How to break away from your “type”
Embrace unexpected sexual compatibility
Written by Jennifer Hanson
"So… are you seeing anyone?"
However well intentioned, this reminder that we haven't yet found our perfect partner can be torture for the singletons among us. But, even before the pandemic, dating was a pretty hopeless endeavor. So, as more and more of us get vaccinated and states gradually open up, here are some science-based tips for how to break out of your comfort zone and potentially embrace someone outside of your "type."
Breaking down types
Is there such a thing as someone's "type?" Yes, according to a recent study
which compared the characteristics of individuals’ ex-lovers to examine whether or not there were patterns among them. These “ex profiles” were then compared to the same individual’s current love interest. Researchers found there was a significant degree of similarity, and that some people may really have a “type” that they end up with over and over again. However, the study also found that folks who were more extroverted or open to new experiences had less of a type and were more likely to be with someone who is different from their exes.
Chemistry and compatibility are different for each person. There is evidence
that positive personality traits like kindness make others more outwardly attractive, but rating attractiveness involves many subtle factors. Research has shown
that most people tend to spend time with those who share their interests and values, but sticking exclusively with what’s similar reduces the potential to find someone with different but complementary traits.
Strangers in the night
Whether at a bar or on an app, committing to meeting new people can sometimes be an anxiety-ridden experience for even the most outgoing among us. But no need to fear, introverts: in the world of online dating, there is no pressure to meet up, and many apps allow you to un-match, block or report anyone who won’t take the hint.
If your desired method is online dating, take a good, hard look at your profile. Make sure you have a variety of photos that adequately show off your personality, and round it out with a cheeky bio that communicates your intentions. The key to scoring the most matches is coming across as friendly and down-to-earth.
Once you get going, be an open-minded swiper. Try not to focus on your type as much. This is about meeting new people, after all. As each new profile comes across, mindfully ask yourself a few questions: Are you intrigued by them? Are you attracted to them? Are you both into the same things? If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, it might be worth finding out by chatting or meeting up
If you’re more the in-person type, make sure you’re well-groomed and presentable. Confidence
can prepare you for a positive sexual experience. Keep open body posture and sit by yourself at your desired location. Don’t put too much stock into your interactions. If you end up chatting with someone, try breaking the ice by asking what their go-to drink
is or by complimenting their outfit. Remind yourself that meeting new people is an acquirable skill. Even if your interaction ends up being fleeting, at least you’re practicing!
Safety is incredibly important especially when you don’t know much about a potential date. Make sure you take the right precautions when it comes to meeting up. When it comes to dating, women face a variety of risks
including deceit, infections, pregnancy and the potential to encounter dangerous people in person. Meeting someone new can be a bold step, and it’s important to make sure you’re ready.
Pick a bar or coffee shop where you feel comfortable. Consider the following when choosing an establishment:
- Would you feel comfortable telling the staff if there’s a problem on your date?
- Are both the establishment and parking lot well lit, so you don’t have to worry about walking to your car in the dark?
- Will you run into anyone you know who might potentially make the situation uncomfortable?
Let at least one person know where you’ll be on your date and check in with them at a given time. They will be able to help you find your way out if things get weird. Trust your gut when you have your meet-up. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re creeped out or there are red flags you didn’t foresee, think about what you want to do. It’s totally fine to cut things off after this date or even bail early if it just isn't what you expected.
Barring these precautions, there is no reason to feel anxious if you’re getting a good vibe from the person. Don’t be afraid to open up to them. You don’t have to reveal your deepest secrets, but share stories that relate to topics they’re interested in. Lighting someone’s eyes up can be the first sign of great sexual chemistry.
Chemistry and personality
You will never relate to two different people in the exact same way. Meeting someone is exciting because you get to explore a brand new connection and find out whether or not you like the dynamic. If things are going well, all that’s left is figuring out what type of chemistry you’re feeling.
While some people are hard to read, there are some definite signs of sexual chemistry. Steamy eye contact? Check. Nervous giggling? Check. Compliments or come-ons that you can’t miss? Check. Finishing each other’s sentences? Check. If you’re getting all the right signs, this person is probably ready to get to know you in a physical way.
Even if all the right signs are in place, you might still be questioning whether or not this person is your type. This is perfectly normal, especially if it’s your first time dating out of your element. Remember that outward appearance is only a fraction of sexual chemistry. How you touch each other and communicate is just as important.
Let the sparks fly
Say things are going well. You’ve met up a couple times, or maybe just once, and you’re getting amazing vibes. You find yourself staring at them, wondering, “why them?” This is a moment where you might be inclined to talk yourself out of things because they’re not who you’d normally go for. Don’t. Go with it and remind yourself to be open to the experience.
Maybe you start with a goodnight kiss
, and then a full-blown public make out because you can’t get enough. Maybe it’s heavy petting
in the front seat of your car. Sooner or later, you realize you want more. That’s when things get interesting.
Eventually, you end up alone, and you both can’t keep your hands off each other. This is where branching out got you. Fully immerse yourself in the moment
with your newfound partner as you both drive each other wild. Focus on what you’re loving in the moment instead of those pesky questions. Your sex life will thank you.
There’s no mistaking first impressions or attractions, but personality can be a game changer. Sometimes, the hook-up you least expect ends up being the most satisfying. Risking it with a new person can be an intimidating experience, but what you discover may surprise you. Sticking with the same type can mean missing out on traits you didn’t realize you wanted. Even if you return to your “type” eventually, at least you’ll be confident that you know what you like.
Also remember that even if the explosive sexual chemistry with that random person you just met might not lead to marriage, it’s an experience worthy of exploration without shame.