A lingering look, a casual touch and suddenly your stomach is filled with butterflies. If you’re attracted to someone, it’s normal to feel a nervous or excited flutter in your stomach the first time you see them (2). But what does it mean when butterflies appear long after the initial attraction has worn off? It could be a sign of sexual tension.
Sexual tension is the feeling of excitement and anticipation that comes from flirting with someone you’re attracted to, but have not yet kissed, slept with or started a relationship with.
It’s the “will they/won’t they” dance that can happen between friends, co-workers or acquaintances. And it can be frustrating, because it’s often hard to tell if the other person is feeling it too.
If you’re wondering how to tell if there’s sexual tension between you and someone else, here are some signs to look for (3, 1):
Changes In Voice Pitch
When we’re attracted to someone, our voices tend to change. We might speak in a higher pitch than normal or start to breathe more heavily.
These changes are unconsciously made in an attempt to make ourselves seem more attractive to the other person. So if you notice that the person you’re talking to suddenly starts sounding different, it could be a sign that they’re attracted to you.
Read More: 6 Signs Of Mature Sexuality
When people are attracted to each other, they tend to make more eye contact. If you find yourself locking eyes with someone across the room, or staring at them a little longer than normal, it could be a sign that there’s sexual tension between you.
Another way to gauge whether or not there’s sexual tension is by paying attention to how often people touch each other.
If you find yourself accidentally brushing up against someone, or they’re always “accidentally” touching you, it could be a sign that there’s a mutual attraction.
If you find yourself engaged in playful banter with someone, or you’re constantly cracking jokes with each other, you might be flirting. Playful banter is a way of building sexual tension between two people.
It’s important to remember that not everyone flirts in the same way, so it’s important to pay attention to the cues the other person is giving off. If they seem interested in what you’re saying and are mirroring your body language, they’re probably flirting with you.
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What To Do When You Feel Sexual Tension
There are a few ways to respond to someone who is flirting with you. You can mirror their body language and jokes, or you can escalate the flirting by touching them on the arm or shoulder.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can invite them out for drinks or dinner. Just remember to read the situation before making any moves to avoid awkward situations.
The Bottom Line
Sexual tension is the result of attraction mixed with anxiety. It feels like butterflies in your stomach and can make you feel both excited and nervous at the same time.
If you’re feeling sexual tension, the best thing to do is to talk to the person you’re attracted to and see if they’re interested in taking things further.