Q: What are your thoughts on aesthetic versus sexual attraction?
As in, what are they? Do I believe that they exist as separate concepts? Or do I have experience with them? Or did you want some other thoughts on the subject?
In grossly oversimplified terms, sexual attraction is the innate thought that you’d like to have sex with a particular person, while aesthetic attraction is the innate thought that someone is nice to look at. The actual definitions are more subtle and nuanced and outside the scope of this post, so look them up, if you’re curious.
Do I believe that they exist as separate concepts? Yes, absolutely. When people describe aesthetic attraction, they tend to use phrases like “Pretty like a sunset” or “It feels like looking at a beautiful painting.“ When people describe sexual attraction, they rarely use words like “sunset” or “painting”…
Have I experienced them?
Sexual attraction, no. When I first saw a naked woman in front of me, it was like looking at a road map. Now, I like road maps, but people do not use the word “road map” when describing sexual attraction. When I had sex with her, it was a logical decision that was not driven by any kind of urge or pull or whatever else it is that people describe when they talk about what sexual attraction is like.
Aesthetic attraction, yes. There are some people who are simply more interesting to look at than other people. It triggers something in my brain that I can’t really explain. It’s very similar to the feeling when I’m standing someplace amazing (Like, say, across from Delicate Arch or at South Falls or at North Head Lighthouse at sunset), where I like looking at it, and I want to keep looking at it, even though it’s still the same the whole time.
Aesthetic attraction never has a sexual component to it. I never become aroused, I never imagine them naked, and, in the past, when I tried to combine it with sexual thoughts, it just felt forced and awkward and out of place.
And now I want to go back to these places: