The Psychology Behind Sexual Attraction: How We Become Attracted

psychology behind sexual attraction

Other Factors That May Affect How We Become Sexually Attracted To Someone

1. Other People’s Description Of You

Another study the author points to – which I thought was very interesting – is a classic study from 1965, which looked at how attractive we perceived people to be, depending on how others had described them. 

Descriptions were divided into four categories: solely positive, solely negative, negative initially then positive, positive initially then negative.

“The study showed that what people liked the most and what leads to the most attraction, was that the person who described you had gone from disliking to liking you.”

This may prompt you to ask a few follow-up questions. That’s what happened to me, anyway. 

  • Could it be that the results indicate a human inclination for competitiveness? 
  • Or is it a question of a sense of achievement – When a person goes from disliking to liking you, we feel we’ve somehow deserved it, and we feel attraction?

2. Slip-ups

Another study in Lehmiller’s book looked at clumsiness and awkward mistakes and how they affect how sexually attracted to someone we feel. 

“The study showed that when people we view as successful and clever make minor mistakes – like spilling wine on their shirt – we find them more attractive.”

It’s thought that successful people (at least people who we perceive as successful) become more human to us when they make minor mistakes, and that’s what increases the power of attraction.

But, we feel less attracted to people we think of as mediocre when they slip up in a similar way. (Seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it?)

Related: Sapiosexual, Intelligence, And Attraction at work

On A Concluding Note:

Understanding the psychology behind sexual attraction isn’t always straightforward. How we become sexually attracted to someone isn’t always clear-cut. Sometimes it has to do with how successful we perceive a person to be, other times it has to do with winning people over, or the fact that we as individuals have similar personalities.

By learning more about what sparks attraction, you can more easily regain attraction that’s once been lost, by focusing on the things that drew you in before. 

Written By Leigh Noren
Originally published on Therapy by Leigh
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The Psychology Behind Sexual Attraction: How We Become Attracted
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Leigh Noren, MSc

Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer specialized in low libido, orgasmic difficulties, communication and relationship difficulties. She's been featured in Glamour, The Tab, Babe, Sexography, The Good Men Project and more. Leigh offers free online resources for a better sex life and happier relationship, sex therapy and online courses at her website www.therapybyleigh.comView Author posts