Incredible maps reveal where in the body different types of LOVE are felt – from butterflies in the stomach to tingles in the groin

  • Experts at Finland’s Aalto University have mapped out 27 different types of love
  • Passionate love was perceived as most powerful while love for God was weaker

Love can be experienced in countless wonderful and wacky ways – whether it’s butterflies in the stomach or tingles in the groin. 

Now, scientists at the Aalto University have mapped out 27 different types of the feeling and the exact body parts they affect.

The incredible diagrams were produced as the Finland-based team asked hundreds of participants to describe the ‘sensation’ of love and what it means to them.

Passionate love was perceived as the most powerful of all, with an impact on the entire upper body, brain and groin area..

Meanwhile, a love for strangers – and controversially, God – were among the weakest forms, with a less explosive effect on the mind and body.

Scientists at Finland's Aalto University have mapped out 27 different types of love

Scientists at Finland’s Aalto University have mapped out 27 different types of love

‘It was noteworthy, though not very surprising, that the types of love associated with close relationships are similar and are the most strongly experienced,’ said philosopher Pärttyli Rinne, who coordinated the study.

‘Love between persons is divided into sexual and non-sexual. The types of love that are particularly close to each other are those that have a sexual or romantic dimension.

‘It was also interesting to find a strong correlation between the physical and mental intensity of the emotion and its pleasantness. 

‘The more strongly a type of love is felt in the body, the more strongly it’s felt in the mind and the more pleasant it is.’

To build their map, researchers collected data from hundreds participants that took part in an online survey.

Each person was asked to colour-in a body silhouette to illustrate how they felt about each type of love.

They were also asked to describe any physical or mental sensations that take place when experiencing each type.

Results showed that while most types of love were felt strongly in the mind, their effects notably differed throughout the body.

For instance, a mother’s love for her child had a powerful effect on the chest, while a love for wisdom was felt entirely in the mind.

As a result, researchers believe that different types of love fall on a continuum from weaker to stronger forms. 

Passionate love was perceived as the most powerful of all, with an impact on the entire upper body, brain and groin area when it shows its head

Love between humans was categorised as both sexual and non-sexual within the study

Passionate love was perceived as the most powerful of all, with an impact on the entire upper body, brain and groin area when it shows its head

Parental love was perceived to have  a powerful impact on the chest

A mother's love for her child had a powerful effect on the chest, while a love for wisdom was felt entirely in the mind

A mother’s love for her child had a powerful effect on the chest, while a love for wisdom was felt entirely in the mind

Mr Rinne continued: ‘When we move from more strongly experienced types of love to less strongly experienced types, the sensations in the chest area become weaker

‘It may be that, for example, love for strangers or wisdom is associated with a cognitive process. It may also be that there are pleasant sensations in the head area. This is something that should be investigated further.’

It’s important to note that most participants in this study were women in higher education.

Scientists therefore acknowledge that results may have differed if their study group was more culturally diverse.

‘If the same study were done in a highly religious community, love for God might be the most strongly experienced love of all,’ Mr Rinne added.

‘Similarly, if the subjects were parents in a relationship, as in our ongoing brain study project, love for children could be the strongest type of love.’