Love and sex are two different things. However, there are very different opinions in society about how they connect.
Some believe that the two are almost interchangeable. They assume that if sex is present, then love is as well. This can lead down some very rough roads.
Others believe that the two aren't connected at all. They believe that you can easily have one without the other without any lasting effects. However, there are many reasons why love and sex may go together, including the following:
- Love and sexual desire come from the same place
If you want to leave emotion and opinion out of the debate about if love and sex go together, science has proven that they are connected, at least for those who experience sexual attraction.
Canadian researchers conducted a study in 2012 that found the part of your brain that handles emotions is where sexual desire comes from. Both emotional love and sexual desire are from the insular cortex. These findings lead people to believe that the two are connected to a level that removes our choice from it. We can choose to have sex when love is not present, but it can be difficult.
Sexual desire and love lead to some of the same reactions in your brain. That means it can be easy to confuse what you are experiencing. This is why some people struggle to think that they are in love after they have sex when the other person doesn't. Science also explains that this makes sex even better when you are in love because you are getting a double dose of the chemicals that make you feel good. We'll explain these later in the article.
- Love makes sex more fulfilling
Penn State researchers did a study with respect to sexual experience and sexual connection where they questioned 98 women. They found that the majority of women believe that when love is present, the sexual experience is better and more fulfilling. These results were regardless of it being in a marriage or a dating relationship. There are several reasons why it's believed that this happens, and they are included below.
- Love adds trust and comfort to the mix
This could be counted as two different reasons. However, they are closely related. You can't always trust someone that you don't know.
When love is present, trust is usually also present. Trust adds a certain level of comfort to the relationship, including in sex. When you are making love with someone you fall in love with, you aren't worried about being judged.
This connection also means that you can be more open during the sexual experience. You may find that you can easily share the things that you like and what you don't like. With trust under your belt, it’s more likely you won't be afraid to ask for the things that you want.
- Sex is more meaningful with love
Sexual desire is one way to show love to another person. You can have sex without love being present, but you might find it to be less fulfilling. Even if you physically enjoy it, there may be a level of emptiness that comes with making love when love is absent. However, when you love the person you are with, it takes the sexual experience deeper. Emotional needs are being met as well as physical needs.
- People try unsuccessfully to fill the void of love with sex
You probably know someone that is constantly on the lookout for one-night stands. They aren't even looking for a relationship; they are just looking to hook up. In many cases, there is no love involved in these types of connections; it is purely sexual. The reason this person has to keep searching for the next experience is that sexual fulfillment is short-term.
Many individuals who connect love and sex find that there is no lasting positive impact from a one-night stand or empty sex.
- Marriages without sex may struggle or fail
There are plenty of jokes in society about how seldom sex is had once you are married. However, the subject is no laughing matter. It's a real problem in marriage that leads to all kinds of other issues.
For many individuals, in marriage, making love communicates a level of love and desire. If you want to be wanted by your spouse, but your spouse refuses to have sex with you, the message being communicated may be that there is a lack of physical desire and love, by extension.
When a marriage continues in this way, there are a few things that tend to happen. The first is that the partner who feels unloved and unwanted will seek that fulfillment from other sources. This can quickly lead to extra-marital affairs.
Even if this doesn't happen, that partner can begin to withdraw from the relationship, leaving the other person feeling unloved. This causes distances, arguments, and hurt feelings throughout the marriage.
It’s important to note that not all marriages or relationships are defined by sexual activity, and every couple’s preferences are different. There’s no problem with choosing not to partake in sex so long as both partners are aware of and okay with this expectation, but it’s essential to communicate.
- Sex in a loving relationship deepens the feelings of love
Couples that love each other tend to have sex more often. When both partners are engaged and have sex regularly, it can potentially deepen the feelings of love for each other. This goes back to the first reason listed and the way that your brain works.
Love and sex are connected
It is impossible to do no matter how hard society tries to remove love from the sexual experience. Love and sex are connected. You can have sex without being in love, but it does not lead to positive long-term situations. Instead, making love without love opens up the door for many difficulties and emotional confusion. In the same way, if you are in a long-term romantic relationship, eventually, sex comes into play. One without the other will not work for you long-term.
Problems that can arise when you try to disconnect the two
Emotional emptiness - When you are having sex without being in love, you may find that you’ll always be looking for more because the sexual experience is not meeting the full need of what you are looking for, even if you don't realize it at the time. You might be left with an empty feeling and believe the only way to fill it is with more sex. In reality, a deeper relationship where love is involved in the solution you are looking for.
Misunderstood experiences - If you believe that love and sex are the same things and not just connected, you can be led into sexual experiences because you seek love and believe you will find it by making love. This is only setting yourself up to be hurt. Love and sex are connected, but they are not the same. Many people will have sex with you to try to meet their needs, even if they have no feelings of love for you.
You either use people or get used by people - When you are in a loving relationship, you both want the same thing, which eventually promotes your sexual compatibility. Your sexual experiences can deepen your relationship, and you want to please the other both in and out of bed. However, when love is removed from a sexual experience, it can become selfish.
You lose your relationship - For many, it's hard to maintain a romantic relationship long-term without making love. Suppose you've been married for years and think that making love. It isn't necessary to your relationship anymore; you are wrong. Although you might feel that making love isn't necessary, there are chances that your spouse doesn't feel the same way.
Bring back date night. Getting back in touch with your spouse can renew your sex life and your love for one another. Make time for the two of you, and your relationship will flourish.
Start a new hobby together. Making new, fun memories together can renew a lost spark. Find something you will both enjoy and dive in.
Your partner won't have a chance to work on the relationship if they don't know there's a problem with it. Communicate your issues, big and small, to protect the love and sex in your relationship.
Seek professional help. Troubles that arise in life around love and sex are some of the hardest to work through. Both sex and love are incredibly complex issues that have many variables in play. If you're struggling with situations in your life because of relationships, talking to a sex therapist, including professionals here at BetterHelp, can be one of the most effective ways to work through the situation. While both love and sex are deeply personal experiences, sometimes talking to an outside party that is not connected in any way can be the most effective at helping you see what's happening.
Before you jump into another meaningless sexual relationship or before you lose your marriage due to lack of sex, seek help. Love and sex are undoubtedly connected. Understanding how they are connected and how that impacts your life is the key to finding the balance you desire.
Love and sex go together for a variety of reasons. If your relationship is suffering or you feel like you might be beginning to drift apart, taking extra special care can help. It's always worth investing in your relationship. Whether you need to rekindle the spark or want to add some wood to the fire, all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.