Initial Attraction – Person vs. Gender

I am having trouble putting my thoughts into words with the question I have.

When you are first attracted or become romantically interested in someone, which is more important — something that makes them interesting as an individual or their gender?

I consider myself mostly straight and I am married to a man. I fantasize about men a lot, but I fantasize about women a fair amount as well. Unfortunately, I do not have enough experience with other genders.

I guess I sort of have a type — I like men that are nerdy, smart, and older than me, but really I have been attracted to all sorts of people. I feel a unique feature or interesting personality pulls me in more than anything else.

I’ve just always felt that when you fall in love with someone that it’s with the person and maybe at that point, their gender doesn’t matter as much.

But what about when you first meet someone? What matters the most? For me, if it was person vs gender, I think person would win every time. 

Am I making any sense? Does anyone else feel this way?


  1. says

    I guess I qualify as bisexual. I do not have a genital preference and I don’t care about my partner’s gender identity/presentation. That being said, I perceive as more sexy various traits that are more commonly associated with men. For example, I perceive deeper voices as sexier. I also prefer the look of either a flat chest or smaller breasts (large boobs aren’t my thing). Then again, I also have a fetish for long hair in men (the longer a man’s hair, the sexier he is for me). To some extent, I like various traits that make a person seem more androgynous. I have a fetish for long haired men, but I have no corresponding fetish for long haired women—for women I actually like more boyish haircuts. I also like women who are more muscular (female bodybuilders and athletes seem hot for me), but I do not like the look of male bodybuilders that much—for men I prefer a more leaner figure.

    For practical purposes, I mostly just sleep with men, but it it would be incorrect to say that I am sexually attracted to men, because male genitalia or gender identity do not determine whether I perceive some person as sexy.

    Of course, everything what I wrote above about physical traits are simply things that I look for in porn stars. I choose whom to date based on people’s personalities. For example, my current partner cut his gorgeous long hair soon after we met and I didn’t give up on that relationship just because he won’t grow his hair for me.

  2. billseymour says

    Hmm…I don’t think it would have occurred to me to even ask the question. I guess that’s because I’m exclusively straight, and so any sexual attraction that I feel is only for women. But there are other kinds of attraction that are much more important to me; and as you might expect, that’s all about the person.

    For esample, I serve on the ISO standards committee for the C++ programming language…paying my dues gives me license to hang around with folks who are smarter than I…and I’ve had very enjoyable conversations over breakfast and lunch with folks like Bjarne Stroustrup, the inventor of C++, and Walter Brown, a mathemetician retired from Fermilab. And although the meetings themselves are strickly apolitical, we don’t go around all day mumbling about things like variadic templates and rvalue references. I’ve been involved in very interesting conversations about politica, economics, you name it. Even discussions of the weather are more interesting when smart people are involved.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    I’m working on a sf novel with a society where people are brought with no concept of gender — they basically have no cultural background to inform them that men and women are expected to have different attitudes, ideas, or psychologies, so they don’t. Everybody pairs (or groups) off with no regard whatsoever to genitalia.
    I’ve begun to wonder, though, if maybe if that were the case, such a society might find some other distinction that they might tend to fetishize instead — difference in age, for instance. (They’re raised in cohorts, so there would be a group of 20-year-olds and a group of 27-year-olds, for instance.) I dunno.

  4. blf says

    Something that makes them interesting as an individual.

    Very very often that something is “intelligence”, especially when there is a (partial) overlap in understanding of details. However, the meeting / introduction will often highlight something else making them interesting.

    An example: At a local specialist beer bar with shared tables, the individual sitting opposite me — I was reading a newspaper at the time, as I recall, and munching on some pretzels — suddenly said, “please don’t eat any more pretzels, I just accidentally used them as an ashtray!” That got my attention, I looked, and yep, pretty grey pretzels… We had a laugh about it (there’s no doubt it was an accident), and after introductions got to talking. After hearing about my scientific education and work with computers, they mentioned they’d recently got into a frustrating argument it a flat-earther — as had I. Off we go…

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