The Science of Sexual Attraction

Sexual attraction is one of the most powerful forms of non-verbal communication. It requires no words – the body gives out plenty of signals.

The chemistry that sparks off attraction is hard to pin down. There are, though, ways of sending out signals to interest another person, avoid making unintentional overtures, or detect whether someone is interested in you. All your senses have a role to play; so does the sixth sense – intuition. Perhaps that’s why women usually pick up sexual body talk more quickly than men.

Eye contact

The most obvious sign – impossible to disguise – is in the eyes. When a person is attracted to someone their pupils become larger. That’s why lovers spend so much time gazing into each others’ eyes.

Personal space

Personal space is important too. Invasion of body space is a major turn-off. If you’re too close, your behaviour is perceived as aggressive and the other may close up (e.g. arms crossed, stiff posture) or back off. Men are more likely to misread the signs, for instance, by encroaching on a woman’s personal space before she’s given the go-ahead.

You can tell if HE is attracted when he:

  • Finds an excuse to touch your hand or shoulder
  • Leans towards you
  • Mimics your gestures
  • Pushes his shoulders back
  • Warmly gazes into your eyes
  • Stands with his feet slightly apart and pointing towards you
  • Subtly inclines the lower half of his body towards you

If the attraction is mutual, SHE

  • Tosses her hair or strokes her arm
  • Shows the delicate skin on her wrist
  • Fiddles with her ear lobe
  • Smiles and keeps her mouth a little open
  • Crosses and uncrosses her legs, pointing her knees and feet towards you
  • Moistens her lips

Clues to unfaithfulness

Physical clues also reveal if a partner has been unfaithful. They blush, stumble over their words and avoid physical contact. And, most importantly, they revert to the childhood habit of placing the hand over the mouth or rubbing the chin when they try to cover up the truth.

Reading body language is one of the most useful communication skills you can learn!

©David Lawrence Preston, 30.4.2016

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Body language

Your body gives away a lot more than the words you speak – about eight times more.

The body uses an unspoken language that is incapable of lying. We continually telegraph our thoughts and feelings non-verbally. Much of this takes place at an unconscious level; often the person picking up non-verbal signals is not aware of what is happening.

Body language includes:

  • Posture – the way you hold and carry your body communicates confidence and personal magnetism. Dominant people have a way of making themselves appear more formidable. They stand tall in situations they wish to control.
  • Gestures – especially the hands.
  • Facial expression – the main way we express emotion.
  • Eye movements – can indicate pleasure, curiosity, enthusiasm, agitation etc. E.g. the pupils dilate when you are interested or excited.
  • Clothing – communicates roles and status etc. A uniform says a lot about the role and status of the wearer, e.g. ‘power dressing’.
  • Touch – can convey sincerity; may be used to greet, comfort, intimidate, guide, patronise, etc.

The body is capable of transmitting over half a million signals – your face alone can make over 100,000 different expressions. A shrug of the shoulders, for instance, or a dismissive wave of the hand can say much more than words alone.

Body language also contributes to charisma. It is the main reason why some people command attention the minute they walk into a room, while others are barely noticed.

Body language is not universal; every culture has its own gestures, and ignorance of this can result in unintended offence.

When one’s words seem to be contradicted by their voice quality and non-verbal, we assume the person is lying. Because when this happens they normally are!

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.4.2016

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Life Coach book cover

How To Books, 2004