37 Terms That Describe Different Types of Attraction

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What do you understand by attraction? Everything from taking an interest in someone to admiring someone’s appearance to experiencing sexual or romantic feelings can be considered a type of attraction.

Learning about the nuanced and multifaceted nature of attraction helps us gain insight into our own feelings, as well as the boundaries we need to set to ensure those feelings are respected and understood.

Check out the following list for terms that describe different types of attraction.

Terms A to C

Aesthetic

Aesthetic attraction refers to the ability to admire someone’s appearance without the need or desire to have physical, sexual, or romantic contact with them.

Alterous

This describes the desire for a type of emotional relationship and emotional closeness that doesn’t feel accurately characterized by the terms “platonic” or “romantic.”

It can also convey discomfort or de-identification with the word “romantic” as a primary descriptor or focal point for different types of attraction.

Alloromantic

This describes people who experience romantic attraction.

Amatonormativity

A social force that presumes romantic relationships are more ideal or “the norm” for everyone, subsequently viewing this type of relationship as more valid than or superior to others.

Aromantic

Also known as “aro,” this identifier describes the spectrum of people who experience little to no romantic attraction or desire for a romantic relationship.

Attachment

Unlike attraction, attachment refers to a type of bond or connection that’s often necessary or present in committed or long-term relationships of any kind.

Attachment can be a factor in relationships with:

  • Friends
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Caregivers
  • Family Members
  • Loved Ones

Attraction

Attraction describes interest, desire, or affinity that’s emotional, physical, romantic, aesthetic, or sexual in nature.

Autoromantic

This describes those who experience romantic attraction to oneself.

Biromantic

This describes the experience of being romantically attracted to people of two or more genders.

It doesn’t indicate the specific genders someone is romantically attracted to, but the fact that the individual is romantically attracted to people of more than one gender.

Crush

The object of someone’s romantic attraction or the desire for a romantic relationship with someone.

Terms D to K

Demiromantic

On the aromantic spectrum, demiromantic describes those who only experience romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection.

Emotional

This type of attraction isn’t necessarily physical in nature and is rooted in a desire for connection because of someone’s heart, mind, or personality.

Grayromantic

On the aromantic spectrum, grayromantic describes someone who rarely experiences romantic attraction, or only experiences romantic attraction under particular circumstances.

Heteroromantic

This describes those who are romantically attracted to members of the “opposite” sex or gender.

Homoromantic

This describes those who are romantically attracted to members of the same sex or gender.

Intellectual

This type of attraction isn’t necessarily physical in nature and is rooted in a desire for connection because of someone’s intelligence.

Intimacy

This term describes physical, sexual, romantic, or emotional closeness between people in personal relationships of any kind.

Terms L to Q

Love

A deep or passionate feeling of connection or affection that often involves an element of emotional attachment.

The meaning of love and things associated with love can vary from person to person, relationship to relationship, and across cultures.

Lust

This describes intense feelings of passion, desire, affection, or attraction toward someone.

Objective Physical

This type of attraction occurs when the majority of people consider someone physically attractive, even if you personally aren’t attracted to their physical appearance.

Objective Sexual

This type of attraction occurs when the majority of people consider someone sexually attractive, even if you personally don’t experience sexual attraction toward them.

Panromantic

This describes someone who’s capable of experiencing romantic attraction to people of all gender identities.

Generally speaking, gender and sex don’t play a major role in governing romantic attraction for those who are panromantic.

Passion

This describes feelings of deep desire, intense emotion, or strong enthusiasm.

Physical

This describes the desire for touch or to be touched not necessarily in a romantic or sexual way. For example, this can include hugging or kissing a family member.

Platonic

The nonsexual or nonromantic desire to be in a relationship with someone. Friendships, for example, are often platonic.

Polyromantic

This describes someone who experiences romantic attraction towards people of many, but not necessarily all, gender identities.

Protective

This describes attraction toward those who require caretaking, such as a child, pet, or loved one.

Queerplatonic

Challenging traditional norms and stereotypes in relationships, queerplatonic describes a deep emotional connection that can’t be fully captured using existing relationship categories, such as “romantic” or “friendship.”

For some, queerplatonic relationships fall somewhere between friendship and a romantic relationship. However, this varies from person to person, relationship to relationship.

Terms R to Z

Romantic

This can describe a deep emotional interest or connection that isn’t purely physical or sexual in nature.

Sensual

Very similar to physical attraction, sensual attraction describes a desire to touch or be touched that isn’t necessarily sexual in nature.

Sexual

This attraction takes the form of the desire for intimately physical or sexual contact with someone.

Social

This describes those who are generally well-liked by the majority. A person who’s socially attractive is typically also someone many people want to be around.

Subjective Physical

This type of physical desire or admiration is based on personal feelings and individual experiences that aren’t necessarily shared by the majority.

Subjective physical attraction is often viewed as physical chemistry that exists in a given relationship, connection, or interaction.

Subjective Sexual

This describes sexual feelings or the desire for sexual contact based on personal feelings and individual experiences that aren’t necessarily shared by the majority.

Subjective sexual attraction is often viewed as sexual chemistry that exists in a given relationship, connection, or interaction.

Squish

The desire for a strong, nonromantic relationship that often includes elements of emotional depth or intimacy.

It’s considered the nonromantic version of a crush.

Uniattraction

This describes attraction to one person for a prolonged period of time or one’s whole life.

Zucchini

Also known as a queerplatonic partner, zucchinis are people engaged in queerplatonic relationships.

In Summary

Most of us have had the experience of feeling something toward someone but having a hard time identifying what exactly the feeling is.

Am I attracted to them physically? Do I admire their personality or intelligence? Do I have the desire to be romantic or sexual with them?

Attraction can be confusing and takes time to understand. Just remember there’s no right way to experience attraction and one form isn’t better or more valid than another.

Expanding your understanding of attraction beyond romantic and sexual can help you navigate the various feelings that inform your interests, desires, boundaries, and relationships.


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