Attraction isn’t as simple as just liking someone and them liking you back.
It’s a lot more complicated than that.
For a start, there are many different types of attraction, some of which you may have experienced already.
You might have met someone who you care deeply about and want to spend all your time with, but who you could never imagine being sexually intimate with.
Equally, you might have felt an overwhelming sexual chemistry toward someone else, and being intimate together is what defines your relationship even though you have nothing in common.
Neither of these types of attraction is any stronger or less important than the other, they’re just different; and types of attraction don’t stop there.
There are multiple forms of attraction including some of the more obvious ones such as romantic or sexual, but there are also less talked about types such as physical, aesthetic, and emotional.
When it comes to both platonic and romantic relationships, there are even more types of connection that you might end up experiencing such as spiritual or intellectual.
It can be confusing when you’re drawn to someone but you aren’t sure why.
Chemistry isn’t just limited to physical intimacy, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re falling in love with someone.
Attraction of all types can grow but they don’t all mean that you’ve found your soulmate or that you’re cheating on your partner.
If you’re confused about an attraction you have toward someone and what it means, or you are wondering how much physical attraction matters when it comes to relationships, it could be time to learn more about attraction to better understand the many different ways you could feel it.
To get you started, we’ve broken down 7 types of attraction a person can feel below.
1. Sexual attraction
Sexual attraction is one of the more familiar types of attraction and encompasses the idea of lust toward another person.
There is always a lot of emphasis put on sexual attraction—the idea that when you meet the right person, you just can’t keep your hands off each other.
But it’s not the only type of attraction you need to sustain a healthy relationship.
Experiencing sexual attraction is the feeling that you want to be sexually intimate with someone. You desire them in a physical sense and want to act on it.
When you’re sexually attracted to someone, it’s often hard to concentrate on anything else.
You aren’t concerned about the longevity of your relationship, you just know that you need to be with them in a physical sense.
You don’t care about their intelligence, their morals, or anything on a deeper level—this type of attraction is purely led by hormones, propelling you to want to be with them in an intimate way.
Just as quickly as sexual attraction can grow, it can also fade once you’ve acted on it, and just because the feelings are strong at first, it doesn’t mean that they will last.
Much of sexual attraction is based on looks and the thrill of being with someone intimately.
You can be sexually attracted to someone out of your reach, with the fact that the person you’re attracted to is out of your reach making the idea of being with them all the more exciting.
It’s an intense, fiery emotion, but not one that often stands the test of time on its own. Exciting to experience, for sure, but it won’t lead you to a fulfilling, lasting relationship without some other types of attraction.
2. Romantic attraction
This type of attraction is the basis for all good love stories.
It’s another one we’re all familiar with: romantic attraction.
But what does it really mean when you’re romantically attracted to someone?
Simply put, romantic attraction is the need and want to be close to someone, often combining both physical and emotional attraction.
You can be romantically attracted to someone without sexual attraction, but generally, as romantic attraction grows, so does the desire to be with the person intimately when you feel able to be vulnerable around them and become closer.
It’s an attraction that runs deeper and appreciates a person’s inner and outer beauty.
When you have a romantic attraction, you feel connected to a person, somehow invested in their happiness as well as yours, and close in a way that you don’t get with anyone else because it’s the gateway to love.
Romantic attraction might be helped by physical attraction if you notice someone because of their looks but want to learn more about them because of their character.
It’s an inexplicable pull toward someone that grows and grows, eventually turning into what we know as love.
3. Physical attraction
Physical attraction, like sexual attraction, can be the desire to be close to someone, but the difference is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a sexual way.
Physical touch is one of the five love languages, and the need for physical attraction encompasses the feeling of wanting to touch or be close to someone you care about.
Some people show or receive love through being physically close to another person. It can be as simple as holding someone’s hand or enjoying a hug.
It includes the idea that you’re drawn to someone by how they physically look and it is generally one of the first feelings that attracts you to a person.
There are some people in the world that you are naturally attracted to because they’re your ‘type’ physically.
It’s sometimes true that opposites attract and that could be because two people are drawn to each other physically rather than romantically or emotionally, but once they get to know each other, they realize their personalities are completely different.
Dating someone you’re not physically attracted to is possible when you align on other values such as goals, morals, or even intelligence, but it can be harder to develop an intimate relationship and be vulnerable around each other without at least some physical chemistry.
4. Emotional attraction
Creating an emotional attraction doesn’t have to depend on looks—it’s about creating intimacy through trust.
Emotional attachment goes beyond what you see physically or even shared interests. It is built around common goals, values, and views of the future.
It’s a type of connection that can build gradually but become one of the strongest and more lasting types of attraction because it goes deeper than shallow interests.
To experience being emotionally attracted to someone is to feel like you don’t just want, but need to be around this person because you care about them so much.
You might not always be able to explain why or how you feel the way you do, you just know that life is better with this person than without and you feel fulfilled because of it.
5. Aesthetic attraction
Have you ever looked at someone and thought how attractive they were, even if you have no desire to be with them in any other romantic or physical way?
If you have, then you’ve experienced aesthetic attraction.
This kind of attraction isn’t gender specific and doesn’t matter what your preference is sexually. Male or female, you can appreciate if someone is a good-looking human.
Feeling this type of attraction doesn’t mean that you want anything from this person or have any type of connection with them, you just simply notice them and like looking at them.
You might feel this way about a celebrity crush—you would never expect anything to come of the way you feel about them, but you notice if they look good in their latest appearance.
It’s the same if you meet someone you think looks great, but you feel no other connection with them or have no desire for intimacy. You are drawn to them because aesthetically, they attract you, but have no reason to stay with them or develop a deeper connection.
6. Spiritual attraction
Similar to emotional attraction, spiritual attraction goes beyond the surface level and is an indescribable feeling that your life is just better when you’re around this person.
A spiritual attraction to someone is based on shared values and beliefs and is centered around the way you both view the world.
It’s perhaps one of the deepest types of connection there is. You enrich each other’s lives in the way you both navigate life together.
You are drawn to this person because of the energy they give out into the world and how you feel when you’re around them. You admire their mental resistance, their morals, and their approach to life.
When you’re spiritually attracted to someone, you’re led by an intuition that you are meant to have this person in your life, whether it’s someone who is your friend or a romantic partner.
You know that they are in your life for a reason, and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
7. Intellectual attraction
When you admire the way someone thinks and their intellectual abilities, this is the basis of an intellectual attraction.
If you’ve ever sat with someone and found yourself talking for hours about a subject and ended up feeling mentally energized from spending time with them, it’s because you’re intellectually attracted to this person.
You are attracted to their mind, the way they think, and the knowledge they have.
You don’t notice how they look or necessarily feel any romantic pull toward them, but you love being around them just because they make you feel alive through the intellectual conversations you have.
You might feel like you’ve finally found someone who understands you, that you can talk about subjects that interest you and be intellectually challenged by their response.
They make you use your brain when you talk to them and widen your overall experience of the world.
You find yourself wanting to see them because you want to hear their thoughts and ideas and be able to share yours with someone on your level.
One person can feel so many different types of attraction in different situations.
So instead of asking yourself if you’re attractive, think about who you’re trying to be attractive to and why.
Being attractive isn’t just about wearing the right clothes or looking a certain way. It goes much deeper than that for a lot of people and is about who you are as a person and the way you connect with others.
Don’t think of yourself as any less worthy because someone isn’t physically attracted to you or you haven’t found a romantic connection with someone else yet.
Open yourself up to the possibility of people coming into your life for different reasons.
You don’t have to be physically attracted to everyone you have a connection with, just as much as you don’t have to feel bad for being intellectually attracted to one person and romantically attracted to another.
Embrace all the different reasons you are attracted to people and what that brings to your life.
In a healthy relationship, you might be attracted to your partner in a number of ways, appreciating them romantically, physically, sexually, and even spiritually.
Don’t limit the way you present yourself because you think it’s what other people want to see. Instead, focus on the ways you can better connect with people on all different levels and see how your life will be better for it.