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Is it just sensual attraction?


hermi1e
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cw talk of platonic hand holding and fwb, if thats uncomfy for u then don't read this :)

Hii, i just wanted to ask what sensual attraction can feel like for y'all, and how u distinguish it from sexual attraction? (AVEN might be a better place for this question, cuz im not asking about romantic attraction at all, but yeah)

my friend asked me if i wanted to be friends with benefits, and i'm trying to work out my feelings. I'm not sure how i feel about kissing or having sex with him (as friends), and just looking at him does not light my fire lol. But! hand holding/physical affection w him Does Indeed Light My Fire. And i can't tell if this means i'm sexually attracted to him, or if this is what sensual attraction feels like. I'm not sure how far I want to go. 

I know it's rarely clean cut and the two types of attraction can be similar for people. I was just wondering if anyone has advice for figuring out these feelings/desires. Thank yoU!

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This is kinda difficult for me to explain but try to think in a scenario and how would you feel theoretically in it. If you get touched in your arm, how would it feel? Will you like that the person that did it do other things?

For me sensual attraction is explicitly actions that have no further consequences. So a hug for a greeting. This may overlap with romantic attraction but for me personally romantic and sensual are very similar so I cannot clear cut them.

Now, it is important that you take it at your own pace. If you do not know if you would like a kiss or not, try it out. Ofc tell the person that you want to know how you will react to it and that they do not get their hopes up for anything else since you are exploring your boundaries. Likewise with sex, if you are unsure and afraid that you won't like it, please do not do it. And when you are sure that you would like to try it, let the person know that you want to take it slow, and have a safe word to let them know to stop. It is very very important to put boundaries when you do not know how you will react and both know that you can opt out any time without any kind of repercussions.

Because you feel something when hand holding, you may feel some kind of romantic attraction, which is find. But it may also be anxiety (at least this was my case). Try it out, explore yourself in a safe way, and always be crystal clear of what you want to try, and how fast or slow you want to do it. If the person doesn't respect boundaries dump their ass and look for someone that does. Fwb is cool when everyone agrees to the rules voluntarily, if not then that person is not a friend anymore.

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sensual isn't a separate thing for me, all those things are either romantic, sexual, or platonic, sometimes depending on context.  like my fwb and i only kiss, hold hands, or touch at all during sex, besides hugging goodbye (platonic)--i mean nothing while we're sitting around talking or whatever.  and i only want to do sexual things with guys i'm sexually attracted to, which is largely based on appearance.  i say this to point out the contrast with what it sounds like you're describing, which could be sensual attraction, idk.  but i suppose people experience sexual attraction differently, so that's also possible.  not very helpful but yeah, it doesn't matter so much what you call it as that you're both comfortable with everything.

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I experience sensual attraction as a separate thing (it can be tied to aesthetic for me, though). For me, it's different from sexual- being physically close to someone doesn't mean that I'll want to have sex with them. When I am physically affectionate with someone I am sensually attracted to, I get !!! but not in a sexual way- that's it, I don't want to have sex with them. I view sensual attraction in the same way as Blake, "actions that have no further consequences," but for others, sensual attraction can also lead/be related to sexual attraction/actions. So I guess it depends on if those sensual activities drive you to have sex? Although you can want to have sex with someone without necessarily being sexually attracted to them... If you want to be physically affectionate with him and nothing else, it may be sensual attraction. If you want to be physically affectionate with him and this makes you feel like having sex with him, it could be sexual attraction. But yeah, sometimes there aren't any hard boundaries and what these things mean to you can be different. I agree, though, with aro_elise that it matters more what you're both comfortable with. 

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I’m asexual, so I don’t experience sexual attraction but I do feel sensual attraction. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this good but for me sensual attraction just means that I want physical contact with someone. For example, hugging, holding hands, or cuddling. I usually feel other types of attraction with sensual. Like sensual and platonic/queerplatonic attraction or something like that. 

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21 minutes ago, Indigo_1499 said:

I’m asexual, so I don’t experience sexual attraction but I do feel sensual attraction. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this good but for me sensual attraction just means that I want physical contact with someone. For example, hugging, holding hands, or cuddling. I usually feel other types of attraction with sensual. Like sensual and platonic/queerplatonic attraction or something like that. 

I echo this completely. I'll also add that aesthetic attraction will drive my sensual attraction a lot of the time. 

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It reminds me of when I felt aroused when a friend was playing in my hair. I for sure was not sexually or romantically attracted to her but I did feel aroused anyway. In that case it made me feel wierd bc I didn't want to be aroused by my friend so I stopped letting her play with my hair.

In your case, It might be helpful to set aside arousal as it's own sensation. It may be enough to feel comfortable being fwb with them, if that's what you want.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I don't know if anyone will read this thread again, but ig i wanted to write an update. Thank u everyone for ur replies

I was a bit sensually attracted to my best friend, and so i said yes to fwb, cuz I wanted it to work out. Then i thought i liked him romantically, and i got excited about a relationship, so i asked him to date. But these feelings were short lived, no matter how hard i tried to make myself feel them. When i finally ended things after two months, i was resentful and unhappy. I'd pressured myself until I didn't enjoy the friendship anymore, i no longer felt genuine or comfy w him. The breakup hit him really hard, and we might never get to be friends again. 

What i learned was: don't force ur feelings, especially with a relationship. If u don't want it 100%, or if u get doubts about whether u really want it, please be honest with urself. Escalating a relationship will not escalate ur feelings. This is basic common sense, and idk how i didn't realize it sooner

If anyone else has forced a relationship or compelled themselves to be attracted to someone, or lost a friend in a similar way, I'd love to hear ur experiences. Thank u so much for reading and for all ur support !

Edited by hermi1e
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