Sexual tension is one of those nearly indescribable experiences. It differs from person to person, though there is also an overlying universal theme to the signs. Though everyone has a different way of expressing their flirtatious self, the feeling at the root of the action is nearly always the same—sexual tension is when people feel that draw toward one another.
It’s all about a feeling, not about a specific move. Though the move itself is how you can tell you’re not misreading the situation. Like flirting, sexual tension is hard for some people to decipher, but it’s all about trusting your gut, your heart, and every other part of your body.
Here are a few nuances of sexual tension that give you a sign that things are getting steamy:
Eye contact is key
You can tell so much about a person and a situation by paying attention to eye contact. We know that we are supposed to hold eye contact in a job interview, and when you’re meeting a new person, and when your friend is talking to you, and as much as possible on a first date. But it’s even bigger than that. If you are in a group of people, if you pay attention to who is looking at you — making that eye contact — a lot, you may be onto something. Eye contact really is key when it comes to deciphering whether or not sexual tension is heating up. Do you keep catching that cutie across the bar looking at you? Does he not break eye contact when you catch his? That’s a great sign.
And furthermore on a date, if the two of you cannot keep your eyes from meeting and it doesn’t feel awkward when they do, you may find your whole body flushed. This is a very good thing.
Subtle or bold touching is a clear sign
It seems obvious that touching is a sign of sexual tension, but it can be so ambiguous that it’s not fair to assume all touches are sexual touches. The key to deciphering if a touch is a sign of sexual tension or not is to pay attention to how it makes you feel. When he grazed your lower back, did it feel like a friend simply leading a friend to the next room? Or did it make you blush? When he helped you brush the hair from your shoulder — did it feel sexual, or did it feel like something your great aunt would do? If the touch makes you feel a certain way, it’s a huge sign that things are heating up.
On the flipside, if you find yourself drawn to touching him or her, that’s another great sign. Sexual tension — of course — goes both ways. If you just can’t stop touching her knee when she cracks a joke, ask yourself why. If it makes you red and your hands clammy every time you graze against her, ask yourself why. It is most likely sexual tension coming to knock at your door.
Your text message game is getting more suggestive
Constant texting is a definite sign of sexual tension in and of itself, but that’s not quite enough to figure it out. In this day and age, so many of us are glued to our phones that it’s easy to text anyone throughout the day. You can text your hairdresser, your best friend, your mom, your grandpa all throughout the day. It’s the content of those text messages that really hold the implication. Are you two flirting via text message? Have there been a lot of shared selfies? Have you been using the kissy face emoji so often that it is now in your most frequently used emojis? Has he been texting you, “you up?” late at night? Has she been making sexually suggestive jokes to you? Do you blush when you see their name pop up on your phone? Do you make sure you’re alone when you open a text from them because you aren’t sure what it contains? All of that is sexual tension, and all of it means something is on the horizon.
The invitations have become more date-y
If the two of you met in a friend group, or even if you’ve known each other for a long time, and all of a sudden you’re spending more time just the two of you, chances are something is going on there. If you’ve had an incredibly long or bad day at work and she offers to bring over wine tonight to help you relax, this is it.This is sexual tension heating up. Pay attention to what your hangouts look like and where they are heading. Wine at home (just the two of you), dinner out (just the two of you), or something even more explicit like the offer of a back massage are all great examples of how things are heating up.
Sure, a compliment can just be a genuine compliment. Anyone can tell anyone else that they like their purse, their shirt, their jeans, their laugh. But if a compliment is a bit more physical, it’s a pretty good sign that your sexual tension is jumping up a notch. If you see him and he looks you up and down and tells you that he loves your new haircut — it’s a good sign that sexual tension is palpable.
You’re whispering a lot
Nothing is sexier than a low voice or a whisper. If she’s talking to you about data reports, but in a low voice, and it makes you feel extremely flushed, that is sexual tension and it is getting hot.
You can just feel it
The most telltale way to figure out if sexual tension is heating up is if you just feel it. You can feel it emotionally, you can definitely feel it physically — you just know. Your gut instinct is usually not wrong. If you think things are ready to jump to the next level, you are honestly probably right. Move slowly, but be bold, and always make sure you have consent before you make the next move. And get to it.
Sexual tension can be hard to decipher, but the most important thing to figure out is how you each feel about the situation. If you feel reciprocated and you have consent, jump right in to the next move. It’s an exciting one.