Love & Sex

What is Sexual Attraction Like for the Blind?

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"Boobs help."

Part of the beauty of hivemind Reddit is that it opens up diverse conversations – anything from debates about television, to sex, to bitcoin — between strangers we might not normally hear from in mainstream culture. Last night, a poster named FearfulJesuit_ called upon the blind users of Reddit to talk about what sexual attraction is like in a world where they can't see potential partners. Since most of our knowledge of visually impaired romance doesn't go beyond heated Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino flicks, the responses, posted below, are pretty enlightening.

Voices Really Matter

"Attraction on a relational level triggers the sexual stuff in a very major way. It's a combination of the voice, the personality, the way they pay attention to what you say, and above all the connection I had with her. She won me over with her personality, I was sexually attracted to her and thinking naughty thoughts before she asked me to dance with her…. then I ruined a nice pair of pants." — cmartsmelly, Completely blind after an accident

"A lot of attraction for them comes from another person's voice before any physical contact. You don't realize how much you give away about yourself when you first start talking – your breathing, tone, dialect, choice of topics, and even what you're not saying." — BlindPixie, Legally blind

It's All in the Form

"Sexual attraction is easy, I know the shape of a female form from when I could see and you don't forget how amazing touching one feels. Granted getting to this point was hard (this is the 12 year old inside of me giggling) but even a hand on a hip feels really nice. BTW that's how you get your date to lead you around, hand on hip or hold hands your already farther them most guys get on a first date." — cmartsmelly, Completely blind after an accident

"Voice and personality are the two major traits I "look" for. This may be a blunt way to put it but as far as figure is concerned — once you get to that point it’s rather amazing to me that what feels the best to the touch (curves) isn't really what many find appealing to the eye…For me sexual attraction is in the voice and temperament not so much the looks. Boobs help." — ktwounds, Legally blind in Texas

Hand Touching

"I have taught two students with visual impairments, and, being that they were in Middle School, they talked a lot about crushes and attraction.The first was a boy with a degenerative disease that caused his vision to slowly deteriorate from around age two. He could still see light and shadows relatively well when I taught him, but no colors or details whatsoever. He usually referred to the way a girl was "built" when talking about his crushes, but I think he just used the same language he heard his friends using, because our VI Specialist said the student didn't have a high enough level of contrast to make out specifics of a body.

From what I perceived, he tended to develop crushes on girls who were quiet and gentle. Both of my VI students frequently complained that people spoke too loud, so that may have been all there was to it. He was also always very interested in touching girls' hands to determine 'what they looked like' in his mind." — BrittSprink, Visual Impairment teacher

Never Underestimate Smell

"It's sound, smell, imagination all rolled into one. You smell her perfume and you hear her laugh or get serious or just the inflection of a word." — Three-leg-doge, Blind in one eye

The Way People Walk

"The absolutely number one thing she [a blind student] would talk about was a boy's voice. I remember showing The Outsiders one day, and her swooning over Ralph Macchio's Johnny. She not only liked the tone of his voice, but also recognized the character in it and noted the accent. She said he "wasn't as hot" in The Karate Kid. In person, she recognized so much just by listening. She would say hi to me in the hallway just by hearing me walk, and also frequently commented about the way boys carried themselves. She liked guys who were graceful, instead of stomping around, and could hear when boys were playing around (skipping, jumping, squeaking) while they walked. " — Britt Sprink, Visual Impairment teacher

"When I met my wife, at train station because hey blind people take public transport, what immediately attracted me was the rhythm of her walk- not just the pace, which was confident yet feminine, but also in the way I could tell she had somewhere to be. " — thruxdaxkeyhole, Legally blind

The Face Touch Test

"I started dating again probably a year after and it would go like this. I would ask my friends if the girl was pretty after getting to know her casually then ask her on a date. We'd go out and maybe about a second date, or first if I was feeling really good I would pull the "can I touch your face" bit… I always told them they were beautiful, honestly I had no idea what I was looking for besides smooth skin and not having to drag my fingers through make up." — cmartsmelly, Completely blind after an accident

Image via MGM.