15 Telltale Sexual Tension Signs and Tips on Moving Forward

Sexual tension occurs when individuals are drawn to one another in a sexual way before (if ever) having sex together. Sexual tension occurs because of a mutual attraction that overcomes the individuals and draws them to one another. Sexual tension can happen with a perfect stranger, or with someone in a friend group. It’s normally characterized by a longing for another person that either is forbidden from happening (due to dating other people, friend group dynamics, etc.) or will happen but just hasn’t happened yet.

Sexual tension is often more intense than a regular crush and can cause people to act in weird ways. So how do you know if you are having sexual tension with another person? Here are some telltale signs that you are experiencing sexual tension in addition to some tips on how you can turn your sexual tension into something:

Eye contact

Whether it’s locking eyes from across the room or glancing at someone every once in a while, eye contact is one of the most common forms of nonverbal flirting. Eye contact established immediate intimacy with another person. If you find that you and a certain someone are making lots of flirty eye contact, then it could be an indication that there is some sexual tension to explore. If you are into eye contact, keep it up! Playful eye contact can be fun and it can give you an idea of whether or not a more intimate connection should be pursued.


While sexual tension might be initiated by some prolonged eye contact, it also will probably involve a close hug, a lingering touch other ‘accidental’ touches. Touching is another key way to establish intimacy, so even if the touches are not sexual, they could have sexual undertones. When you touch someone that you have sexual chemistry with, even in an innocent way, there is an underlying current of sexual energy, and you’ll look for ways to innocently touch again.

You want to be near them

When you have sexual tension with someone you want to be near them. You look for ways that you can brush elbows while passing by, or opportunities to be close to one another. If you are in group settings, you might find that you always find ways to be at each other’s sides, whether it’s subconsciously or intentionally can sometimes be hard to tell... If it feels good to be around this person, and they seem happy to be around you too, then it could be worth pursuing something.

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Your voice changes when they’re around

When you have sexual tension with someone, it’s common that your voice changes when you’re around them. Even if you are talking about boring, everyday things your voice might take on a different, more suggestive tone.

You laugh more

When you have sexual tension with someone, you will probably feel giddy when you are around them, which means that you will find everything they say funny and laugh way more than usual. This laughter can be due to a degree of nervousness, or you could just be feeling lighter and more carefree around a person you’re seriously crushing on.

Nonstop flirtation

One of the most telltale signs of sexual tension is nonstop flirtation. When you are around someone that you have sexual tension with, you will be in flirt mode 100% of the time, whether you want to be or not. You will find yourself playing with your hair, worrying about your clothes and doing little things to get their attention.

They show up in your dreams

You know you really have a crush on someone when they show up in your dreams. When you have sexual tension with someone it’s hard to get them off of your mind during the day time and at night too, which means they might show up in your dreams.

Awkward conversations

While flirting is mostly fun and games, sexual tension is often characterized by getting super flustered. This can lead to awkward, faltering conversations for people who have the best social skills. Perhaps you can’t get your kind out of the gutter, or perhaps you’re just too nervous to keep up a lively conversation... Either way sexual tension can lead to some awkward convos.

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It’s awkward when sex comes up

Even if you aren’t the person to bring it up, the topic of sex is bound to edge it’s way into the conversation at some point or another. When there is sexual tension with you and another person, the topic of sex is so unspoken that it feels totally awkard when it comes up in your presence. You might avoid eye contact with this person if it does come up or steer the conversation in a different direction.

Other people notice

Even if you think that you are keeping your flirtation to a minimum, people around you will notice if you and another person have sexual tension. Sexual tension is often electric and pretty easy for people to spot from a mile away. If friends are asking things like, “so what’s up with you and so-and-so” and nothing has even happened between you two, it’s a telltale sign that there is some palpable sexual tension.

You second guess yourself

Sexual tension can often lead you to feel insecure or to second guess yourself when you are around the other person. This is what can lead to those awkward conversations that we talked about before. If you feel like you are second guessing yourself when you are around someone, think about what is causing you to feel insecure. Pursuing the relationship further, and actually exploring the sexual tension can actually help you get over your initial tentativeness around the other person.

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Your heart skips a beat when you see them

When you have sexual tension with someone you will be super excited to see them, and your heart may even feel like it skips a beat once you are in their presence. You will feel totally giddy and look forward to spending time together.

You feel the need to be secretive

Even though nothing has even happened between the two of you, you may feel the need to keep your friendship, relationship or whatever it is secret from other people when you have sexual tension with another person. This feeling often stems from feeling protective over the other person and the possibilities that you have together. It can also stem from feeling silly for having these strong feelings without having hooked up. Even though the tendency is to be secretive, it can be good to talk to other people about your sexual tension to get a second opinion before making your move.

You get butterflies when you’re around them

Sexual tension boils down to chemistry, which means that when you see the other person you will likely get butterflies and feel totally giddy around them. Even if you are a serious person, sexual tension can totally overtake your whole body and cause you to feel excitable whenever you’re around the other person. A lot of people love this giddy feeling, while a lot of other people can’t stand it. Regardless of how you feel about it, it is a sign that the sexual tension is high and probably totally worth pursuing... If you feel so connected before you even hook up, imagine what hooking up will be like!

While sexual tension can be fun, flirty and worth pursuing, there are some instances when sexual tension is not okay. For example, if the sexual attention is unwanted by the other person, then it’s not sexual tension - it’s uncomfortable at best and harassment at worst. If you are really trying to flirt with someone, it is important to think about whether they’re into it or not! Flirting can be fun when it feels like risky behavior and you aren’t sure how the other person will react, but in some cases it’s important to check in with the other person to make sure that you are not crossing any boundaries. If you feel uncomfortable having conversations about boundaries, maybe you shouldn’t be flirting in the first place!

If you really are worried about having a serious conversation when you just want to keep things lighthearted and flirty, consider whether they are flirting back, or if they tend to ignore your flirty advances. If they are reciprocating your flirting, then it’s normally a good sign that they are into it. If they are not, then it’s better to leave them alone and keep your relationship platonic and friendly. Sexual tension is also not okay at a workplace. It’s always best not to mix your sex life with your work life, so avoid the flirty stares while at the workplace and focus on cultivating work friendships instead. If you really do have a workplace crush, it’s a good idea to come clean about your feelings, or pursue a pg-rated date night to test your chemistry before complicating a workplace dynamic.

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