Making love or having sex: Let’s not get bogged down with the words. Many people use the term ‘making love’ as a euphemism for ‘having sex’, perhaps because they see the latter as a blatant or even crude expression. But that’s not what we are discussing here.
The issue at hand is to identify whether any specific sexual relationship between the persons involved is satisfying a basic sexual need of the body or also involves the exchange of tender loving care.
Is the person you are involved with interested in you as a person or focusing on satisfying his or her sexual urges through you? Sex is just actions while love includes tender emotions. Sex tends to be self-centered while love making tilts towards being ‘other’ oriented.
Understanding the distinction is important as any sexual act with a partner invariably has, at least, a few moments of intimacy, and perhaps a desire to get back in touch. And here a person seeking physical gratification from a sexual partner could be misunderstood as a person making an offer of love. Words don’t often reveal much in these situations. People tend to say just about anything in the heat of the moment. ‘I love you’ said in an intimate moment of kissing doesn’t necessarily mean so, the next morning! A closer look at the relationship is necessary to distinguish between off beam and genuine signals suggesting the expression of love.
So for the sake of this article, let’s talk about ‘making love’ as suggesting that the persons involved are in a loving, emotional relationship and ‘having sex’ as implying that the persons involved are in a sexual act with each other to satisfy their own individual sexual needs.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with (just) having sex, as long as one is not misleading oneself or manipulating the other. Sex is a basic need and must be catered to. Contacting another person’s skin and deriving pleasure from it is not wrong. Such an act could be just as enjoyable with or without loving emotions invested in it.
All the same, a relationship where partners invest their emotions and nonsexual time probably has more warmth and lasts longer and needs to be recognized and reciprocated for the equation to thrive.
Now how do you evaluate your own relationship? How do you know whether your partner is in love with you? In the case of a rape, paid sex or a one-night stand, it is very obvious that one of the partners is satisfying his or her sexual urges. Such clarity is often missing in long term relationships. Is your boyfriend or husband making love to you or (just) having sex? At times, this is unclear.
Here are some pointers that might help understand such a relationship better. These pointers are merely indicative and not exhaustive. They don’t apply to all couples or all the time.
1. Non-sexual pleasures:
Does your partner enjoy non-sexual time with you? Does he or she enjoy just being around you, chatting, shopping, watching a movie, sharing jokes? Does he or she smile with you, ask about your day, listen to you, make note of what you want and get it for you? If yes, then your partner is interested in getting to know you as a person and is probably making love to you more often than having sex with you.
What do you or your partner say during the act of lovemaking? Are they often carnal, erotic words or tender words reflecting adoration and care? These are indicators too. Hot steamy sex and orgasms do not suggest a loving relationship. It is just good sex. On the lighter side come closer and go deeper could imply very different emotions!
Does your partner caress you? Does he or she take the trouble of finding out what makes you tick and take pleasure in pleasing you? Do you spend time getting to know each other’s bodies intimately? That is an act of love making. Else, if you are into the act straight on, it is just sex.
4. The Kiss:
Women often say they can figure how emotionally involved a guy is, by the aggression or tenderness with which he kisses a woman. Eg: Is it a ‘lingering on the lips for a while’ kiss or ‘all tongue’ right away? This is often used as a gauge by women.
These are just cues that might help separate a purely sexual relationship from a loving one.
There are many more cues to indicate whether a person wants to invest emotionally in you, such as: Does he want to get to know you better? Does he talk to you about you? Does he open up to you emotionally? Does he make time for you or does he get in touch with you only when he is free?
Further, it is important to realize that every couple need not and do not always have to make love. They might indulge in moments of raw, passionate sex too, at times, which is just as well. All the same, it is important to individually evaluate your equation and know where each partner stands in the relationship and what he or she is getting from it so that one does not get confused or manipulated in the relationship and can invest realistically into it.