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Auntie SparkNotes: Is Pure Physical Attraction a Normal Thing?

Auntie SparkNotes: Is Pure Physical Attraction a Normal Thing?

Dear Auntie SparkNotes,
So about a month ago I broke up with my boyfriend of pretty much a year. Our relationship was slow and sweet, the kinda that took nine months for me to get my first kiss. For me, it was perfect. It was all about emotion, and that's how I'm used to relationships being.

But now, I kinda like another guy.

He's a very touchy-feely, flirtatious guy. Almost like a player, but he seems to genuinely care about the girls he's with. However, he also carries a ton of emotional baggage and isn't exactly the most stable of guys. Several of my friends actually don't like him. They see him as a player and kind of a low-life. If I mention that I kinda like him to them, they shake their heads "no". To be honest, I'll admit that he probably isn't the greatest of guys. I could do a lot better. I think he seems a little judged and misunderstood despite how open he is about things. Also, seeing and knowing that he hurts makes me want to help him, see if somehow I can be the missing link in his life.

Aside from that desire to help him, I don't feel much for him emotionally. There's no slow, happy, giddy feelings like there was with my first boyfriend. It's all physical. I want to be in his arms, to cuddle with him, etc. I basically crave his touch. I don't understand why. It's completely different than how I have ever felt about a guy. And the best part about this? He likes me.

So Auntie SparkNotes, what should I do? He likes me, I kinda like him. I want to help him. I want his touch. Do I jump into it? I'm worried about hurting him. He's fairly resistant from what I've seen. Is it even normal to only be physically attracted to someone? Is it even right to like someone for just those reasons? Or is all this just a result from breaking up with my boyfriend?

It is normal and okay to be attracted to someone physically, but not necessarily on other levels? The answer, Sparkler—and I mean this in the nicest possible way—is...


Chemistry is a lovely, wonderful thing, and a relationship based purely on physical attraction isn't something to sneer at; not only can a lusty fling be a lot of fun in its own right, but it can also go hand in hand with a much deeper and more complex connection. Even the most all-consuming blaze of romance usually begins with a spark of physical interest, you know? Or in other words, you might end up loving someone for his mind, but that doesn't mean you can't start out liking him for his face. Or hair. Or butt.


While it's completely and totally fine to pursue a person just 'cause you like what's on the outside, it is the exact opposite of fine to pursue a person because you seem him as some sort of pity case improvement project who just happens to have great sex appeal. And this is where we run into trouble, because man, doth you ever protest too much— so much that rather than just owning your feelings and admitting your crush, you're trying to recharacterize your flat-out desire for this guy as some sort of altruistic, self-sacrificing mission to patch up al his problem areas.

Which, not to put too fine a point on it, is a seriously gross thing to do. I mean, would you want to be in a relationship with a person who talked about you the way you talk about this guy? Would you want to date someone who had to talk themselves into it by pretending they were doing you a favor? Would you want to be with someone who saw you as a pile of flaws in need of fixing?

And most importantly: are you actually so scared of your own desires that you need this much elaborate justification to admit when you want something?

I hope not, darling. Really. I think you're better than that. But until or unless you can root out and squash that nasty little impulse—the one that has you already patting yourself on the back over getting your rocks off for charity—then please, leave the poor dude alone. He deserves better.

What do you think of this Sparkler's conundrum? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, relationships, kissing, boyfriends, attraction

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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