You’ve heard of the ick, now let’s talk ‘ticks’ – equally powerful and arbitrary turn ons
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You’ve heard of the ick, now let’s talk ‘ticks’ – equally...

What’s a random thing that turns you on? (Picture: Getty)

We love talking about a good ick – the weirder, the better.

The ick, aka the moment when any spark or sexual attraction dies to the point of near – if not total – revulsion, is a powerful thing.

Now we want to chat about the opposite of the ick, which we’re lovingly calling the tick.

No, not like the bug – we’re talking those lovely, sexy little check marks. They’re the little things someone you’re dating does that makes you crush on them even harder.

Have you ever looked at someone doing something that seems utterly innocuous like tying their shoelaces or picking out their fit for the day, and for some reason, felt a powerful sexual attraction to them and the way they do it?

That’s a tick.

Unlike green flags, which are essentially evidence and/or experience-based indicators that the person you’re dating is a keeper, ticks are more about that sexy, anti-ick feeling.

Like the ick, ticks have no logic – they just are. And, it can be totally, utterly random. For example, according to Match, writing words in full rather than using abbreviations and acronyms, is a ‘tick’ for 33% of daters.

‘At first glance, ‘ticks’ might seem completely illogical,’ says Counselling Directory member Georgina Sturmer. ‘Can you be attracted to someone for an arbitrary reason, like the way they eat a bowl of pasta?  

It could be something as simple as the way they put on their makeup (Picture: Getty Images/Refinery29 RF)

People share when they felt the tick

We asked people on social media to share their ticks, and they did not disappoint…


‘Men who talk to dogs like they’re humans.’


‘When someone laughs so hard he gets tears in his eyes. Something about letting himself get carried away by positive feelings.’


‘Whispering in your ear in a group setting.’


‘So random but the way they gently nudge their glasses up their nose.’

‘I’d argue that it’s not the “ticks” themselves that are meaningful, but it’s what they tell us about how we feel about someone else.’

So there’s a chance ticks might actually not be that random after all.

Gerogina says: ‘Ask yourself: if someone else did this in the exact same way, would I experience the same response? 

‘It’s likely that your response is tied into how you feel about the other person.’

Dr Caroline West, Bumble’s Sex and Relationships Expert, tells us cute hobbies can also give us big tick energy: ‘Most dating ticks are very personal to the individual, but some are inspired by popular culture or influential figures and therefore have much wider appeal.

‘In fact, Bumble’s recent research found that niche “hipster hobbies” are becoming a turn-on for many. Notably, a viral TikTok star recently charmed the nation with his love of locomotives, leading to a third (32%) of Gen Z more willing to date a trainspotter than before.’

Regardless of where our ticks come from, Georgina says it’s a good idea to remember any ticks you felt for your partner through the years.

‘As time goes on,’ she explains, ‘it’s common for relationships to ebb and flow.  If the initial glow has worn off, it can be helpful to remind ourselves about the ticks that we used to find attractive in our partner.  Perhaps you’ve forgotten to notice the things that used to make you feel drawn to your partner.  

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‘Or perhaps you still notice the ticks, but they have a different impact on you.  Things that used to make you smile might make you feel irritated, angry, or frustrated. 

‘They might even become weaponised, serving as a way for you to criticise the other person. These responses can help you to check in on how you’re feeling about the other person, and about your relationship.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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