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First Kiss And Showing Affection
First Kiss And Showing Affection
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First Kiss And Showing Affection

This video defines behavior and attraction and distinguishes one from the other. Having romantic or sexual feelings for another person or being attracted to another person is normal. Each person gets to decide if they will act on their attraction to another person by sharing their feelings. If people are attracted to one another, they may decide to hug, snuggle, hold hands, kiss and even having sexual experiences. People may also decide not to act on feelings of attraction. This video makes it clear that having feelings of attraction does not mean a person has to act on those feelings or that those feelings will be returned by the other person.

Youth

Did you know that there is a difference between a person’s attraction and their behavior? Attraction is when you have sexual or romantic feelings for someone that are generally based on feelings of liking or loving that person. People are attracted to others for different reasons, and you usually cannot control whom you are attracted to. Someone might find themselves attracted to a person because of a physical characteristic, like the shape of a person’s body or facial features like their eyes or lips. A person may also be attracted to a person’s personality in a way that makes them start to feel emotions of liking or loving for the other person. Attraction is based on a person’s emotions, which means no one else knows about them unless you decide to share them. Having feelings of attraction is a normal part of growing up.

Behavior, on the other hand, is an action, activity or a way of behaving, especially with or towards someone else. Sometimes a person chooses a behavior to express their feelings of attraction and sometimes they don’t. When a person is attracted to someone, they may want to express those feelings by talking or texting the person they are attracted to or spending time alone together. A person may also want to express those feelings through physical touch like hugging, snuggling, holding hands, kissing, and even having sexual experiences with the person they are attracted to. When a person is attracted to someone, they can make a decision to act or not to act on those desires; deciding not to act on your feelings is also a kind of behavior. Having certain feelings doesn’t automatically mean that you have to act on them.

FAQs

If I like someone, does it mean I like them less if I choose not to do anything with them?

Absolutely not! People may choose to act (or not act) on their feelings for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes it may not feel like the right time to move on your feelings. Other times you may choose not to act on your feelings because you’re not sure what the outcome will be and you don’t want to experience that. Choosing not to act on your feelings, however, doesn’t make your feelings less strong or less valid.

What should I do if I feel attraction for someone?

Before automatically moving on your feelings, it may be helpful to journal or talk to a trusted adult about your feelings and what you think they could mean. Sometimes we can feel a feeling, but not know exactly what it is or why we’re feeling it. Or we may be attracted to someone and not clear about how we feel. When we take time to pay more attention to our feelings versus immediately acting on them that can sometimes help us be more intentional in our behavior, or keep us from engaging in behaviors that we don’t really want to engage in. Remember, we can’t always control our attractions, but we can definitely control our behavior, and what we do with the feelings we feel.

Parents

For parents and caregivers, it can be easy to dismiss the emotional attractions children feel for other people, and difficult to acknowledge when they have feelings for others that go beyond friendship. Having attractions to others, however, along with the desire to engage in behaviors with others as a result, is a normative part of childhood. Attractions and behaviors experienced in childhood serve as a training ground for young people to gain the skills and characteristics they need for cultivating healthy relationships in adulthood.

To clarify, attraction is when an individual has sexual or romantic feelings for someone that are generally based on feelings of liking or loving that person. People are attracted to others for different reasons. Science has shown that a person’s attractions are outside of their control and cannot be changed. Attraction is typically defined by its effect on one’s emotional state, which means no one else will usually know about a person’s attractions unless they decide to share them. Having feelings of attraction is a normal part of growing up for almost all young people. These feelings can be sexual, romantic or both.

Behavior, on the other hand, is an action, activity or a way of behaving, especially with or towards someone else. Sometimes a person’s chooses a behavior to express their feelings of attraction and sometimes they don’t. When children are attracted to others, they may want to express those feelings by talking or texting with them or by spending time alone together. They may also want to express those feelings through physical touch like hugging, snuggling, holding hands, kissing, and even having sexual experiences with the person they are attracted to. In some cases, they may also attempt to do things that garner the attention of the person they’re attracted to, even if they are not fully aware of their motive for engaging in them. Compared to attraction, engaging in behavior is a choice. Moreover, deciding not to act on one’s feelings is also a kind of behavior. Having an attraction or feeling does not require behavior to make it legitimate. If a child does engage in a behavior that reflects their attractions, that is also perfectly normal, and should not be shamed.

 

CONVERSATION STARTERS

When parents and caregivers engage in loving and supportive conversations with children about their sexuality and/or sexual development, it allows children to practice safe and healthy habits as they grow up. Bringing up conversations about children’s attractions, even before they show interest in others, can be a useful way to let your child know that you are available to answer questions or provide support, should they decide to become sexually active.

In some cases, children may come to you for assistance before you address them. Be open to hearing what they have to say, and provide them the information and guidance they need to effectively take care of themselves.

Below are some ways to engage in conversations with young people about attraction and behavior:

Avoid shaming children about their crushes or other attractions

Having strong feelings for others—whether sexual or otherwise—can be a new and uncomfortable feeling for young people who are not used to having them. Take the time to let children know that their attractions are normal, and not something that they have to hide or force.

Encourage young people to explore their feelings and attractions to make informed choices about their behavior

In some cases, children can feel that their attractions are so overwhelming that they have no control over the behaviors they engage in. We know, however, that that is not the case. Particularly when their behavior involves harassing or causing harm to others, it is important to help young people recognize that their attractions do not give them license to act inappropriately or non-consensually. Use these moments to help children practice socioemotional intelligence, by learning how to clue into the feelings behind their attractions, using that information to make intelligent decisions about how they will or won’t behave as a result.

Educators

For parents, caregivers and other caring adults, it can sometimes be easy to dismiss the emotional attractions children feel for other people, and difficult to acknowledge when they actually have feelings for others that go beyond friendship. Having attractions to others, however, along with the desire to engage in behaviors with others as a result, is a normative part of childhood. Attractions and behaviors experienced in childhood serve as a training ground for young people to gain the skills and characteristics they need for cultivating healthy relationships in adulthood.

To clarify, attraction is when an individual has sexual or romantic feelings for someone that are generally based on feelings of liking or loving that person. People are attracted to others for different reasons. Science has shown that a person’s attractions are outside of their control and cannot be changed. Attraction is typically defined by its effect on one’s emotional state, which means no one else will usually know about a person’s attractions unless they decide to share them. Having feelings of attraction is a normal part of growing up for almost all young people, and can be sexual, romantic or both.

Behavior, on the other hand, is an action, activity, or a way of behaving, especially with or towards someone else. Sometimes a person chooses a behavior to express their feelings of attraction and sometimes they don’t. When children are attracted to others, they may want to express those feelings by talking or texting with them or by spending time alone together. They may also want to express those feelings through physical touch like hugging, snuggling, holding hands, kissing, and even having sexual experiences with the person they are attracted to. In some cases, they may also attempt to do things that garner the attention of the person they’re attracted to, even if they are not fully aware of their behaviors or their motive for engaging in them. Compared to attraction, engaging in behavior is a choice. Moreover, deciding not to act on one’s feelings is also a kind of behavior. Having an attraction or feeling does not require behavior to make it legitimate. If a child does engage in a behavior that reflects their attractions, that is also perfectly normal, and should not be shamed.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • According to the video, what is the main difference between attraction and behavior?
  • According to the video, what are two reasons a person might find themselves feeling attraction to others? What are two behaviors a person might engage in with someone they are attracted to?
  • Do you believe people’s attractions always match their behavior? Why or why not?
  • If someone was feeling an attraction for another person and didn’t know what to do about it, what are one or two things you might recommend for them to do first?

Discussion Questions

National Sex Education Standards

SO.10.CC.1 - Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior, and Social Identity

Differentiate between sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and social identity

View all SO.10.CC.1 Videos

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