Lust is often considered taboo, viewed as something controversial, and yet it is the cardinal passage to cross on our journey to understanding love. It has often been described as a raw emotion without any discipline, but love is refined. Do these two emotions co-exist in a healthy relationship?
An important observation is that lust and love can exist individually, i.e, in the absence of the other. In a purely sexual relationship, there’s lust. In a romantic and asexual relationship, there’s love. Love without lust is just as pure as it is with it. For the relationships that involve both, a sexual and a romantic connection, understanding lust, as well as love, thus becomes important.
Can you really tell how your partner shows their love toward you if you don’t know how they show their lust? The things they do when they’re in bed with you can speak volumes about them. Let’s try and understand the importance of lust in a relationship and why we need to be able to tell one apart from the other.
What Is Lust And Love?
Lust and love, while they go hand in hand, do not signify the same thing. In their most fundamental forms, pure lust can be a lot more animalistic and selfish, while love is almost always empathetic and selfless. Since comparing love and lust isn’t really a common theme, confusing one for the other is a common phenomenon.
When lust leads up to sex, the passionate exchange of emotions can lead to partners thinking they’ve started to experience intense emotions of love for each other. In actuality, it may just be the libido that’s clouding their judgment. Though the definitions of each depend greatly from person to person, most of us can agree that love entails a deeper emotional connection, while sexual desire focuses purely on the physical.
Can you lust for someone you love? Sure. But do you need to? The revelation that love can exist without physical intimacy and that a heightened sense of libido for a person doesn’t equate to love can often end up changing the way you approach relationships. Let’s talk a bit more about what does lust mean in a relationship, and how my relationship made me realize the difference between the two.
Related Reading: 10 Ways To Know Lust From Love
How Love And Lust Are Related?
Most of us, especially the ones who got married early, find it hard to distinguish between love and lust. We don’t even consider it as something important to delve into. After all, if you are happily married and getting your regular dose of sex, why bother to understand whether it truly is love that is binding you together or lust that is keeping the marriage intact?
In a long-standing marriage between two partners who value sex, lust is the fire, love is the fuel. And without one, the other doesn’t last for too long. Lust is raw, love is refined. To experience love and lust means to experience the physical expression of love along with the emotional development of it, which is paramount for a marriage to be healthy.
We mistake the heights of passion as love and yet when those plummet after the initial euphoria of a new relationship/marriage wanes, what remains is what is real. Often, by the time the kids arrive and we are snugly attached to the marriage, it’s safe, sane, and convenient to call it love.
How I realized what I have wasn’t love
Here is the paradox; going through those throes of passion is essential to nurture the love inside us as well but there is a need to discern one from the other in order to truly understand the meaning of true love. It took me 16 years to realize that what I felt in my marriage wasn’t love.
It was an illusion of love. And the funny thing about illusion is that it looks and feels exactly like the truth. And yet my soul knew from the beginning that there was something missing in my marriage, although it was hard for me to decipher what. Two lovely kids, a secure life, a caring husband, it all seemed perfect. I called it love.
There’s A Difference Between Lust And Love
Isn’t that all I ever wished for? But it was all in the shadow, all darkness. The light was still far away. Although it was all churning in my unconscious mind, my consciousness had yet to acknowledge it. My awareness was yet to kick in. So after 16 years of being lost and apparently happy in a marriage that seemed perfect to the outside world, I came to understand the missing link.
I could separate the love from lust like chaff from the wheat. The threshing was a revelation. As I became a fiction writer, I confronted myself through my writing. As I interacted with other men, forming deep friendships with them, the truth dawned. I knew I didn’t love my (now estranged) husband deeply enough. If I did, I would want to be with him, not for the sake of the kids but for him and us.
Related Reading: “We’re In Lust, Not Love,” She Said
Marriage is not love
I also realized the dichotomy of marriage and love. They were two different dimensions, which could overlap and merge at times, but they were distinct from one another. The former being an arrangement, the latter being a vibration – our highest frequency as humans.
Trying to fit this powerful vibration into a living arrangement is like capturing the early morning, fresh, invigorating mountain breeze in a jar. Such a waste to even try.
You need to feel the fire between bodies; you need to feel attracted to each other, no matter your age or the age of your relationship, and that is the catalyst for experiencing love. Even if they eventually merge, you should be able to understand one from the other.
What is lust? Lust is the physical desire to be around someone, to touch, to feel their presence. Love is the soul; the body is the temple and lust is the expression of that divine temple. Love vs lust, therefore, is a futile argument.
Older and wiser: Understanding love vs lust
Now, nearing 50 and in love, I understand love on a different level compared to what I did in my 20s. Surrendering to lust has taught me so much about the power of empowering and unconditional love.
Is lust important in love? Yes, it is. Lust is pure, the unadulterated desire of the body minus the mishmash and burden of emotions. It’s the sacred fire needed to strip one of all illusions which mask love. You have to be unafraid of experiencing lust to unravel the true gem of love from the buried depths of your being.
How Important Are Lust And Love In A Relationship?
As you saw through my marriage, understanding the difference between the two can often be more important than understanding their role in a marriage. Even so, in a relationship between individuals who value and feel the need for sex, the inclusion of both lust and love is necessary.
Lust and love are both equally important if you want your relationship to feel fulfilling, both physically and emotionally. Through the process of expressing your sexual desire toward each other, you communicate your love. Love without just isn’t uncommon in asexual and similar dynamics, but where there is a sexually active person in a relationship, there needs to be both lust and love present as well.
Related Reading: It Was Unrequited Lust But Did She Finally Give In?
Instead of comparing the two with yourself, have a conversation about it with your partner. Do you feel the same way about them, as they do for you? Are your physical needs met? Do you pine for each other physically as you do emotionally? Experience the two to their fullest, and you’ll notice your satisfaction increasing too.
Whether one is stronger than the other completely depends from person to person and what they value more. For someone who identifies as asexual, lust may not be prevalent in their relationships at all. It’s extremely subjective, something that changes from individual to individual.
One is not essentially better than the other, the question becomes what each individual enjoys more. If they value the emotional intimacy of love more than the physical affection displayed through lust, they probably value love more.
Depending on how a person experiences a developing bond with someone, either of the two can come first. In purely sexual cases, lust usually comes first. In cases of emotional attachment, love is usually experienced first.