Love and Attraction: What Distinguishes the Two in the Age of Tech? - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1897 Words
Date:  2023-01-03


Love and attraction can be hard to distinguish. What comes before the other? What distinguishes the two? What do actions tell whether a person is attracted or in love? These are common questions among the youth. At this stage of life, the need to be associated with someone or a group can be overwhelming, which can lead an individual to make wrong decisions. Few organizations teach on love and attraction, infatuation and love. Love is a common cause of depression among youth. In an age of technology, social media shapes how the youth perceive relationships. To clear the confusion and create awareness on the different types of love, expert knowledge should be made available for the youth. This paper thus goes into details to define, differentiate, and expound use practical examples to show the difference between love and attraction. Love and attraction can be confusing, especially among the youth, thus needs to be addressed using knowledge by experts.

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The attraction is a liking developed towards someone or something. The attraction is of different types since it could be to things or people. The most thought of and known as a sexual attraction. The sexual attraction is the desire to have sexual interaction with an individual. The feeling could be towards the same gender or homosexuals and towards a different gender for heterosexuals. For asexual, they do not experience sexual attraction. However the sexual attraction does not determine sexual habit, preferences or drive (Hammond, Cheney & Pearsey, 2015). Similar but different to sexual attraction is the romantic attraction. It develops from desire interaction to having a romantic interaction.

A romantic interaction incorporates sexual and non-sexual activity that aims at understanding the other person more deeply. The difference between sexual and romantic attraction is the willingness to remain attached for long. While sexual attraction may end after a sexual interaction, romantic attraction last even longer. Aromatics are however not attracted to any sex (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2018).

Eliminating sexual desire, there is a sensual attraction. People who are sensually attracted desire to touch or get touched or hugged in non-sexual ways by friends and family. It is the most common in platonic. The common bond among the three types of attraction is the emotional attraction. It is the openness to share how they feel, whether it is about their surrounding or each other. They are willing to let the other party learn from their opinions and preferences. Lasting relationships are majorly based on this type of attraction.

Commonly confused with sensual or physical attraction is the aesthetic attraction. While physical attraction involves a desire to touch somebody, aesthetic attractions no desire to touch (Lucas & Fox, 2018), for instance, a piece of art displayed in a museum would appeal to the eye, for an art fanatic, but they do not desire to touch it. The same case for an astronomer is watching the stars. While they cannot touch them, they appreciate their beauty.

Of importance among three types of attraction is physical attraction. It is the unconscious noticing of physical attributes in a person. Several scientific reasons determine the psychology of physical attraction. The basis of sexual and romantic attraction is physical appearance. An individual first notice and likes a certain physical attribute in another before they become drawn to them. Although attractiveness is relative, it is important in romantic relationships. However, men seek physical attractiveness more than women do. Psychology says that people attach more importance to physical appearance, and tend to find them more kind, intelligent or having a sense of humor even if it might not be so.

The fact that they find them attractive physically covers other attributes largely. Physical attraction is more important to men because they are visual beings. Men unconsciously check female curves, length of the hair, complexion, arms, legs, etc. Women on the other side notice beards, muscle, height, Lack of physical attraction can also lead to lack of attraction in romantic relationships. Physical attraction is what brings about the need for holding hands, kissing or hugging. Lack of this attraction could lead to partners seeking affection elsewhere or staying in the relationship just because they fear to be lonely.

Intimacy and Self-Disclosure

Intimacy is the feeling of attachment or closeness to someone. It could be sexual or not sexual. Self-disclosure comes with intimacy since intimacy breeds trust. When trust is earned, it becomes easy to open up and share fears, experiences, and ambitions. Self-disclosure is a powerful tool that strengthens the bond between people.

Sharing personal experiences build more intimacy than speaking of general issues such as the environment, science, or politics. For both men and women, intimacy raises the desire to be close to a person (Greenberg, Schmader, Arndt, & Landau, 2015). For those in romantic relationships, intimacy strengthens the bond. It also increases honesty in platonic relationships. For instance, a mother who is listening to her daughter and tells her personal experiences of how she overcame at her age will be closer to her daughter compared to one who does not.

Intimacy initiates self-disclosure, but it should be exercised with caution. While it draws the partners together and creates an emotional bond, it could be a push away. Being too open, especially in the early stages of the relationship creates the impression of being clingy (Rokach & Lignieres, 2015). Openness must be gradual. The topics chosen must also be general at first, narrowing in as time goes by. Personal experiences are likely to raise emotions such as crying, so must be avoided in the early stages.


Scholars, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians have tried to explain love: why some people are thought to be more attractive than others are. Theory of three components has been designed to explain love and its development. Proposed by Sternberg, love is composed of intimacy, passion, and commitment.

According to Anderson (2016)1524001917065, the intimacy component is the earliest, where the partners are still excited about meeting the new person. Feelings of warmth, connection, chemistry, and connection are very fresh in the new bond. At this stage, the attraction is highest and shortcomings are often overlooked.

The passion component is an advancement of the intimacy component. The new partners are sexually consumed due to physical attraction. The third component is a cognitive component, which involves a decision to remain committed to the same person. After the attraction is not as strong and the passion is faded, it is a function of the brain to decide if they still want this person or not. Passion is unpredictable, and some relationships could end in this stage. This is because it is difficult to control the amount of passion the individual has for the partner. It is likely to be confused with intimacy or commitment, but they are largely experienced unconsciously (Anthony, 2017).

The three components of love may make love look dull, unexciting or easy. However, that is not the case. How people experience, love is determined by the person they meet. It could end in the physical attraction stage, intimacy, passion or commitment stage. While there are many stories of love gone wrong,s especially among the youth, there are still many beautiful love stories. There also other combinations between the three main components. Love that involves intimacy and passion without commitment is romantic love. It is the most common in our society among the youth and is the main cause of depression and loss of faith in love. While one party in this type of relationships does not seek commitment while the other was committed, it creates a disparity. The opposite of this type of love is compassionate love which involves intimacy and commitment but has no passion. It is among close friends and long-term marriages. It is also called platonic love, named after the Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato insists that non-sexual friendship is necessary for romantic and marriages since people should be a friend first before becoming a couple (Bajaj & Saluja, 2018). Couples that are friends have more to talk about besides romance and can engage in the same activities freely. At the beginning of most relationships, infatuated love where is no intimacy or commitment, but passion only. Arranged marriages are characterized by empty love. There is no intimacy or passion, but a commitment is imposed.

A recent happening of love that proved to be an attraction is the case of Arianna Grande and Pete Davidson in 2018. After quitting their long-term relationships, they started dating barely two weeks later. This was the physical attraction stage. After performing at the Billboard Music Awards, Arianna and Pete were already getting cozy. A week later, they already had matching tattoos. They fought online trolls together and supported each other, but the relationship ended after six months.

The relationship might not have gone through the three components of love, or went through and failed to pass the threshold. Arianna's case is just a representation of how an experience can shape a person's perspective of love. While the common phrase says" fall in love" there is a new development of "growing in love." Growing in love entails learning the other person, knowing their flaws, and still accepting them. Psychologists insist on growing in love since growth has a basis, so the relationship has a strong foundation. Once this is achieved, intimacy, passion and commitment pass, and the relationship stand (Braxton, 2010).

Many young people can identify with such situations. Society no longer emphasizes the need to know a person before getting intimate. Youngsters meet others at parties, where their judgment could be impaired due to alcohol, like their physical attributes, and move to the next stage of passion. After the sexual encounter, they are not ready to commit themselves to that person. After a few dates, they have sex, and the spark is gone. Once the passion stage is achieved, they are unwilling to commit themselves (Hughes & Miller, 2016).

It is especially the case for men since they think of sex first. Men are visual beings who get turned on by what they see. I could be the facial structures or body that makes them like a specific woman, so sex for them is a source of satisfaction. While for women it is a sign of commitment, for men sex means love. That explains why more women than men are hurt in romantic relationships.

These cases can be analyzed using the physical attractiveness stereotype model. The stereotype is that people with attractive physical features have an attractive personality. This is the thought that drives many youths. Once they see an attractive face, they do not consider their character, ambitions, status, among others (Araujo, Meira, & Almeida, 2016). Such judgments are erroneous in most cases and are not based on firm foundations. This explains why after the intimacy and passion phase either of the parties is unwillingly to commit themselves. They realize that they do not prefer to spend their life with such people, or they are no longer attracted to them. While love lasts, attraction does not. After the passion stage, commitment keeps the two together. Commitment is a state of mind, where loves stems from sharing more than good times.

To help the youth deal with such challenges, BetterHelp is a platform that creates awareness of love and attraction. Right from the basics, the platform has an explanation of the different types of attraction and love and differentiates the two. It also connects peo...

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Love and Attraction: What Distinguishes the Two in the Age of Tech? - Research Paper. (2023, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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