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7 Types of Attraction and Everything You Should Know About It 

7 Types of Attraction and Everything You Should Know About It 

Updated on Aug 28, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

7 Types of Attraction and Everything You Should Know About It

Are you curious about the different types of attraction that exist around you? Are you attracted to someone but do not know what it is? Do you want to find an easier way to navigate through the complexities of human relationships?

You have landed on the right page. You will find the answers to all your questions right here – the what, the how, the why – everything.

Can’t wait to learn more? Read on…

Different Types of Attraction

Attraction is what brings two people together. It can be in any form – mental, physical, romantic, or intellectual. The more we learn about the complexities of human attraction, the more we can acknowledge what kind of partner we desire.

According to relationship experts, there are 7 types of attractions that we experience with people. Let us dive a little deeper into each one for a better understanding!

1. Intellectual attraction

Intellectual attraction refers to the admiration and appeal for someone’s intelligence and cognizance – to be attracted to their mind.

It is the desire to engage with another on an intellectual level and has more to do with what or how a person thinks instead of the person themselves.

When you feel attracted to someone’s intelligence, you find deep conversations with them as a turn-on. You feel intrigued by their thoughts and perceptions about life or subjects of the same interest.

More than their physical attributes and mannerisms, you will be more mindful of the little details that say much more about their character and how they view the world around them. You appreciate people for how they use their words and display their emotional intelligence and wit!

There is a term for this kind of attraction – sapiosexuality. When a person is stimulated by how someone uses their mind, they’re termed as a sapiosexual person.

If you happen to be a sapiosexual person, a person’s intelligence will be the most important trait you would always look out for.

2. Romantic attraction

Romantic attraction is focused on intimacy and companionship and might not always accompany sexual desire towards the person.

This is the most commonly existing form of attraction. Romantic attraction is best described as deep emotional interest and connection with another individual that is not physical or sexual.

If you are romantically attracted to someone, you will feel a profound connection with them. You would want to be around them always and establish a relationship with them.

Romantic attraction involves honesty, loyalty, and a super-deep connection without the need for sexual intimacy. This does not mean – no touching at all. Romantically attracted people touch each other in a friendly manner, like a hug or a gentle rub on the back.

Romantic attractions can be different based on a person’s gender inclinations, like…

  • Biromantic:  People who are attracted towards people of one or more genders. 
  • Heteroromantic: People who are attracted to the opposite gender.
  • Homoromantic: People who experience a romantic inclination towards the same gender.
  • Panromantic: People who are attracted to anyone irrelevant of gender.
  • Demiromantic: People who experience romantic inclination towards a person with whom they share an emotional connection.
  • Grayromantic: People who almost never experience any romantic attraction or only experience it under special circumstances.
  • Aromantic:  A person who experiences little or no inclination towards a romantic relationship with anyone.
  • Autoromantic: People who are romantically attracted to themselves only.

3. Aesthetic attraction

Aesthetic attraction is the pull to a specific person for their looks or their style. It is like admiration for something and may not necessarily transform into a relationship.

A lot of times, people get attracted to someone without reasons.

For example, you are in a restaurant, and someone walks in. They are oblivious to your presence. But you instantly feel attracted to the person, without them even looking at you or talking to you. That is called aesthetic attraction. It simply means that you are attracted to the person because they appear pleasing to your eyes.

Aesthetic attraction does not mean that you will be romantically attracted to the same person as well.

Just as you would appreciate a pretty object or a painting and go about your business, similarly, when you are aesthetically attracted to someone, you just take a moment to appreciate their beauty and then move on with your life like they never existed for you!

4. Physical attraction

Often used interchangeably with sexual attraction, physical attraction is the urge to be physically close to someone, not necessarily indulge in sex.

People often use physical attraction and sexual attraction interchangeably. And if you’re one of them, then you’re absolutely wrong.

Physical attraction is the urge to touch someone you like without any sexual intention. It is the desire to physically be around people who love and care for you.

For example, the kind of desire you experience to be around your family, friends, and kids – all fall under this category. Hugging, kissing, and holding hands are a few ways to express physical attraction towards someone.

Physical attraction finds expression through…

  • Subjective sensual: It is the desires and admiration experienced in exclusive relationships. In layman’s terms, it is the physical vibe two people share in a relationship.
  • Intimacy: It is the intense desire to be close to someone that mostly occurs between people in a relationship.
  • Sensual: As the word suggests, this type of attraction pertains to the physical senses – of touch. It is the desire to touch or be touched, not necessarily in a sexual way.
  • Objective sensual: It is an acquired attraction towards a person who is physically attractive to many people. You personally might not even perceive the said person to be physically attractive.

5. Sexual attraction

Sexual attraction refers to the spontaneous desire to engage in physical intimacy with another person and may not always involve a romantic inclination towards them.

Even while talking about “attraction” in a wide concept, perceive it to be a sexual attraction. The term sexual attraction is pretty self-explanatory. It means you desire to engage in sexual activity with the person.

Unlike intellectual attraction, sexual attraction happens in the blink of an eye – you look at a person and instantly experience the sexual urge to be with them.

You may be sexually attracted to your long-term partner or may even experience sexual attraction towards a complete stranger. You may feel aroused by their sight and keep on lusting after them even if they are not around.

Sexual attraction may also involve different sexual fantasies related to the person you are attracted to. Sexual attraction is a complex world in itself. It can manifest in many ways. For example…

  • Subjective sexual: It is the sexual chemistry between two people in a relationship. The feeling is an exclusive one confined between two partners.
  • Lust: It is an instant, intense and unbridled desire for a sexual experience with someone.
  • Objective sexual: It is the acquired lust for someone desired by other people.

6. Emotional attraction

Emotional attraction is a shared experience to express and/or receive love, respect, and support. It is manifested by how other people feel when they are around a particular person.

Emotional attraction refers to the desire to engage in emotionally intimate behaviors with another person, like sharing, confiding, trusting, etc. Researchers say that emotional attraction is the key to a healthy romantic relationship.

Everyone wants to be around people with whom they can feel comfortable mentally. Good friends and family members usually share strong emotional attraction towards each other.

Emotional attraction can exist without romantic or sexual attraction. Sense of humor, display of wit, and how you treat others – are all different ways to manifest emotional attraction. Let me help you give a deeper insight into the different kinds of emotional attraction.

  • Alterous: It is an attraction towards a person without the intent to establish a romantic or platonic relationship.
  • Attachment: It involves deep emotional bonds that develop over the years and are mostly linked to long-term relationships with parents, family members, children, and friends.
  •  Platonic: It is essentially non-romantic and non-sexual inclinations towards each other. Most commonly found in friendships.
  • Protective: It is the attraction towards those that require any amount of caregiving, such as children, pets, and parents.
  • Social: The attraction towards a person well-liked by society at large. For example, attraction towards a celebrity and anyone enjoying high social status.
  • Zucchini: Platonic feelings for queer people.
  • Squish: It is a strong crush on a person without any intention of establishing a romantic relationship. May often include the desire for emotional intimacy.
  • Love: It is the deep affection that develops after a strong emotional connection between two people.

7. Reciprocal attraction

Reciprocal attraction stems from the knowledge of one person’s liking for the other. It is an acquired form of attraction and is independent of the person’s initial impression of the other person.

You may come across situations in life when you develop a liking or a fondness towards a person after you get to know that they like you. This is called reciprocal attraction. You are attracted to someone simply because they like you.

Reciprocal attraction can be manifested in the following ways…

  • Mimicking the other person: You tend to get attracted to people who mimic your nonverbal movements, like mannerisms and gestures.
  • Express interest in their interest: If someone shows equal eagerness in things that you are interested in, you will experience an instant attraction towards them.
  • Repeat what they say: People love it when others follow their lead, be it in action or in words. The feeling of being heard or listened to acts as a powerful magnet. It is like a verbal nod of agreement.

Types of Attraction and Relationships

Humans experience different kinds of attractions throughout their lives. They can remain constant in a relationship or may change into a completely different type as time goes by.

In our lifetime, we all experience different kinds of attraction towards people we meet in life. Children mostly experience physical and emotional attractions.

With the onset of puberty, hormones come into play, and adolescents begin to experience aesthetic, sexual, and romantic attractions towards others along with the previous two.

As the mind matures, adults experience all different kinds of attractions, including intellectual and reciprocal attraction.

Human connections are essentially designed around the kind of attraction we feel toward others. Once we identify the attraction we feel towards someone, it becomes easier to define the kind of relationship we would want to engage in with the said person.

For example, people often mistake sexual attraction for romantic attraction. In such a scenario, they jump into a relationship but ultimately cannot establish any emotional connection with their partner. It usually ends up in a hot mess.

What is the impact of different types of attraction?

Every relationship is shaped by the kind of attraction felt towards a person. A clear understanding of the different kinds of attractions will help build healthy relationships.

Attraction impacts relationships just like the sun affects life on earth. No matter what kind of attraction you feel towards someone, it usually heightens the levels of oxytocin and dopamine – the “feel-good hormones.” The brain perceives this as a green signal and urges you to establish a relationship with them.

So, when you are attracted to a person, their personality, behavior, and demeanor will appear appealing to you at that instant.

If you can identify the kind of attraction you feel, you will be able to establish a healthy relationship with the person. If not, once the attraction fades away (which usually happens within the first six months), that relationship will not survive.

How to recognize the type of attraction you’re experiencing?

If you identify the kind of attraction you feel towards people, it will be easier for you to navigate your relationships. The best way is to sit down and assess every aspect of what you experience.

These are the few simple things you can follow to identify the type of attraction you experience…

1. Identify your objective

Have a clear objective in your mind as to what you want to pursue from an attraction. Establish relationships based on these motives. If you look for emotional satisfaction from a purely sexual attraction, it will be a waste of time.

2. Set boundaries

Establish clear boundaries of what you want to experience from each kind of attraction you experience. This will not only help you in engaging in meaningful relationships but will also keep your life free from emotional mess.

3. Be more self-aware

Take time out for yourself and process all kinds of feelings you may experience when you are attracted to someone. This will help you to identify the necessary and remove the clutter from your mind.

4. Understand the transition

Keep in mind that attractions can transition with time. For example, if a relationship started off on the basis of physical attraction, it might evolve over time and transition into an emotional and intellectual attraction too. The key to sailing smoothly through such a change is to have a channel for healthy communication with your partner.

5. Never judge your feelings

Always remember that there is no “right or wrong” way to experience attraction toward someone. You just need to establish a relationship that supports the kind of attraction you experience.

When should you get help?

If you find it difficult to process your feelings and understand why you are attracted to someone, you should seek help from a therapist.

A mental health professional would be able to guide you through the complexities of human emotions and make you aware of what to make out of the attraction you may experience for a person.

Couples who experience attachment issues or sexual tension in their relationship should go for couple therapy sessions. It will help them to resolve any conflicts between them and also establish a stronger bond between the two of them.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Attraction is the power to evoke feelings of desire, interest, or liking. You will experience different kinds of attraction through the different stages of your life.  You may even experience one type of attraction transform into another one.

Keep an open mind when it comes to attraction. You cannot label it as “right” or “wrong”. Always try to differentiate what you feel from why you are attracted to someone. It is not necessary that you are attracted to someone because you have feelings for that person.

A well-informed person will have a clear picture in their head about what they feel about someone and engage in relationships accordingly.

Are you interested to know more about ‘Types of Romantic Relationships’ then click here?