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Sexual Chemistry: Why Our Bodies Understand Love Before Our Brains Do

What is this thing we call “sexual chemistry”? It's so elusive, so difficult to define using words.

Sexual chemistry: It's why our bodies understand love before our brains do. It's the unexpected electric shock of sexuality that surges through our bodies when we accidentally brush up against a stranger in a crowded subway car. It's the palpable heat that ignites when two bodies ever so suddenly find themselves inexplicably attracted to one another. It's when you feel that irrepressible tug, the curious magnetic pull drawing you toward another person with such a ferocious intensity; it feels almost beyond the realm of your own self-control. It's the seductive sensation that sensually sweeps itself across our cores when our gaze meets another gaze from across a room. It's the unexpected display of awe-inducing fireworks exploding across the surface of our hearts when we are suddenly filled with a blooming desire to taste the lips of a blind date before we've even had the opportunity to exchange words with this person. It's the impenetrable desire that oozes from our pores when all we want to do is touch the bare skin of the gorgeous entity taking up space on the other side of the bar.


Sexual attraction feels chemical. It's a glorious high unparalleled to anything else in the entire universe. It's intoxicating. It's when we feel blissfully and positively inebriated from the way a person smells. It's that rare occasion when we instantly love how another person tastes. It's when we want to drown every fiber of our beings in someone else's body. It's when just a light touch that exists for a mere second between two fingertips feels akin to explicit sex.

It's not intellectual. It's visceral. It lives in the body. It resides in the gut. Read on to find out why our bodies register attraction before our brains do.

Your body understands something before your brain does.

Once upon a time, a woman met someone she felt she had little to nothing in common with while on vacation. Until they kissed, and the kissing quickly turned into touching, and the touching turned into them devouring one another's bodies until the morning sunlight broke through the dark nighttime sky. They shared an intimacy so acute, it cut deeper than typical casual sex. It meant something.

Before they knew it, they had been laying together in bed for eight hours, talking, exchanging secrets they had reserved for the grave. Their bodies understood they were emotionally connected before their brains did. "Connecting physically besides sex builds trust and confidence,” Sonya Schwartz, a relationship expert, and owner of Her Aspiration, previously told Elite Daily. “It helps the partners become comfortable with one another and improves their overall relationship."

Perfect on paper isn't always perfect in person.

You’ve all met the person who was perfect on paper, right? People who possess everything you claimed to have always wanted and desired. Their dreams are cohesive to your dreams. Their lifestyle fits into your lifestyle. They see their lives taking shape the same way you always saw your life taking shape. It's surreal. You think surely this is meant to f*cking be.

And then your precious pout will meet their precious pout — and something is off. And you feel nothing. Their touch almost feels like an unwelcome, disturbing pinprick to the surface of the skin. We feel uncomfortable, inexplicably short of breath and stifled in their arms. This is when we have zero sexual chemistry. It's not something we can control, and it doesn't always make sense.

"[Sexual chemistry] is the first thing that ignites a relationship," Britanny Burr, editor-at-large at Psych N Sex, previously told Elite Daily. "Even just in terms of attraction from afar, you're seeing the way that someone engages with their surroundings and moves about a room, and you feel drawn to them. Or, you see the way that they're engaging with you and your body and the space surrounding you, and you feel drawn to them or connected with them." It often makes me wonder: Is the lack of physical attraction, the way you can be repelled by a person's taste, your bodies' way of protecting you against someone who could be inherently bad for us? Is your body telling you something? Shouldn't you always listen to and be wary of your bodies' physical reaction to everything and everyone?

Touch screen has nothing on touch.

In this digital age, people are starving, hit by the unexpected electric shock of sexual chemistry that can only happen in person. Virtual feelings will never carry the weight of in-person feelings.

People take to their smartphones and swipe left or right, carefully curating who cuts it and who gets cut. You can peer at a face through the static glow of the computer screen, allow your eyes to process a person's face and then firmly decide whether or not we deem them a dating candidate.

Sometimes you feel the most epic sexual chemistry of your entire life with the most unexpected of people. Sometimes you feel the heat of seduction and lust with someone who is the very opposite of what you want via the touch screen of your computers. “Physical affection increases/iterates the all-important message: I love you, I want to be with you and most important — I love you specifically,” Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date Online, told Elite Daily. “It's easy to find somebody that you want to have sex with but much harder to find somebody that you want to hold hands with.”


Sometimes a body high is more telling than a highly intellectual conversation.

The sensual body buzz people receive from indestructible sexual compatibility with is an incredibly rare feat. After all, you are ever so easily able to engage in the art of conversation, right? People are hyper-intelligent, self-aware individuals. Connecting with people on an intellectual level is not usually an issue for two seemingly compatible entities. But let's not lose sight of our sexual draw in the thick of words, text messages and screenshots. Let's never forget to listen to our bodies because sometimes they're far wiser than our brains could ever dream of being.

"It's important to keep sexual chemistry up because [it's] literally what triggers the chemical reaction of our excitement towards that individual, our draw to them, our sexual attraction to them, and our interest in them, [and it] spurs our emotional connections as well," Burr said.

No matter how “perfect” they appear, no matter how amazing their words are, no matter how much your parents would approve of the awesome specimen sitting in front of us — if their touch doesn't feel right, don’t ignore it. It's supposed to feel good, and if it doesn't, something is wrong. After all, a body high can sometimes be far more telling than any highly intellectual conversation could ever stand to be. Let's never discredit the intoxicating wonders of sexual chemistry.

Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.