Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction?

  • Jul 26, 2021
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Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction?

Attraction and desire are great unknown mysteries of which we speak little. There are different types of attraction and levels or nuances. The attraction we feel for someone is always different from what we can feel for someone else, and so how can we know if what we feel is attraction or not?

In this Psychology-Online article, we will clarify what attraction is, we will talk about the differences between emotional attraction physical and emotional attraction and we will answer one of the most frequent questions that arises when we talk about this type of themes: Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction? Read on to know the answer.

You may also like: How to know if it's just physical attraction or if she loves me


  1. What is attraction
  2. Differences between physical and emotional attraction
  3. Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction for a person?
  4. What to do when there is no physical attraction?
  5. What if I am not physically attracted to anyone?

What is attraction.

To begin to clarify ourselves in these uncertain terrain, we are going to define attraction as

the strength or ability of a person to get our attention, please us and make us experience strong emotions, which make us want to be close to her and / or actively seek her out, emotions that sometimes even become uncontrollable or annoying because they invade us and we cannot handle or manage them as we would like.

The etymology of the word attraction comes from Latin "attractio" and refers to the action of bringing to oneself someone or something that seems attractive or belongs to us. liking, whether for physical, sexual, emotional, romantic, intellectual, sensory or friendly. It is "something" that moves or directs us in a certain direction, that is, the attraction drags us to look for the desired object.

Differences between physical and emotional attraction.

The reasons why someone makes us like and attractive to us can be many and can range from something sensory, physical or sexual to something more loving, romantic, friendly or sentimental.
How can we differentiate what type of attraction we feel for the other person? Here are the differences between physical and emotional attraction:

1. Physical attraction

Physical attraction is the one we know best. It is that sensation that we experience for an other that attracts us for conscious or unconscious reasons and that strongly moves us to seek a sexual or sensory encounter and connection. Initially, We seek to be close to that other and generate physical encounters with him, through physical contact, rubbing, caressing, pampering, etc.

The level of intensity of this attraction will depend on the level of contact with the other, the relationship that is generated with him and the fantasies that can be generated around that person.

  1. Conscious physical attraction: the other seems attractive to us and that is why he draws our attention, we seek to generate a closeness with him.
  2. Unconscious physical attraction: It is when the other we love and we do not know why, when we feel a certain chemistry or connection that we do not understand very clearly and cannot explain. A sexual encounter and connection is sought but there is something much stronger that moves us to want to seek that encounter with the other.

2. Emotional or romantic attraction

Emotional attraction is the desire to be close to another person who attracts us by his way of being, values, by his personality, by his way of acting, by his intellectual attributes, etc. We seek to be close to this person and generate a connection with him for something that goes beyond the merely physical. Many times this type of attraction is closely linked to deeper emotions. This type of attraction is closely linked to the feeling of admiration for the other with whom you seek to have a romantic relationship and a special connection that goes beyond the merely sexual.

We believe that this person has a lot to contribute and teach us and we want to spend our time with them.

Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction for a person?

Love and what initially unites us with a partner is a mixture of a physical attraction and a romantic attraction. Regardless of which comes first and which comes after, both are present at the beginning of any relationship. The other draws our attention for something physical and something emotional and it is that mixture of ingredients that leads us to want to establish a love relationship. Since we find in that person things that make him unique in our eyes and make us want to choose him over the other alternatives that we may have.

However, as we were talking initially, regardless of whether there is attraction, there are variations in the nuances with which we experience these sensations and in that set of variables we can feel more emotional-romantic attraction than physical, which initially is not a problem but with the passage of time could lead to conflicts on a personal level or in the couple.

Also in couples who have been there for many years there are different factors that can cause physical attraction and desire to decrease:

  • Routine can be an ingredient that reduces desire.
  • Interpersonal conflicts and tensions at the level of the couple or family.
  • Communication problems.
  • The economic problems.
  • The physical distance.
  • Lack of activities together.
  • Disconnection and distancing at the sexual level.
  • Lack of communication about the sexual fantasies and desires of the couple.

It is important to bear in mind that couples change over the years and that the intensity of the initial sexual desire decreases and changes. After being in a relationship for many years, it is normal for the couple to feel much more emotional, intellectual and romantic attraction than the initial physical attraction., since not only the bodies are modified with the passing of time, but also the stage of infatuation and with it our desire for the other is greatly reduced, so it is necessary to work on keeping the desire active. A couple who wants to build and keep the relationship active needs to open up to new possibilities and constantly reactivate the desire through games, rituals and intimate moments that help them to feel again the emotions that united them to the beginning.

What to do when there is no physical attraction?

That there is no initial sexual desire does not mean that it will never exist, that cannot be generated or that cannot be worked on. Physical attractiveness also depends on many factors and some we can modify and use to our advantage.

The initial desire is important for two people to be attracted, but not all the people who are strongly attracted end up in a relationship, and many people who initially do not attract end up being partner.

The important thing to know here is that there are many ways in which we can be attracted to the other, that all kinds of attraction can be enhanced, that initial physical attraction is important but not determining and that a person who seems attractive to us may not appear attractive to another. Each person likes different people and that is normal and it happens because many unconscious and subjective factors move when we are attracted to someone.

So what can we do when we feel that we have no physical attraction with someone who attracts us emotionally? First, you have to understand that sexual attraction is based on something biological and reproductive and that later it turns into an erotic and sexual desire. In addition, the sexual interest that a person generates will depend on many factors:

  1. Personal image: Something that we find very attractive initially are people who look and smell good. Personal hygiene and personal care that a person has with himself is something that is extremely attractive. Because it denotes self-care, concern and good self-esteem. The personal image enhances and increases our physical attractiveness and we can work it through habits, sports, dressing and smelling good, taking care of our personal hygiene ...
  2. Physical attractiveness: attractiveness will be determined according to our conscious and unconscious beauty parameters, which are given by: what is beautiful at the level social and what is similar to us and our significant others, those who have made us happy and given a lot of love (father, mother, grandparents, etc.). Unconsciously, we tend to look for people similar to the people in our history.
  3. Behavior and gestures: the ways of looking, smiling, walking, sympathy..., are those things that are part of non-verbal behavior and the charisma that characterizes certain people and that we find extremely attractive. This is something that can also be worked on.
  4. Chemistry and smell: pheromones are chemical substances that are released from our bodies to generate sexual attraction and that others can perceive through smell. They are odorous chemical signals that link us to others through attraction, we all have pheromones and there are ways to produce more or less. We can increase our level of pheromones by changing our diet.
  5. ReciprocityWe are attracted to the people who care about us and they show us interest, show us attention, take care of us, respect and care about us. We want to feel loved and important to the other.
  6. Seduction and play: It is important not to lose desire in your partner and that is something that is not always easy, because after a while you begin to fall into the routine and the initial desire begins to decrease. A form of keep the desire active It can be achieved through games of seduction, which together with a good imagination and confidence keep the flame and generate a greater connection and union in the couple.

What if I am not physically attracted to anyone?

The lack of sexual desire can have several reasons. Among other:

  • It could be due to psychological and physiological factors.
  • Excessive stress.
  • A blockage from past trauma or bad experience.
  • A asexual person, who feels intellectual and emotional attraction to other people, but not sexual attraction.
  • A demisexual person, that there needs to be an affective relationship with a person as a condition for experiencing sexual attraction.
  • A person who is rethinking her sexual orientation.

What determines a situation as problematic is when, regardless of what society imposes as normality and what others believe and / or profess that it is what is right, this constitutes a problem for the person who suffers it and generates conflicts on a personal level and in connection with others.

If a person does not feel desire or physical attraction for another and this constitutes a problem for that person, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional that can help you find the cause of this situation and what is the most recommended in each case. As well as evaluating whether it is a situation that has always occurred like this or it begins to present itself from a particular moment.

There is nothing more distressing than feeling lost and disoriented about ourselves and finding the Answers to these questions help us to feel calm, at peace and to take back the reins of our lives.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Can you feel emotional but not physical attraction?, we recommend that you enter our category of Feelings.


  • Martinez V. (2010) Sexual attraction, a matter of physics or chemistry. Extracted from
  • Mondrag√≥n-Lasagabaster, J. (2011). Social psychology. Topic 6: Interpersonal relationships: attraction and love.
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