When I was baby neuroqueer, I would often ask people what it meant to ‘like’ someone. Why did they like certain people over others? What is it to ‘like’ and then what does it mean to ‘like-like’ someone? Somehow all that talk seemed intuitive to most people, but to me, it made absolutely no sense.
Even today, if people ask me if I like someone, I’ll say sure! But like them enough for what? Am I recruiting them for my team? Or am I asking them to come over for a potluck dinner party with friends? Or do I want to listen to them talk about their day, maybe? Or perhaps, I want them to kiss me – I’m not making the first move here! Way too shy, way too jaded.
So, I turned to an artform, a science, a philosophy to help me understand the language of people who won’t explain themselves to me. Obviously, I turned to astrology. Jokes apart, alongside my aro-ace peers, astrology introduced me to a new language to name different parts of the self. Here are some of the aspects that I refer to while explaining the different sorts of attraction:
This helped me realize that there were different aspects of the self that came into play when we interact with others. Knowing this, it almost seems impossible that one single person activates every feeling of attraction in you.
Attraction is often conflated with romantic or sexual attraction, but there is are so many other kinds that draw us towards different human beings, forging bonds of deep, intimate connections that help us grow as well as nurture one another. It’s helpful to know and have the language to articulate these expectations, so we can have more meaningful relationships with one another.
Many of my aro-ace peers also helped me recognize and acknowledge that some of us and our emotions don’t fit into the cis-het-monogamous narrative peddled to us like it’s the norm.
So I made a set of flashcards for myself, marrying the vocabulary from these two subjects. When I didn’t intellectually understand one, I intuited the other. Sometimes I felt the other, and I had to find the language to tell my best friend about it, because the girl simply does not follow star-speak even though I have been explaining it to her for over 5 years now!
Here’s a cheatsheet for my fellow starstruck queer peers:
Aesthetic attraction: You know when someone walks past you, and they smell great, their hair is magic, and the way they have put their outfit is just on point? And that’s not all, the way they move (all that grace, all that body!), the flick of their hands, and the way they cross their feet under the table that they are ready a book? Oof, so ‘gram worthy, you wish they were your muse!
You really just wanna walk up to them as say: “thank you. Thank you for gracing us with your presence today; with the vision that you are. You carry yourself like art in this dreary, concrete-meets-plastic world.”
That’s aesthetic attraction. Usually that happens when their Sun is drawing out your Venus in some way. Your Venus is all about what gets you charmed, and their Sun is all about their presence, their individual shine, if you will. Of course, this can play out in different ways – it can feel like a breath of fresh air or it may even feel titillating.
Emotional attraction or Alterous Attraction: Sometimes some people feel like human-hugs. They are just walking around with that energy that makes you feel safe. You don’t just ask them how they are, and they don’t just say ‘fine, thank you’. It’s about the pub quiz that they were so excited about all week, and you really want to know the details of what a close call the final round was. It’s about how you don’t just tell them that you like a song, but also how it makes you feel. You weren’t planning on it, but that’s just how the conversation flows with them.
That usually seems to happen when your emotional, watery, moody Moon is drawn out by their venus, or vice versa. The Moon person usually wants to share in these situations, and the Venus just wants them to feel better. If it’s good news, Venus will cheer for Moon just the right amount; and if it’s bad news, then Venus will know whether to play a movie or buy them ice cream or take them out dancing.
You know when someone tries to cheer you up, but it’s always in ways that annoy you? The Moon-Venus dynamic is still at play, but they are probably all wonky. Maybe their Venus is in Virgo and they offer to make you a colour-coded Excel sheet, but your Moon is in Libra and you want to read poetry while sitting in a warm bubble bath. See what I mean?
Intellectual attraction: There are those times when you read something and it finally explains a part of the world to you, but not everybody around you sees what a big revelation you just had! But you know you can geek out with that one particular person, and they’ll be just excited about this idea? You call them and you’re right. They ask you all the right questions, and together you sit and hypothesize all the situations where this newfound theory holds true. It’s almost like you’re Newton, and the apple just fell on your head. You don’t go running to that cousin who dismissively tells you that that happens all the time, right?
This usually happens with harmonious Mercury-Moon connections. Mercury is how your mind works, and Moon is all about that yin, receptive energy.
Sexual attraction: When they flip their hair, your heart skips a beat. You can’t stop thinking about running your fingers through it whilst in post-coital embrace. When you hug them, you take a moment to feel their undercut, the smell of their lotion makes you want to swoon, call in sick at work, and stay tangled up with them for the rest of the day. When they hand you a glass of wine, time definitely stops as they brush their fingers against yours.
Everything feels exaggerated on the physical realm. You wish you could both just melt into a metallic puddle and swirl into a dance of colours. You also casually throw your head back, like a million nerve-endings behind your ears, along your neck, down your spine, and between your legs…tingle.
Yes, so that’s sexual attraction. Your Venus and Mars are embroiled in this heady moment. The Venus person invites Mars for a powerful release of their energies, and takes pleasure in it. The Mars, well, wants to show off their moves, obviously!
Your relationship with someone can have one or more of these starry dynamics.
Personally, I feel like this is why there are so many things to love about so many people. No single form of attraction objectively trumps another. Each is tempting to explore, seductive in its own, waiting to reveal parts of you to yourself and to the world. All of them bring an element of intimacy to the interaction.