CHAPTER 7: LOVE VS SEX
Love can be; an intense feeling of deep affection, something one has a great interest and pleasure in, or just something one likes very much but still gets pleasure from.
People can love:
Interesting Fact: According to Nature Education (nature.com), lovers heart beats synchronize when they maintain eye contact.
The famous author of children’s books Dr. Seuss once described love as “You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Even William Shakespeare had love in his life, in his work a Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
One thing about love is people are always getting it mixed up with sexual feelings or acts, and while love can make sex better the two are not the same.
Defining Sex in comparison to love
Sex is sexual activity, specifically including sexual intercourse. While sex can be an act of love, sex by itself is a separate group of hormones and emotions.
When one loves someone they may express it sexually, sensually (to arouse gratification of the senses —smell, touch, sight, etc— by giving them pleasure.) or in other ways that show love. A few of these ways are:
Interesting Fact: Kisses are taste tests for ones bodies to figure out if the person they are kissing is a strong genetic fit with their DNA. Losing attraction to some after a kiss is just one way a body says that person is not good genetically for oneself.
- Giving someone flowers, this is a sensual way to express love.
- Kissing another person’s cheek, can be sensual and or sexual way to express love.
- Wedding and engagement rings are both sensual and other reminders of someone’s love.
Few people understand the differences between sex and love at first, but the ones who do, describe it as:
- “Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.” ― Hunter S. Thompson
- “Sex is an emotion in motion.” ― Mae West
- “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” ― Tom Robbins
To summarize both love and sex can be an amazing feeling by themselves, but when one can have both sex and love, the two will enhance each other greatly, making them stronger for those involved.
Female Body Reactions
- Brain activities change when they are in love.
- Heart rate slows down.
- Affects hormone levels.
- Many will have trouble sleeping because they think too much about the one they love.
- Bodies have less aches and pains, love activates the same neural receptors in the brain as pain-soothing drugs, according to a study from Stanford University School of Medicine.
- Can become forgetful, brain releases oxytocin (often thought of as the love hormone), which can impair memory.
- Things taste sweeter. Students in one study wrote about love, then sampled various foods and drinks. Regardless of what they tasted, they said everything had a sweet flavor, according to the American Psychological Association.
- Being so concentrated on the one you love can make your focus on other important matters wane, meaning studying can become harder since you aren’t as focused on it as you could be.
- Voices become higher when they are attracted to someone.
Sexual Attraction Reactions
Interesting Fact: Females have a tendency to disaprove of pickup lines ("did you fall from heaven?", "Hey baby, whats your sign?", etc...) and prefer simple greetings like "hi", "hello", and more. Researchers have also noted that innocuous questions like "would you like to dance?" also have a higher success rate with females than pick up lines.
- Pupils dilate.
- Bodies synchronize with their target.
- More sweat may be produced then normal.
- Experience a dopamine high.
- Serotonin levels may lower.
During & After Sex Reactions
- Air can be released from lady parts.
- More fluids are produced.
- During sexual arousal, the body becomes its own chemistry lab. But it isn’t until orgasm is achieved that the chemicals that promote stress relief, relaxation, and sleep are released.
- Loss of energy.
- Females can get urinary tract infections after sex.
- Some women will feel pain during sex regardless of how many times they have done it in the past.
- Some women will notice they have firmer or bigger breasts for a time, increased nipple sensitivity, retain water or otherwise feel bloated, and occasionally have flushed and red skin or bright, shining eyes.
- In some cases, a female’s body will respond in such a way that her period is late, leading to fears about pregnancy.
- Many females feel uncomfortable for a while after sex, especially if it was their first time, or if they had rougher sex than usual. For first timers, the breaking of the hymen will causes bleeding in sex – that is if the hymen was still intact – and can lead to pain and soreness for several days afterward. There is also the soreness of unaccustomed activity, and muscles responding to the new exercise.
Male Body Reactions
- Cheeks flush, palms sweat, and heart races.
- Pupils dilate.
- May feel a little sick.
- The combination of love and fear can give you sudden superhuman strength in an emergency.
- Trouble focusing on anything but your partner.
For males the sexual responses have been recorded into 4 phases: Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm, and After.
Male & Female Similar Sex Responses
Besides each male and female having their own physical, chemical, and emotional reactions they also share a wide variety of reactions, the list below is just a few of them:
Interesting Fact: Our patterns of sexual attraction appear to change seasonally. For instance, heterosexual men report greater attraction to women’s bodies and breasts in the winter months than they do in the summer months.
- Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are all accelerated during sex.
- Breathing and pulse rates quicken. A "sex flush" may appear on the shoulders, stomach, chest, face or neck. Muscles tense up in the hands, thighs, buttocks and hips, and muscle spasms may begin.
- Harder breathing, pulse rates and blood pressure rise, muscle tension and blood-vessel engorgements reach a peak, and sometimes orgasm comes with a grasping-type muscular reflex of the hands and feet.
- After sex, swelling recedes, any sex flush disappears, and there is a general relaxation of muscle tension.
Psychological Impacts of Sex
Sex impacts everyone differently, but good communication is key to having a good sex life, below is a short list of some of the ways sex affects people from a psychological sense.
- Jealousy can become quite common for both partners after sexual or love interactions.
- It is common to feel all kinds of emotional upheaval after sex. In addition to the body changes after sex, the mental and emotional changes can take a physical toll.
- For first time sex experience, some feel anything from euphoria, to guilt, to worry, and everything else in between, regardless of how long they have been with their partner.
- Based on how you were raised or what morals you hold, having casual sex can be either detrimental or helpful to your psychological health.
- If sex is something that you are not comfortable with, then it will hold a negative effect on your psychological health leading to either clinging to your partner for security or avoidance of your partner completely.
- When couples are ready to have sex and comfortable, the benefits gained from a healthy sex life boost psychological health enormously, often leading to lifelong marriages.