The 5 Types Of Attraction Fully Explained

It's human nature to feel drawn to someone for no specific reason. "Attraction is profoundly personal," says sexual wellness expert Natasha Marie to Shape. Like emotions, however, there are various sorts of attractions that an individual can feel toward different people. When you come across Rose, a hottie with a mesmerizing voice, you're motivated to talk to her, exchanging flirtatious remarks and even engaging in physical intimacy. But that's all there is to it. When you meet Maria, an average-looking gal with a sweet personality who makes you feel all the feels, you want to pursue a relationship with her while expressing no sexual interest off the bat. Your attraction to both Rose and Maria is genuine but different in nature. 


How you are attracted to someone determines what kind of relationship you'll establish with that person, says BetterHelp. Attraction doesn't always have to be romantic or sexual; it can be emotional, intellectual, or asexual. If you're attracted to someone, it's hard to know if you should act on it or rather keep it in the shadows when you're not sure what type of attraction it is. This article explores the most typical forms of attractions to help you sort through your feelings.

1. Sexual attraction

Sexual appeal is probably the most common type of attraction that comes to mind when the word "attraction" comes up. According to the LBGT Center, the longing for sexual intimacy or an expression of sexual interest in another person is where sexual attraction comes into play. Biological factors such as adrenaline, desirable physical traits, and appealing scents play a big part in triggering sexual attraction. A couple of drinks can also result in sexual arousal. 


While sexual attraction centers on sex, it doesn't have to be limited to having light-hearted sex with a hot stranger. Many people only begin to experience sexual attraction with someone after forging an emotional bond with them. Sexual attraction is not the same as physical attraction, although they both involve physical touch. The lust factor is involved in sexual attraction, while physical attraction doesn't have to be necessarily sexual, Verywell Mind points out. Physical attraction can be understood as a desire to hold hands, hug, kiss, or cuddle with a person without engaging in sexual contact. This form of attraction can be seen in asexual couples, who experience romantic attraction but lack interest in sexual attraction.


2. Emotional attraction

"All successful romantic relationships need both emotional and physical attraction," relationship expert Emily Mendez tells Bustle. Emotional attraction is part and parcel of a healthy relationship in which you can communicate with the other person on a deeper level, such as sharing your innermost thoughts and confiding in the person. It also means you are attracted to the person's personality and charisma and are interested in being a part of that person's life and their pillar of emotional support. 


Physical attraction, which takes only seconds to happen, comes and goes. But emotional attraction, like chemistry, needs authenticity and comfortability to happen. Whether the relationship is romantic or platonic, emotional attraction lends it a solid foundation, without which trust breaks down and interests wane. Emotional attraction, per a review of the book "The Social Animal" published by The Gottman Institute, is what makes a marriage "a safe harbor" to come back to every night to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

3. Romantic attraction

Sexual attraction is generally about wanting to have sex with a person. But once you get to know the person, you discover that you two are not compatible and are not eager to forge a romantic relationship. That's what distinguishes sexual attraction from romantic attraction. "Romantic attraction is more about the desire to connect deeper than sex," sex therapist Shamyra Howard tells Elite Daily. For instance, it happens when you picture a future together with the person and would like to engage in lovey-dovey, pro-couple activities, such as making heart-shaped bacon for breakfast, exchanging gifts on Valentine's Day, or visiting each other's parents on holiday. 


Romantic attraction is usually born out of a sense of attachment, which only happens between two people who share common interests, values, or plenty of memories together. Romantic attraction, when combined with emotional and sexual attraction, can provide an ideal foundation for a lasting relationship, per Regain. However, as shown in asexual companionships, romantic attraction can exist apart from the need for sexual contact.

4. Intellectual attraction

Intellectual attraction, according to Marriage, occurs when you are attracted to someone's mind before anything else. This form of attraction is easy to recognize because it doesn't involve a sexual or physical appeal. Instead of leaping across the room to make love with the person, you want to get inside their brain. Some people, especially sapiosexuals, find the human mind the most attractive trait and are usually drawn to another person intellectually before developing another form of attraction, be it emotional or sexual. 


Smart conversations, witty remarks, or a passion for rocket science count among major intellectual attraction triggers. If you find yourself turned physically and emotionally on by how a person's mind works instead of that person per se, chances are you might be a sapiosexual. In that case, intelligence can become a deal-breaker when you find the person is not as intellectual as you had assumed, her way warns. For an intellectual attraction to blossom into a lasting relationship, you might want to get to know the person better and modify your expectations. 

5. Aesthetic attraction

Aesthetic attraction, as per Archer, refers to the appreciation of someone's visual qualities in the absence of any urges to seek a sexual, emotional, or romantic connection with the person. For example, you find Leonardo DiCaprio the sexiest and most fashionable man that ever lives, but you have no desire for sexual intimacy or a serious relationship with him. Put simply, being attracted aesthetically is akin to admiring a beautiful work of art, which you are content beholding from afar. Girl crushes are another instance of aesthetic attraction where a girl feels a strong admiration for another girl without desiring sexual contact. Since aesthetic attraction can be quite light-hearted, it is unlikely to develop into a stronger, longer-lasting bond.


Throughout your life, you might find yourself experiencing a variety of attractions toward different people, which can be confusing. Attractions can simply be understood as forces that "pull people together," explains social psychology expert Dr. Madeleine A. Fugère to Brides. Some forms of attraction are temporary and pointless, while others, if nurtured, can develop into a lifelong relationship or marriage. Being able to identify the type of attraction you're experiencing might give you more self-assurance and positive results as you navigate your relationships.