Maybe my father is sexually attracted to me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m a teenage female and when I’m at home I always wear shorts and some time ago my father used to stare at my legs, mainly at my thighs but nowadays he doesn’t do that anymore.
I have noticed when I lean over to pick something on the floor he stares at my butt.He stares at my breasts too but only a few times.When I’m talking to him he stares at my mouth the entire conversation.Once when I was talking to him I was wearing a baggy t-shirt, I bent and he could see my bare breasts because the t-shirt was really baggy and I was not wearing a bra but I had not realized that he was getting to see my breast, when I looked at his face and saw that he was really looking at my breasts he looked at my face and laughed at me.
Last Christmas I was wearing a short and tight dress and when he saw me wearing that dress he got nervous as if he was embarassed with my presence just because of the type of dress that I was wearing
I’m not sure if my dad is sexually attracted to me because even with all those looks that he gives me he doesn’t seem to be attracted to me AT ALL and he doesn’t give me those looks all the time he just gives me those looks a few times.My dad is a shy person and I know that he would never do anything harmful to me.He really loves and cares about his family.He has always been a good man.I’M SO CONFUSED! !
Could my father be sexually attracted to me?
I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT MY DAD ONLY GIVE ME THOSE LOOKS A FEW TIMES,IT’S ALMOST RARE,SO I DON’T KNOW IF HE’S REALLY ATTRACTED TO ME OR IF I’M JUST PARANOID.IT REALLY DOESN’T SEEM THAT HE IS ATTRACTED TO ME,HE REALLY DOESN’T ACT AS IF HE IS.HELP ME BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THS SITUATION AT ALL.

A: From what you wrote, it is possible that your dad is having a hard time adjusting to his little girl suddenly becoming an attractive young woman. It’s not that he is attracted to you sexually. It’s that he doesn’t know what to do with his own reaction to a young female. His guy reaction is at odds with his father reaction. My guess is that he wasn’t laughing “at” you but that he was laughing nervously and with embarrassment because he didn’t know how to handle his own feelings. Many men go through this when their daughters hit the teen years. They have the self-control not to act on their feelings but the feelings still sometimes catch them by surprise. Most are very distressed to be having any feelings of attraction at all because they love their daughters and wouldn’t dream of hurting them.

To get through this phase smoothly, you both need to adjust your behavior. You can give your dad a break by remembering to be modest around him. You’re not a little girl any more. It’s time to be a bit more conscious of what you are wearing around the house. On his end, he needs to find ways to either lightheartedly ask you to cover up or to leave the situation when he is uncomfortable. If you have a good relationship with your mom, I encourage you to ask for her help. If you take as much care talking to her as you did in writing this letter, she will understand that you aren’t accusing your dad. She may have had the same experience growing up and may have some ideas for you both.

Most fathers and daughters make this adjustment fine. The dad comes to have pride in his smart, sensitive, and, yes, attractive young daughter. The daughter feels safe enough with her dad that it is no longer an issue.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Apr 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Maybe my father is sexually attracted to me. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/06/maybe-my-father-is-sexually-attracted-to-me/