Sexual attraction is among the most common of all the recurring themes that pop up in internet forums and agony aunt columns. Physical or sexual attraction is undoubtedly the first step when it comes to establishing a romantic relationship with someone. The world of dating has witnessed a lot of significant changes in the last years. Gone are the days of old school romance which included stolen glances and communicating with smiles.

Now, people have the option to choose their partners on dating apps: swipe right and you have access to a whole pool of potential partners, where the only thing that is taken in consideration is immediate sexual attraction. Sexual attraction – especially in today’s world – serves as a deciding factor regarding whether you will end up going on that first date, or give it a miss. So, is it really important to be physically attracted to your partner? What if you are not? And how important is it? Let’s find out.

How important is sexual attraction in a romantic relationship?

sexual attraction

Sexual attraction is important – for many but not for all

Sexual attraction is very important in a relationship, but to determine if it is the most important thing of all is no easy task. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Everyone’s different, and what’s important for some may not be at all important for others. The importance you give to sexual attraction ultimately depends on your personal beliefs, physical desires, and the nature of your relationship.

For many people, sex (and therefore sexual attraction) is an important part of romantic relationships. Many people want to have a sexual connection with their romantic partner. But as you know, sexuality exists on a spectrum. Asexual people experience little-to-no sexual attraction (and usually don’t have sex, though each person is different), while allosexual people do experience sexual attraction. Since there is such a variety in our feelings about sex and our capacities for sexual attraction, we all have different approaches to sex — but no approach is wrong.

Many people have happy, fulfilling, healthy romantic relationships without having sex with their partners (or only having sex with their partners once in a while). But this doesn’t mean that the relationship will be unhealthy. And it certainly isn’t a sign that your partner doesn’t love or value you!

Sex is incredibly good for you

Generally speaking, there are many reasons why sexual attraction is an important part of your relationship. It is an opportunity to bond with your partner or an opportunity to show your partner love and affection. You might even feel more secure in your relationship if you’re having sex often – and to have sex often it is fundamental to be sexually attracted by your partner.

Sex offers a lot of benefits outside of pleasure, and there are many reasons why having sex is good for your brain, body, and relationship. While it is common knowledge that sex can boost your self-confidence and put you in a better mood, did you know that it can also boost your immune system? Sex is also good for your brain, as it improves your cognitive functions and soothes headaches. This doesn’t mean that people who abstain from sex will definitely become physically ill or struggle emotionally — it just means that people who have sex and feel sexual attraction toward another person may also see improvement in other areas.

Sexual attraction can change over time

For many people, sexual attraction is key in a relationship. However, for others, it’s not as important as personality and how the person treats them. Looks do change over time, and some people find themselves less interested in sex as they age. In this case, sexual attraction isn’t as important as other factors such as conversation skills, shared interests, family, and more.

The sexual spark is often there immediately, but it can also be built up over time as you get to know each other more. So it’s not an immediate concern if it’s not there, but its if not there after several encounters, it might be time to have an honest conversation with yourself and your partner to see if you are the right fit for each other. It’s absolutely normal that sexual desire will ebb and flow in a relationship. Desire and libido aren’t static, they will change over your lifetime and be affected by stress, tiredness, medication, and life in general.

The bottom line

While sexual chemistry alone isn’t enough to sustain a romance in the long-term, it’s most certainly a crucial ingredient and the absence of it can handicap a relationship. The relationship may limp on for years, a lifetime in fact, but it will be pockmarked with doubt, regrets, frustration and maybe even an affair or two.