Defining Love – Part I: Sex ≠ Love

“Love” is one of the most commonly used words, and the least understood. It defies definition, yet we all use it with the premise it means the same thing to all of us. It is intrinsically diverse in meaning and scope. And as such, it is a challenge for me to write about. But I am drawn to these types of challenges, at least on a linguistic and philosophical level. To give form to the formless, define the indefinable, or bring shape to the obtuse is my most cherished form of learning and growth. While my writing hopefully touches, teaches, or benefits my readers; it is first and foremost the way I discover my own concepts and beliefs about the world around me. Having to verbalize my thoughts requires me to think, study, research, and ask questions of myself and others. Believe me when I say, I learn more about myself from writing about an idea or premise than anyone can ever learn from reading what I have written.

As I am apt to keep my articles of readable length, this vast subject matter will be presented in a series. Not sure what facet of “love” will be the next topic, all I am certain of is that it will be “Part II”. I am remaining open to being led by the subject matter or, better yet, by comments or responses from my readers. The articles may well be intertwined with postings of unassociated material, as my muse to write is often uncontrollable. So if this topic holds no interest for you (my condolences), keep checking in with my blog as I am sure to be posting other subject matter.

So where do we start in defining “love”. I think it is important that we first separate the concept of love from other related ideas to avoid confusion, the most obvious of which is sex.

Sex does not equal love. For some readers, this is an obvious truth. And for others, it may completely go against what they personally believe. I am not sure how, in our modern world, someone can still equate these two functions as being the same, but that is a reflection of my experiences, upbringing, and personally philosophy. And none of those things has made me all-knowing. In fact, I must presume that what I know or think can easily be incorrect, and colored by a limited knowledge of the world around me. I can only absorb into my thought processes those things that I have been exposed to. And although I consider myself well-rounded and worldly, I am open to the idea that there are things I do not know or understand. If it were otherwise, I would no longer thirst for knowledge. I could sit back and be comfortable that I have everything all figured out. But I know I don’t and highly anticipate I never will. However, if we cannot agree on this most basic of principles, then everything that follows will lead to a distorted perception of what I am trying to convey in these articles.

Sex does not equal love. This does not mean that I do not consider physical intimacy with someone you love as one of the greatest experiences in life. It simply means that one does not require the other. They are not equal or readily interchangeable ideas in conceptualization. In discussions with friends about the same idea, I have often tried to illustrate this with the statement, “I have slept with people I never loved, and loved people I never slept with”. For some readers, they could easily make that statement about themselves, yet I recognize there will be some for which a part of that will not be true. The more morally guided readers may not be able to say they “slept with people they never loved”. They have controlled their animalistic desires and have required an emotional bond before allowing any physical expression of love. As upright as this behavior may be, they cannot avoid the second part of the statement. They have certainly loved people they never slept with. And if either portion of the statement is true, then the other is also true by default. Whether that behavior was avoided through personal belief, religious dogma, or moral fortitude is unimportant. It still highlights the fact that these two ideas are not synonymous. So let us agree in theory that sex does not equal love. If this concept still eludes you, as much as I want to have a readership, you may want to skip the rest of this article series. If sex and love remains the same thing to you as a reader, I can’t even begin to imagine how weird the rest of this is going to come across.

Stayed tuned for next in the series: Defining Love – Part II – When “Like” Isn’t Enough

© 2012  Commonsensibly Speaking ~ Brad Osborne

2 Responses to “Defining Love – Part I: Sex ≠ Love”
  1. Another good post. Ha, love the section where you basically state that if you don’t already get that sex does not equal love, “I can’t even begin to image how weird the rest of this is going…” to be. I think that many people who believe sex equals love will not be swayed because of what is ingrained in their minds based on upbringing, values, etc. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because to that person, it’s the truth. However, it’s the same reason I feel many of us cannot have open conversations about religion. It’s hard to prove or disprove a belief or faith without tangible proof.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks Natasha. As open as I am about discussing anything, I have always avoided religion. Indoctrination and dogma are very hard to overcome because most belief systems require that you accept their views as being ultimately and irrevocably correct. By the way….You ROCK!

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