Types of Love According to John Allan Lee

The types of love according to John Allan Lee or the theory of colors of affect, part of the idea that as with colors, there are three types of primary elements (passion, company and respect) that when mixed together, give rise to to three others.


There are different types of love according to John Allan Lee. To differentiate part of the idea that, as with colors, there are three types of primary affects that, when mixed together, give rise to three others. This approach, which emerged in the 70s, reminds us of important aspects such as that all people to be happy need basic nutrients such as respect, company and passion.

Before detailing this theory, it is interesting to first stop at its author. Although his name is no longer well remembered, it should be noted that he was one of those figures who combined social activism with academic research like no other. He was a highly reputed sociologist at the University of Toronto who spent his whole life delving into psychological aspects of love and sexuality.

John Allan Lee was a trade unionist, social activist in Amnesty International, defender of the rights of the LGBT community and also, one of the people who fought the most for the right to die or assisted suicide. In fact, he himself chose that end for his own person when the time came. He left this world in peace after writing his memoirs and understanding that he had fulfilled his purpose: to defend the importance of love and respect among people.

“Love is red, blue and yellow.”

-John Allan Lee-

The types of love according to John Allan Lee

We know the different types of love according to John Allan Lee through a book and a study that the author himself published after several years of work and analysis at the University of Toronto, Canada. Thus, in his work The Colors of Love, he begins by pointing out that authentic, the most enriching love is blue, red and yellow.

These three basic or primary colors, when mixed can give rise to new and fascinating tones, to other types of love. However, in terms of affection, nothing is as important as that primary base consisting of the following dimensions:

  • Company (blue color).
  • Respect (yellow color).
  • Passion (red color).

Let’s see below those secondary archetypes that shape the types of love according to John Allan Lee.


Eros clearly defines romantic love. In this case, we have that idealized bond and in turn promoted by our culture, in which passion and emotional devotion often lead to unhealthy ties. The attraction is intense and immediate, attention is focused on the physical aspect, absolute devotion and possession.

Erotic love

The erotikon, a context that has its roots in the Greek era, gives shape to that love oriented exclusively to desire and the sexual act. Within the theory of types of love according to John Allan Lee, attention is drawn to this typology for a very simple reason. Through these sexual encounters lacking another emotional component, a stable and even satisfactory relationship is not always consolidated.

Thus, and although at first, those sexual games, those encounters based on an unexpected physical attraction are rewarding for both, in the long run they can bring disappointments or simply fulfill their punctual commitment, giving way to the search for new sexual partners.

Ludus, the playful love

People with a playful style in their emotional relationships see love as a game. Its purpose is to conquer, obtain benefits (emotional, sexual, divertimento …). Therefore, and to obtain their objective, they do not hesitate to seduce, deceive and manipulate. They do not compromise and build emotionally distant relationships.

“Playful” individuals, according to the theory of types of love according to John Allan Lee, are focused only on short-term benefits.

Pragmatic love

In this type of love, we have people who are governed by the sense of logic. They are like Spock’s character in Star Trek, where emotions move into a second place to focus only on the usefulness of affective relationships. In this way, the most pragmatic often ask if their possible partner would be accepted by family and friends. They also question whether with that person, they will obtain financial stability or not, or whether it will be someone who will break their calm and personal balance.

Maniac or obsessive love

The obsessive love style is present in those people who are dependent and focused only on satisfying their needs. They have great emotional changes, instants are cold and later passionate. They are possessive, jealous, controlling and can get to abuse.


In this last dimension of the types of love according to John Allan Lee, we have that link that can bring us happiness. They are people who know how to give and receive. They are profiles that focus on the needs of your partner, who offer their affection unconditionally, who are committed, who care and take care of themselves, who work in a relationship based on satisfaction and harmony.


In conclusion. It should be noted that these 6 subtypes usually appear combined and interspersed in our affective relationships. Whether we want it or not, there is always a component of eros, erotikon and a good substrate of that agape in which to work daily. It would be just to be aware of what typology is most present in us or in our partner to maintain that archetype or, on the contrary, to work it in case we are bordering on mania or excessive pragmatism.