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Karl Friedrich Lessing's The Robber and his Child (1832)

Storge (/ˈstɔːrɡi/,[1] from the Ancient Greek word στοργή storgē[2]) or familial love refers to natural or instinctual affection,[1][3] such as the love of a parent towards offspring and vice versa.

In social psychology, another term for love between good friends is philia.[3]


Storge is a wide-ranging force which can apply between family members, friends, pets and owners, companions or colleagues; it can also blend with and help underpin other types of tie such as passionate love or friendship.[4]

Thus storge may be used as a general term to describe the love between exceptional friends, and the desire for them to care compassionately for one another.[5]

Storge love[edit]

Sometimes the term is used to refer to the love between married partners who are committed and plan to have a long relationship together, particularly as a fundamental relational foundation after initial infatuation (limerence).

Another interpretation for storge is to be used to describe a sexual relationship between two people that gradually grew out of a friendship[3]—storgic lovers sometimes cannot pinpoint the moment that friendship turned to love.[6] Storgic lovers are friends first, and the friendship, and the storge can endure even beyond the breakup of the sexual relationship.[3] They want their significant others to also be their best friends, and will choose their mates based on similar goals and interests—homogamy.[7] Storgic lovers place much importance on commitment, and find that their motivation to avoid committing infidelity is to preserve the trust between the two partners. Children and marriage are seen as legitimate long-term aims for their bond,[8] while passionate sexual intensity is of lesser importance than in other love styles.[9]


Advantages of storgic love may be the level of how one loves their family and understands each other. In addition, two people who are deeply devoted to one another can feel the intimacy that they share.

The main disadvantages of storgic love may be the large time investment and the loss of that investment if the friendship ends.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Collins English Dictionary
  2. ^ Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Companion & Guide (1996) p. 369-70
  3. ^ a b c d Strong B, Yarber WL, Sayad BW, Devault C (2008). Human sexuality: diversity in contemporary America (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-07-312911-2.
  4. ^ Hooper, p. 370
  5. ^ B. Strong et al., The Marriage and Family Experience (2010) p. 150
  6. ^ Family Experience p. 149
  7. ^ C. Gottschalk, How to Heal After Heartbreak (2013) p. 252
  8. ^ J. S. Greenberg, Empowering Health Decisions (2013) p. 234
  9. ^ Gottschalk, p. 252

Further reading[edit]

  • Lee JA (1973). The colors of love: an exploration of the ways of loving.
  • Lee JA (1988). "Love styles" in Barnes MH, Sternberg RJ. The psychology of love.
  • Lewis CS (1960). The four loves.
  • Wood JT (2015). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters. 8 ed.