Sexual attraction: What's the difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction?

317 Answers
Last Updated: 10/02/2018 at 9:30am
Sexual attraction: What's the difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction?
★ This question about LGBTQ+ was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
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Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
November 27th, 2014 1:04am
Sexual attraction is typically defined as a pull or allure toward a specific person in which you wish to partake in sexual activities with them. It's looking at a person and having a feeling that makes you think "I'd like to have sex with them." Romantic attraction, on the other hand, is typically defined as a similar pull or allure toward a specific person, but instead of a sexual desire, it's a romantic desire. It's when you look at someone and have a feeling that makes you think "I'd like to do romantic things with them." What those romantic things entail depends on the person. For some, it may be dates, dinners, holding hands, and cuddling. Others may include kissing with that. Others may not like anything that involves touching. Whatever activities, thoughts, and feelings you think of when you consider what is "romantic," those are what you'd think about, feel toward, and want to do with someone you are romantically attracted to.
Anonymous - Expert in LGBTQ+
June 14th, 2016 3:30am
Me and my best friend have been friends for 3 years... and recently we have been spending a lot more time texting and seeing each other... we have spent the night together twice which was great but he is not physically attractive to me but he is sweet... kind... really cares for me and i feel like he knows everything about me and me him which makes me really trust him. Can you spend the rest of your life with someone who u dont find them physically attractive?
Erynn
November 29th, 2014 8:37am
Sexual attraction is having feelings of a sexual nature - you would like to have a sexual relation with this person - either in real life, or in fantasy. Romantic attraction is having feelings of a romantic, but not sexual, nature. It's perhaps wanting to kiss, cuddle, but maybe even less physical things like say I love you and go on dates and do the emotional-caring part of a relationship but not necessarily with the physical parts of a relationship. Often, sexual attraction and romantic attraction happen at the same time, but not always. Sometimes people are only sexually attracted to a person, or only romantically attracted.
EmeliaKate
July 25th, 2015 5:04pm
People often speak of the two as if they're the same thing, or as if they always come together, but the reality is that they are two separate things. Romantic attraction is what we tend to think of as "love" - you feel a strong emotional connection to a person and want to spend time alone in their company. Sometimes it is accompanied by sexual attraction, which is where you want to engage in physical (sexual) contact with that person. Sexual attraction doesn't have to be accompanied by romantic attraction or visa versa. Some people feel both, or one, or neither. This video explains some of the different ways that human sexuality and identity can be divided into its distinct aspects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXAoG8vAyzI
eternalBubbles87
November 27th, 2014 9:26pm
Romantic attraction is when you would like to develop a romantic relationship. A sexual attraction is when you want to develop a sexual relationship
Marto
December 4th, 2014 7:21am
Well, this is a very difficult answer. I'm sorry for the wall of text: Romantic attraction can be completely platonic in nature. There can be no trace of sexuality in it. A gay guy can feel it for a straight girl. It can be anything from spiritual, intellectual, emotional. Of course it can encompass all of them, and also be sexual. But they are not necessarily inclusive, and they are not mutually exclusive. At the same time, sexual attraction can be purely physical. It's my opionion, of course, but I don't believe they have to overlap. I believe someone can have a sexual relationship with somebody without that marring or hurting an emotional relationship they have with someone else. I don't believe it's cheating, as long as everything is talked about from the beginning and they go through the basic notions of what it's to be expected of each other. Of course, if there isn't an explicit agreement, and you hide from your SO that you're having sexual relationships, even if you consider them to be meaningless, then it'd be wrong, it'd be cheating. I believe in honesty and full disclosure. Everything else is second to that.
Sweetlolly11
June 28th, 2015 2:06am
Sexual attraction comes first. You want to touch that person, feel their presence, kiss them and so on. Their body excites you, their looks attract you. Romantic attraction needs time - once you get to know the person, the way they say something, the look they have in their eye when they talk about their passion, and how all that makes you smile - now, that's romantic attraction :)
GwenTG
December 21st, 2014 7:18pm
Sexual orientation: Orientation of genders to which one experiences sexual (erotic) attraction usually expressed with sexual interactions, fantasy, lust, and stimulation. Romantic orientation: Orientations of genders to which one experiences romantic (love) attraction expressed by interpersonal bonding, relationship-building, and emotion.
chamomilecompanion
November 26th, 2014 11:10pm
Romantic attraction deals with trust and respect on an emotional level. You feel supported and cared for and do the same for your partner.
LifeWithoutYouIsNewToo
August 1st, 2015 7:21am
Sexual attraction is just when you are interested in somebodys body, or the touch/feel of their body. Romantic is when you're together you seem like nothing else is real, and when you're alone you want them so badly it drives you mad
Itsacrazylifewelive
July 15th, 2015 5:54pm
Romantic attraction is the deep intimate feeling that you really like this person for their soul, spirit, heart and mind. This is the attraction that has you thinking about the person for hours and all the time practically. The one that gives you butterflies. While sexual attraction, is that tingly feeling you get in your lower regions when you think of them and the fact that you can't stop thinking of their body in a sexual manner.
Anonymous
November 27th, 2014 12:59am
Romantic is where you feel emotionally connected to someone and want a relationship, sexual is about sex.
Anonymous
August 12th, 2015 5:21am
Physical penetration is sex, which is a very superficial thing. Psychological penetration is love, which is far more deep, far more significant, far more beautiful, far more human. And then there is a third kind of penetration: when two consciousnesses meet, merge, and melt into each other. -Osho
Anonymous
January 5th, 2015 5:30am
A romantic attraction is when you feel an inclination or allure to do romantic things with a person, while sexual attraction refers to a pull or allure to do sexual activities/things with another. The parameters of what's romantic and what’s sexual might depend largely on the person...for example for some kissing someone on the mouth might be romantic while for another that could be sexual. For some people, these two orientations go hand in hand (as someone being bisexual is also biromantic) but for someone that experience this attraction differently they might explain it a little more 9 some examples might be a panromantic asexual or a biromantic homosexual, etc.).
Rebecca
June 27th, 2015 4:51pm
This is a really good question! I think a lot of people seem to have their own specific definition of the two terms, so here's my own: -Romantic attraction is the more "emotional" attraction. It is feeling attracted to a person in a way where you enjoy spending time with someone, and want to form a close, intimate relationship with them. It's looking -Sexual attraction is more about wanting to have sex with a person. You can certainly have really romantic, emotional sex, but sexual attraction alone is more about the physical components to a relationship, and not the personal parts. Romantic attraction is the love and sexual attraction is the lust in a relationship. They can be intertwined, or someone could only feel one type of attraction. It can also be more gender specific. So, one could identify as being attracted romantically to both males and females, but only be attracted sexually to one of those genders.
tranquilCentaur
December 7th, 2014 11:18pm
Romantic attraction is wanting be romantically involved with a person without sex or anything sexual being a factor. Sexual attraction is based solely on if you would have sex or any sort of sexual encounter with someone.
happysloth
April 22nd, 2015 6:22pm
Romantic attraction is the emotional side -- the warm, fuzzy feeling their personality, quirks, and snuggles give you. Sexual attraction is generally more physical.
mzxw
July 26th, 2015 4:04pm
Romantic attraction and sexual attraction are two very different things. Usually romantic attractions aroused after you start getting to know the person because by then you already know about their personalities, what they do, how they respond to actions, and mainly how they are acting towards you. However, sexual attraction on the other hand grows when you are attracted to the person because of their physical qualities. You are attracted only by looking the person physically without even knowing who they are inside. Basically when you are only attracted to the physical appearance, you got the desire to get to know this person and be with them so you can admire those physical qualities closer. I mean, if you don't have any prior knowledge about this person, how can you know how you are feeling when you are around them or how they are going to act around you? Romantic attraction definitely got something to do with wanting to be attracted back by the same person, and sexual attraction got something to do by wanting to have physical contacts with the person because they got your attention by that particular physical appearance that made you feel lust. You'll know when you're attracted to a person only sexually when you can just forget about them in a short time period. But you know you are attracted to a person romantically when it's hard for you to get over them, knowing that there's a chance that somebody else could make them smile other than you, or when you are constantly worrying about their being.
SpencerT
April 8th, 2015 5:39pm
Romantic attraction is a social construct, sexual attraction is an instinct that ensures the continuation of the human race. One might be romantically attracted to the idea of a financially secure and generous person, even if sexual attraction is not there. One might be sexually attracted to somebody, generally due to individual physical attributes considered attractive, regardless of any romantic aspects. Though different, they amount to fundamentally similar outcome: the human instinct to survive and and have healthy offspring.
Orchid17
July 31st, 2015 9:49pm
Romantic attraction is when you feel an emotional connection with those who you like/love. You want to be in a close relationship and gradually become more intimate over time. Sexual attraction is when you let your body take over with the hormones and you feel lust over love.
bonfalu
August 6th, 2015 4:15pm
Sexual attraction is the pull you feel from your inner thighs while romantic attraction is the pull you feel from the bottom of your heart.
KindSunflower17
August 12th, 2015 5:46pm
I believe that when you are romantically attracted by someone, you really care for that person, you want to know them better and to try to understand their feelings. You want to commit to that person, to be with them in happiness and in sadness also, you feel the need to mean something to them, to cherish and be cherished. While sexual attraction means that you only find this person physically attractive, you are willing to have a sexual relation with them, but nothing more.
LittleMissListen
June 25th, 2015 8:10am
Simply put, sexual attraction is the desire to have sex with a someone; it can be an immediate desire upon seeing them or a more gradual one that develops over time, but in the end the base desire is for sex with that person. Those feelings might be described with words like 'fiery', 'burning', etc. Romantic attraction is a desire for whatever you perceive is a romantic relationship with a specific person. It can also be immediate or more gradual. These feelings may be referred to as the 'warm fuzzies', or similar ideas to do with warmth, protectiveness, and closeness.
Dillion
August 2nd, 2015 10:36pm
A romantic attraction is feelings of long term relationships that want to spend time together and share the truth about their relationship. A sexual attraction, means that you find the person attractive, and very appealing to have a sexual relationship. Sexual relationships tend to not become public as often as romantic relationships do. Also another big difference, is in romantic, you want to spend more time with each other rather then a sexual relationship one night stand.
Anonymous
March 31st, 2016 2:46pm
In my personal experience, romantic attraction has meant a strong feeling of love, connection, and a longing to grow together. A desire for emotional intimacy. Sexual attraction for me is excitement, curiosity, a fun energy, freedom. I feel romantic attraction when I witness kindness, compassion, and humanity in a person. I feel sexually attracted when I witness that person feeling confident, having fun, or shining in their own element.
Jenna
July 25th, 2015 3:52am
Romantic Attraction: Attraction to have what is considered to be a romantic relationship. Things such as dates would be desired of people you feel romantically towards. Sexual Attraction: Attraction with the desire to have sex with another. This is usually based on physical attraction.
thewiseowl
August 1st, 2015 5:30pm
Romantic Attraction is attraction towards a person's EVERYTHING. Their flaws, their negative and positive attributes, their personality(may it be good, bad or both) THEIR EVERYTHING. You want their attention and time. Sexual Attraction is attraction towards a person's body. The thing you usually want from them is sexual activities and it ends there.
AnnaLs
August 13th, 2015 8:37pm
Romantic attraction means you love everything about the signifiant other, from personality to looks. Sexual attraction means you only love what you see with your eyes or the sexual plesure they might offer you.
Fadi
August 16th, 2015 9:33pm
Romantic attraction and infatuation is all about bonding and connection. Connection can be neglected, grow stale and die off, or it can be focused on and amped up. while sexual attraction is polarity. Light and dark, masculine and feminine.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 2:44am
Romantic attraction can seem more innocent, it's more about wanting to spend time with someone or getting to know them better. Sexual attraction is pure lust, and without the feelings of romantic attraction.