making love vs having sex

For many people, ‘making love’ and ‘having sex’ mean the same thing. Linguistically also, these two phrases are often used interchangeably and treated as synonymous with each other.

I once asked this as an open question at a sexology conference while conducting a workshop. To my surprise, even a group of sexologists could not reach a sensible consensus on the difference between ‘making love’ and ‘having sex’.

In my counseling practice I often spend a good deal of time explaining to couples the difference between these two phrases – ‘making love’ and ‘having sex’ – because the differences between the two are so wide and many.

‘To make love’ is primarily an ‘expression’ of love, affection, strong romantic feelings towards each other … expressed by physical touching, hugging, holding, caressing, kissing … such as verbal expression and Words were falling short and are not enough to express their feelings, passion, love and affection for each other.

Arousal often builds gradually during making love, allowing the couple to engage in mutually pleasurable foreplay, which is followed by a satisfying orgasm. Both the partners give a lot of ‘happiness’ to each other and thus also release a lot from each other.

While making love there is always an emphasis on the expression of their love, affection and romantic feelings for each other.

When a couple is in love, it often makes them feel closer and committed to each other and develop a stronger bond and a relationship.

In contrast, ‘having sex’ is primarily a physical activity… not necessarily between a loving couple, but possibly between two ‘persons’ who are sexually interested in each other. It also includes sexual touching, kissing, making love, leading to intercourse; However, partners are often more eager to enjoy themselves and may not invest much in showing adequate sensitivity to the needs of the other.

Mutual consent and consent are the two things they mainly look for before they indulge in ‘having sex’. Both the partners ‘take’ the happiness they want from each other and in return ‘get’ the happiness they expected from each other.

Partners may feel sexually satisfied when they have sex, and may even feel obliged to each other; However, it doesn’t necessarily need to form an emotional bond or a committed relationship. One night stands, casual sex, friends with benefits – all fall into this category.

I strongly feel that this distinction needs to be actively communicated to couples and all individuals who are looking for partners and are in a relationship. Being sensitive to each other’s needs goes a long way in building a wonderful long-term romantic relationship.

As a therapist I get a lot of break-ups and counseling broken hearts to examine and analyze. Often, it makes me feel – I wish someone had explained to them the difference between these two phrases ‘before’.



The views expressed above are those of the author.

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