Are there any other terms. I’m just curious

  •  jarfil   ( ) 
    5 months ago

    There are many different kinds of attractions. Some that come to mind:

    • Sexual: you want to have sex
    • Sensual: you want to touch them
    • Emotional: you want to share feelings
    • Aesthetic: you like how they look
    • Platonic: you like the idea of them
    • Romantic: you want to share a deep knowledge of each other
    • Intellectual: you want to discuss stuff with them

    …and probably some more that I’m missing.

    • I think it’s important to note that many of these overlap with each other as they are socially defined, as opposed to defined by action. Even among the action defined ones like emotional and sexual, what falls into what people consider “sex” or what feelings are on or off the table because of existing relationships and desires, are all malleable to an extent.

      Romantic is the most socially defined among this list, and broadly overlaps with all of these categories. It’s also the category among these I struggle the most with, as I don’t do well with broadly/loosely defined social concepts, especially those that often come from the experience of a feeling (gender is another example of these). It’s less likely that one person’s definition of an intellectual connection/attraction would differ significantly from another human, but much more likely that romantic would.

      At the end of the day, language isn’t perfect. It’s a way for us to communicate abstract ideas with some kind of structure. Ultimately you need to ask someone what romance is to them, to understand whether that’s something you’re interested in, and then have a conversation with the person about what kind of romantic connection they are on board for.

      •  jarfil   ( ) 
        5 months ago

        I think they’re just non-exclusive, so any relationship is likely to have a mix of some degrees of more than one kind of attraction, and one can lead to another or change over time.

        Communication is definitely the key. It’s hard to convey all the nuance in a single world, or even a set of words. Like, once I saw someone refer to themselves as “bi-sapioromantic”… which kind of answered some questions, but raised others. Another time, a couple people seemed to hit it off… until one of them said “before we go any further, can I see your ankles?.. no, that wouldn’t work, sorry”. I don’t know what their deal was, or whether there even is a word for it, but at least they communicated effectively.

      • Is it possible to just have one type? I have never had a crush, I have never looked at anyone ever and got turned on or thought about sex with a specific person; but I would literally have sex with anyone if they initiated it because I like sex for pleasure. Is that just a sensual type of attraction or just seriously fucked up?

        • You might want to look into asexuality. I don’t know you personally and I can’t tell you what you are, but going purely off this description? This behavior sounds exactly like an aromantic, sex-favorable asexual. (Some of us asexuals totally will have sex for pleasure even though we don’t experience sexual desire. I explain that here.)

  • For me, romantic attraction means I have all of the warm swoony fuzzy feelings for another person, where I want to spend time with them, do things for them, have a deep, emotionally close relationship with them…the only things I don’t want to do with them are sexual things like get naked and touch each other’s genitalia and stuff.

  • Sexual attraction means you look at someone and think “I’d fvck them”

    Romantic attraction means you look at someone’s personality and behaviour and think “I wanna date them” or “I wanna be in a romantic relationship with them”

    • Took me a while to realize this one. I thought maybe I was bi for a while because I would see some men and think, “damn, he is hot.” But I don’t actually want any kind of relationship or intercourse with a man. I just appreciate them aesthetically.

    • Also piggybacking to say that aesthetic attraction can exist without romantic attraction as well.

      There are lots of girls who look good, and who I like looking at. However, I’ve never felt any urge to have sex with them or take them on dates.

      It’s basically like looking at sunsets or cute animals, but with people instead. You’d never have sex with them or date them, but they sure are enjoyable to look at.

  • I want to add that I’ve been led to believe that for many people who experience romantic and sexual attraction, kissing someone or cuddling them can start up a desire to “go further,” to add tongue and groping genital areas and eventually end in sex.

    I am asexual, but I have experience with romantic attraction. For me, I’ve always been satisfied with kissing and cuddling. It doesn’t cross my mind to maybe start turning the encounter sexual, and I definitely do not want this to lead to sex.

    Also, some asexuals are totally okay with and may even seek out sex. The key thing that links all asexuals together regardless of how often we seek out sex or how much we enjoy it is that we don’t experience sexual desire. Think of it like you can not be hungry for food (not experience sexual desire ever), but choose to consume it anyways because it tastes good (choose to have sex because it feels physically good) or because it makes your partner happy. You could accurately say that you like food but don’t ever get hungry (like sex but don’t experience sexual attraction). Except in this case, it’s an actual valid orientation and not a reason to get checked out by a doctor the way you probably should if you’re never hungry.

    There are also some of us who do experience a libido, a sex drive, but it still won’t make us look at a person and think “I’d tap that.” We might satisfy it with sex or masturbation, but the key difference is that we don’t feel that same strong impulse to have sex with someone else that other people describe as being so intense it’s a “need” and a passionate longing for their object of desire.

    I saw a comment further down where you’re trying to learn more. is a pretty nice resource.

    • I’ve always considered myself a hetero person, but now I’m a bit curious because I always assumed asexuality was mutually exclusive with physical intimacy. I definitely get aroused by the opposite gender, but the thoughts never lead to full on sex. Usually, I want to cuddle with that person, maybe get a bit handsy, and at most engage in some lightly kinky acts like shibari. When I do have sex, it’s all about making the other person happy. With that out of the picture, it’s no more satisfying than a particularly good jerk sesh.

      It’s caused some anguish in relationships. I almost never initiate outside the unspoken context of “Oh we haven’t had sex in a while, better do that before the relationship falls apart.” and it often feels like the juice isn’t worth the squeeze a lot of the time once you factor in how long it takes and cleanup and being all gross and sweaty afterward. The idea of people wanting to go through that trouble more than once or twice a week is unfathomable to me.

      I always thought that my lack of sexual desire was some dysfunction from too much porn as a teenager or something, but in hindsight, I don’t think I ever jerked it to anything featuring penetration between two people and I don’t remember ever being particularly interested in it. Even vanilla non-nude pics of fine looking ladies always did it for me way more than any hardcore porn ever did.

      I’m wondering if this tracks with some form of asexual better than it does with heterosexuality?

      • You sound at least somewhere on the asexuality spectrum.

        The capacity to be aroused ≠ sexual attraction, although they do often go together (especially if you get aroused at the sight of people instead of needing physical stimulation to make the parts respond) so I wouldn’t completely toss away the arousal data. However, I did read a study about conditioning marmosets to be aroused at the smell of a lemon, so it might be extensible to humans and you might have just conditioned yourself into arousal at the opposite gender. “People find this hot, I should try masturbating to it,” you stimulate yourself into arousal, eventually associate the opposite gender with sexual satisfaction and get aroused at the sight of them. Also, I’m kind of suspicious of this study because after they finished the conditioning, they observed erection rate after exposure to lemon scent, but not erection rate without exposure to lemon scent: sure, the erection rate is high for lemon exposure, but how do we know this is any different from no lemon exposure? However, lots of other similar studies were done that I didn’t bother to check out. And it’s still true that arousal ≠ sexual attraction. They just go together a lot. Even with your arousal at the opposite gender, you might be asexual. I’m just very used to hearing regular arousal at a certain gender as an allosexual experience instead of an asexual one.

        Also relevant that I’m ’strictly’ asexual, I have zero sexual desire, never have urges to have sex with another human, if you think of the asexuality spectrum as a line segment with “asexual, zero sexual desire” at the left endpoint and “allosexual, sexual desire” at the right I sit on top of the left endpoint. I’m as far from allosexual as you can be. But I do experience arousal from a certain trigger that makes me want to masturbate. Not to have sex with anybody. But it’s not from anything sexual at all. It’s something more along the lines of seeing a specific cartoon of a YouTuber teach math, without any desire to see them naked or in any kind of state of undress. It’s not actually that, but you get the idea. Does involve a human, makes me aroused, but aside from that it’s not sexual whatsoever.

        I can’t tell you what you are, and to be honest I’m not sure where the desire to get handsy would put you, but to me you don’t sound fully hetero, you sound somewhere on the asexuality spectrum.

          • Sexual attraction: an urge to have sex with a specific person.

            I’d like to clarify something here. I’m pretty sure the intent here is “an urge to have sex with a specific person that isn’t just as a means to an end.” If I’m a gold digger who finds my target repulsive and I don’t think sex with them would be enjoyable, but I know having sex with them will make them more likely to love me and give me money? I do have an urge, a desire to have sex with them—but not an impulse felt instinctually from desire for this person and for sex with this person. It’s a desire that comes from the fact that sex is means to an end to my real desire of money. So although I do have an urge to have sex with my specific target, it’s not the kind of urge the definition means, and so I wouldn’t be considered sexually attracted to my target. Now with that set aside…

            I imagine that arousal at the sight of someone need not always pair with a desire to have sex. Penis-havers sometimes experience random erections apropos of nothing, so we already have arousal being separate from attraction. Enough physical stimulation can make your parts respond with arousal even if you personally feel pretty neutral or even negative about having sex.

            I’m thinking this situation could happen: you can be a person who doesn’t really get the urge for sex yourself, but you do have a partner you care about who likes it. So you have sex with this person regularly. Your parts respond from the physical stimulation involved in sex. Eventually, your brain pairs this person with sex and arousal, and pre-arouses your parts around them. I don’t mean to be reductive at all when I say this: I am thinking of classical conditioning, that same process by which you get a dog to salivate at the ding of a bell. Ding it right before you give them food, and eventually they associate the food with the bell sound and salivate at the bell sound too. But you still don’t have the urge for sex except maybe to please your partner. You might want to satisfy the arousal, yes, but it’s not quite the same thing.

            Have you ever been hungry but you also don’t really feel a craving for food, so you just pick at random? You might even find it an annoying chore to make yourself eat to satisfy the hunger. You don’t want to eat pizza except perhaps as a means to an end to satisfy the hunger. This would be like that. No desire inherent, just getting rid of a biological feeling. It’s true your partner triggered the arousal, triggered the “I’m hungry,” but you still don’t exactly crave them specifically to satisfy the desire just because they are the one who triggered the feeling in the first place.

            (In reality it’s a little more complicated—you might prefer your partner to satisfy this desire because you do value the bonding that may come with sex and you want to bond with your partner. Or because they know how to give you the best physical pleasure. But it’s still not anything that sexual, it’s all about its secondary effects. Sex is still a means to an end. Your urge is not for sex with your partner, despite the arousal that occurs at the sight of your partner—the dog’s urge is not for the bell to ding, despite the salivation at the bell sound.)

            I’m guessing here, to be honest. I’m a virgin by choice, and no human outside of that completely nonsexual cartoon arousal trigger has made me want to do anything sexual. And the only sexual thing that arousal trigger made me want to do is to masturbate. Not to see it do something sexual, to have sex with it or a real version of it, or to have sex with another person. I don’t really have any relevant experience to pull from, just stories from my fellow asexuals and an asexuality handbook. Also a huge disclaimer on if it’s even possible to condition arousal in a person—I don’t know if that marmoset study where they got conditioned to have erections at the smell of a lemon is extensible to humans, and I think there was a methodology error in it (I mentioned it in an above reply). I also haven’t checked for any reproductions of that study to verify its findings.

            Arousal at the sight of a person very frequently goes together with attraction, but I don’t think it has to.

            • i understand what you mean, it makes sense to me that something like that wouldn’t necessarily be considered allosexuality if the individual doesn’t actually want to have sex with the person. i think i just don’t see the purpose of differentiation at a point- for example a sex favourable person who both gets aroused by their partner and actively seeks out and enjoys sex on a regular basis could feasibly be labelled as asexual within this community, and i feel like that would be a very misleading term to use to describe them. (not saying that’s the commenter you were talking to, just an example.)

              (this isn’t meant to be taking anything out on you or the other commenter by any means, i’m just venting a bit.) i think i might just be personally frustrated by having so many people fall under the “asexuality umbrella” who live relatively normal lives in regards to sex and relationships, while i’m a rather sex repulsed ace. i feel like with the label being so broad and inclusive it’s like i need to find something else to call myself- i’d be really uncomfortable if someone heard me say “asexual” to describe myself and think i’d be interested in sex at all, but that’s really what the label has been coming to and idk how to feel about it.

              • I’m cool with sex-favorable aces who live an allosexual-looking lifestyle still using the word. I don’t want to tell them that they can’t be asexual because they consented to sex. Differentiation exists in practice as well as in theory because these sex-favorable people who engage in sex still might wonder why their experience is a little different, why sex isn’t as important to them as it is for so many others, why they don’t seem to feel that innate pull to have sex with others even though it does feel good like everyone said it would. Why are they different? Because their whole orientation is different, not because you’re broken. And all else being equal, asexuals who don’t want sex would probably do better in a relationship with an asexual, including sex-enjoying asexuals, than with an allosexual. The fundamental drive that tends to be responsible for making sex important to allosexuals, for making “I don’t want to have sex” a dealbreaker for many allosexuals, still isn’t present in a sex-enjoying asexual. Something in me just screams “no” at the thought of excluding these people from our community.

                However, I do get where you’re coming from. If it helps you any, a lot of people I’ve met will assume “no sex” when I say “I’m asexual,” although if this is a partner I do make sure to clarify that I’m an asexual who won’t engage in sex, not one who will. I think most accepting peoples’ conception of asexuality still involves them assuming “oh, they aren’t going to have sex” even if they’re aware that some asexuals will engage in it voluntarily. The technical possibility for misinterpretation while still understanding asexuality is there. The possibility for you to say “I’m asexual” and for a person who understands and accepts asexuality to still arrive at “they might have sex” when you absolutely will not just because some of us will can feel very frustrating. Especially when you’re used to using the word to say “no sex” but it turns out that it doesn’t always mean “no sex.” But in the end there’s always the (honestly annoying if “asexual” used to be sufficient to explain yourself) adding on “Some of us will voluntarily have sex, I’m not one of them, I’m sex-repulsed” to clarify your identity before anyone gets the wrong idea.

                I really do get where you’re coming from. I have a very similar situation.

                Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction towards anyone [1–3], which current estimates say applies approximately 1–4% of the population [4–10]. Asexuality is also an umbrella term for people that fall between asexuality and other orientations.


                I get “asexuality” is not the same word as “asexual” so I’m possibly wrong here, but I’m thinking this means that “asexual” is used both for people like us who experience no sexual attraction, and for people on the asexuality spectrum who do rarely experience it. So when I say “I’m asexual” people could get the idea that I still experience sexual attraction because I’m on the asexuality spectrum, which includes things like demisexuality and graysexuality, for whom sexual attraction is a “rarely” and not a “never.” It’s infuriating. I always thought “asexual” was strictly for people like us, and you needed to use “asexuality spectrum” to include demisexuality and graysexuality. It turns out I was wrong. The word I thought I was using correctly for “no sexual attraction” can actually mean identities that do include it. (I don’t mind being mistaken for “will have sex,” but I do mind “experiences sexual attraction” very much. These identities are valid and I accept them but they’re also not me.) I think this is pretty similar to your own frustration. I know that most people still use “I’m asexual” to say they experience no attraction, and not to say they’re on the asexuality spectrum, so in practice I’m still okay to say “I’m asexual” and I can always just clarify “I mean that I do not experience sexual attraction” in order to get rid of misconceptions about me being demi or gray. Still frustrating. So I absolutely get where you are coming from.

                • i really appreciate this response! i wasn’t expecting you to be understanding, since expressing sentiments like this get people even banned on certain subr*ddits, so it’s refreshing. especially because most people tend to be very one way or the other- either us “real” asexuals experience no sexual attraction whatsoever and everyone else is allo, or absolutely anybody who experiences slightly abnormal attraction is asexual. the nuance of “yes i acknowledge graysexuals and such are real and also need support groups, but saying they are specifically asexual feels like it’s muddying the meaning of the label” is very much where i lie and i like getting to have others who agree :)

                  i do agree that sex favourable aces get fair use for the term and need support for their unique struggles as well. being sexually attractive to your partner is an understandable necessity in relationships for some, and not being able to provide that for your partner or make them feel desired in that way sounds difficult. though i admit i do find it kind of annoying when people get mad at others online for assuming asexual means no sex, though i understand where they’re coming from.

                  i think the biggest issue that comes with the broadness of the label is that those like me- sex repulsed aces- oftentimes feel unsafe or uncomfortable in asexual spaces, which is a true shame. on top of that, it is exceedingly difficult (speaking from experience) to find exclusively sex repulsed spaces, even when actively searching for them. i don’t struggle so much anymore with being sex repulsed, but in the past it’s been very difficult to deal with, and i haven’t been able to find nearly as much support as you’d think in popular ace communities.

                  i agree with a lot of what you’ve said :) thank you for sharing

        • Thanks for the detailed response, it’s definitely given me some things to think about. I guess the best way to describe it is that when I see someone who presses the right physical attractiveness buttons for me, I still get some less-than-pure thoughts. It’s just that the specific act of having sex with that person isn’t ever on that list, even when it’s totally on the table.

          It’s mostly that I still have that drive to do other things to satisfy my libido that the asexual label never really clicked in the past. Maybe it still doesn’t fit. But definitely good to think about that stuff once in a while.

  • Love begins with a notion; lust, with an image. If you’re sexually attracted to someone, it’s fairly obvious - you like the way they look. Something about their hair, their face, their ass, legs, penis, breasts, vagina, etc. etc. Sexual attraction means you want to be with that body.

    Romantic attraction is all about the person in that body. The way they talk, the things they like and dislike, their interests, their goals, fears, little quirks that make them human. You could envision yourself spending a lifetime with this person outside the bedroom. Romantic attraction means you want to be with that person.

    There is, of course, room for bleed and considerable or even complete overlap between those two circles - and the circles move. People get old, life happens. People change their minds and move on from old passions to new interests, life happens. Sometimes you find yourself liking someone you couldn’t stand when you were younger. Sometimes, tragically, you grow apart from someone you loved, or they grow apart from you.

  • If someone is romantically attracted to another person, then they would desire to have a romantic relationship with them. This could include being a couple, going on dates, holding hands, kissing, or other forms of affection. It is up to the individual and their partner how to define their relationship.

    If someone is sexually attracted to another person, then they would desire to have a sexual relationship with them (But it does not mean that they are ready to consent to sex in any given situation).

  • I’m horrible at explaining, but if you are asexual for example, you can still fall in love with people, but not want to f*ck them. The other way around works too, say you’re aromantic, you can want to f*ck people, but not want to go into a relationship with them. For most people (afaik) romantic and sexual attraction are the same, for example, bisexual people are likely also biromantic. This is a very simplified explanation, hope it helps.

  •  Mummelpuffin   ( ) 
    5 months ago

    As someone who experiences both (…and even limerence unfortunately): It’s different for everyone. It’s tough for me as an autistic person to sort it out. How are you supposed to describe feelings with words when the difference between them is minor, nuanced, and still somehow huge?

    Personally sexual attraction is pretty straightforward. Someone’s physically attractive. Might not immediately be WOW I WANNA HAVE SEX WITH YOU but combine a physical presence and, uh, yeah. Sometimes thirsty brain’s gonna thirst.

    The trouble with romantic attraction is if I’m romantically attracted to someone, sexual attraction kinda just happens and I wonder if it was already there or not. First time I realized I was bi, it was after years of a crush on a close friend I didn’t even realize was a crush. It was recognizing the sexual attraction that made me realize what it was. What was it while I was filtering that out? I idealized them, I wanted to be more like them and pretty much saw them as a better person than me, being around them and helping them out was emotionally fulfilling. …Then it was still that but also I got the butterflies in my stomach and oh, shit, they’re super attractive actually. Oh, shit, existential crisis bus ride.

    Sexual attraction, I want to “sleep” with them. Romantic attraction, no seriously I want to sleep with them regardless of euphemism.

  • sexual: do you want to have sex with the person? romantic: do you want to have a deep connection with the person? Live with them? Share feelings with them? Listening to their feelings?