What is Attraction and Arousal?

by Reid on June 5, 2016

Young couple lying down on beachKnowing what attraction and arousal is can help you deal with them in a healthy way.

With Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: What is attraction and arousal? This is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.

Reid: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: If you forget by now, that’s pretty bad.

Reid: I know.

Cathy: We just did a video on how to handle it if someone isn’t interested back, but what is attraction and arousal?

Reid: Well it often occurs to me like the sound of somebody vacuuming in the hallway of a hotel that just shut off the vacuum.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Let’s just acknowledge that. But attraction (laughter)

Cathy: I’m so sorry, guys. He hasn’t had coffee and Bailey’s yet and that’s the whole …

Reid: I’m going crazy. Attraction to me is, and arousal, are kind of the same thing but also kind of different.

Cathy: OK.

Reid: Arousal is I’m feeling horny.

Cathy: Towards that person.

Reid: Towards anything, because I’ve woken up feeling horny in the morning and didn’t really have anybody to attach it to, and then I was like, “Hmm, on who do I attach this to, let’s think about this.” Then there’s attraction, which is me being maybe horny aimed at somebody, or not even horniness, but the excitement that I feel when I’m around somebody, or the connection that I feel or drawn towardsness, if that’s even a phrase, towards somebody. The excitement, the interest. There’s a lot of things that attraction can be. I’m also not here to tell you that this is what the definition is. I think you should have these conversations with your friends and your lovers, and figure out what does it mean to you, because people just collapse the two. This is what’s interesting. They collapse in a way that if I’m not feeling horny, I must not be attracted to you.

Cathy: Ah.

Reid: Then that, I mean …

Cathy: Confuses everything.

Reid: Yeah. ‘Cause it’s like, “Oh my God, I must not be in love with you ’cause I’m not horny anymore.” When really what’s going on is a whole bunch of other stuff which we’ll probably shoot another video on that.

Cathy: One thing I’ve noticed for myself is I’m often attracted or aroused by people that help me feel good. Like when I’m around them, there’s something, either their playfulness, or their great, I love great brains, it makes me feel activated and alive. One thing that’s helped me is realizing those feelings are actually occurring inside me, and it’s about me. That person may be helping catalyze them, but I’m actually having the feelings. I’m actually attracted to my own response to that person.

Reid: Good, yeah.

Cathy: Arousal’s just … it can be very fun, especially when we feel like we can enjoy it. Some of us have been taught that being aroused, we associate it with frustration, because especially as teenagers, we’re really discouraged from finding ways to express it.

Reid: Yes. Why did you look at me?

Cathy: Well (laughs) so we can associate that feeling, which is a really delightful feeling in the body sometimes, with frustration and rejection, or powerlessness, which our brain hates. Our brain really hates to be powerless. If we have an asking, a wanting for something, and no way to get that, it can feel horrible. Realize that as adults, we do have better ways to get those needs met, and that we get to enjoy the feelings. If that’s really hard for you, we’d love to know what blocks that for you.

Reid: Mm-hmm. (affirmative) Yeah, I’m curious. What shuts you down around feeling aroused? Then what opens you up around feeling aroused? Leave some comments below if you like these videos subscribe, you’ll get emails or whatever they do nowadays …

Cathy: When we send out a new video.

Reid: When we post new videos and you’ll be up to date on all the cool things that we’re talking about.

Cathy: Thanks for sticking with us, and we’ll see you soon.

Reid: Bye.

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