Romantic Relationships

John Lee’s six types of love


“Love is a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker” Anonymous

John Alan Lee is a 20th century Canadian psychologist who proposed the idea that there are six types of interpersonal love (three primaries and three secondaries). In his 1973 book entitled, The Colors of Love, Lee explains the six love types and assigns a color to each.

Just as there exists three primary colors in the rainbow, Lee suggested that there were three primary types of love and by combining them in different ways the six styles emerge. Here then are the six types of love as described by John Lee.

  1. Eros. From the Greek word for “erotic or passionate”; a passionate physical and emotional love based on aesthetic enjoyment; stereotype of romantic love.
  2. Ludus. From the Latin word meaning “sport or play, a love that is played as a game or sport; conquest.
  3. Storge. From the Greek word meaning “friendship”‘; an affectionate love that slowly develops from friendship, based on similarity.
  4. Pragma. From the Greek word meaning “practical”; love that is driven by the head, not the heart; practical and non-emotional.
  5. Mania. From the Greek word meaning “frenzy”; highly volatile love; obsession; fueled by low self-esteem.
  6. Agape. From the Greek word meaning “divine or spiritual”; selfless altruistic love; spiritual; true love.

The Three Primary Types of Love

Eros. (RED) Eros love refers to a type of sensual or sexual love. Eros lovers are passionate and romantic and seek out other passionate lovers. They thrive on the tantalizing nature of love and sex. They have an ideal mate in their mind’s eye and believe there is only one true love in the world for them. Sexual activity usually occurs early on in the relationship and the sex is passionate and exciting. Once sexual activity takes place, the Eros lover is usually monogamous.

Ludus. (BLUE) This love is playful, flirtatious and carefree. Ludus lovers do not care much about commitment as having fun and being spontaneous. Variety is the spice of life and for them the more partners the better. Ludus lovers do not share intimacy; love for a Ludus person is fun, easy, and nonchalant.

Storge. (YELLOW) This can best be described as “friendship love” or a type of affection that grows over time. Passion and sex are less important than friendship and intimacy. This type of love begins as friendship and evolves to romance and sex.

The Three Secondary Types of Love

Mania (VIOLET) “Eros + Ludus” Jealousy, envy, and control are the hallmark traits of manic lovers. Manic love is frenzied, agitated, hectic, and chaotic. The highs are very high and the lows are very low making the relationship like a roller coaster ride of emotions. When a manic relationship ends, the manic lover is unable to think about anything but their lost love.

Pragma (GREEN) “Ludus + Storge” Practicality and logic guide this type of love. With pragma love, the costs and benefits are carefully weighed before entering into a relationship. It is non-emotional and based on certain criteria like education level, religious beliefs, and social status.

Agape. (ORANGE) “Eros + Storge” Agape love is selfless, enduring, and unconditional. It is a love that provides intrinsic satisfaction. Inherent in agape love is patience, kindness, and permanence. Agape is considered the purest and truest form of love.

Source material:,, Wikipedi

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