A Sex Therapist Reveals 3 Subtle Signs You're Incredibly Attracted To Your Partner

by Sydnee Lyons

Can you identify individual signs you're attracted to your partner? It's not as straightforward as you might think. When you have a connection with someone (even just a physical one), it can be difficult to explain what you're feeling at first. Instead of holding on to fairytale ideas about love at first sight or repeating the mantra, "When you know, you know," wouldn't you like to know why? I know I would.

You could just say that person gives you butterflies but LOL, are we in the sixth grade? The metaphorical butterflies you felt fluttering around your stomach back then were actually part of your body's fight or flight response when faced with intense situations (similar to an adrenaline rush). Turns out, it's the same sensation you have when you get nervous about delivering a speech or come face to face with a wild tiger. Your interpretation of this feeling depends on the circumstances, which means it's also how you knew — and still do — that you were attracted to someone. Researchers say the body redirects blood and oxygen from your stomach (which would have been in rest and digest mode) and redistributes it to your limbs in preparation for some deeply terrifying event, like talking to your crush.

Whenever I saw my crush in my public, my cheeks also let everyone else know the good news by turning bright pink. Thankfully, I've since learned to subdue this second response.

There are some things you just can't control, though. Jessica O’Reilly, sexologist and relationship expert, PhD, and host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast, shared the top three ways you know you're attracted to someone.

Just thinking about them puts you at ease.

"Thinking about a loved one reduces negative thoughts and the impact of negative feelings," says Dr. Jess. "So if you find that the thought of your partner helps you to cope with stress or frustration, it may be a sign of love." Where does your mind go when things get hectic at school or when you've had a rough week at work? If daydreaming about your partner when you're down makes things feel less grim, you definitely have strong feelings for them.

You feel safe when they touch you.

Did you know that physical affection from a loved one can reduce stress, anxiety, and even pain? Dr. Jess explains that this reduction in pain is associated with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) of the brain, which also responds to images and thoughts of a loved one. Researchers at the University of California, Berkley conducted an experiment in which participants tried to convey different emotions via touch alone. The results proved that gratitude, sympathy, and love could all be interpreted through touch. Furthermore, they agreed that friendly touch patterns — like holding hands — effectively deactivated stress-related regions of the brain. If your partner's fingertips resting on your shoulders really take the weight off, now you know why.

You smile when you see them or a photo of them.

Dr. Jess tells Elite Daily, "This isn’t simply a sign of physical attraction, but a sign of a more intimate connection. Studies have found that simply looking at a photo of a loved one can reduce stress, promote positive thinking, and ease pain." A group of scientists at UCLA confirmed in an experiment that surveyed 25 women that people report less pain or discomfort when looking at a photo of their partners. The study emphasizes the importance of social ties and significant others as active agents in our support systems. Turns out, they don't have to do much just as long as you can see their face or picture their smile.

Additionally, Dr. Jess says that staring into your lover’s eyes can synchronize your heartbeats. The response, which is stronger for women than it is for men, suggests that two people who are attracted to each other experience higher levels of empathy for each other. So, basically, you feel what your partner feels, which is probably lots and lots of butterflies. Funny how it was that simple all along.