Body language is a fundamental aspect of communication in relationships. It’s thus an important aspect of dating, specifically in terms of body language attraction. Recognizing when someone is attracted to you will help immensely in terms of knowing whether you might move ahead or take a step back.
This can help cut through a veneer someone puts on in order to avoid hurting your feelings. Their lack of open body language indicators, however, might reveal exactly what it is they’re having trouble telling you directly. If you're wondering "Why am I suddenly attracted to my female friend?", the answer may lie in a change in subconscious body language.
Although gender is a spectrum, male and female body language traditionally tends to differ in certain ways. For example, women are more likely to widen their eyes, which makes them appear more inviting, while men are more likely to spread their legs, which results in them taking up more personal space. Online therapy services can help you learn more and navigate these body language signs.
While some research shows that men and women exhibit attraction in different ways, as well as how gender affects the ways we “read” body language, many people share certain aspects of body language attraction regardless of biological sex, gender identification, or being attracted to the same or opposite sex. That said, it is important to recognize that these are general guidelines, and many people may express or “read” body language in a unique way.
Most important, “reading” body language should generally be seen as a guide rather than a go-ahead. Attaining explicit verbal consent is essential and should never be foregone simply because there may be indicators of psychological attraction through body language.
Female Attraction Through Body Language
Women are more adept at expressing and “reading” body language cues, according to Monica Moore, professor at Webster University in St. Louis. And when it comes to sending these signals, women often have a particular set of indicators compared to men. For example, there may be certain cues in terms of posture and what she does with her hands when she’s around a man she’s attracted to.
Some studies show that women may be most attracted to men whose specific male body language exudes dominance and masculinity and is suggestive of physical size. They may respond to this type of body language with a kind that shows submissiveness and indicates fertility. Unless you spend time paying close attention, the signs, which are listed below, can be easy to miss.
Even if on a subconscious level, body language has a great deal to do with sexual excitement and attraction, which is biologically related to fertility. So, when a woman is attracted to a man, she may express signs of her own fertility, though these can vary widely. For example, she might wear her hair down (traditionally associated with femininity), tilt her head (exposing more pheromones), or open up her body toward you (such as uncrossing arms or legs).
Women may be more likely to engage in preening behaviors around someone they find attractive. For example, there may be an increase in hair touching and a general concern for their physical appearance. For instance, if she’s wearing makeup, she might excuse herself to touch it up in the bathroom. Or if you’re out walking, she might glance in a shop window to ensure she’s looking her best.
If a woman is attracted to someone, she might be more likely to lick her lips. The added moisture makes them glossier and can thus be a way to signal that she’s receptive to being more intimate. Even if this is a totally subconscious movement, it can signal a dry mouth, which might also be indicating attraction. Why? That’s because a slightly faster rate of breathing, which happens when someone is attracted to another, can dry out the mouth.
Paying attention to a woman’s hip movements can potentially indicate romantic attraction. If music is playing, take note of how she moves her hips. Even if it’s rather subtle, such physical signs indicate that she’s enjoying herself and might also signal her attraction.
Eye and Facial Movements
The face is a strong indicator of emotion, which includes attraction, of course. As such, how a woman moves her head and eyes can be particularly insightful when it comes to indicating romantic interest. For example, a woman is more likely to blink rapidly or flutter her eyelids when she’s attracted to the person she’s talking with. In general, she’s more likely to have an expressive, smiling face when demonstrating interest, including movements such as slightly raised eyebrows or a slightly tilted head.
Male Attraction Through Body Language
Just as with women, there are certain body language indicators that men are more likely to demonstrate. In general, male attraction through body language involves ways of showing or accentuating masculinity and strength. These indicators, listed below, may incorporate movements or gestures that are aligned with their ultimate goal—that is, creating a more intimate connection.
Men, like women, also tend to demonstrate—consciously or subconsciously—their fertility to women they are attracted to. For example, this can include exaggerated posture: wide stance, standing up very straight, shoulders back, etc. When sitting, this can involve opening their legs more widely, which takes up more space and indicates dominance.
Men demonstrating romantic interest are more likely to try to make eye contact with you. And if the eye contact is sustained, that’s another strong indicator (hopefully it isn’t too long, however, as that can easily cross over into creepy). Men are also fairly likely to examine a woman’s body when they are attracted to her, which can include eyes “dipping” down to take in the rest of her. Finally, raised eyebrows are also a common indicator of attraction and this can be done consciously or subconsciously.
While men don’t tend to lick their lips or wear lipstick to draw attention to their lips in the way some women might, this is still an area worth paying attention to. For example, if you make extended eye contact and his lips suddenly part, this can be an expression of attraction. Men are also likely to part their lips in anticipation of a kiss.
Parted lips can be a way to take a quick breath in, and flared nostrils serve a similar purpose. This is why it’s a common reaction before a physical altercation. In terms of body language attraction, flared nostrils might indicate interest and excitement. On a subconscious and biological level, it’s also possible that this is in order to take in more of the other person’s pheromones.
When it comes to interpersonal attraction and body language, a general “opening up” of the body as opposed to a “closing off” is always a strong indicator of romantic interest. For example, rather than crossing his arms and turning his body away from the other person, a man who’s showing attraction will keep his arms uncrossed and his body facing more toward you. This generally means his feet will be more pointed toward you (when standing), and his forehead will mostly be facing your own. Also, he’ll seek to generally remove barriers between himself and the other person, which indicates a desire to become more intimate.
Gender Neutral Body Language Attraction
Many forms of body language attraction are universal. That is, the behaviors listed below don’t really vary depending on biological sex, gender identification, or sexual orientation.
People are generally more attracted to a person who shows availability. Showing availability might entail having an open posture with arms and legs uncrossed. Another common indicator is maintaining steady and prolonged eye contact rather than looking away or down (for example, at their feet, the table, their phone, etc.). In short, if you are interested in someone, you are more likely to pay attention to what they are saying and more likely to mirror what they are doing.
Smiling is another way that people show their availability when engaged in the dating scene. Smiling typically makes you more attractive and inviting, while also expressing interest to another person. This is especially true of genuine smiles, which tend to reach the eyes, rather than smiles that may be expressed out of mere politeness.
An extremely common aspect of attraction and body language involves physical space. More specifically, it involves the distance, or lack thereof, between two people. If you observe two people that are leaning in toward one another and engaged in conversation, it is a great sign that they are attracted to one another and they are the only person on their minds. Two reasons can drive this behavior: a desire for greater intimacy, and a desire to pay close attention to you, and both are indicators of attraction.
A tilted head is a common movement that indicates engagement and interest. While women may be more prone to head tilting than men, people generally do this to show they are paying attention and care about what is being said. As such, it can be a subtle indicator of attraction.
Flushing or Blushing
There are some things that, physiologically speaking, we just can’t control. For example, blushing. Although this is common with embarrassment, this is also a classic indicator of physical attraction, as the person with feelings of attraction will experience a rushing of blood to the face.
Faster Heartbeat and Breathing
Another physiological response to attraction involves a quickened heartbeat. It’s not like you can easily take someone’s pulse while you’re on a date, but luckily there’s another, more obvious sign: faster breathing. If someone’s heart rate is up, they are more likely to breathe faster and also have warmer palms.
Catching someone’s gaze happens all the time and doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If you lock eyes multiple times, however, especially if they are maintaining eye contact, then it is definitely a good sign that something more may be going on. With one-on-one conversation, this can be particularly significant. For example, if you have frequent and sustained eye contact, chances are there’s mutual attraction, especially if their pupils dilate. On the other hand, if one person’s eyes constantly shift focus, it is unlikely that they’re fully engaged in the interaction.
Speed of Movement
This is a seemingly small thing but it can tell you a lot. If someone you’re with moves slowly and deliberately—in other words, takes their time—it can show confidence. On the other hand, fast and jerky movements tend to indicate nervousness. Both can be indicators of attraction, with the first indicating confidence and the latter likely indicating a lack thereof.
In general, people demonstrating a strong sign of romantic interest will engage in preening behaviors, and these include hair touching. For example, a woman may nervously or suggestively play with her hair when she’s attracted to someone, while a man may sweep his hand through his hair. These movements often indicate attraction, but not always, so use your best judgment.
Moments of Touching
Brief moments of physical contact can tell a much larger story of attraction than they might seem to let on. For example, a touch might seem accidental or innocent, but oftentimes it indicates that a person is looking for a more intimate relationship. Whether done consciously or not, small touches tend to signal a desire for more touching, which is a surefire sign of attraction.
Biologically speaking, we are hardwired to mirror the movements of others. Although it often happens subconsciously, these movements, such as mimicking body movements to take on a similar pose, often indicate engagement in the interaction. Close engagement is itself a common phenomenon of attraction, as it shows the other person that they have your full attention. There’s also verbal mirroring, in which two people may indicate a common background and interests by speaking in a similar fashion and repeating some of the same words and expressions.
Getting Help with Body Language
No matter who you are, it can be helpful to consider how your body language speaks to others. Whether in professional or would-be romantic interactions, understanding body language can make you more effective. For example, you may give mixed body language signals without meaning to, which might consciously or subconsciously throw other people off.
Expressing such conflicting body language might indicate to others that you don’t know what you really want. In fact, your body might be expressing your inner feelings in spite of yourself, thus indicating nervousness, fear, anxiety, etc. If you find that this is negatively impacting your life, and you’d like to make a change, seeing a therapist through BetterHelp might make a world of difference.
Licensed therapists can help you learn how to better use body language to your advantage and how to navigate dating and romantic relationships, whether that’s online or in person. They can also help you dig deep and discover the underlying causes to the emotions and difficulties you may be experiencing. With the help of a therapist, you can exercise greater control over your body language and are likely to have an easier time making meaningful connections.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What are body language signs of attraction?
In general, these are conscious or subconscious movements that constitute nonverbal ways of showing attraction. There are many body language signs of attraction, many of which are covered in the above article. These signs can be subtle signals, such as increased heart rate and pupil dilation, or they can be more obvious, such as leaning in and opening up one’s body.
How do you know if someone is attracted to you sexually?
There are a number of ways that someone might convey their sexual attraction to you. Many of these indicators are physical and related in the above article. In general, someone demonstrating sexual and emotional attraction will display more openness toward you in terms of posture and also try to minimize barriers between you. This attempt at creating more physical intimacy with you is a strong indicator of a desire to be sexually intimate.
Of course, sexual attraction should be explicitly stated, and verbal consent during a potential sexual encounter should always be enunciated before anything is acted on. So, while physical indicators of body language might help, they should be considered more of a guide than a go-ahead.
What are some types of body language?
There are a ton of different types of body language, and no two people will be precisely the same. That said, there are some common types. For example, people who are confident will usually express this in their body language: upright posture, wide stances, shoulders back, etc. On the other hand, people who are more submissive or less sure of themselves will more likely demonstrate the opposite body language: rounded shoulders, downcast eyes, narrow stance, etc.
What is confident body language?
Confident body language is typically expansive body language. While people who are nervous or uncertain tend to make themselves smaller, confident people are more likely to take up space. This can be seen in the posture of confident people; rather than curved shoulders and downcast eyes, a confident person will likely have a straight back, shoulders rolled back, and eyes directed ahead and maintain eye contact. Confident people are also typically quick to lean into others for introductions and greetings and may be more likely to stand still than people who are more insecure and show nervous behavior.
What does body language tell you?
Body language is an extremely important part of communication; although verbal communication is often our focus when it comes to “communication,” nonverbal communication can tell us a lot about our subconscious. In fact, body language can provide a window into someone’s emotional state, their degree of comfort or familiarity with someone, and their overall mood and temperament. Body language is also used to calculate confidence. For example, confident body language is often associated with an “open” stance, while insecure or unsure body language is often associated with being hunched or closed off.
What are the 7 types of nonverbal communication?
There are seven to nine different types of nonverbal communication, which include the following:
Which behavior is an example of nonverbal communication?
Hand gestures are among the most common and basic types of nonverbal communication. For example, a handshake, resting a hand on someone’s shoulder, patting them on the cheek, etc. These behavioral signs can convey distinctly different things, but all tend to display a certain level of familiarity and even intimacy.