25 Ways to Answer “Is It Love or Is It Just Sex?”
1. It may be “making love” if both people’s entire bodies are loved on. It may be only “having sex” if it’s mostly about the genitals and what’s done with them.
2. If all sorts of different emotions are felt during a sexual encounter, these emotions can be shared and also empathized with its more likely to be “making love”. If only sexual feelings are felt and shown it’s more likely to be “having sex”.
3. Possibly it’s “making love” when there is the inclusion of the very tender, the closely intimate, and the sweetly precious along with the passionate and the powerful. Possibly it’s “having sex” when it’s all simple, raw, quick, rough or boring sex.
4. It may be “about love” if “No” is an OK answer to a sexual request. It may be just “having power trip sex” if sexual desires are expressed as demands, followed by punishing rejection if the demands are not complied with.
5. If before during and after a sexual episode you feel a pleasing sense of warmth and a happy sense of bonding it could be “making love”. If these or similar feelings are lacking, even if it was fantastically great sex, it may not have been making love but rather “having sex”.
6. In an ongoing series of sexual events with a partner it’s more likely to be “making love” if there is a fairly wide variety in the intensity, amount of time, and amount of energy involved and, therefore, lazy sex, silly sex, mental sex, sleepy sex, and no climax sex can all be part of the ongoing picture. It’s more likely to be “having sex” if it’s usually pretty much the same experience over and over again.
7. When having sex makes you want to know and experience your partner more, be increasingly close, and do more of life together it is more likely to be “making love”. If having sex results ends with just a feeling of being finished and wanting to get on with something else apart from your partner it could be just “having sex”.
8. If following sex there is an inner dialogue of self-demeaning focus or partner-demeaning focus, criticism, derogatory thoughts, etc. it’s more likely to have been just a form of poor conflicted “having sex”. If, however, after sex there is an inner and outer dialogue of affirmation, appreciation, honoring and celebration it may have been “making love”.
9. It may be “making love” if there is lots of responding in kind to each loving touch, movement, word, kiss, sound, caress, look, etc.. It may be “having sex” if there is only short, mild, or no responsiveness, or if responses are made only to that which is blatantly sexual.
10. It could be about “making love” if whatever you want, or don’t want, can be talked about freely and lovingly. It may be “having poor or restricted sex” if there are earnest putdowns, critical remarks, rejection statements, or shaming words and actions given for expressing different sexual thoughts or desires.
11. It could be making love if there is as much, or more focus on pleasuring as being pleasured. It’s more likely just to be having sex if satisfaction of the self is the prime goal.
12. ‘Wild sex’, ‘kinky sex’, ‘dirty sex’, etc. all can be part of making love if there is real care and concern for a sex partner’s happiness and well-being along with adequate safeguarding. All the many forms of sexuality without loving care and concern as an integrated part just may be different ways to be having sex.
13. It really could be making love if all levels and types of one’s physical sexual response and reaction system are acceptable and lovingly treated. If the physical sexual system of the self, or of the partner, does not respond as desired and that leads to emotional and/or relational dissonance it probably is more about sex than love.
14. It is more likely to be love making if there are a lot of mutual all over gentle caresses, tender kisses, terms of endearment, cuddles, and loving looks leading up to, during and especially following orgasms or following a nap after orgasm. It might be having sex if all that’s going on are actions that directly assist getting to a climax.
15. Making love more likely is occurring when there are feelings of deep connectedness, high appreciation and high valuing of the unique personal aspects of the partner and of the relationship with the partner. If there are worries about what the partner is thinking of you, of your sexual expertise, of your masculinity or femininity, of your attractiveness, etc. then maybe it’s more about having insecure sex.
16. If there are repeated insistences or demands for certain sex practices (including intercourse and climax), and without those practices bad feelings and relationship troubles occur it might be more about having sex than making love. If there is a free-flowing variety of sexual requests with alternates being lovingly accepted then it’s more likely to be about making love.
17. It’s much more likely to be about love making when sexual encounters lead to a greater love of life, general sense of being uplifted, sense of awe, appreciation of beauty and higher self love. If the experience leads to a sense of lowered self worth, to indifference, to a desire to get away, to a sense of lonely aloneness or despair, etc. it may have been having unfulfilling sex.
18. When there is a sense of conquest, scoring, using, defeating, proving potency or self importance, of lowering another’s value, getting even, etc. it’s not likely to be about making love. When there is a sense of mutual enrichment, shared joy, giving and getting benefit, and having done a really good, natural thing then it’s much more likely to be making love.
19. If there are restrictions on verbal or behavioral expressions of strong, vigorous, powerful, potent sexuality along with insistence on only verbally expressing reassurance, commitment, devotion, or tender love and on all sex actions being mild it could be that having insecurity filled sex is what’s really happening. When a wide variety of expressions of sexuality along with free-flowing expressions of love are being enjoyed lovemaking with eroticism is more likely.
20. Feeling proud, blessed, delighted, cherished, sublime, glorious, excellent, and of course well loved tends to go with quality love making. Feeling raunchy reverie, glorious debauchery, carnal passion, lovely lust, beautiful lasciviousness, wanton satiation, thoroughly eroticized, saturated with shameless sexual pleasure, and ecstatically exhausted goes with having great sex, all of which and can be mixed into making fantastic love or not.
21. If there is a lot of guilt, shame, disgust, fear, depression, anxiety, repulsion, etc. then it seems there probably is not enough healthy self-love and self care happening while having sex. If there is a sense of healthy self fulfillment, mixed with care and concern for a partner’s pleasure, well-being and fulfillment then love making more likely is occurring.
22. If when contemplating a sexual encounter there is a fear of failing, performing inadequately, not living up to a standard, or somehow being insufficient then perhaps it’s about having ‘performance’ sex. When whatever happens is okay and able to be treated with mutual lovingness and fun, and when there is a continuance of sensuous and loving actions even when there is a ‘oops’ then good healthy making love more probably is in evidence.
23. It probably just was having great sex if wonderful erotic excitement, intense pleasure and saturating satisfaction resulted. However, if there also was added feelings of marvelous union, cosmic connection and spiritual elation then possibly it was great sex with great love making.
24. It’s probably making love when there is a high valuing of the partner, the erotic experience of the partner, and the all over relationship with the partner. It’s probably having sex if the sexual experience itself is the only thing being valued.
25. When there is a mutual sense of great connection, the people involved are safeguarding each other, there is a sense of natural improvement from the experience, plus a sense of healthfulness exists, and there is rewarding joy it’s very likely to be that a true lovemaking experience is what’s happening. When emotional disconnection, true danger, unnaturalness, and unhealthfulness, and one type or another of emotional agony results it’s pretty likely that having loveless sex was all that was happening.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Image credits: “Close up of The Thinker” by Flickr user Brian Hillegas, “The Thinker (female version)” by Flickr user Dave Hogg.