Here you will find articles about the various kinds of attraction and how they draw people to one another. Attraction isn’t simplistic. There are thousands of nuances that we pick up on when we meet someone new. Some people don’t know what to do when they find someone attractive. Read more about how attraction works and what to do when you are attracted to a potential partner.
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Attraction is a pull that we feel towards another person. Whether it's romantic, sexual, physical, or an emotional attraction, it's the same concept. You're magnetically drawn to another individual. Social psychology includes the study of interpersonal attraction. It studies how people are drawn to one another, whether it's people of different sexes or the same sex. Attraction can happen to anyone and can present itself in many different ways. You may have heard the word "attraction" in a different context. It doesn't always have to relate to a person. For example, tourist attractions. When someone references that phrase, it's about something that draws in travelers, such as the Eiffel tower in Paris. Tourist attractions are exciting to people, and there's something about them that pulls people to those things. Tourist attractions are different from attraction-attraction. Attraction-attraction relates to the way that people are drawn to each other, but attraction, in a general sense, is about that force and sense of excitement or electricity, regardless of the context.
The Different Kinds of Attraction
Sexual attraction is a common form of attraction that occurs when people are drawn to one another. It's based on sexual desire. You may fantasize about another person touching you or having sex with them. Sexual attraction can be extremely strong and may be based on pheromones in some respects. Synonyms for attraction can be desirability or appeal. While these words are often affiliated with sex, it is not always what someone is referencing when they say that someone is desirable or appealing. If someone says that they desire you, they may mean it in a sexual way, or they might mean it in a romantic way. Consent is extremely important when it comes to intimacy and sexual attraction. If you flirt with someone and they make it clear to you that they are not interested in you for whatever reason, it's important that you stop. Sexual attraction can be one way and if they aren't comfortable with it, it is harassment, so listen if someone says, "no."
Romantic attraction might sound similar to sexual attraction, but it's not the same thing. You want to be in a romantic partnership with someone and are committed to being with them. It is different than wanting to be someone's friend. When you're romantically attracted to someone, it doesn't automatically refer to wanting to have sex with them, though for many people, the two go together. You want to have deep conversations and share your life together, and there may be a sexual component, but not always. Those who are asexual but not aromantic, for example, may experience little to no sexual desire despite being 100% invested in a romantic connection. If someone is not romantically attracted to you and they have made that clear, you should stop communicating your attraction to the person. When romantic attraction doesn't go both ways, it can be very uncomfortable.
Physical attraction is when you feel attracted to someone aesthetically. You may think that they're beautiful, glowing, or handsome, and are drawn to their appearance. This is often paired with romantic attraction or sexual attraction, but it be its’ own thing as well. For example, you might see a celebrity or someone walking down the street and think that they're physically attractive without necessarily wanting to date them. Some people need physical attraction in a romantic relationship, whereas others find it less important.
When you're emotionally attracted to another person, you feel connected to them, and you like the way they think about things. You like the way they express their feelings, and you care about their emotions. You're likely to have emotional attraction not only to your partner but with friends and family members, too. You want to be around people that you feel emotionally attracted to because you care for one another. You understand them, and they understand you. Emotional attraction is the glue that holds the vast majority of relationships together.
Attraction issues with your partner
If you and your partner are attracted to each other, things tend to grow organically. There may be no issues in your relationship. But attraction doesn't make you immune to the ups and downs that can come with a romantic partnership. Maybe, you have a strong emotional bond, sexual attraction, and physical attraction toward one another, but hurdles such as frequent arguments are presenting themselves in your connection. You can talk about these struggles in your romantic partnership in couples counseling, whether they're related to attraction or something else. You can search the network of counselors at ReGain for direct support or refer to these articles for more information about attraction-related issues.