This week’s questions, as usual, got me thinking (which, I guess, is what they are meant to do). Rather than blurt out one long, incoherent stream of consciousness that attempts to answer all three components in one go, I’ve decided to break my thoughts down into three separate, somewhat shorter but no less incoherent streams of consciousness, taking each part in turn.
How essential is love to you in a sexual relationship?
At it’s simplest, the answer to this question is that isn’t essential at all. I have had sex with people where the only feeling I have have had for the person was one of simple sexual desire. I was sexually attracted to them, they (as it turned out) were sexually attracted to me. We had sex and we enjoyed it for what it was; namely uncomplicated, straightforward, we wanted to fuck (each other) so we fucked (each other) sex.
This does, of course, beg the question, at what point does having sex with someone constitute it being a “sexual relationship”?
- A one-nighter, where you never see each other again? – Probably not.
- Bumping into someone you previously had a one-nighter with and deciding, since you enjoyed it the last time, to do it again? – Still, probably not.
- A fuck-buddy that you meet up with on a regular/semi-regular basis purely for sex? – Possibly.
- A friend with benefits that you hang-out with socially but also have sex with? – Almost certainly.
- A full-on committed relationship (whether you live with them or not)? – Pretty Definitely
Chances are, in the first two scenarios, the only emotions involved are simply lust and desire. Sex is, after all, primarily a physical thing, an urge. We fuck because we enjoy fucking and we enjoy how it makes us feel. We enjoy the physical sensations of sex, and the way sex makes us feel, but those feelings don’t necessarily include love.
The third scenario is maybe a bit more complicated. Things have progressed beyond the purely casual. You actually enjoy having sex with the person, not just the sex itself. The other person brings some particular quality that means you enjoy having sex with that person more than you enjoy sex that is entirely casual.
It may simply be that you have developed a mutual understanding of each other’s bodies, each others likes and desires, each other’s hungers and appetites and that there is a synergy where each of you complements the other. There is a connection between you that is more than the primal sexual urge. There are, feelings. Only the individuals themselves can say whether or not one of those feelings is love.
Where sex is more than just something casual (e.g. a one-night stand), is it possible to fully detach the emotional and physical sides of sex?
As mentioned above, I think the more you have sex with someone, the more in tune you become with them; not just sexually, but in other ways too. There is a familiarity which means you are more comfortable in the other person’s presence. That extra “comfort” may mean you are more confident. You may be prepared to discuss and/or try things that you wouldn’t do in a purely casual encounter with someone you barely know.
While there may not be a “full-on” emotional commitment between partners, emotions are still very much involved. It may only be that you feel a sense of well-being that so often accompanies satisfying sex, but it is an emotional response nonetheless.
As you move up through the “relationship spectrum” from casual to fuck-buddy to friend with benefits to committed couple, the emotional response changes.
Does love make sex better in any way?
This, I think, is very subjective and deeply personal to each individual. I’ve no doubt that some people will say that it does, and others will maintain that it makes little or no difference at all.
Personally, I would say it does make a difference. Not necessarily love, per se, but having some deeper emotional connection with the person who you are sharing your body with and who is sharing their body with you.
Physical familiarity and an understanding of your partners wants, needs and desires helps make sex better. Emotional familiarity, whether that be love or some other feeling that you care to define, helps take things to a different level.
Different, however, doesn’t always mean better. That same emotional symbiosis that brings partners together can also make divisions even more painful.
Ultimately, everyone is different. Everyone likes, loves, lusts and feels in their own unique way. We all have our own experiences of that crazy little thing called love.