Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if you are in love or just in a sex haze? Are lust and love interchangeable in your relationships?
Do you just not know what’s going on in your head and your heart?
When it comes to sex and love, many people are just as confused as you might be. Lust and love are difficult topics to understand and the two can easily get mixed up when sex is involved.
And, then there is the difference between being addicted to someone and being in love with them. The difference is a codependent relationship versus a healthy one.
So, what can you do to tell the difference? What is the difference between lust and love? What is the difference between codependency and a healthy relationship?
Infatuation and Lust
When we first meet someone we are attracted to, our brain releases various hormones that encourage that attraction. They make us want to feel and get closer to that person and to engage in sexual activities with them.
Initial infatuation often involves fantasizing about being with that person. It is completely normal to feel this type of desire and infatuation. But as good as it feels, it is not love, though many people confuse this initial infatuation with “love at first sight.”
Sex and the Brain and Body
Once you get to the point of actually having sex with someone, things get even more confounding. Telling the difference between just having sex and making love is easier when you know how sex affects the brain and body.
When you have sex, the brain releases a chemical known as oxytocin. Oxytocin is a chemical that enhances a person’s feelings of well-being but also of love and bonding.
This is a large part of why people confuse just having sex with love. Their body chemistry is actively working to confuse them.
Lust and Its Illogical Nature
Lust is one of the most illogical things in life. You can feel immense attraction to a person even though you know little to nothing about them. You might even learn unpleasant facts about them or even be mistreated by them, and still stay because of the sexual desire and attraction.
Lust relies a great deal on fantasy. You fantasize about this person being who you want them to be outside of the bedroom and allow that fantasy to carry you.
Now, sometimes lust can become love when you get to know someone, and they match up with or exceed your fantasy. But this is not always or even often the case. Lust usually remains lust.
Motivation and Sex Versus Making Love
Now that you know what sex can do to the brain and body and have a better understanding of lust, you can dive into the other elements affecting the difference between sex and making love. Motivation is one of the key differences in the two.
When you are having sex, your motivation is on getting off (having an orgasm). When you are making love, your motivation can include an orgasm but is also more about feeling close and having a connection with your partner. Making love is more about emotions and feelings rather than just physical pleasure.
Presence and Communication in Sex Versus Making Love
Making love and sex are very different in additional ways. A person’s presence and communication in sexual encounters are different when just having sex than they are when making love.
When you are just having sex, your mind may not be on the sex act itself (especially if it is not physically fulfilling). You might not be paying attention to or thinking about your partner. You might be fantasizing, or you might be thinking about something else completely.
Similarly, when having sex communication differs. There may be limited communication when just having sex or the communication will be related to the physical pleasure of the encounter. Dirty talk is typical when just having sex.
Making love is a whole other experience. Making love involves greater presence. You are focused on your partner and the sexual encounter. Your goal again is connection rather than pure physical gratification. And communication is also about connection and emotions rather than just the physical.
Codependency and Love
Making love is possible in a relationship that is codependent as well as a healthy love relationship. As such, it can be difficult to tell the difference between these two types of relationships if you are focused just on the sexual side of things.
Feelings of anxiety about a relationship are often a sign of codependency rather than a healthy love relationship. A person may feel anxious about the person staying, about communication, about being together, and even about the sex.
When a person is codependent, they also idealize their partner and ignore problems or differences between the fantasy and the reality. A healthy love relationship involves accepting the person as they are and being cognizant of who that person is in reality.
Now Back to You
Knowing all of this about lust, sex, love, and codependency, you can better understand the confusing world of relationships, and hopefully, be able to tell whether or not you are in a healthy love relationship.