Sex & Love

2011/05/31 in Sex and Sexuality

If there is a difference between sex and love, why are the two often confused?

For example, when people speak of sexual intercourse they sometimes refer to it as “making love.” Or, someone may try to pressure you into getting sexually involved by saying, “If you loved me, you’d have sex with me.” We’re going to look at sex and love, and talk about why the two are often confused with each other. We’ll also discuss some possible consequences of having sexual intercourse without love, and point out that it is possible to love someone without having sex.

It may seem easier to discuss sex than love because on the surface it appears to be just a natural physical act. But sexual relationships and sexual intercourse are much more complex than doing what is “natural”. Now, it is true that sex is physically arousing and involves changes your body can feel, but it also has an emotional side that requires maturity, and responsible attitudes and behaviors.

What about love? Everybody talks about it- but just what is it? You may have asked your parents what love is, and even they may have acted confused and said something like, “You’ll just know when you feel it.” Obviously, love comes in different forms: love between parents and children, love between friends, romantic love, and self-love. You may be surprised to hear us say self-love, but before you can truly love someone else, you must first love yourself. Self-love involves becoming a strong, independent person with a clear idea of who you are. It is this sense of liking your unique identity that allows you to become close to another person.

Anyone who has ever seen a movie, watched TV or read a novel knows that sex and romantic love are often shown together. According to the media, romantic love just naturally involves sex. In the real world, though, true romantic love is not that simple. In addition to the passion that causes people to be physically attracted to one another, love needs intimacy – the emotional component that involves feelings of closeness, mutual understanding and emotional support. Real love also needs commitment – a decision to make the relationship work and last.

Given what’s really needed for love to work, it’s easy to understand why even adults have to work so hard at it. When you’re a teenager, trying to maintain a romantic relationship is even more difficult. What adolescents need are friendships – people who share your interests, people who are happy when you succeed and sympathize when you fail. You can have an intimate relationship with someone, even a member of the opposite sex, and it doesn’t need to include sex. Intimacy and sex aren’t the same thing.

We all know it’s possible to have sex without love. But what are some of the possible consequences? In our culture, we believe that sex requires love and the responsibility that goes with it. This is probably what you’ve been taught at home, so having sex without love could make you feel guilty. Also most people your age don’t approve of sex without love, so they’ll probably let you know how they feel about it if word about your sexual activity gets around. And whenever you have sexually intercourse, there is always the possibility of pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. No matter what anyone tells you, abstinence is the best protection there is.

But what if you really love someone? The question of whether you can love someone without having sex is a very important one – especially when you’re young. If your love is real, your concern for the other person’s feelings, and his or her future will help you find an answer to that question. Think carefully before you make this important decision. When you’re young, loving and being a true friend – without having sex – is probably the nicest way of showing someone you really care.

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