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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sexual Love

Sometimes as many of you know I have very strange conversations with very normal seeming people. For once I got to have a conversation with someone who seemed a bit unusual at first but revealed themselves as being normal.

I was having a conversation with a young lady who is fairly active in the poly social circles where I live. She knows most everyone, attends a lot of functions, and has dated her share of folks. Although she is knowledgeable about a variety of subjects and attends many unusual events (rituals, worship circles, etc.) she isn't overly spiritual nor does she tend to get deeply involved in the events.

We were having a conversation about general poly topics, sharing our likes and dislikes with each other, types of people we date, things of that nature. A couple of times the conversation drifted to people in the community who were sexually focused.

One of her comments was something like, "I'm a bit frustrated with the number of people who just want sex". I let her know that although I agreed and people looking purely for sex within the poly community were frustrating, I couldn't blame someone for wanting sex and being focused about it. I mean really, sex is fun. At least, if you are doing it right!

The conversation drifted a bit and I found us talking about poly breakups and the end of relationships. Specifically, how some people feel the need to completely walk away from a person and even end friendships when romantic relationships end. A concept neither of us agrees with in the least. We both tend to believe relationships are dynamic and just because a physical or deeply connected emotional relationship doesn't last it doesn't mean love will end or the friendship needs to dissolve.

This was the point at which I threw out a theory I've had for a while now called Sexual Love. The idea that some people confuse a sexual relationship with love. Happily the girl I was chatting with easily connected the dots and agreed with my theory, lending it some validity.

From there we both recounted numerous relationships that seemed to have a definitive sexual requirement. Once that requirement was removed all aspects of the relationships dissolved. Both of us believing as we do we each had several relationships where we had decided to stop sleeping with someone in an effort to refocus on other parts of the relationship, or had done so because parts of the relationship were becoming a concern. We had each experienced failure of the entire relationship shortly thereafter. And we each remembered being told if there was no sexual relationship then there was no relationship at all.

I'm not a psychiatrist but I imagine I am so my theory is as follows; I believe some people equate being desired with being loved. The epitome of desire for them is for someone to want them physically. Physical consummation then provides the validity that they are indeed loved.

That's a pretty general description but going into detail would easily triple the length of this article and I know you are already bored. What I'm curious about is if others have encountered this behavior? Is it something you think is widespread or rare? Are you possibly one of the people I'm talking about? If so, how has that behavior worked for you with respect to relationships?


  1. I've been thinking about this post for a few days now. And I've found I have waving opinions. I like sex. I can separate sex from love hence the ability to swing. However, I've never had a romantic relationship with someone where sex wasn't on the board. Sex with someone I love is important to me and would be my preference.

    However, with that being said, if either of my men had a reason they couldn't have sex then I know I would still love them. It wouldn't end my relationship with them if the sex ended.

    But, if they just lost an interest in sex with me specifically, I can't say how I would handle that. I believe it would depend on the situation. I know that sex is not the way or the only way to show love. My guys show me they love me in many ways.

    Now, once upon a time, this theory was very true of Dirk, my husband. Part of his growth in this poly journey has been to learn that love and sex are not one and the same.

  2. Lovingmorethanone, thanks for the thought provoking comment!

    After reading your comment I realized I wrote about how I think others view sex and love but not about my own views. I also think I forgot an important point in the article.

    The point I forgot was that although I don’t think relationships have to end just because the physical aspect has ended, nor do I completely understand that mentality, I can’t say it is wrong either. The frustration for me is that people don’t enter into relationships with a qualifying statement such as; “Our relationship will only be viable as long as there is a physical component.” Instead it seems the requirement for sex is unspoken and if/when the sex is gone that is when we learn about the requirement.

    As for my own views, I don’t feel sex and love are the same thing. That said I also have a hard time separating the two. Were I to try and measure my feelings I would say that 80% of the time emotional love is required for me to engage in physical love. But, 10% of the time I am able to have a physical encounter with someone I find attractive physically or emotionally but with whom I have no plans or desire for a long-term emotional relationship. And 10% of the time I have relationships where we emotionally fit well but find our physical relationship isn’t mutually satisfying for some reason. In those relationships I continue to love the person as a partner and treat them as such, we just don’t have sex.

    And like you, sex with someone I love is very important to me.