Attraction is a key part of how you connect to other people. When hearing the word attraction, many people automatically assume it only means being romantically or sexually attracted to someone. But attraction can take many forms, and you don’t have to have feelings for someone to feel a kind of attraction towards them. You can also feel multiple types of attraction at the same time.
Sometimes you may be confused with your own feelings – you may like someone because they’re very smart, but you don’t feel like getting into a relationship with them. Or you do want a relationship, but you don’t really feel the need to get intimate… Understanding that different types of attraction exist could help you sort out those confusing thoughts.
Here are 6 different types of attraction you could feel.
1. Romantic attraction
This type of attraction is where you want to be in a relationship with the person, you desire romantic contact or interaction with someone. You may want to be with them even without wanting the sexual aspect of the relationship. You can experience it as feeling romantically connected with the person, you feel close to them and you want to spend time together as a couple – to date them or even marry them someday.
This is one of the most commonly known attraction types, and many people feel like this sometimes in their lives, but it is possible to never feel romantically attracted to others. It’s called being “aromantic” – experiencing little to no romantic attraction or desire for a romantic relationship. If you’re aromantic, you may not feel the need to date or have a serious relationship, but you can still satisfy your social needs through platonic relationships (platonic is a relationship or friendship that can be intimate and loving but doesn’t involve physical, emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction or interactions).
2. Sexual attraction
Sexual attraction is also one of the most commonly heard of. It makes people desire sexual contact or have sexual feelings towards someone.
Often times you feel this kind of attraction to your partner, but you don’t have to be in a relationship to find someone sexually attractive. When you’re sexually attracted to someone, you are experiencing feelings of passion, desire or affection towards them.
Some people experience greater levels of sexual attraction, but there are also ones who don’t experience it at all. Similar to aromantic people, asexual people simply don’t feel sexual attraction and don’t feel the sexual desire towards others. This is completely normal and it doesn’t have to be a problem in a relationship – as long as they find compatible or accepting partners, their relationships can flourish through some other types of attraction.
3. Physical attraction
Physical, or sometimes called sensual attraction, is a desire to be around others, to be physically cared for, treated with love and affection, as well as a desire for touch.
Of course, this type of attraction could go together with other types, but it doesn’t have to. When you feel this attraction, you feel the desire to be touched or receive touch, but not necessarily in a sexual way. You don’t have to be romantically attracted to someone to need some physical affection: you could seek hugs from your friends or a kiss on the cheek from your mom.
Some subtypes of physical attraction include:
- Intimacy: physical, sexual, romantic, or emotional closeness between people in personal relationships of any kind.
- Subjective physical: often observable as physical chemistry that exists in a given relationship, connection, or interaction.
- Sensual: a desire to touch or receive touch that isn’t necessarily sexual in nature.
This kind of attraction can be felt among asexual or aromantic people, and it’s still valid even if it lacks romantic or sexual feelings.
4. Aesthetic attraction
Are you familiar with this situation: you think someone is good looking, without having any feelings for them. But as soon as you express your opinion about a person’s good looks, people around you give you the look followed with “Ooooh, so you like them, huh?”. Well, here is the answer you should give: aesthetic attraction is a thing, and it doesn’t mean you’re automatically in love with the person!
Aesthetic attraction is defined as the ability to admire someone’s appearance without the need or desire to have physical, sexual or romantic contact with them. You look at them and you simply find them aesthetically pleasing. Just as you would look at a pretty painting or a lovely sunset – some people are just easy on the eyes, and you can’t help yourself but appreciate their looks.
5. Emotional attraction
To be emotionally attracted means wanting to be emotionally present with another person. This is another type of attraction that you don’t necessarily need to exhibit only for potential partners. Whether it is your partner, a friend, family member… you feel the need to connect with them on an emotional level, to discuss your feelings, their feelings, and openly share your experiences and thoughts. You find this aspect to be the most important in a relationship and you don’t feel satisfied if you’re not connected on that level.
You can feel this kind of attraction in different ways:
- Attachment: a type of bond or connection that’s often necessary or present in committed or long-term relationships of any kind.
- Love: a deep or passionate feeling of connection or affection that often involves an element of emotional attachment.
- Platonic: nonsexual or nonromantic desire to be in a relationship with someone; for example, friendships
- Protective: attraction toward those who require caretaking, such as a child, pet, or loved one.
6. Intellectual attraction
Intellectual attraction refers to the desire to interact with people on a more cerebral level. It is also sometimes called sapiosexuallity, being attracted to highly intelligent people.
What you’re attracted to is their intellect – you like discussing different topics with them, you admire their way of thinking, and you like being challenged by their points of views. You may also find intelligence to be the most important trait of your potential partner. Also, you enjoy intellectual activity (such as deep conversation) as an integral part of emotional bonding.
If you feel intellectual attraction the most, you may find it difficult to feel sexually or romantically attracted to someone if they don’t satisfy you intellectually.
Did you recognize some of these attraction types with the relationships you have with other people? Do you feel like you lean to one type more than others? Or you feel all of them, depending on the circumstances?
In whichever way you feel attraction, or even if you don’t feel it at all, understanding your own feelings could help you lead quality relationships of any kind.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to feeling connected to people, and whatever you prefer is valid and awesome!
Thank you for reading!
Written by: Stela Košić
- Abrams, M. L. (2021, December 23). What Are the Different Types of Attraction? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-attraction#emotional
- Fader, S. (2021, December 1). What Are Different Types Of Attraction? | BetterHelp. BetterHelp. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/attraction/what-are-different-types-of-attraction/
- Sapiosexual: What It Means. (2020, November 21). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sex/sapiosexual-what-it-means