Should sexual attraction ever be the basis for pursuing a relationship?

Few things are more tantalizing than mutual sexual attraction. When we are sexually attracted to someone, there is a synergistic interplay between our bodies, our emotions and our imaginations. The physical aspect (bodily arousal, sexual desire) is conscious and real, compelling enough by itself; unconscious and unmet emotional needs can get triggered and the level of excitement is further heightened. All the while, our imagination is operating, unconsciously, distorting our perceptions.

Although mutual sexual attraction may be the most common deciding factor for pursuing a relationship, it may also be highly unreliable as a predictor of a viable one. The problem is that whenever there is an attraction, physical and emotional excitement are heightened and objectivity is compromised. It’s similar to being in love, when one easily becomes blinded by idealization and excitement.

The healthiest case scenario is when other factors are already established independently from, or in addition to, strong attraction or the state of being in love. Keep in mind that emotional safety, rapport, and the ability to achieve understanding and resolve conflict are potential turn-ons in themselves. When two people who aren’t initially attracted to each other are relating on a deep, personal level, attraction and excitement are natural responses to being intimate. If they are attracted and have rapport, they can and often do become more attracted. The ability to create intimacy on the spot, and the quality of the rapport experienced are more reliable predictors of the viability of a relationship.

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About Daniel Linder, MFT

Daniel Linder

Relationships. I was born with a keen sense about relationships, was always assessing how close and intimate people are with each other. I had a knack for relationships. The importance of relationships cuts to the core of who I am. The combination of clinical training, 25 years of professional experience treating dysfunctional, non-intimate couples and families, as well as rigorous self analysis has given me a lot to work with. I put what seemed to come naturally to me under a microscope in an effort to break the process of building healthy relationships down to concrete essentials: Understanding of Basic Principles, Communication Skills, Self-realization and Intimacy.

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