Quantcast

Elite Daily

An Expert Reveals What Exactly Causes Sexual Tension Between Two People

“The sexual tension between the two of them was palpable.”

“We have insane sexual tension, but he’s in a relationship.”

“We didn’t kiss at the end of the date, but there was lots of sexual tension.”

“We’re just friends, but there’s a ton of sexual tension.”

Any of these sound familiar? Yep, thought so.

We hear about, talk about and — most importantly — FEEL “sexual tension” all the time, but WTF is it? I mean, is it just this crazy, unexplainable thing, or can science help us figure out what it really is?

Well, I talked to Dr. Nicole Prause, CEO of Liberia, sexual psychophysiologist and neuroscientist, about what’s happening in your brain to make you feel those ~butterflies~ we like to call sexual tension.

What the eff is sexual tension, really?

Dr. Prause describes sexual tension as “our pleasurable interpretation of the general body arousal and preparation to engage.”

In other words, your body is feeling the heat and is using that sexual tension as motivation to GET. IT. ON.

Sexual tension provides us with a certain level of risk that motivates our body to get down and dirty.

In Dr. Prause’s words:

Before we actually race our motorcycle, steal the toothpaste from CVS, or have sex, the anticipation of the act involves a strong recruitment of resources to prepare us to act. This is not “fight or flight”; this is just how motivation works.

What sort of “risk” is she talking about? Allow us to explain.


There are two kinds of sexual tension.

“Sexual tension can be positive or negative, in terms of how it feels, and that changes the effect that it has,” according to Dr. Prause.

Sexual tension can be positive or negative, in terms of how it feels.

She describes positive sexual tension as “the ‘risk’ or not knowing what might happen, even with an established partner.”

An example she provided is, “I really want to have sex with my usual partner who I am attracted to… can I get them to [do it]?” Another example even includes the possibility of sex with a new partner: “I am going to get to have sex with this new person, but I have no idea what they are actually going to want to do once in bed. It might be amazing.”

On the flip side of positive sexual tension is negative sexual tension. Dr. Prause explains that “negative” refers to a spectrum of negative emotions that sexual tension can manifest itself as. “You could be angry, sad, anxious, or something else,” she says.

For example, sexual tension can manifest itself in a negative way for people who have a history of sexual assault. Sexual tension can actually cause these people to “report dread when they feel they may soon be having sex with a partner,” Dr. Prause says.

Another way negative sexual tension manifests itself is in the shape of what she calls “nervous sexual tension.” This usually takes place in the form of performance anxiety.

For example, someone who feels nervous sexual tension might think, “I really want to have sex, but I am not sure my erection will stay the whole time.” Or, “I cannot wait to see her nude, but I feel fat and she might not be attracted to me when my shirt comes off.”

Dr. Prause reassures us that although nervous sexual tension falls under the more general umbrella of negative sexual tension, “a little of this can be nice” — like when you experience those nerves and then realize, “Oh good, she still seems interested!”

That being said, too much nervous sexual tension can be paralyzing. Dr. Prause explains that, for example, a guy who’s self conscious about his body might think to himself, “I will have sex without taking my shirt off, but now she’s asking why and it’s getting weird.”

So next time you’re feeling those ~butterflies~, take a second to really think about it. What kind of sexual tension are you experiencing? Is it positive or is it negative?

If it’s positive, WAHOO! Swag that you’re still attracted to your partner and the spark is still ~alive~ in your relationship. Go make a move on your partner the way you know she likes it and enjoy some sweet, sweet love making.

If it’s negative, take some time to figure out why. Is there something from your past that’s holding you back? Or is it more of a nervous sexual tension that’s stemming from self-consciousness?

If it’s the nervous kind, remember what Dr. Prause said: This could actually be a good thing! Just hang tight and enjoy the ride (LOL, literally).

Why People Who Have More Sex Are Healthier

Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.

Candice Jalili

Editor

Candice is a staff writer here at Elite Daily. She possesses both the body and the humor of a 15-year-old boy while she enjoys the lifestyle of a 75-year-old woman.
Candice is a staff writer here at Elite Daily. She possesses both the body and the humor of a 15-year-old boy while she enjoys the lifestyle of a 75-year-old woman.

Why Guys Need To Go On More Man Dates

Comments