Have you ever felt attracted to someone in some ways, but not others? Sure you have. We all have. You know,
- The person you feel relaxed around, whose therapeutic company you crave, which is not necessarily sexual;
- The person that lights you up, that inspires you, that you are drawn to because they open up your soul;
- The person whom you feel sharp sexual attraction to that doesn’t necessarily move your spirit the way other attractions do.
This attraction stuff isn’t set in stone, either: these attractions are fluid, and one often coexists with others. Sometimes you feel one more than others, and then you feel another more, and so on.
In addition to attractions we feel all over the psychological spectrum, there are different kinds of physical attraction, too! For example,
- Hugtraction/Cuddletraction – when you are attracted to hugging/cuddling someone; when you are around someone that you just want to hug – or, someone you can’t stop cuddling.
- Kisstraction – that strong feeling you get that you would really like to kiss someone in particular.
- Dancetraction – I recently felt this one so sharply, with no other attraction accompanying it, that it took me by surprise. The simple act of moving my body with this person on the dancefloor was penetrating me, sending me to the moon. We didn’t say much else to each other than “ok, I totally want to dance with you again later” because it felt so good.
(there are a million other of these combinations you can make, of course)
This stuff is really important! It’s so frustrating to watch ourselves and others lose opportunities to explore and manifest attraction for people around us because we don’t know how to talk about it, or we’re afraid of being misunderstood, or we don’t want to send the wrong message, and so on. I particularly think that SEX can often play the role of this big blob of a concept that swallows up everything else. It’s as if the minute we talk about physical intimacy, oh my god, it’s gotta be SEX. No wonder so many people shy away from physical intimacy. Sometimes, I just want to hug someone, hold someone’s hand, even kiss them – on the lips – without it then being assumed that sex was my intention, even if later on I may engage in sex also.
If we can develop more vocabulary like this to talk about the many different kinds of attraction we experience, we can be less afraid of telling the truth, and thus less dishonest and creepy about how we approach attraction. For those of you out there that are monogamous, for example – it is cheating for you or your partner to explore hugtraction – or even kisstraction – with someone else? What about liking dancing with someone else? Can we please talk about these things without jumping to conclusions?
And if you cannot separate general physical intimacy from sex, well … that’s great that it’s all so connected for you, but it can feel even better if you practice some discipline. Why else would it feel weird somehow to choose to sleep with somebody you are attracted to (or to choose to share other things about yourself than just your body)? Maybe it’s because you and the other person felt attraction, but didn’t know what kinds of attraction you were feeling, and now either the wrong messages were sent, or the type of attraction that reached out didn’t get met. Or you or the other person were dishonest about what you really wanted, because you didn’t feel that a framework existed to safely talk about it.
That is what needs to change. That’s why we need to make more distinctions regarding different attractions we feel.
More on this subject:
- Sexual orientation doesn’t tell the whole story about attraction
- Sexual orientation is about a lot more than which gender you prefer
- Desire, attraction, and the sacred middle ground