• Sometimes, we aren’t sexually attracted to our partners from the get-go—and it can cause us to worry about our overall connection.
  • While it might be worrisome, the lack of a physical connection isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker; instead, it can take time for someone to feel sexually attracted as they get to know their partner better.
  • It’s important to focus on the mental and emotional connection first, as this can lead one to progress their feelings and build a solid foundation for their relationship.
  • You can also take action to give your physical connection a budge: Experiment with different date ideas, explore each other’s senses, and consider going to sex therapy.
  • If you don’t have an initial sexual attraction, hold tight. It’s possible your sexual attraction will develop with time and effort.

A few years back, I saw a Facebook post by Humans of New York (a photoblog), in which a man explained complicated feelings for his girlfriend. His face was not shown; instead, the picture was a close-up of his entangled hands. The man revealed how torn he was in his new relationship. He explained that he was smitten and intrigued by his girlfriend, he loved and adored her—but he just wasn’t sexually attracted to her. And he wrestled with whether or not this was a dealbreaker.

This is a bit of a taboo topic—people are criticized for saying they aren’t attracted to their partner or for “putting so much weight” on physical attraction. But the truth is that sexual attraction is important for many people and when it just isn’t there, people feel uneasy and uncertain about their relationship. They wonder: Can I be in love with but not sexually attracted to my partner? Is it possible for my sexual attraction to develop over time? The short answer to both of these questions is yes. Let’s take a look.

Good Things Take Time—Give Your Attraction a Chance to Grow

Here’s the thing: love doesn’t always start with a physical connection. Sure, we hear stories about people being pulled together like magnets when they first meet, unable to keep their hands off each other—but this isn’t the case for every couple. Instead, it can take time to develop this physical attraction, as you get to know each other mentally and emotionally first. Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert, explains:

“When people speak about the spark or clicking with somebody, they’re not necessarily talking about a physical attraction, but a mental one. Similarly, the way you feel about someone can have nothing to do with their appearance. A classic case of this would be online relationships—nothing says you can’t fall in love with someone’s personality without having any idea what they look like.

The more you get to know each other on a non-physical level, the more the physical attraction will grow on its own. This is largely due to the fact that you’ll come to appreciate the person beyond their ‘packaging’ and see their essence (aka their personality). That’s why people will often list their top priority in a partner as funny or kind—personality traits, not physical attributes.”

The moral of the story is that physical attraction doesn’t always come naturally—it can take time to develop this connection, and it will likely progress as you get to know each other from the inside out. So, if you aren’t experiencing the level of physical attraction toward your love interest that you would like, hold tight. You can get there.

5 Proactive Tips for Improving Your Physical Connection

If you aren’t physically attracted to your love interest, you don’t just have to sit around and hope that a physical connection will eventually develop. You can take action. Here are 5 tips that could potentially help you feel more sexually attracted to your partner and vice versa:

1) Experiment with different dates.

There might not be a physical spark right away, but that could change over the course of a few dates. Experiment with different settings or activities. Dress up and go out to dinner; keep it more casual and do something fun like bowling or putt-putt golfing; take a trip to a new city together. Give it a few chances and ease the chemistry along by engaging in new experiences together.

2) Be playful. 

As we mentioned earlier, humor is one of the most attractive qualities, for many. You can boost your physical attraction by being silly and playful with one another—figure out what makes each other laugh and find joy (and attraction) in laughing together.

3) Explore each other’s senses. 

If you connect with someone, but that instant connection isn’t there, try exploring each other’s senses to develop your sexual chemistry. For example, indulge in your partner’s favorite meal; sit down and watch the movie that makes you laugh the hardest; listen to the song that makes them feel nostalgic or romantic. Explore the senses, experiment with different levels of emotion, and see if you can’t urge that physical connection along.

4) Consider going to sex therapy.

Sex therapy can be particularly helpful to couples experiencing trouble in the bedroom. “Sensate-focused therapy specifically involves a sex therapist guiding an individual or couple through assigned touching exercises aimed at reducing the anxiety and any negative associations to sexual intimacy as well as improving communication between the partners,” explains Heidi Faust, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). 

5) Stay committed to strengthening intimacy throughout your relationship.

Both the person that you are and the person that you’re with today will change – in fact, the person that you were and the person that they were when you met are probably already different today. We all grow and change throughout our lives, and our relationships grow and evolve, too. So stay committed to strengthening your relationship and exploring new channels of intimacy. You can learn more about this in Pat Love’s book, “The Truth About Love.” 

My Love Connection: Is It a Hit or Miss?

Remember the Humans of New York post I mentioned earlier? The subject questioned whether his relationship was valid without physical attraction and intimacy. People flooded the comments, some calling him a jerk for finding his girlfriend unattractive and others offering support, as they’d been there before. Here was the consensus: One, he was respected for being so honest. Two, there was certainly hope for his relationship.

“While physical attraction plays an important evolutionary role in reproduction, there’s nothing to say that a lack of sexual attraction will negatively impact a relationship,” Backe explains. Additionally, the mental is what matters most: “Mental attraction is a prerequisite for maintaining a lasting, healthy relationship. Someone who is in love with, but not attracted to, an individual should still pursue this love connection as this is the connection that will last.