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What Is the Difference Between Emotional Love and Physical Love?

If you’ve seen Tom Hanks’ movie Castaway, you will recognize that truly, ‘no man is an island’. Human beings are not programmed to live without feeling and experiencing love. We have an innate desire to form an attachment with another being, whether it’s another person or an animal. It is through this giving and reciprocating of love that we form attachments.

Essentially, there are two types of love, physical love, and emotional love. At some point in time, we will all experience either form of love or both. The question is what is the difference between emotional love vs. physical love? Let’s explore this in further detail.

Physical Love

This starts as attraction towards another person. This attraction leads to arousal on a biological level. Sex is a primitive human need. When you form an attachment-based only on physical love, you are engaged in a physical or sexual relationship with them. On a biological level, it is a desire to mate with the other person. On a social or cultural level, it can be a straightforward desire to engage in coitus interruptus or sex. However, not all relationships based on physical love involve sex. Physical love can mean acts such as hugging, holding hands, kissing, etc. Over time, physical love will develop into emotional love for many people. For individuals who aren’t looking for emotional attachment, they may continue to seek physical love with other people.

Emotional Love

Emotional Love

To build a relationship based on emotional love is experience trust, respect, care and value with another person. Couples who share emotional love and attachment depend on one another to share important moments in their lives. They will turn to one another to discuss issues or to seek comfort through difficult times. Couples who share a strong emotional attachment with one another may also engage in physical love. Usually, when there is a sound emotional love shared between the couple, physical love is also much improved. Although it can be argued that if you share an emotional relationship with someone, you’re opening yourself up too much heartache, misery and upset compared to sharing just a physical love relationship. Nevertheless, the rewards of an emotional love relationship outweigh the consequences for most people.

Emotional Love vs. Physical Love

So which type of love is better? The answer is a personal one. However, the chances for a long term and meaningful relationship are much higher if the couple also shares an emotional love relationship.

Physical Love
Is Love a Feeling or an Emotion?

When you look at this question scientifically, you will note that a person who is feeling love will exhibit actions like smiling or blushing and showing emotions through physical expressions on his or her face that convey happiness, sadness, upset, etc. So scientifically speaking, the experience of love causes certain physiological, biological and neurological changes which lead us to express this feeling as an emotion.

A socio-cultural explanation of whether love is a feeling or an emotion would be that when you’re attracted and attached to someone, you experience amorous feelings for them. This leads to the exchange of tokens, gifts, words, and actions which convey your feelings.

Emotional Love vs. Attachment

Attachment is a bond or connection with another person. A person who feels and shares emotional love for another will experience this in the form of attachment with the other individual. The real question is whether we feel attachment as a result of emotional love? Logically, the answer is yes! The more trust, respect, understanding, and value you experience with your partner, the more love and attachment you will feel towards him or her.


Search for anyone in the United States! 100% Confidential! Updated on September 16, 2019
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