how most of the books had instant chemistry/attraction as part of the plot. Then I suddenly found myself wondering, how do I feel if and when I feel attraction? I think I have probably never felt instant attraction. When I look at a good looking man/woman I just feel an appreciation for their beauty, like how I would feel looking at a beautiful painting or photograph. At most all I feel is a wish is to look at them a few times more than is appropriate. I don’t remember how it feels like to feel attraction towards someone I have feelings for. The last time I felt strong feelings for someone was many years ago and I can’t recall my feelings now. I am very curious to know how other people feel when they experience attraction towards someone. How does it feel physically, and what thoughts and/or feelings do you experience? Also, do you consider chemistry and attraction to be the same or different? How?

  • @thorbot@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    316 months ago

    When you see them, time slows down. Your palms get sweaty and it becomes difficult to form coherent thoughts. Your heart races with the swells of love and-

    Oh wait that’s meth

  • @HikingVet@lemmy.ca
    link
    fedilink
    27
    edit-2
    6 months ago

    Hey OP, have you ever heard of the Split Attraction Model (SAM)? I found myself with similar questions a few years ago, and since I have realised that there is other people who have had the same experience and that we actually have a name for the experience.

    You stated that you feel aesthetic attraction, but have a difficult time figuring out wether you are “attracted” to people.

    My suggestion is to look up Aromantic and Asexual identities. But that’s totally up to you to decide if you want to. Aven and The Trevor Project are good places to start.

    There are Aromantic and Asexual communities here on Lemmy, as well as Reddit. The latter being more populated and all being fairly welcoming (there are a few idiots who gatekeep), at least when I left Reddit.

    Hope this helps.

    • businessfish
      link
      fedilink
      English
      126 months ago

      came here to post almost exactly this. it’s pretty interesting and rare seeing someone questioning this sort of thing outside of a dedicated asexual community. i’m glad lemmy has people like you who are welcoming and well-informed!

      • @HikingVet@lemmy.ca
        link
        fedilink
        66 months ago

        I agree that it’s rare to see these questions outside the war room. Need all the recruits we can get for Denmark.

        Jokes aside, just trying to extend the same sort of kindness thay was shown to me when I was questioning.

        • BeboOP
          link
          English
          36 months ago

          I am so glad that lemmy is inclusive enough to entertain my questions in a general community. The answers that people have given here have definitely helped me in making some sense of attraction.

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      46 months ago

      This was quite helpful, thanks. Last year I did read up a bit online and realised that I experience aesthetic attraction. From there I wandered into the demisexual sub on reddit and lurked there for a while. Even though I do experience some of what demisexuals experience, I have never had a crush on any friend, something demisexuals report quite frequently. Maybe I am somewhere on the asexuality spectrum, but don’t know where exactly. I will check out the links you mentioned and lurk around the asexuality communities.

  • @Maddie@sh.itjust.works
    link
    fedilink
    English
    216 months ago

    For me, it’s a primal thing, it’s not something that’s you think about. Like you see someone and it’s not like you stop and think through things and decide that you want to do this or that with them. It’s just this deep instinctual thing, you just want them. It’s almost like hunger, it’s not something you have control over, more it’s controlling you in part

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      96 months ago

      OK I think that makes some sense, comparing it with hunger. Interesting.

  • Call me Lenny/Leni
    link
    fedilink
    English
    86 months ago

    Physically… nothing. Not in the strict sense. I caution myself when mentioning I am asexual, people have so many misinterpretations around it, but typically it means we look at someone and don’t feel attraction to “them”. People talk about things like “look at his abs”, “I fantasize about him after hours”, etc. and that’s not what comes to my mind. A good way of explaining it is, list every characteristic that can make you attracted to someone and then subtract all the things that will ever help you in the bedroom. That is asexuality.

    However, that doesn’t mean absolutely no physical feelings are possible/exist (the “a” in “asexual” exists in the same way as the “homo” in “homosexual”, not the “para” in “parasexual”) or that someone cannot develop profound mental/emotional feelings around someone. Many asexuals have turn-ons, often something that to an observer would seem completely mundane and which is a mentally ingrained theme mutually exclusive from any person it can be applied to. I feel like the whole atmosphere feels different under some situations as I look to someone. It feels like a total rush, though because of the asexuality, my mind doesn’t connect the hypothetical situation to the other person being in a relationship with me.

    As for mentally and emotionally, the few people who I might be able to count on are the only things that have any gravitational effect on me. I am drawn to them as they embody my thought processes and give my drift an anchor.

  • @Seleni@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    66 months ago

    For me, ‘attraction’ is simply being physically attracted to them; a fluttering in the chest, so to speak, enjoying the eye candy…

    When it changes to ‘love’ though, I found my thoughts to be more on wanting to take care of them, seeing them smile, being happy when they are happy. It goes beyond the superficial and the physical. I suppose the best way I can describe it is it makes my soul sing.

    I think the Ancient Greeks, with their words for different kinds of love, were more on point with these sorts of things.

    Chemistry is something different again. Lust and Love are all well and good, but you need more than that to make a relationship work. You need mental maturity on the part of both parties, the willingness to move beyond and work through problems, and something of a similar life trajectory in order to make love last.

  • @captainlezbian@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    56 months ago

    A beautiful man is like a gorgeous painting to me. I don’t want to fuck that painting though, it’s just nice to look at. A beautiful woman on the other hand is like a massive meal after a fast. I’m filled with a consumptive desire influenced by the state of my body and my emotional experience. But ultimately it’s either my body taking the reins and telling me what I want, or me not being in the mood but knowing that’s what my body will want.

    And it’s a multi sensory experience. Vision is nice, but omg scent, and touch, and the sound of her voice…

    Chemistry is different. It’s the way you flow together. It acts as a multiplier. With good chemistry someone can go from somewhat attractive to very and bad chemistry can kill attraction. But it can’t make attraction from nothing.

  • @dingus@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    56 months ago

    OP, do you date? I’m similar to you in that I can’t really feel attraction that way. I tried dating once forever ago and it just felt like I was lying to the other person because I couldn’t feel the same way. So I never tried since. But sometimes things get lonely.

    So I’ve wondered if it would be beneficial or not for someone like us to date.

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      26 months ago

      I tried for a short while then gave up. As of now don’t find it beneficial really.

  • all-knight-party
    link
    fedilink
    56 months ago

    I think chemistry and attraction are different. I’d say how attraction feels depends on how strong you feel it, but at its basic initial level you think they look good and would like to spend time alone with them to get to know them.

    Chemistry I think is much deeper and has more layers. If you had chemistry in every way It implies that on a personality level you two see eye to eye on most major opinions, such as politically, hobbies, types of film genres or video games, you both like/dislike casual drinking or smoking weed, you both prefer dogs to cats, etc.

    Basically chemistry, to me, is how smooth it is transitioning from living by yourself to with that person, how much of your everyday life decisions and your personality traits/humor naturally sync up.

  • @Papanca@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    English
    56 months ago

    I think it’s a spectrum, ranging from being completely asexual to the other end of the range. Also, i would guess that the mind plays a big role in it too. For instance, people who have a very romantic nature - way of looking at relationships - will probably have other thoughts, feelings and expectations than people who are, say, more down to earth. It’s probably a mixture of bodily sensations, personality (both yours and the other’s) and mental thoughts about it.

    Also, whether someone is open to attraction or not.

    I would say to not let anyone or any book tell you what and how you are supposed to feel. Trying to put labels on oneself or others is not helpful at all.

    • @HikingVet@lemmy.ca
      link
      fedilink
      26 months ago

      I’ll say on the topic of labels: if you find one that fits, great! Go with it. You don’t need them, but they sure can help with a sense of self.

      • @Papanca@lemmy.world
        link
        fedilink
        English
        16 months ago

        My issue with labels is that they can also be imprisoning in some way. If you say; i am this, then you might feel that there is something wrong if you don’t fit in it a 100% But if they help, then good :-)

        • @captainlezbian@lemmy.world
          link
          fedilink
          26 months ago

          At the same time they can be great communication tools. I use the label lesbian as a way to inform people who I might be attracted to as well as who I definitely won’t.

  • AdaM
    link
    fedilink
    English
    46 months ago

    To me, romance feels like friendship without boundaries. It’s not something I feel quickly or when I first see someone. It’s something that has to develop over time, because it’s based on friendship.

    Physical attraction, it’s desire… It’s usually in the moment, and can and does occur with people I don’t know. It’s noticing their features… feeling my eyes drawn to them

    What’s interesting though is that I can experience romantic attraction to anyone (but it seems I’m more likely to experience it with women), but my physical attraction tends to be towards men and masc folk.

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      16 months ago

      For me I have found that a good friendship is having a deep intellectual and emotional connection with someone. However there is no attraction involved, no jealousy, nothing. The one time I had feelings for someone (which I realised after 2.5 years working with them) I found that I just liked everything about them: their smile, voice, how they talked, etc. This was the first time I even felt a little jealousy. And I also yearned for a deeper emotional and intellectual connection. This person wasn’t even a close friend. So friendship and love has some overlap for me, but are different.

      • AdaM
        link
        fedilink
        English
        16 months ago

        It’s descriptions like that that make me wonder if I’m aromantic in some fashion, because I don’t have anything like that.

        • BeboOP
          link
          English
          16 months ago

          For me that experience made me realise that I can get romantic feelings but very rarely (it’s happened only once).

    • @Seleni@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      16 months ago

      Well, you shouldn’t close yourself off just because you’re afraid. But don’t force yourself into trying to love either, just because you think you ‘need’ to be in a relationship. That sort of thing rarely goes well.

      If you’re having trouble ‘getting back out there’, it’s probably easiest to develop hobbies, and meet people that way. Then you have a better chance of finding someone walking a similar path to you, which at the very least means you get a good friend out of the deal.

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      16 months ago

      The last time I had feelings for someone… it was in 2012 and I realised it after having worked together for more than 2.5 years. However it was one sided and it hurt. That much I remember. However, I didn’t feel physical attraction. I remember wishing for a deeper emotional and intellectual connection. To be honest, since then I think I do feel a little scared of getting emotionally attached to anyone because it had hurt a lot.

  • Sombyr
    link
    fedilink
    46 months ago

    Most of the time, it feels to me just like a logical conclusion. Like “hmm, yes, this person has traits I generally find attractive. I am thus attracted to them.”
    There’s of course a physical attribute to it too, where I feel strongly drawn to the person, but it feels more like the result of the previous logical conclusion rather than the source of the attraction itself.

    The one and only exception to this that I’ve experienced thus far was my attraction to my wife. It was an instant click. My first thought after meeting her was that I needed to get closer with her. It’s worth noting I didn’t actually know what she looked like yet (we met online) and barely knew anything about her personality besides she was funny and apparently had similar hobbies to me (though I didn’t know which hobbies, I’d just been told that.)
    I didn’t connect it as attraction at first though, because I’d never experienced attraction like that before. I just wanted to be really good friends with her. I was really happy whenever she showed up. I enjoyed every conversation I had with her way more than it felt like I should.
    Then slowly those feelings grew, never changing, only getting stronger. At a certain point, when I started to realize every second I was away from her, I was wishing she was there, and every time I was sad or upset about something, she was the one I wanted to go to for comfort, it finally clicked that I was attracted to her, at least in some way.
    It wasn’t until we were already dating that it finally fully clicked that I’d been in love with her the whole time.
    Physically I’d say my attraction to her felt… I guess like heart burn? That’s the closest physical sensation I can think of. Like that, but not painful. Like a fullness in my chest every time I thought about her.

    Also as far as chemistry and attraction goes, definitely different things. There are people I’ve been attracted to that I meshed horrifically with. Just because I like certain traits in theory doesn’t mean I could actually stand those traits in practice.

    • BeboOP
      link
      English
      26 months ago

      These were very interesting descriptions.

    • @stealth_cookies@lemmy.ca
      link
      fedilink
      26 months ago

      The one and only exception to this that I’ve experienced thus far was my attraction to my wife. It was an instant click. My first thought after meeting her was that I needed to get closer with her. It’s worth noting I didn’t actually know what she looked like yet (we met online) and barely knew anything about her personality besides she was funny and apparently had similar hobbies to me (though I didn’t know which hobbies, I’d just been told that.)

      Its funny how something so simple can make us have those feelings. I’ve had it from just hearing a woman laughing and thinking “I’ve got to get to know this girl”.

  • @RBWells@lemmy.world
    link
    fedilink
    46 months ago

    Well, you are right that romance novels are not a realistic image of attraction.

    I am not really attracted to guys based on their looks. Either they look good enough that I can be attracted to them IF they are otherwise attractive to me (in wit and kindness and the way they move, everything else that makes someone hot) or they don’t look good enough and no matter how hot they are in other ways my brain has screened them out.

    Humans, male, female or other, can be so beautiful physically and I can see it and want to look at them because they are beautiful. But that is entirely separate from the sexual attraction. There’s nobody who looks good enough I could be attracted just by looks.