How to Develop Your Attraction to the Right Person
By Ken Page L.C.S.W., Psychology Today
You know who would be good for you. So why aren't you attracted to them?
We can’t force our sexual attractions. Most of us have learned that the hard way.
Yet, as I describe in my book Deeper Dating, there’s something profound that most of us have never been taught: Although our sexual attractions can’t be controlled, they can be educated. This post will share some ways to cultivate sexual and romantic attraction to people who are kind, respectful—and available. Even if you’re relentlessly attracted to bad-boys or bad-girls, or to unavailable people, you can still develop this capacity. And these are not gimmicks; they are the lifelong skills of romance and intimacy—the very same skills you'll use to keep passion alive in your next serious relationship.
The Attraction Spectrum
Every time we enter a room full of people, we make choices based upon our attractions: Whom do we notice? Whom do we pass over? Deb, a young stockbroker from Chicago, once told me:
“You know, it’s almost magical. I can go to a party, and there’s always one person I’m most attracted to. If I date him, within a few weeks or a few months I discover he has the same emotional qualities as my previous partner. But when I first saw him from across the room, I had no idea at all that this would be true!”
Our attractions are forged in the deep space of our being, born of countless, often unknowable forces. When we encounter someone for the first time, our psyche and heart begin an astonishingly complex scan, picking up obvious cues like physique and facial structure, but also noting myriad subtle cues such as body language, facial expression, the contour of the lips, the nuance of the voice, and the muscles around the eyes. We instantly process this information without even knowing it. All we feel is desire or the lack of it.
Scientists tell us that a silkworm can smell one other silkworm moth of the opposite sex from six-and-a-half miles away. Our mating instinct may not be that developed, but nature has programmed our romantic radar with the sensitivity to find just the right person to trigger whatever emotional circuitry we need to work through.
All of us are attracted to a certain type that stops us dead in our tracks, be it a physical type, an emotional type, or a personality type. Let’s say that there is a "spectrum of attraction," from 1 to 10; the people at the far end aren’t physically or romantically attractive to us at all, but those at the upper end are icons—they’re compellingly attractive, leaving us weak in the knees and triggering both our longing and our insecurity.