In the act of sex we share space, our bodies, desires, expressions of pleasure and lust. Our capacity for lust – when desire burns in us and we are focused solely on the object of our desire – is molded by our experiences growing up, as is our capacity to love. Even though many people have the ability to feel both love and lust at the same time, you can usually lust after someone without necessarily feeling love for them, and vice versa.
Someone recently asked me the definition of love. My first thought was, “You’re kidding, right?” I thought that maybe I should try to find out just what they were looking for in my answer or else we would be there all day! My mind started reeling with all the many different examples of variations of love. The love for a parent or child is so different from love and appreciation of a mentor or friend. And love for a partner can be anything from loving admiration to needy dependency. So many people have their own ideas about what love is for them, which may suit them for wherever they are in life.
Sex, on the other hand, is a totally different entity. It does not need to exist under the umbrella of love to be satisfying, exciting, hot, or tender. Sex can be completely separate from love as an action taken simply for reproduction. It can also be a distraction or a form of entertainment. For many people, however, this leaves an empty feeling – a feeling of being exposed without a deeper appreciation. These are the people who enter into sex hoping to get love out of it, rather than love coming of its own accord.
In fact, love and sex together can create difficulties in a relationship because the combination of the two often leads to challenging our comfort zone. When love creates a desire in us to hesitate for fear of upsetting our partner, sex suffers. Here’s where the comfort zone part comes into play. Sex works better with a little selfishness. When people ignore the importance of a little selfishness in sex, they place their wishes on the back burner and delay their gratification. And some people even have difficulty having a full expression of their sexuality with the person they love the most for fear that the other person will not approve.
The greatest love is that which wants only for the other person’s happiness and complete connection with all around you, loving that person for who they are underneath all the illusion of the body and even their personality. This may be completely separate from sex. So don’t confuse sex with love. They are two very different entities. It is glorious, however, when you find someone that you love but also feel comfortable expressing your sexuality in an authentic way. Being able to do this while still being aware and attentive to your partner’s wants and needs is the goal for sex, and strangely for love, too.