“What do you do when you’re intellectually attracted but not physically attracted?”
Oomph. This wretched — albeit common — predicament in the dating world leaves many singles feeling like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Moreover, many people who are in long-term relationships find themselves deflated and unsure of what to do when their attraction to their partner wanes.
Whether you are attempting to make a new relationship work with someone you are intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to, or if you’d like to regain the sexual spark you once had with a long-term partner, I’m here to help. In this article, I’ll explore the steps you can take in navigating a lack of physical attraction to a romantic partner.
Intellectually Attracted But Not Physically Attracted Early On
Let’s say that you are dating someone and there is a lack of physical chemistry from the start. You have no desire to see them naked. Can physical attraction grow over time?
Aside from physical attraction, this person has everything you want. You can connect with them intellectually and even allow yourself to be vulnerable around them. What they lack in physicality they more than make up for in their mental dexterity and emotional maturity. Plus, you don’t want to just date someone with a pretty face and hot body, right?
Well, yes, you don’t want to date someone based on looks alone. However…
Physical Attraction Matters, Especially in the Beginning
Yes, that fiery gotta-have-you-right-here-right-now attraction that people think of during the early stages of dating is not long-lasting. Crazy passion is a symptom of infatuation, which typically lasts a few months and is known as the “honeymoon phase.”
But it’s important to start a relationship with sexual chemistry in order for the relationship to evolve into something serious. Sexual attraction provides sort of a baseline in relationships. You know that you are attracted to the person, which is great because sex is an important part of any relationship.
If you’re going to date someone, especially long-term, you should enjoy having sex with them, particularly when it’s a monogamous relationship.
Moreover, attraction can create intimacy between the two of you, which can help you deepen your connection on a variety of levels.
Other People Are Physically Attracted to This Person
When you’ve just started dating someone and you’re conflicted over the fact that you are intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to this person, remember this:
There are others that will find them both intellectually and physically attractive.
Let’s examine the reason you’re intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to the person you’re dating. Maybe you can’t pinpoint the exact reason (physical attraction can’t be forced, after all). Or maybe the person you’re dating is overweight and this is something that’s a turn-off for you. You may feel superficial for not being able to look past something like weight, but I’d advise you to toss out any self-criticism right now.
If a person’s weight is something you can’t look past and the physical chemistry isn’t there, you need to accept that. Furthermore, understand that dating someone on the bigger side isn’t an issue for everyone and, no, that doesn’t make these people martyrs or somehow morally superior to you.
Case in Point…
I have a friend who is very petite and athletic but tends to be attracted to a softer body type (dad bods make her swoon like no other). She’s dated a variety of guys with a plethora of body types, but she tends to be more attracted to bigger guys as opposed to personal trainers and athletes. It’s simply a personal preference.
But a lot of time people with weight issues aren’t used to feeling like someone’s first choice, as she discovered. She met a guy who was on the bigger side that she had a lot in common with. She was attracted to him instantly and was happy to discover that — along with the physical chemistry — she was able to connect with him on an intellectual and emotional level in well.
What I’m saying is, if you’re not physically interested in someone, it’s not really fair to try to force a relationship with them simply because things are compatible intellectually. Other singles will be able to connect with them intellectually while also finding them sexually appealing.
How Would You Feel?
Ask yourself this: How would you feel if someone who you just started dating didn’t find you physically attractive but wanted to try and keep things going because they think you’re smart and have a lot of other “good on paper” qualities? It doesn’t feel all that great, does it?
Yes, you want someone who likes your personality and that you can have conversations with — but don’t you also want someone who, when they see you walk away, thinks “DAAAMMMNNN?”
Of course you want that. And, more importantly, everyone deserves that.
Ask Yourself: Why Am I Really Dating This Person?
If you literally just started dating someone and there is no physical attraction, I hate to break it to you, but that person is not an ideal potential partner for you — they are a potential friend at best.
Do you know who I am intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to? FRIENDS WHO I DON’T HAVE SEX WITH!
The whole point of friendship is that you have a connection with someone that doesn’t lead to romance. When you are physically attracted to someone you can also have a good friendship with, that is part of the foundation for a solid, romantic relationship.
Ask yourself why you are choosing to go on dates with someone you aren’t attracted to. Do you feel guilty for not finding them attractive? Are you just lonely? Are you afraid you won’t find anyone else?
Whatever the reason, you’re settling for the mediocre if you decide to start a new relationship with problems, the problem in question being a lack of physical attraction. How do you remedy this problem?
A lot of times, people settle for the mediocre or try to force a relationship with someone where there is a lack of chemistry because they get hung up on the fear of being alone forever. When your dating life is relatively lackluster and you only date one person at a time, finding someone you can carry a conversation with and connect with on an intellectual level can seem like a rarity.
After a string of bad dates or dating dry spells that last for long periods, it’s understandable that you may want to throw in the towel and just pursue things with someone you think is “good enough.”
But remember what I said about my friend and the overweight guy she found attractive. He was used to being treated like a “second choice.” He previously dated women who connected with him on an intellectual and emotional level. They were happy to date a “nice guy” after dating tons of jerks but those relationships took a shot to his self-esteem because he always sensed these women had a wandering eye.
Basically, they were intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to him. They never said this, but it’s not a difficult thing to pick up on.
The person you’re not physically attracted on will pick up on the sexual chemistry you can’t reciprocate. And it’s gonna suck for them. This is why you need to stop settling and start MegaDating.
What is MegaDating?
MegaDating is a dating process that involves dating multiple people at the same time in order to diffuse energy and keep your calendar full. When you MegaDate, you avoid getting hung up on the idea of “the one,” settling for the mediocre and chasing after people. This is because MegaDating shows you that there truly are plenty of fish in the sea.
Moreover, dating people concurrently allows you to enjoy time with a variety of interesting people as opposed to one. You’ll see that it is possible to connect on a variety of levels and that, yes, you can be intellectually and physically attracted to someone — it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.
As you MegaDate, you’ll get better and better at your overall dating approach or “game” because practice makes perfect. MegaDating naturally increases your confidence, which will help you attract more compatible, high-quality partners.
During my 100-date experiment, I used MegaDating as my main strategy. It led me to a fulfilling, long-term relationship with my boyfriend, who I have been with for years. It worked for me and it can work for you too!
If the Physical Chemistry Isn’t There, Is the Relationship DOA?
If you go on a date with someone and feel intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to them, is a relationship DOA?
Well, not necessarily…
I don’t think you should try to force a relationship with someone who you are not attracted to from the start. Don’t go on date after date after date hoping for a spark.
However, you don’t have to cut things off after just one date. If you felt an emotional connection but the physical chemistry wasn’t there, it’s possible you two can build to that. If you’re MegaDating (which you 100% should be), follow my failproof dating blueprint for the first three dates.
This blueprint paces a relationship appropriately and gives you the best chance of building both intellectual and physical chemistry with potential partners. Plus, this blueprint allows you to go on dates with tons of people without breaking the bank. In fact, you won’t spend more than $15 on the first two dates!
First Date: Build Trust and Rapport
The purpose of the first date is to build trust and rapport. This date should be around $10 and should definitely not exceed $15. It’s best for this to be a daytime date that is somewhere close to where she lives so that she can seem safe and secure.
Second Date: Escalate Sexual Tension
The purpose of the first date is to escalate sexual tension. This date should also be active and free. Some compelling second date ideas include things like hiking or visiting a museum. Check out my article on 30 Second Date Ideas that’ll knock her socks off.
Third Date: Morals and Values
This is the date where you can loosen your grip on your wallet and take her out for a romantic dinner. The third date is where you and she can assess whether or not your morals and values align, and whether there is potential for a long-term relationship. The third date is also often when physical intimacy occurs.
Make Your Dates Compelling
One reason you’re having trouble building a physical connection with someone could be because you choose the same boring coffee or happy hour for a date. When you sit interview-style with someone during each date, it’s difficult for chemistry to escalate.
Notice that I always recommend active dates for the second date. This is because being out in nature or doing something that is physically stimulating increases chemistry without you having to force it. It’s easier to break the touch barrier on these types of dates and a stimulating environment makes for better conversation and organic interaction.
Craft compelling date ideas that adhere to shared interests and introduce your date to a new experience.
Now that you understand your options when it comes to a lack of physical chemistry in a new relationship, let’s look at a waning attraction in long-term partnerships.
Loss of Attraction in Relationships
You’ve been with your partner for a significant amount of time and the attraction has waned. You no longer feel a physical chemistry with them.
This can be distressing. However, it’s important to note that physical attraction ebbs and flows in any relationship. No relationship is perfect and it is impossible to stay locked in that in-fatuous “honeymoon phase” where your attraction is insatiable.
Even the best relationships go through periods of tumult. When it comes to being intellectually attracted but not physically attracted after dating someone for some time, a couple questions I receive from my clients tend to be the most common.
What if She Starts Out Hot But Gets Fat?
A lot of times people let themselves go once they settle into a serious relationship. You’re not feeling the same pressure to attract a bevy of singles, so gym appointments get skipped and diet plans can fall by the wayside.
However, if the person you’re dating ends up gaining a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, that can be a signal that something else is going on. Maybe they’re depressed or an underlying health condition is at fault. Whatever the reason, you want to address the issue in a tactful, compassionate way.
Don’t criticize the person or make the issue specifically about their weight. Address it from the standpoint of health. If your partner hasn’t gained a significant amount of weight, you could simply suggest that the two of you take time to be active together as a way of bonding, like maybe you did when you first started dating.
If your partner seems to be gaining weight out of depression or another underlying issue, address their change in behavior (as opposed to their change in weight) with compassionate concern. Together, you two can either make a plan to be more healthy or seek professional guidance from a health practitioner in order to identify the exact problem.
What Do I Do if I Lose My Attraction But She’s Still My Best Friend?
Sometimes, when a relationship progresses, you may find that you are intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to what now feels like a best friend. When your partner feels like a best friend but the physical spark is not there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hope is lost.
Like I said, relationship attraction ebbs and flows. Maybe you’ve fallen into a rut where the two of you are doing the same thing over and over instead of exploring new adventures and taking up new hobbies together. Connecting over shared interests is important at the beginning of the relationship and throughout any relationship.
Try to regain the spark you once had by enjoying new experiences together. Moreover, don’t keep the lack of spark to yourself. You don’t need to tell your partner that you don’t feel attracted to them, but you can tell them that you feel like you two haven’t been connecting in a physical way and would like to nurture that part of your relationship.
Of course, there can be a variety of other issues in a relationship that leads to a decrease in attraction. In order to determine the best plan of action for you and your partner, it’s wise to consult with an outside party like a psychologist or dating coach. In fact, one of my favorite therapists who specializes in relationship intimacy is Esther Perel. Check her out for more great ideas on getting the spark back in your long term relationship.
Finding the Right Plan for Your Relationship
If you’re in an early dating relationship and would like to further explore the issues in your relationship to determine why you are intellectually attracted but not physically attracted to your partner, head over to my calendar and book a 1-on-1 Skype session with me today. During our session, we will discuss your specific situation and work on an action plan to help you find success.
Whatever your situation, I’m here to help you discover a happy and fulfilling love life.