What Does Turn Ons Mean: Unlocking the Secrets of Attraction

When we think of attraction, our minds usually go to physical appearance, but there’s a lot more at work when two people connect. Understanding what turns someone on is key to building a successful relationship. In this article, we’ll explore the definition of turn ons, the science behind attraction, and tips for identifying and communicating your own turn ons.

The Basics: What Are Turn Ons?

Turn ons are things that stimulate a person and create sexual desire. They can be physical actions or behaviors, or they can be emotional and psychological triggers. Turn ons are unique to each individual, and what one person finds attractive may not work for another.

In general, turn ons can fall into four categories:

  • Physical: This includes physical attributes such as body type, features, and personal style.
  • Sensory: Sensory turn ons include things like touch, smell, and taste.
  • Intellectual: Some people are turned on by intelligence, wit, and creativity.
  • Emotional: Emotional turn ons might include characteristics like kindness, humor, and empathy.

The Science Behind Attraction

Attraction is a complex interplay of physical, emotional, and psychological factors. Scientists have been studying the science of attraction for decades, and they’ve identified several key factors that influence who we find attractive.

Physical Attraction

Physical attraction is usually the first thing that draws two people together. It’s driven by a variety of factors, including:

  • Physical appearance, including body type, face shape, and features like hair and eye color
  • Movement and posture
  • Personal style and grooming
  • Scents, including pheromones and cologne/perfume

While these factors can make someone immediately attractive, they don’t necessarily translate into long-term attraction or compatibility.

Emotional and Psychological Attraction

Building a deeper connection involves emotional and psychological attraction. This can include things like shared interests and values, a sense of humor, empathy and kindness, and the ability to communicate effectively. Emotional attraction often develops over time, as two people get to know each other better.

Identifying Your Own Turn Ons

Knowing what turns you on is key to building a healthy, fulfilling relationship. Here are a few tips for identifying your own turn ons:

Pay Attention to Your Body

Our bodies can communicate a lot to us if we’re paying attention. Notice how you feel when you’re around someone you find attractive. Are you experiencing physical sensations like increased heart rate or butterflies in your stomach? These might be signs that something is turning you on.

Reflect on Past Experiences

Think back to past relationships or experiences that brought you pleasure. What specific actions or behaviors made you feel turned on? What qualities did those people have?

Use Your Imagination

You don’t have to wait for a real-life situation to explore your turn ons. Use your imagination to visualize scenarios that you find arousing. This can be a helpful tool in discovering your own preferences.

Communicating Turn Ons with Your Partner

Once you’ve identified your own turn ons, it’s important to communicate them with your partner. Here are a few tips for opening up the conversation:

Start Small

If you’re nervous about discussing turn ons with your partner, start with something small. You could mention a specific action you find attractive, like the way your partner touches your neck. This can open up the conversation and make it easier to share more in the future.

Be Clear and Specific

When communicating your turn ons, be as clear and specific as possible. Use descriptive language to paint a picture for your partner. This can help them better understand what you find attractive, and it can also make the experience more pleasurable for both of you.

Be Respectful and Non-Judgmental

It’s essential to approach the conversation about turn ons with empathy and respect. Remember that everyone’s preferences are unique, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Avoid judgmental language and focus on creating a safe, supportive space for both of you to explore your desires.


Attraction is a complex and multifaceted experience, and understanding your turn ons is a key component of building a healthy, fulfilling relationship. By exploring your own preferences and communicating them with your partner, you can deepen your connection and build a more satisfying sex life.


  • What are some common turn ons? Common turn ons include physical appearance, confidence, sense of humor, and intelligence.
  • Can turn ons change over time? Yes, turn ons can evolve and change over time. Factors like personal experiences, cultural influences, and aging can all impact our preferences.
  • Can someone have multiple turn ons? Yes, it’s common for people to have multiple turn ons across different categories like physical, sensory, intellectual, and emotional.
  • How do I communicate my turn ons with a partner? Start by being clear and specific about what you find attractive. Use descriptive language, and approach the conversation with empathy and respect.
  • What if my partner doesn’t share my turn ons? It’s important to respect your partner’s preferences, even if they’re different from yours. Focus on building intimacy and pleasure in other ways that work for both of you.


  • Birnbaum, G. E., & Reis, H. T. (2014). Attraction and close relationships. In H. T. Reis & S. K. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships (pp. 164-167). SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Gawronski, B., Deutsch, R., & Sritharan, R. (2019). The psychology of attraction. The Cambridge Handbook of Social Psychology, 243-268. doi: 10.1017/9781108591322.015
  • Lehmiller, J. J., VanderDrift, L. E., & Kelly, J. R. (2014). Sexual communication, satisfaction, and condom use behavior in friends with benefits and romantic partners. The Journal of Sex Research, 51(1), 74-85. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.754536

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