When you hear the word “attraction,” you’re probably thinking about sexual attraction. In America especially, sexual attraction is pretty much all anyone talks about. No one really teaches you about any other kind. This makes distinguishing our feelings for different people quite a challenge. So to make things a bit clearer, here are five types of attraction you may experience in your life:
Five Types of Attraction
1. Platonic Attraction
This is the desire to have a platonic relationship/do platonic things with a specific person. What is considered platonic is very contextual, so platonic relationships can vary significantly between people and cultures. Platonic feelings can be just as intense or confusing as any other attraction, and is in no way secondary to any of them.
2. Sensual Attraction
This is the desire to have physical, but not inherently sexual, contact with a specific person. This can include holding hands, cuddling, kissing, etc. Though it often coexists with other attractions, it doesn’t always have to. Being sensually attracted to someone doesn’t necessarily mean you are attracted to them in another capacity.
3. Romantic Attraction
This is the desire to have a romantic relationship/do romantic things with a specific person. Romantic attraction is usually assumed to be bundled with sexual attraction, or that they are one and the same. But that isn’t always the case. It’s possible to be attracted to someone romantically without the additional sexual attraction, or even sensual attraction. What is considered romantic might overlap somewhat with what is considered platonic, as it is just as contextual.
4. Sexual Attraction
This is the desire to have a sexual relationship/do sexual things with a specific person. Sexual activities are typically defined by having some sort of genital contact. This attraction can exist independently from other forms of attraction, though many experience it alongside romantic attraction.
5. Aesthetic Attraction
This is finding pleasure in the appearance of a specific person in the same way you might find a piece of artwork or pretty scenery. Since it usually accompanies sexual attraction, it’s easy to confuse the two if you don’t have a strong frame of reference or lack experience. Aesthetic attraction can also exist separately from other attractions, so thinking someone is nice to look at doesn’t always mean you want to do anything with them.
It’s important to acknowledge that, given the complexity of the human mind and body, the way people experience attraction is unique to the individual. So don’t freak out if something you feel is different than what someone else feels. Just listen to your body and you’ll figure things out on your own time.
How many of these did you already know about? Do you ever feel confused about how you are attracted to someone? Tell us about it in the comments!
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