What your body does when you like what you see.
When you make eye contact with someone you’re attracted to, there’s only so much you can do to prevent yourself from giving it away. Even if you’re the master of the poker face, a flush of red across your face, enlarged pupils, and a few other visual cues can imply that you like what you see.
And before you get angry at yourself for exposing your inner feelings—which, when talking to a crush or on a first date, can sometimes feel overwhelmingly embarrassing—take note that these physical signs of arousal aren’t worthy of shame. They might make you seem more attractive to the object of your affection in some instances.
You’re probably more than aware that a flushed face can reveal your inner feelings, especially when a crush is involved. That’s because it’s the result of adrenaline being released in your body, as you feel emotions like embarrassment, excitement, or shame. And while a red face may only make you feel more embarrassed, this unfiltered display of your emotions can help you to build trust, according to Psychology Today. A 2009 study also showed that people tend to view people who are blushing favorably—so your flushed face might be doing you a favor.
Your pupils dilate when you see something you love: This is one of the first body language tidbits that you’ve likely ever heard, and the science behind it holds up. Studies on this phenomenon date back decades, but a 2017 study showed that not only do people’s pupils dilate when they see a picture of an attractive person, but they also dilate whether or not the picture is of a clothed person. This means this physical response requires less of a strong physical response than others.
You’re also more likely to blink more when you’re aroused, according to a 1999 Japanese study—and this is likely because a high blink rate is associated with excitement or stress: your body is preparing you for action.
Ever find yourself with a bout of sneezes when a hot and bothered scene starts rolling? Don’t be too quick to blame your allergies. A study published in 2008 found that sneezing can be induced by orgasm or sexual ideation, as it is a response of the parasympathetic nervous system. This trait can be genetic, scientists said, but it’s hard to say since research (and discussion) on the phenomenon is so limited.
Beyond a sniff of the wrist after applying perfume or a breath check, you probably aren’t too aware of how you smell throughout the day (unless you’ve, say, just finished a challenging workout). But according to a 2020 study conducted by the University of Kent, men can smell when women are aroused. That’s not as creepy as it may sound, though: Essentially, the research (which not-so-sexily involved armpit sweat) discovered that heterosexual men were more likely to be attracted to the scent of heterosexual women who were turned on, rather than those who felt completely normal. Turns out a bit of nervous sweat can do you some good on a date.
If you’ve ever found someone so attractive that it started to cause you physical pain, you’re not alone. A 2006 study led scientists to understand that headaches and sexual desire are influenced by the same chemical in the brain, seeing that participants who suffer from migraine headaches experience higher rates of sexual arousal across the board, though men had higher rates than women. Participants who experienced frequent tension headaches also experienced higher rates of arousal, though not as high as those with migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, some people can also suffer from pre-orgasmic and orgasmic headaches—aka, “sex headaches.” If these pains become unbearable enough to affect your sex life, talk to your doctor, and they can help figure out the best treatment.