Love or physical attraction: how to tell the difference?

We sometimes find ourselves in situations where it can be difficult to distinguish between two or more types of feelings. The confusion between love and physical attraction is a perfect example. So how do we get there?

Meaning of love and physical attraction 

Physical attraction is the feeling of being attracted to someone from an aesthetic point of view. It is essentially based on the physical and rarely goes beyond. This type of feeling is more commonly reduced to sexual attraction. It can be felt towards anyone. Nevertheless, it is strongly influenced by sexual orientation and personal standards.

Love is described as a strong feeling of attraction to someone. This attraction can be sentimental or sexual. It can also be a feeling of attachment or affection, and is sometimes felt towards everyone. Moreover, it has several names depending on the way it is expressed. 

Thus, the feeling of attachment, of affection for family members or friends is called platonic love. On the other hand, the disinterested attachment to a value or an ideal is translated as admiration, devotion, worship or fanaticism. As for the act that two people who are sexually attracted to each other perform, it is called the sexual act.

Recognizing love or physical attraction  

Although love and physical attraction between two people can be confused, there are certain criteria that allow us to differentiate between them. Physical attraction is more like an impulse. 

It can be born in the instant of a glance or a minimum of interaction. On the whole, this feeling most often leads to the desire to touch, observe and spend time with the other person. Attraction can also disappear overnight.

However, when it comes to falling in love, there is a time factor that comes into play. It happens over time and is the result of getting to know the other person. This feeling goes beyond the physical dimension. However, falling in love can be done gradually, first by physical attraction if it lasts long enough.