I have studied psychology for 25 years, and neither my doctorate nor my years of experience working with clients has sufficiently answered the question. What makes you sexually attracted to another person? While we have theories, we don't entirely know. But when it comes to attraction, is it possible that a person can be too sexually attracted to another person?
The answer, in short, is yes. While I learned a lot from my undergraduate and graduate psychology training, I learned even more from my clients. But the person who taught me the most about human motivations and behaviors? My own therapist, who provided psychoanalytic therapy to me for over five years in my 20s. One nugget of wisdom he gave me when I was You can be too sexually attracted to someone. Most important, meeting someone and feeling too sexually attracted often indicates underlying idealization.
What is psychological trauma? It could be a specific incident — a horrific incident with a family member or stranger. Or it could be an ongoing pattern of extreme dysfunction — for instance, a parent , peer, or another adult luring you into an ongoing relationship that is unhealthy or even physically or emotionally dangerous. Neglect is more straightforward — a parent or caregiver who isn't there when you need them and who doesn't make you feel like your thoughts and feelings are noticed or important.
Based on my anecdotal experience of seeing hundreds of clients, I can say with assurance that someone who feels extremely sexually attracted to a new person should be very careful, especially if they have experienced neglect or psychological trauma in their past. These individuals have gone without for so long that they may have started to develop a fantasy life, imagining someone "out there" who could rescue them or take away the emotional hurts they've suffered in the past.
People who feel extreme sexual attraction also often have addictive tendencies. Intense sexual attraction can be so intense that the new person serves as a sort of drug or stimulant , and it is typically impossible to reach a sense of true satiation when such feelings get triggered.
In other words, it never feels like enough. Sure, sexual attraction changes over the course of a long-term relationship, but relationships that are successful include two people who feel that their partner is emotionally available. When you feel attraction that is too intense, it often means that you are responding to the sense that you need to consume that person entirely now, because they may slip through your fingers at a moment's notice. If you have addictive tendencies or have any kind of psychological trauma or neglect in your history, beware sexual attraction that is extremely intense in the beginning.
Go back to the basics, and focus on finding a person who is consistent and reliable, and who shares similar values to yours. Remember, every step you take away from someone who isn't good for you brings you one step closer to someone who is. Feel free to explore my book on dysfunctional romantic relationships , Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve, or follow me on Twitter for mental health updates.