Butterflies In Your Stomach And Other Physical Feelings When You’re In Love

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC and Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated July 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When you develop romantic feelings for someone, you may experience various physical sensations. These can include butterflies in your stomach, a racing heart, sweaty palms, trouble sleeping, and more. If these sensations cause feelings of anxiety, or if you’re having trouble with a romantic relationship, you may wish to reach out to a licensed therapist for insight and guidance.

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The connection between love and sexual attraction

The most obvious physical feeling that can indicate love might be that of sexual attraction. When we feel strongly for someone, sex may be intertwined with those feelings in some capacity. Some people may argue that intense sexual attraction is not true love, but sex and romance are often found alongside each other. As such, you may experience feelings of sexual attraction if you love someone. You may have to gauge whether you are simply experiencing sexual attraction for an individual, or if there could be something more there. It can also be important to note that it can be normal for some people not to experience sexual attraction, and it can still be possible for these people to experience love and healthy relationships.

Other common physical effects of love 

There can be plenty of physical symptoms of love, such as the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, and this may be because love can release many chemicals that affect the body. Some of these physical symptoms can include the following.

Butterflies In Your Stomach


Have you ever looked at someone you were strongly attracted to, only to find yourself with a light, tingly feeling in your abdominal area? This can be a common symptom of love. It often occurs because being in love with someone may also come with nervousness and stress. Nerves can trigger the release of stress hormones that can come with physical symptoms.

Feeling high

For some people, being in love with someone might feel as though they are experiencing a high. As such, people may go to great lengths for the ones they care about and may exhibit strange behaviors as a result of experiencing such feelings. The reason for this may be that love can be considered a drug in its own right.

Feelings of love can affect the same parts of the brain that usually light up when addictive substances are used, and this can happen for a very important reason. When experiencing intense romantic love, two sections of the brain are normally activated. These two centers are typically responsible for pleasure and recognizing pleasurable and life-sustaining activities. In other words, love can fill you with pleasure and joy-inducing chemicals, and can encourage you to maintain that attachment. This was often important for the survival of early humans who depended heavily on their communities to care for one another and keep the species alive.

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You may also experience the following physical sensations when in love:

  • Flushed cheeks

  • Racing heart

  • Sweaty palms

  • Dilated pupils

  • Mild nausea

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Lessened chronic pain

How should I proceed?

After experiencing love, the next question you have may be, what am I supposed to do next? Generally, if you are not already in a relationship with the person that you love, you might want to start dating them and trying to enter a more serious relationship stage if they feel the same way. If you're in love with someone and want to make sure your relationship is healthy and has what it needs to last long-term, one great way to learn the necessary skills and receive support can be through relationship therapy.

Reconnecting through online therapy

Are you curious about love and attraction?

Even the healthiest relationships may go through rough patches. When you’re not feeling the butterflies and don’t know where to turn, a licensed therapist can help. 

Recent research has shown that online therapy platforms can effectively provide couples counseling to those experiencing difficulties. In a study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, researchers examined the efficacy of online therapy when treating relationships in distress. Researchers found that relationship satisfaction and communication generally improved after therapy programs were completed. 

Through an online therapy platform, you may connect with a licensed marriage and family therapist who can help you address any challenges you may be experiencing within your relationship. Online sessions are often easier and more available to attend in comparison to in-office therapy. You’ll likely find a variety of available session times that can fit into your and your partner’s schedules.

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It can be common to experience a variety of physical sensations, such as butterflies in your stomach, when you’re in love. Sometimes, feelings of love can also be accompanied by feelings of nervousness, which can result in various physical symptoms. If you’ve been experiencing sensations that make you uncomfortable, or aren’t sure how to navigate a romantic relationship, working with a therapist online or in person can be helpful.
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