So, here’s a thing I’ve seen happen:
- People get really into social justice...
Pushing your own boundaries sexually to please your partner is not an expression of ‘love’. Making yourself uncomfortable, making sexual ‘sacrifices’ (i.e. engaging in kinks you’re not comfortable doing) is not being a good partner. Being a good partner does not involve making yourself sexually uncomfortable or letting your partner coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do, and don’t ever let someone try to convince you otherwise.
Saying “I love you” when you hang up the phone, not being interested in dating anyone else, being regretful, missing the other person a lot, liking someone more than you’ve ever liked anyone else, honestly loving someone and really wanting it to work out are all reasons to be sad about the way this is ending. You’re throwing them out there, as signs, as evidence, like we’re proving a geometry theorem, but they aren’t proof. There is no substitute for “I. Choose. You.”
When you’re in a situation like this, it’s tempting to grab onto the narrative about how “good love just takes work!” and wrap it around you like a big comfy blanket. Work! It’s something you can DO. It’s something you can CONTROL.Work Ethic, meet Feelings! Feelings, roll up your sleeves and meet this Plucky Can-Do Attitude!
Healthy relationships do take work in the sense of figuring out “Where will we live and who will do the dishes there?“
“I will distract you while we wait for the doctor to call with the news.” “I will be the sociable buffer while we visit your difficult family.” “I will clean up the cat barf so you don’t have to look at it or smell it.” “I will work on managing my mental health issues so I can more fully present as your partner.”
This kind of work can be hard and draining as hell, depending on the circumstances (fist-bumps to all the new parents and the caregivers out there!), but if you know for sure that you’re in this thing together and the division of labor feels fair and reciprocal, it’s not bad work.
How do I know if my relationship is purely based on lust? I am unsure about the difference between “love” and “lust”. I really really adore my boyfriend, but I wouldn’t call it love yet. We’ve been together almost a couple of months now and I already trust him a lot, he is such a gentleman to me and I even feel ready to have sex with him. But I wouldn’t say I was in love yet. How do I know? Thanks :)
Sam W replies:
The good news is, you’re definitely not the first person to ask this question. People have been trying to parse out what, exactly, constitutes love for most of human history. And who can blame them? Loving someone, and feeling loved in return is, in it’s best form, a really wonderful emotion. And most of us don’t want to miss out on experiencing it. So we look for a formula, an equation, some ultimate, objective definition that will tell us that what we are feeling is capital L Love. But love is more complicated than we’d like it to be, and that’s what makes your question tricky to answer.
Can you guess where I’m going with this? Greece. Greece is where I’m going with this. Because the Greeks, instead of focusing on the idea of one, true version of love, acknowledged that there were many different kinds of love. Now, I am willing to bet that you kind of knew this already. For most of us, the love we feel for a parent, or a close friend, feels somehow distinct from the love we associate with romantic relationships. The Greeks recognized this diversity of loves. For instance, they had a type of love called eros (or eratos in modern Greek). This love can refer to erotic desire and passion or it can simply mean a deep or intimate connection. One thing to notice about this definition is that doesn’t put sexual desire in a separate category from love. And that ties really importantly to your question about whether or not what you’re feeling is “purely” lust.
Lust is often thought of as a less complex emotion than love, because we see it as being “only” about sex. That it’s purely a physical desire, based on how attracted we are to someones body. But, even sexual attraction is variable and personal, and the equation for lust isn’t always as simple as “I think person x is super sexy, ergo I wish to climb them like a tree.” I would argue that, for many people, sexual desire is not purely physical, and that it also has an emotional component.
For instance, I have known many guys whose physical traits made them lust-worthy (by my standards), but who I never actively felt lust for because I found them to be jerks. I couldn’t uncouple the personality from the body. Some people can, others have an even harder time doing so than I do. There can be instances where you care about someone a lot and are comfortable and happy having sex with them but it doesn’t feel like love to you. And you can have a reverse scenario where someone has all the traits you look for and love in a person (brains, a sense of humor, charming smile, etc) but you’re just not feeling any spark of desire. Attraction is weird like that.
Read the rest of the answer here.
I’m 20 and I’ve been talking to this girl for a couple months and she’s amazing. When I’m with her all of my pain and suffering that I go through daily is gone. She takes it away with a little smile. She says I’m everything she wants in a guy and I make her happy except when we start becoming intimate. She says the sexual attraction isn’t there, and I can’t get her to reach an orgasm with my penis. It’s normal sized but she says she wishes it was bigger. We had sex 3 weeks after we met and she says if we would have waited until she had deeper feelings for me, it wouldn’t matter. I’ve never had a girl make me feel likes she does. I’m not some dumb young guy, I have a house and a car and a job but all I want is her. But I don’t know what to do from here. I can’t hit her spot, and I’ve tried putting her legs on my shoulder. What should I do?Heather Corinna replies:
Hey there, Dan. I’d never assume someone is dumb, period (including when someone is a young, a guy, or without a house, car or a job), nor do I think that having strong feelings for someone means a person is dumb. It sounds like you’ve had a pretty watershed emotional experience with this person, and clearly you feel very strongly about her. It’s also clear this relationship has been positive for you in many ways.
Typically, for someone to feel sexually satisfied with someone else, whether or not they reach orgasm or enjoy any given sexual activity, they’ve got to start by feeling turned on: that usually also means starting by feeling attracted. I’m sure you know that for yourself, maybe even with this girl: if you didn’t feel sexually attracted to her, probably anything she did sexually would either only feel so good, or wouldn’t feel good to you at all.
I hear you saying she’s voiced that she doesn’t feel that sexual attraction to you is there for her.
But I also feel confused by some of the other things she’s said. You probably do, too. For instance, I’m feeling confused by what she’s said about your penis size being the issue. Then she says that if she’d have waited to have sex with you, she’d feel differently, which suggests to me this isn’t about your penis size at all, since it’s not like waiting longer before the two of you engaged in sex would have changed the size of your penis. And, unless, for her — and it might be, even though that’s fairly rare — her main point, or only point, of sexual attraction to someone else is about a certain size of penis which you don’t have, your penis not being a given size wouldn’t explain her expressing she just doesn’t feel attracted.
You say you can’t “hit her spot,” no matter how you try. So, here’s the part where I tell you some things you may already know. Hopefully even if you know some of this, there’s some new information here for you, too.
If you mean her g-spot, know that that doesn’t equal orgasm for everyone. (If you mean some kind of Magic Orgasm Spot, there really isn’t such a thing, and the rest of what I say and some links at the bottom of the page should clue you in about that.) Heck, for some people it doesn’t even equal feeling anything to write home about. You can stimulate some people’s g-spots and it can feel to them like you’re doing nothing at all, because that area of the body isn’t one that is a big whoop for everyone, or for everyone all of the time. Too, that’s so, so not anything close to all there is to orgasm, not for anyone: we’re rarely going to reach orgasm just because someone touched or stimulated one specific spot on our bodies. Orgasm, and the whole process of human sexual response, is so much more complex than that. Plus, if she’s someone who has previously enjoyed g-spot stimulation, or that is how she usually reaches orgasm, that’s not just something that can be stimulated with a penis. Not only can it be stimulated with toys or fingers, those are usually the better “tools” for that kind of stimulation anyway, regardless of the size of anyone’s penis.
Most people who can reach orgasm also won’t just do so via only one sexual activity or only one kind of sexual stimulation. If she can reach orgasm via intercourse (not with you yet, I understand, but if she has with someone else in the past), it’s most likely she also can via other kinds of sex, too. If no kind of sex you two are having is getting her there — and she’s not someone who generally has issues reaching orgasm, either alone with masturbation, or with previous partners — this likely isn’t merely mechanical, by any stretch.
But perhaps more to the point, any of the sexually sensitive places on our bodies only tend to feel very sensitive if and when we’re already feeling desire in our heads, and then if we become aroused in our heads and our bodies. The more turned on we get, the more sensitive they tend to be. Even if you had a penis or a couple of fingers that were the stealth missiles of g-spot finding (which, for the record, tends to be, like some people’s clitoral shafts also tend to be, pretty touch to find when someone isn’t turned on, because arousal is what creates swelling of those areas so they’re more apparent), and that was the kind of stimulation she liked most, if she wasn’t feeling sexually attracted to you, she probably still wouldn’t reach orgasm or feel all that stimulated.
So, what that confusion and what sound like to me are mixed messages, and what I know about the “mechanics” of sex, orgasm and arousal, all brings me back to is what she said about just not feeling an attraction, despite wanting to feel it because she’s otherwise into you. It just sounds to me like she’s been trying to express, even though doing so poorly sometimes, that a sexual relationship with you isn’t working out for her, mostly — and maybe only — because she doesn’t feel as attracted to you as she wants or needs to be.
I think this is one of those times where someone who was very in touch with their own stuff, and also taking responsibility for it would say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and that’d be right, not just a way of making you feel better.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.