The Anatomy of Dating: How Different Parts of Your Body React

cooking couple

Feeling passionate about someone special in your life is one of the most exciting experiences we can have. Your body reacts to this physical attraction in many interesting ways. Let’s take a closer look into the fascinating anatomy of dating.


Recent scientific studies have revealed the human brain takes a mere 13 milliseconds to process an image. So when it comes to going out on a date, this is the part of your anatomy that will be working long before anything else has caught up. This visual assessment instantly releases chemicals called pheromones which can act outside your body: in other words, your partner will subliminally get the message that you are exciting them.

 girl profile

If your date progresses well, your brain will release neurotransmitters (monoamines). These chemicals enhance the sensation of being physically attracted to someone. Among the other stimulants emitted is dopamine, key to experiencing pleasure. The strength of this particular organic chemical cannot be understated: the sensations it provokes are similar to those triggered by recreational drugs such as cocaine.


Depending on the impression your date makes, eye contact will stimulate a host of physical reactions. The part of your anatomy that will be instantly affected by these messages and chemical secretions will be your heart. Your increasing pulse will cause your palms to start sweating, while a swarm of imaginary butterflies might begin swirling around in your stomach. When your body receives jolts of stimulation your blood pressure will rise exponentially.

heart tattoo on chest

Once past these instant reactions, your brain has a coping mechanism that should help you heartbeat calm down a little. Your breathing will involuntarily compensate for that racing pulse by helping to soothe you.


There is a familiar saying about the eyes being the windows to your soul. When it comes to dating they are the part of your anatomy your partner will focus on (although guys will also be magnetically drawn towards a female’s chest.) Eyes can transmit so much information, telegraphing intense sexual attraction, or the opposite.

eyes of two person

Establishing eye contact is how most people approach the preliminary stages of arranging a date. After all, if you are interested in someone who is presently a complete stranger, firing discreet (or not so discreet) glances is a way of getting the ball rolling when it comes to socializing. Most potential suitors will estimate that a gaze held longer than three seconds is subtly signaling attraction.


Aside from visual stimuli, one of the most potent aspects of physical attraction is smell.The animal kingdom relies on pheromones – scent signals that will elicit specific behaviors, especially sexual arousal. There is considerable debate in the scientific world about whether humans produce these, although a Swedish study did discover lesbians responded differently to a chemical called AND (progesterone derivative 4,16-androstadien-3-one) compared with heterosexual females. AND is 10 times more prevalent in the sweat of human males than females.

What is undeniable is how important scent is when it comes to physical attraction. Picture a guy burying his nose in his partner’s cascading hair, or the female addicted to sniffing her boyfriend’s t-shirt after he’s left the home. In fact, according to marriage guidance counselors, one aspect frequently flagged up during break-up sessions is exactly this issue, only in negative: “I can’t stand what he smells like any more!”

man sniff a woman

Some scientific researcher have gone so far as to propose that scent is what underlies ‘chemistry,’ more than any other sense. Looks are certainly all-important, but the way a person teases your nostrils is not all that far behind. This also explains why we don’t always experience the same levels of sexual electricity with different people even although they are outwardly similar.

Perfume might smell wonderful, but the taste isn’t so appealing when you’re exploring one another’s bodies with lips or tongues. Natural skin flavors can have an animalistic quality that can be a considerable turn on when you’re both in the mood.


Men often find that women’s lips are the sexiest part of their body. The anticipation of a kiss is a prelude to seduction, and the moment two mouths come together for a passionate kiss is generally an indication that the date has progressed to the next level and home base is no longer an aspiration but within reach.

female lips

Women love applying lipstick to accentuate the shapes of their mouths. In terms of the first thing a guy will notice, these parts of the faces are second only to eyes. Beyond these puckering lips are further weapons that will drive a partner wild, such as the tongue or teeth. In the hands of an expert, both of these can be used to devastating effect, teasing erogenous zones, dictating the acceleration of lovemaking.

open mouth

A person’s voice can also be so bewitching. Think of a male who speaks in gravelly, rugged tones that ooze confidence and masculinity, or a female whose conversation can switch to a low purr. If these seductive sentences are uttered in a foreign accent, such as French, the woman will be irresistible. The ability to say the right things at the right time is a key aspect of dating, from the social setting to the bedroom. This is where the brain and mouth must be in synch at all times. Being poised to make love is the very last moment for blurting out the first thing that pops into your mind – putting one’s foot in it has cut short many a promising date!


famale neck

The neck might not seem as obvious a body part to get excited as the eyes or mouth, but there are definitely erogenous zones here that can be stroked or kissed. When lips make contact with the sensitive skin around the neck, the effect can be intoxicating to the person on the receiving end. Delicate nibbling or more forceful biting can enhance the lip action.


It might not seem obvious but women do pay attention to a man’s hands. There may have been a push towards sexual equality in recent years but females are still impressed by physical strength and assertiveness in their partners. A guy who gives an assured grip as he steers his girlfriend along the pavement or through the doors into a restaurant will give her assurance. She will be made to feel she is literally and metaphorically in good hands.

the man put his hand on his face

When a date progresses, hands may well come into action more and more, clasping across a dinner table, or brushing hair away from the face as flirting steps up a gear. They can also become subtle but insistent indicators that your partner desires more intimacy. Think of taking your date to a film screening, and as you sit there in the darkness watching the movie, hands join, or get placed around the shoulders to draw your other half closer.

man holds woman

If your date has progressed to the bedroom, hands really do come into their own. They can caress skin, rubbing smoothly, choosing any part of your partner’s anatomy to toy with. You really can let your fingers do the talking, controlling the degree of touch, teasing with delicate motion or stroking more roughly and deliberately. Increasing the degree of forcefulness is a way of hinting at how turned on you are feeling, and how much you desire your partner.

Hair and skin

Believe it or not, the largest organ in the human body isn’t your lungs or liver; it’s your skin. Together with your nails, hair and exocrine glands (responsible for producing sweat, mucus and other fluids) this forms part of your integumentary system. In dating terms, although this doesn’t sound as if it should be as interesting as lips or eyes, your hair and skin are crucial because they are so sensitive to touch.

shoulder hair

When you drill down the statistics, we are all born with around 100,000 scalp hair follicles, with blondes averaging 150,000 and redheads 90,000! As anyone who has ever snagged strands in a brush can attest, all this hair can be hypersensitive. This is especially the case for females, who don’t suffer from hair loss to the same extent and are more likely to cultivate flowing locks. But when treated sensually, those nerve ends will respond favorably; as fingers run through hair, all sorts of electrifying sensations will be felt.

Skin is also of the utmost importance in dating. A tantalizing flash of an expanse at the outset, from her generous cleavage to his well-toned biceps, will instantly excite the person sitting opposite in the bar. As the night wears on, the exposure of more flesh is an essential part of the lovemaking process, whether that’s a slow striptease or ripping one another’s clothes off!

woman sleeping on a man

The skin has so many erogenous zones waiting to be explored. As well as the widely appreciated areas – breasts, neck, butt – there are many more. Your partner will warm up quickly when their ears are toyed with, or their thighs or the small of their back.

So, just as evolution has programmed your body to cope with a variety of circumstances, when it comes to dating many of the natural reactions are particularly extreme. This is because physical attraction lies at the heart of what it is to be human. We can be intensely driven by the need to meet potential sexual partners. This is why there is a universe of difference between catching the eye of the bus driver accepting your fare, and being overwhelmed by hormones when you make eye contact with a gorgeous stranger in a social situation.

kissing couple

When that happens, each part of your anatomy will kick in differently, responding to the instant captivation, but also the longer-term aspects of dating and relationships. Perhaps it can seem detached to discuss romance in biological terms, but without the science – the brain chemicals, the way your body processes touch or taste or smell – there would be no feelings at all. You wouldn’t get a glow from your partner’s new perfume. You wouldn’t feel warmth flowing over you during a lingering embrace. You wouldn’t get that tingle of apprehension when you embark on online dating. And nobody would ever experience the joys of orgasms!

So, if you do experience any of the following: a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, the sensation of being weak at the knees … or perhaps all of them … there’s no need to fret. There’s absolutely no need to seek medical attention. These symptoms are simply your body’s way of catching up with the conclusion your mind arrived at some time ago. You’re falling in love!