A friend of mine wrote the following:
Okay so I had a nice (alcohol based) discussion with one of my best friends tonight. In that discussion I touched upon something they'd never considered before. So I thought I'd briefly outline it to the world and maybe it could spark some kind of discussion. This is only my feeling and I've no scientific backing for this.
To me, there are four types of attraction. They are platonic, romantic, aesthetic, and sexual.
There are many people that I find aesthetically attractive. These people are beautiful, I enjoy being in their presence just because they are so gosh darn pretty. They are extremely numerous.
There are people who I find platonically attractive. There are many of them too, I want to get to know them, I want them to know me. The people I keep company with all have some high level of platonic attractiveness to me.
There are people that I find romantically attractive. These are the people I want to feel that special closeness from. That I want to be close too. There are a few of them but not so many.
Sexual attraction is a fleeting idea for me, rarely felt but not non existent. Rare enough at least for me to not consider it highly when thinking about my relationships to other people.
To me, everyone has some level of these four attractions. But just because I find someone aesthetically attractive, and romantically attractive, does not mean I'll ever find them sexually attractive. I understand that it's easy to conflate those two things and come to the conclusion that it is in fact the third. But that's generally not the case.
Similarly, while I value platonic and romantic attraction highly, the value I place on relationships is not really weighted in favour of either. Romantic attraction for me is rarer so might seem more special, but I value my friends higher than anything. Which is why my girlfriend (for example) is such a fantastic friend first, romance is a secondary factor.
Sexual attraction seems to stand alone almost, when I put it like that. But that's not really the case. I don't think it's possible for me to be sexually attracted to anyone that I don't have a platonic or romantic attraction to. Aesthetic attraction seems to play a very minor role in this comparatively, but it's in there too.
These are just my thoughts about myself and about how I view the world. It's in my nature to analyse these things but I love to hear other people's opinions. So, does my theory hold any weight to you?
As I started pondering this, I arrived at the conclusion that I can relate to all four. Now, as I’m a far more sexual creature than what my dear friend have described. Sex is still sex, but that’s not the peak in anyone’s romantic relationship – despite what Mass Effect would have you believe.
Let me start in a random order, because keeping things strict and regulated becomes boring at times.
I currently have two people in my life that I’m romantically attracted to. Both of them are extraordinary persons, strong, courageous and inspiring. And I dare say that I love them both, in somewhat different ways. If you have no idea how that’s even possible, see my previous post about being poly. Or just click on THIS link.
Now, aesthetically attraction… oh, dear. Mostly I just admire good-looking folks from afar and I’m too shy to go up and spark a conversation. Or it’s the lack of confidence. Either way, beauty is the subject of your own personal view, but there are of course the simple “wow, that person is gorgeous” and everybody can see it. The being with the cards mentioned in the Second Exalted March fits this description perfectly.
Sexual attraction is different. To me, it is simply “do I fancy having sex with this person”, and then either ticking off the yes/no box in my mind. Do keep in mind that sexual attention and attraction can grow over time, just as friendship – for example, someone says something that automatically makes to widen your eyes in eager delight and suddenly finding yourself wanting to discuss certain topics in a more intimate setting. Most of my relations can actually fit in this category.
Platonic attraction. Is this friendship? I think it is. That can actually make this the most powerful of all attractions. Platonic love is still love, and what is friendship, if not an expression of that love? This is where you place family and other dearest and nearest ones.
Of course, I may be entirely wrong in interpreting this.
((Also, I'm sharing this on Facebook, because credits are due where credits are due.))