Everyone’s felt attraction before —but when is that attraction something more? Sexual tension is when individuals are drawn to one another in a sexual way before (if ever) having sex together. Whether you know the person or not, it typically involves longing for them in a way that’s either forbidden or just hasn’t happened yet. Feeling sexual tension is, shall we say…awkward. But at the same time, it’s exciting if you both end up feeling the same way! Here are 14 telltale signs that there’s some major sexual tension going on:
1. Eye contact
Eye contact is one of the greatest forms of nonverbal flirting. Think about all of the times you’ve caught the eye of someone across the bar — you hold it for just a moment longer, right? Eye contact is an instant way to establish intimacy with someone else. If you and a certain someone are constantly flirting with your eyes, there may be some sexual tension to explore.
Whether it’s a playful hit on the shoulder after a joke, hugging for an extended amount of time, or putting your hand on top of theirs during a conversation, finding ways to touch is a big indicator of sexual tension. You’ll find pretty much any excuse to do it!
3. You Want to Be Near Them
Do you always find yourselves sitting next to each other when you’re with a group of friends or standing with each other at a party? If it feels good to be around this person, and they seem happy to be around you too, then maybe there’s something there worth exploring.
4. Your Voice Changes When They’re Around
Even when you’re talking about mundane topics, your voice seems to change whenever you’re around each other. Whether you’re nervous, excited, or trying to play it cool, you notice your inflection changing a bit.
5. You Laugh More
Every joke they tell is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard! You’re giddy and more carefree around someone you’re crushing on.
6. Nonstop Flirtation
You’re in flirt mode 100% of the time—one of the most telltale signs of sexual tension. Intentional or not, you find yourself doing anything and everything to get their attention.
7. They Show Up in Your Dreams
Your crush is always on your mind, and when there’s sexual tension, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll dream about them at some point. (Whether it’s one of those dreams or not.)
8. Awkward Conversations
Along with sexual tension comes a lot of awkwardness. You get flustered! This can lead to uncomfortable conversations, especially when you’re too nervous to act normally.
9. It’s Awkward When Sex Comes Up
You can try to avoid the topic of sex all you want, but it’s bound to pop up during conversation at some point. You might look away or change the subject so that you don’t accidentally let your feelings slip.
10. Other People Notice
It’s way more obvious than you think, even if you try to downplay the flirtation. If your friends start asking “what’s up” with you and your secret crush (even if nothing has actually happened), it’s a telltale sign of sexual tension.
11. You Second Guess Yourself
Sexual tension can often lead you to unnecessarily feel insecure or second guess yourself when you are around the other person. Think about what is causing you to feel this way. Perhaps pursuing the relationship and actually exploring the sexual tension can help?
12. Your Heart Skips a Beat When You See Them
It sounds cliche, but it’s true! You’re always so excited to see them that your heart may secretly skip a beat. The other person may not know it, but you’ll feel completely giddy whenever you get the chance to be around each other.
13. You Feel the Need to Be Secretive
Nothing has happened yet, but you still feel the need to keep your friendship or relationship secret from other people. Why is that? Ultimately, you may feel protective over the other person and the possibilities that you have together, or you might just feel silly for having these types of feelings. Either way, it can be helpful to talk to other people about it and get an outsider’s opinion before making a move.
14. You Get Butterflies When You’re Around Them
Even if your personality is more on the serious side, sexual tension can completely overtake your body and cause butterflies. Whether you love the feeling or can’t stand it, it’s a sign that all that sexual tension might be worth exploring!
While sexual tension can be fun and flirty, there are some instances when sexual tension is not okay. For example, if it’s unwanted by the other person (or a co-worker), then it’s not sexual tension—it’s uncomfortable at best and harassment at worst. Flirting can be fun when it feels like risky behavior and you aren’t sure how the other person will react, but in some cases, it’s important to check in with the other person to make sure that you’re not crossing any boundaries.
On the other hand, if the other person is reciprocating your flirting, it might be a sign they’re into you, too! Trust your gut, keep things light, and be honest about your feelings—you never know what will happen!