‘What is tinder?’ A friend was asking a group the other day. The answers ranged from ‘it’s a dating app’, to ‘a fuck-all place filled with unwanted dick pics’ to ‘a hookup app’. The hookup app answer seemed to be the most popular one. It seemed to people that the digital and mobile was the new frontier for all the horny people out there and the app market had capitalised on that big time.
But meaningless sex aside (no judgment!), sex also happens to play a rather important part in relationships. It’s the nonverbal communication between two people. It’s the reason why people seek societal consent and enter marriages. Good old intercourse is on everyone’s mind. With a billion strong population we sure seem to be doing it a lot but then why aren’t we talking about it more? What role does lust play in relationships these days? Let’s break it down, shall we?
● It’s communication
As said before it’s nonverbal communication. When you have lust in a relationship it doesn’t always mean you’re making love constantly. While that could be one of the realities, it also means that both your bodies are in frequent communication. Something that is healthy and required for a long-term relationship.
● It’s an identifier
One of the reasons romantic relationships are so intimate is because of sexual intercourse. There is no other relationship where having sexual intercourse is a shared activity to this degree, therefore the lust and what follows are what sets them apart. (Hooking up can’t be called a relationship in this context.)
Related reading: Why lust is important to understand love
● The kindling
A fireplace is a pretty looking useful thing and it will remain pretty no matter whether it’s burning or not. However, it cannot burn without some form of kindling. If you apply this logic to a romantic relationship you’ll find that lust is the kindling that keeps the fire burning. It acts as a fire starter. After years of being together, lust can be a factor that keeps the relationship alive.
● Blurred lines
Separating love from lust can be a difficult task especially in long-term relationships. What you feel when you’re intimate with your partner is often a mixture, the lines are blurred. But they don’t have to sort out always. Lovemaking may begin as a form of lust, exist as communication and be an act of love. It doesn’t have to be a well-segregated activity.
Humans are by default insecure beings. When they are in a relationship, they hold doubt regarding many things. They question their self-worth constantly. One of the questions that keep reoccurring is ‘Am I attractive? Is my partner attracted to me?’ Lust and its expression can work in reassuring both partners about their attractiveness. It helps boost their self-esteem and therefore makes them a more secure partner.
● The honeymoon phase
The beginning of a relationship when you can’t keep your hands off of each other is often looked back at as a rosy time, one that rarely comes back. While lust plays an important role there, it can keep playing that role even after the phase is over. If you let it, lust will keep the lamp of desire burning and the honeymoon phase won’t just be a nostalgia-inducing term.
● The choice
A long-term relationship is often a ritual of choice. You wake up every day and choose to be with the person you love. There are great power and responsibility there. Considering lust, the desire you feel for your partner as a part of this choice is important. Knowing that you’re with someone you love and who sets your soul on fire every day is an empowering feeling to experience.
● Its rightful place
While we have seen how important lust is in a relationship, it would be unfair to give it unnecessary importance. Lust is great, but it isn’t everything. If you don’t feel like ripping each other’s clothes off every time you are alone, doesn’t mean you are not in a loving relationship. Lust is just part of the whole game. A true partnership has multiple factors. You cannot have sex and still be very much in love, to give it supremacy over honesty, loyalty and building a life together would be erroneous. Looking at lust and sex in a balanced way is what will keep your relationship long-lasting.
● Consent is supreme
Feeling a strong desire for your partner cannot be an excuse for not respecting their consent. Lust has to be a give and take and cannot be a one-sided flame that erupts and burns the other. When you are partners, the consent of both people is supreme. It is more important than desire and intensity. Respecting consent is not only the right thing to do in a relationship but is also an expression of true love.
Be lustful towards your partner keeping the respect and your love life will be sorted like nothing before.