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Can Love and Lust Coexist in a Relationship?

Author:

Glenn Stok has a Master of Science degree. He enjoys researching topics related to health, relationships, and emotional well-being.

How can you have love and lust in a relationship with respect? Find out!

How can you have love and lust in a relationship with respect? Find out!

I have a theory: If you love someone and have great respect for your partner, then you may have trouble experiencing lust.

Love can keep two people together, and lust can keep the relationship alive. However, what happens when "respect" gets in the way? Can someone truly lust after someone they respect? With the correct balance of these three elements, maybe. It's all about the dynamic that works best for the individual.

You might be thinking that lust is only the desire for sex without caring for your partner’s feelings. Maybe that's true, but before I go any further, I think the definitions of lust and love are necessary. You may be surprised to see that the definition of lust is less appalling than you might have presumed.

Simply stated, lust is the excessive desire for one's own sexual pleasure.

— Michael W. Austin, PhD; professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University

What Is Lust?

Let’s examine some definitions of lust found in the Merriam-Webster's dictionary, along with my comments on each:

  1. To have an intense desire or need: Not so bad, right? That could apply to anything you ever wanted in your life, such as a craving for chocolate. A lust for sweets. That could imply “enthusiasm,” such as a lust for life. It’s nice to be enthusiastic about something.
  2. An intense longing: That could be an intense longing for someone or anything at all. There’s nothing seriously wrong with this either.
  3. Usually intense sexual desire: Okay, now we’re getting closer to the naughty side. We might say that lust is a physical need for someone.

What Is Love?

Next, let's review some definitions of love, with my comments explaining how they compare with lust.

  1. Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties: There are circumstances where we can love someone and never have feelings of lust. The love of family members is unmistakably an example of this.
  2. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion: That's an essential factor of love. When partners have all these feelings, they tend to be committed to the relationship for sharing a lifetime together.
  3. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: It's terrific to be loyal, faithful, and have an interest in the welfare of one's partner. It's not always a matter of love. People could have concerns for business associates, for example, without love in the equation. But this confuses some people involved in a romance. They feel they are a terrible person if having lustful thoughts for someone with whom they are concerned.

The Science Behind Lust and Love

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, conducted a study with her colleagues to see what happens in the brain when people are in love. They took a sample of 17 people who were happily in love and 15 who were just dumped. Subjects were shown photos of their sweetheart (or ex-sweetheart) and then a distraction photo. By using an MRI to scan the brain, they found activity in a very small pocket at the base of the brain—the ventral tegmental area—when the subjects were looking at photos of their sweetheart (or ex-sweetheart). This area of the brain contains dopamine neurons. It is often associated with drug use, which produces a similar dopamine rush as the feelings of lust and love—particularly in newer relationships.

They also found heightened activity of A10 cells, which are cells that make dopamine and spray it across different sections in the brain. So then what other sections and chemicals are involved with falling in lust or love? Glad you asked.

Falling in Lust

Lust causes the prefrontal cortex—the section of the brain that manages rational behavior—to shut down. On the other hand, the hypothalamus starts pumping testosterone and estrogen, which triggers desire. Other chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine make a person feel excited and euphoric.

Falling in Love

When a person goes beyond lust and falls in love, they experience a drop in serotonin. Seratonin provides a sense of being in control and helps prevents anxiety, so when they experience this drop, a person can become obsessed with things that can cause anxiety—aka, their love interest. They also experience increased activity in the ventral pallidum, which facilitates long-term companionships.

It's Complicated . . .

These are only a few of the many chemical reactions that take place in the brain when feelings of love and lust are triggered. Knowing this, it's understandable that we often don't know how to distinguish one from the other. But when it comes to relationships, there's another key element that comes into play.

I've come to think that romantic love is a drive—a basic mating drive, not the sex drive. The sex drive gets you out there for a whole range of partners. Romantic love enables you to focus your mating energy on just one at a time, conserve your mating energy and start the mating process with a single individual.

— Helen Fisher, PhD; biological anthropologist and scientific advisor to Chemistry.com

The "R" Word

Many relationships start with lust, but others function fine with love and respect exclusively.

Oh, there’s that R-word! No, not relationship. I’m referring to respect. The premise of this discussion is to determine how respect can hinder the strong emotional feelings of lust that can help make a healthy relationship romantic.

The Dilemma of Love, Lust, and Respect

Some people can only lust after another when they don't respect them. I found some agreement among men and women about this. I also found others who deny that lust has anything to do with a healthy relationship. You be the judge.

Allow me to propose this idea to contemplate. When a man respects a woman, he can't love her with a strong sense of lust. That is a bold statement for me to make. It certainly does not apply to all men. However, from my observation, it does explain the mental attitude of some men.

In my opinion, those who function solely on lust can only love someone who they don't respect. Can this be a healthy relationship?

How do they interpret love? Are they confusing love with lust? I think so. A man will find it difficult to respect a woman who he lusts after if that is the only feeling he has towards her. (This can apply to women's feelings towards men too, but I'll focus on this from a man's point of view for the sake of this discussion. Women readers who can relate to this discussion are welcome to share their comments below.)

Thinking this way, a man will never have the satisfaction of lust in a healthy, loving relationship. Is it correct to say that a man can only feel lust for a woman when he has a lack of respect for her?

Now that we understand the concept, I'll elaborate on this dilemma.

Why Respect and Lust Is Confusing

If a man who is in an emotional affair starts to fall in love with a woman who he respects, then he may find himself confused with conflicting thoughts of love and lust.

He finds himself treating her with total respect. He treats her like a princess. He wants everything for her. He wants to make her happy. But with all this respect and caring, can he still lust after her? Can he be transparent with her and share secret lustful joys with her? He might be sheltering her from his erotic thoughts, or he might be afraid to share them with her due to his respect for her.

Now, this brings me to an important consideration. Is it merely a normal sexual behavior that adds joy and entertainment to a relationship? Erotic thoughts are not terrible, and every good and healthy relationship includes this kind of sharing. It opens the door for sexual expression between a man and a woman.

Why, then, is there an issue with opening up emotionally with a woman with whom the man has total respect?

Is respect creating a brick wall? Is it hindering any ability to make an emotionally united partnership out if it?

Are love and lust mutually exclusive? That is to say, that we can have either one but not both?

I know many men who have chosen a life with a woman who is not right for them. They married out of lust, not love. In some cases that works, because love develops from it. Well, sometimes it does, but it's not my cup of tea. I want love and lust, as well as respect.

How Lust Transforms Into Love

If you have lust with someone and you fall in love, the love will keep you together, and the lust will keep the relationship alive.

In my opinion, lust is essential for a relationship to flourish. We certainly need love, no question about it. But without lust, the romance in a relationship can dwindle over time. It’s lust that keeps some types of people from seeking other partners. Other types of people have the desire to remain faithful simply because of the love they feel.

I believe that "lust" has a lot to do with having a deep-felt, loving relationship—as long as one can combine it with respect. In a healthy relationship, if you love each other, that love continues to feed on itself. And with proper communication, lust can continue to prosper.

If you started with lust and discovered later that the person is someone you can respect, then love may follow, and you stay together. However, if you respect someone before developing lust or love, then when you do fall in love, lust is difficult to discover.

Common Questions

Is lust important in a relationship?

Yes! Lust is the foundation of almost any relationship. A relationship built solely on lust will probably not last past the honeymoon phase. But lust opens the door to mutual respect and love. You will know if it's love by considering the next question.

How do I know if it's love or lust?

If you are confused as to whether it's love or lust, here are some questions drawn from Abigail Brenner via Psychology Today to ask yourself. It's important to remember that love can be romantic or strictly platonic. It's possible to answer "yes" to all of these questions while thinking about a friend.

  • Do you make an effort to stay connected?
  • Do you focus on the positives?
  • Are you interested in each other's lives?
  • Are you able to share core values?

Aside from asking yourself these questions, researcher and therapist Terri Orbuch shares four signs that it's love, deduced after three decades of studying couples.

  1. You want your partner to connect with all the people in your life.
  2. You use "we" language rather than "I" language.
  3. You are able to share on an extremely personal level.
  4. You are able to influence each other in meaningful and strong ways.

How long does lust last in a relationship?

Lust always exists in a relationship. It's what keeps an intimate connection thriving. But the "the honeymoon phase," a phase of intense infatuation, can last between 12 to 24 months. Does that mean that there's no way to have a deeper connection during that period? Absolutely not! Lust is one of the first things that you may feel going into a relationship, but as long as there is mutual respect and understanding, it can blossom into a wonderful relationship.

Certified counselor Jonathan Bennett, founder of Double Trust Dating, even says that the ending of the honeymoon phase can be a good thing:

"Although it sounds negative, the ending of the honeymoon phase can be positive. It allows you to both see each other openly and honestly and decide if the relationship is worth continuing. In addition, you can prolong the passion and happiness; it just takes more work. If you’re dating a great person, [they] should be more than willing to put in that effort!"

The good news is that lust and love, as different as they are, can exist together in a relationship. Just remember: moments of passion are some of the highlights of our lives, and you can never have too many.

— Terri Orbuch, PhD; The Love Doctor

So, Can Love and Lust Coexist in a Relationship?

The answer is yes! The fact is that we want to spend our life with someone we truly love. Passion can be an enjoyable component of a relationship. But if it’s only for lust, then something is wrong.

If you're in a loving and respectful relationship, but it's devoid of lust, that's fine if the love is strong enough. If lust is desired, then help one another create it with honest and thoughtful communication. Some people feel that it's part of romance.

The trick is to start with lust, then fall deeply in love, and let the respect develop later. However, there is no way to control the order of things. It's all part of life. There's no need to overanalyze. Just go with the flow and be happy with one another.

Reader Survey . . .

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is it ok to have sexual feelings for the girl that I am completely, deeply, totally, and madly in love with?

Answer: Not only is it normal, but also it’s natural for human beings to have sexual feelings. That’s how the human race continues to evolve.

The thing to understand is where these feelings are coming from. If it’s only for pleasure-seeking, then it may not be right for a relationship that you expect to last a lifetime.

If you truly love her deeply, as you say, then the desire for intimacy may be related to those feelings of love. Only you can determine that. Give it some thought.

Once you get in touch with your feelings, you also need to consider her feelings. Do you know how she feels? Are the feelings mutual? Is romance involved? Or is it just lust? Do the two of you feel passion for each other when together?

Discuss all this with her. Find out what’s going on for her too. Then you can determine if you are both emotionally on the same page. If either of you is confused about your feelings, take it slow. Time will tell what’s right and wrong.

Question: Is it possible to still have sexual feelings for someone who was your friend in school twenty years ago?

Answer: It's common for people to remember someone from their early school days and still have feelings for them based on memories.

The thing that most people don't consider is that they are obsessed with the memory of the relationship, but not the person. Their intense passion may dissolve once they meet the person who has aged twenty years since last seen during their youthful school days.

On the other hand, if they were together all that time, the changes that occur with aging are hardly noticed. Love and passion can last forever, and that's a good thing.

Question: Is it plausible for you to love and lust at the same time? My girlfriend asked me if it's lust or love that I have for her. I love her as much as I lust. I'm just not sure how to explain it to her.

Answer: Just let her read my article. My detailed explanation will help her understand. If you read it, you’d see that I answered your question.

Question: I began with love and respect, followed with lust. So far, I know a sprinkle of lust can fire things up, but my spouse is rigid on the lust side of things. How can I improve my sexual compatibility with my spouse?

Answer: It seems that you both have different values. It would be helpful to have a heart-to-heart discussion about it. Share your feelings, but also be open to hearing your spouse's reasoning.

I discuss methods of communication with your partner when you have relationship setbacks in more detail in the following article: "How to Change Your Perception of an Imperfect Relationship" https://pairedlife.com/advice/relationship-setback... .

Question: Is it possible for a young guy to lust, fantasize, and love an older woman and be with her forever? Is that normal or possible? Has this been done before?

Answer: Age has no bounds. One can fall in love with anyone—older or younger.

The vital point in your question, however, is how you mentioned fantasizing. That makes me wonder how much in love you really are. That is something you need to consider. If you are focusing on fantasy and not looking forward to real-life events and relationship growth with another person, then you might end up very disappointed.

That’s not to say that it can’t happen. Of course, it’s a wish come true that our fantasies come to life. If the two of you are in a real emotional relationship, then you might share your mutual fantasies with one another. That could actually add to the enjoyment of the partnership. But if you have secret fantasies that you are hoping for, and not jointly shared, then it probably will never happen.

Question: The guy I had a relationship with had moved on to another, but occasionally we see each other. I’ve told him I love him, but I feel overwhelming lust for him. He said that he now knows what lust is. He dreamed about me and missed me. But he has a girlfriend now. What do I need to understand about all this?

Answer: He has a girlfriend now, so you need to forget about him. Move on. It’s simple as that! If he lusts after you, then he is not faithful to his girlfriend, and he will end up hurting both of you.

Question: My boyfriend and I started with lust, then to love, and followed by respect. But lust has diminished, and I wonder why? He says he’s not quite sure, but he’s certainly finding himself loving me more and more. Is this normal? What can we do about it?

Answer: Your experience with your boyfriend losing his feelings of lust is precisely the issue that I described in my article that you just read.

You may recall that I ended the article saying, "If lust is desired but missing, then help one another create it with honest and thoughtful communication.”

So I would recommend you let your boyfriend read the article too. Then discuss it with him.

Since you said he developed respect for you after losing lustful feelings, pay particular attention to the section, “The Dilemma of Love, Lust, and Respect.” That’s where I describe people who can only lust after another when they don't respect them.

That will give you a lot to talk about with your boyfriend while you focus on these issues. His new-found respect for you may be deterring his lust.

Question: My ex never had respect for me. He lied and cheated. He continues to tell me his sexual feelings of what he’s going to do when he sees me. Now he’s saying he loves me and appreciates the good I did in his life. But he also expresses deep lust. Does he love me now?

Answer: You can figure out if he loves you by paying attention to his actions, not to his words. Since he lied and cheated in the past, I'd be cautious about accepting him back if I were you. Those were actions, and actions speak louder than words — as the saying goes.

In addition, it seems he is telling you what he thinks you want to hear. Once again, those are just words. Watch for his actions. Is he there for you in time of need? If you're sick at home, does he do food shopping for you to keep your refrigerator stocked? If you want to do something that he doesn't care for, is he willing to compromise? You get the picture.

Question: My girlfriend believes that lust is bad and destructive. I do have lust for her but when she talks about it, I feel ashamed. What should I do to have love, lust, and respect coexist?

Answer: The problem is that the feeling is not mutual. The only solution in that case is intimate communication. You both need to share your innermost thoughts about your feelings without fear of rejection. If that doesn’t work, then it wasn’t meant to be. That could mean you are on opposite sides with no compromise.

© 2012 Glenn Stok

If this inspired you, share your thoughts . . .

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 21, 2020:

Boris Miller-Kurakin - Thanks for your well written explanation of your personal experience. I’m somewhat confused, however, that you say I’m totally wrong when everything you mentioned confirms what I discussed in my article. I’m wondering if you actually read through it.

Boris Miller-Kurakin on July 21, 2020:

I have to say I very much disagree with you. Specifically when it comes to sex. Sex can have two sides to it, romantic and erotic (sometimes mixtures of both).

Now with my last partner I obviously felt deeply in love, we often had sex that was romantic in nature (i.e. geared toward enjoying our mutual feelings of compassion and love for each other).

However We also have another kind of sex, a more erotic sex. This sex was definitely not romantic in nature, and was very much seslfish. It involved particular fetishes on both our parts (dominance on mine, submission on hers). This was very much about lust, and indeed it was very selfish for both of us, in either case we were concerned with what we wanted and I in particular in bed mostly just considered what I wanted. Now this isn't to say that it also wasn't what she wanted, quite the contrary she enjoyed the submissive role, this is one of the reasons we had great chemistry in the bedroom. This sex was a cornerstone of our relationship and our sexual attitude was key to our rapport (both in and out of the bedroom). None of this reduced the love I felt, nor did I feel I didn't respect her (quite the contrary).

This obviously contradicts much of your theory, so I guess I'd have to say you're totally wrong

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 11, 2020:

Natalie Galan - Thanks for sharing your personal experience Natalie. No two people are alike, and we all have unique issues to understand.

Natalie Galan on June 11, 2020:

This was a very relevant topic for me ATM. I have recently reflected on how I yearn so bad to have someone in my life to live and yet all I seem to be experiencing is love. That brings me to another point that you didn't address and I find quite interesting. The individual. Where are they at in their life, for example. For myself, I find that I lust very, very easily. That being said, it also quickly turns into feeling of love and equally respect. Because I also give those things easily to others, including sexual partners. So my list, with features of love and respect mean I fall for people right off the bat. This seems romantic. Unfortunately it has led to many, many upsets and tears. Because, well, here I am and they are not. I think there may be others out there who also fall fast and fall hard so I wanted to share this.

It's an experience that seems on par with what you've discussed, with a little difference because, for example, the love etc part seems to come much quicker than 12 months.

Alas, thanks Glenn, for the info.

Cheers,

Natalie

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 03, 2020:

Kushal - Thank you for your feedback and kind words on how you felt about this article. It’s always good to know that my portrayal of life has such an impact on others.

Kushal on May 03, 2020:

Sir, I do not have a question for you but I would like to say that what you have written I can reverberate and relate to perhaps 100%. I have never come across an article that so immaculately describes the 3 emotions/feelings and how each relate to each other. Thank you for writing this. Couldn't find the comments section therefore posted this here. Apologies in case you find this inappropriate

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 16, 2019:

Camilla - You got my definition of lust correct, and your review of respect is quite complete. These issues are what makes it so complicated for some people. Then again, others find it a simple matter. As you do. Partners in a relationship such as yours might have the ability to have both love and lust exist at the same time. That’s a great thing to achieve since both are wonderful feelings.

Camilla on July 16, 2019:

I don't really see how respect would be a problem in love or lust. Isn't respect even required to lust someone? And isn't deep respect the same as loving someone? Or by respect you perhaps mean "admiration," then isn't that what infatuation is? Respect, as in "having due regard for the feelings, wishes and rights of others" is something that should be a given. Don't you generally respect other people? Maybe you should have focused on defining respect and love instead of lust.

To me:

To Lust someone: To have the great desire to sleep with that person. It's only physical. You might think about them all the time, but you're only thinking about sex or how hot they are.

"To feel a connection," you feel "something," but it's not love or infatuation. Maybe you feel lust at the same time, or perhaps just this feeling. You feel connected and talking to that person feels intimate. You care about them, but your heart wouldn't break if you lost them.

To be in love: The butterflies and joy you feel with that special someone. The world is more beautiful, food tastes better, and everything is more fun and delightful when you're with that person. You often think about how lucky you are and how wonderful they are as a person. Putting the person on a pedestal, "he's the worlds most kind person." It's not sexual at all.

To love someone: The warm feeling in the heart of really, really caring for someone. Their well-being is more important than anything. You are forgiving, accepting, and wouldn't judge them.

Respect: You accept that the person is the way he/she is. You don't judge or look down on them.

Now I think you can experience all of the above at the same time or at least shift between them within one relationship. I know I do.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 16, 2019:

Sy - Those are normal feelings. Take your time with it and try not to think about it too much. You'll know in time how the relationship is going and what it means to both of you.

Sy on July 16, 2019:

I have been reading a lot of articles, because this morning I woke up asking myself what I felt for him while a day ago I was sure I loved him. I notice I have a strong sexual desire for him, lately I feel it has been way to strong, there have been times when he is talking and I’m just thinking like “shut up and kiss me”, and I feel I should be like that. I feel this relationship started to quick, everything went so fast, and we were not even friends before staring being lovers. I’m not saying I don’t care about the intimacy talk, it’s just sometimes I feel so turned up. I totally enjoy him, we have visited museums and parks, and I really feel myself with him.

And I don’t know why I’m asking myself if this is real, like if this is really love, or I’m just listing and I don’t know the difference.

I have asked myself “what if he cheats?” “can you just be away from him?”

And I wouldn’t be able to feel okay if he cheated, and I wouldn’t either like to be away, but even if all this, I doubt, and I don’t know why I’m doubting, I don’t j is what I’m feeling

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 19, 2019:

David S. - Lust shouldn’t make it awkward. As long as you also have love and respect, you both should be able to talk about it and get over the awkwardness.

David S. on June 19, 2019:

It started off with pure attraction and chemistry, but lust wasn't present until recently. I’ve known her for about 3 years in our work environment and we clicked from the start. At the time, she had a boyfriend. But that didn’t stop me. I just backed off and gave her space.

Now she's recently single and I'm back now. The connection is even more intense and awkward because of lust!

My point is: Love, respect, and lust all play a part in a relationship. From my experience, it’s all about how you both want to proceed.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 06, 2019:

Adrian - You pinpointed the issue that I think affects lots of people.

I believe we create our own conflicts by the way we consider things. Maybe if you can think of "lust" as a good thing, you might be able to avoid the conflict in your mind.

Adrian on June 06, 2019:

In my experience, lust and respect are a difficult conflict.

But not getting enough of either only increases the need for both.

When I respect a girl/woman, I deeply feel as if I'm not worthy enough.

So It creates a constant ongoing conflict in my head.

But then, I also can't lust after after a girl whom I don't respect, because I need to like/respect her to desire her.

So usually it results into a deadlock where I'm stuck not doing anything.

Lust and respect are needed at the same time for me but they also are in conflict

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 02, 2019:

Kristy - Your two descriptions provide a great example of the issues involved. To answer your question, I can only say that we can’t expect people to change. So we need to decide for ourselves what’s more important in our lives. However, your explanation is very meaningful and needs to be considered when deciding who is better suited as a lifetime mate.

Kristy on April 01, 2019:

Glenn, thank you for the insight on this topic. I was searching info about being “in lust” with someone and I 100% agree that you can have feelings of lust and develop a deep love for that person but I think the problem is when that happens first, a man often is unable to respect the woman fully. Here’s my experience.... I was being courted by two different men. One of them seemed like it wasn’t a choice at all because we had so much lust for each other that it became so intense right away and then developed into an emotional connection and love. The problem is our personalities are not suited well for each other and often times feel disrespected or misunderstood by the other but because we have this intense physical and emotional connection we always seem to smooth things out because of the intense desire to be together.

Now in contrast the other guy that was courting me in the beginning was a great person, our personalities were very well suited for each other, so we developed a deep understanding and respect for one another. However initially our intimate relationship was good but then began to feel like we had entered the “friends zone” romantically and I truly believe it’s because he actually loved and respected me and that made it impossible to “objectify” me sexually (I don’t mean this in a negative way) but think it speaks to lusting after someone. Which made the romantic relationship dwindle into this friendship that remained just that.

I think that lust and love are what make things interesting and can keep two people together but eventually if a basic level of respect does not occur the relationship will be like a ticking time bomb waiting to blow up because everyone wants to feel respected by others. And if a person does not have a need for the excitement of lust in a relationship they are unlikely to be affected by its absence in their relationship but if they are like most people the absence of lust can cause them to look elsewhere to find it.

Any thoughts on how to make changes to be more considerate and respectful without extinguishing the feelings of lust?

Enna Lou on March 17, 2019:

Thank you for your advice!

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 16, 2019:

Enna Lou - You’re asking the right questions. The answers are more complex, however. The most important thing you can do is to discuss your feelings with him. Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Together, you will come to understand what’s happening emotionally. You may even discover that you both have the same issue, which will help you appreciate one another even more.

Enna Lou on March 16, 2019:

I really love this article and appreciate Teresa's comment, because it helped me understand more about lust.

I was wondering how can one "wake up" the feeling of lust, when love and respect are in the way?

I am in a relationship with this amazing person. I love him and respect him so much, that the feeling of lust comes and goes, what really bothers me. It bothers me because before i got used to feel lust with other people and in this relationship (which is the healthiest i was in), the lust seems to be missing. I am attracted to him, but i miss that feeling of really wanting someone.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 03, 2018:

Thanks for that reply Teresa. I appreciate your input. It all boils down to the fact that respect needs to be part of the puzzle, no matter who lusts for the other. Without respect, I wouldn’t consider a relationship to be worthy of a meaningful partnership.

Teresa on December 03, 2018:

I suppose what I said was a little different from what the title of the article was asking about. I suppose they can, in a way, if there is respect.

I suppose that if a woman lusted after a man, it could result in the same scenario. I don't know of any real life example of that actually happening with anyone I know personally, though I did read a story about that happening. It doesn't seem as likely, because women (at least most women) seem to be wired differently from men.

A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend about what had happened with that online "friend" of mine, about how I found myself developing feelings for him when I felt that I had a real emotional bond with him, and he said that I seem to be demisexual. I've just read a little about what this means, and I think I am. I can't speak for all women, but I suspect that many (if not most) other women are also. A person who is demisexual needs to feel an emotional bond with someone before they can really be sexually attracted to them.

So, I suppose this scenario COULD happen in reverse, but not with a woman who is demisexual. I suspect that most women probably are, though not all are. And I think that usually, unless the person has some kind of disorder, where there is a real emotional bond, there is at least some respect.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 02, 2018:

Teresa - Thank you for your enlightening comment. You explained these issues very well and you gave very clear examples of the problem that occurs if lust comes first without developing into love. This view is different from my questioning if love and lust can coexist, which is the title of this article. However, your example is an important added consideration.

Your point focuses on the male lusting after a woman. I’d like to know your opinion if the woman lusts first, without developing a loving feeling. Could it result in the same scenario—in your opinion?

Teresa on December 02, 2018:

I disagree that the feelings of lust have to come first. I feel that the exact opposite is the case. I have found that when someone lusts after someone without first developing respect for them, they simply use them and throw them away and never come to respect them. Respect needs to come first, before anything sexual happens, for a real, healthy relationship.

When guys say that they need to first have sex with a woman before they can consider having a serious romantic relationship with her, they're lying. They just want to have sex without any real relationship. They're hoping that some woman will be lonely and desperate enough to give them what they want in the hopes of MAYBE getting some real love in return. Sorry if that sounds cynical, but that's what I think.

You do make an interesting point, though, about there being a conflict between lust and respect. I would agree that respect does prevent lust, but that is because lust actually indicates a lack of respect. Lust, in my opinion, is more than just strong feelings of sexual attraction. Lusting after someone means desiring someone sexually with the intent, or the desire, to use that person to fulfill one's own sexual desires, with no regard for that person's feelings, or how it affects the other person in any way.

Even if you begin with respect, before lust has developed, it is still possible to develop strong feelings of sexual attraction. I know. I've experienced it. I had developed a great deal of respect for my current boyfriend before the feelings of physical desire developed.

I think the main problem with this article is the way lust is defined. Lust involves more than just strong feelings of sexual desire, it also involves a lack of respect, and seeing the other person as a mere sexual object.

I've also had the experience of having someone lust after me. I made the mistake of giving in (even though we never met in person) and sex chatting with him online. After he had gotten what he wanted, he had no more use for me. He stopped talking to me, unfriended me, and deleted all the virtual gifts that I had sent him. That's what happens when the person lusting gets what they want before they've developed any respect for the other person. They just use them and then throw them away like garbage.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on October 09, 2017:

Well said Edy. I find that idea interesting that love and lust become neutral. The way you explained it, it makes sense.

Edy on October 09, 2017:

You just need to combine them! Learn how to combine Love and Lust and Respect will come in time.

“Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction". I keep seeing people arguing over Lust and Love, but Lust is not Evil and Love is not Good–both of them are Neutral. They become good or evil when altered by our perception or situation.

Just imagine a couple. They stay in the same house, they have fights, ups and downs, extreme situations, moments when they want to quit...but they don’t. As time passes they grow to know each other better, they function better together, and they trust each other.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 26, 2017:

Lennard Curvan, Thank you for your very detailed and meaningful contribution with your comment. I would think your thoughts are a guiding light for those who struggle with these issues.

Lennard Curvan on June 26, 2017:

I started reading this article about the three main teams love, lust and respect. I think this is quite an interesting article. However somewhere down the line, my head started spinning from all the different thoughs. This is even though they are quite interesting.

First I just wanted to say that in defining anything we sometimes come up with many answers. This is simply because the answers we have for any topic is answered based upon our triditional, cultural, religious, social or other wise background.

When we meet someone we can have great love for that person, maybe even the other way around, great lust, maybe just respect, or even a mixture of all three. I will not comment about what is wrong or right. I will just keep that to myself (not being selfish).

What we should realize is that our relationship is really based on an agreement that we will stay together for life. We are not perfect so for what ever reason if that didn't happen, try to do it right the next time.

The love, lust, and respect you have the rest of your life to work on. You can perfect your combination by learning and cultivating new habits to make things better. The best thing in that situation is to see how you can better serve the other person. In time, you both can grow and change for the better.

You want more love. Learn how to be more loving and eventually it may come back to you. You want more respect, be always respectful and it will return back to you. You want more mutual feelings (lust as you will say), cultivate that and you will eventually reap a great harvest.

If all of those things don't work. Thank God for the patience, the longsuffering, the kindness and all his wonderful attributes you are learning from just trying to be a better person in your relationship. Life is to short. Learn to be the best you you can be, for others. Eventually you will leave this world a better place. We all have to go sometime.

Our habits don't just affect the person that is close to us. We leave a little piece in the puzzle of life that affects the entire outcome of humanity for eternity.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 14, 2017:

She-Wolf 1988 - Sounds like that arrangement is working for you. That's all that matters.

She-Wolf 1988 on April 14, 2017:

My spouse and I have been together for (at the time writing this 13 going on 14 years). we had gotten together our freshman year of high school. We have times where we just do a quick kiss then go to bed then, there are times we are on each other still acting like a couple of horny teenagers. Neither of us has really felt the need to get married (not that we haven't talked about it). just the funny thing is we got together after trying to help each other in an anger management group being done while we were in school. he was having issues with one of his sisters, and I was having "Daddy issues"(parents had recently gotten divorced at that time.{may explain my resistance to getting married right away}).

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 12, 2015:

David, And in return, I thank you for validating my thoughts on this matter. It's probably more common than we realize.

David on June 12, 2015:

This whole idea of love/lust has been stressing me out lately. I've recently made the decision to commit to a woman whom I've been enjoying wonderful sex with, and it's almost like my physical desire for her has disappeared overnight. The stronger the feelings are in my chest, the lesser they are in my loins. Cannot tell you how reassuring it is to have this article validate my experience.

Isaac on December 18, 2014:

Lust alone ruins; Love respects; and respect may not always love, but it does at times and when that happens, adoration of the respected-lusted after individual takes root.... To keep things in perfect harmony, love must reign supreme in order to find lust and respect... It's a great thought...thank you very much..

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 24, 2014:

T - I appreciate your wonderful feedback. Your explanation of your three relationships makes something very clear that is important. That is, the order of the development of the three things. From your experience it is absolutely clear that the best relationship, and a lasting one, has a better chance if respect comes first. Then lust, and finally - love.

It is also understandable that lust will always deminish over time as people age. But respect can never be taken away as long as it is based on truth. And as far a love goes, that's always something that takes time to grow and can continue growing with the right ingredients.

I'm glad you found your third love. That sure sounds like a keeper.

T on June 24, 2014:

I've been in three serious relationships, the first we had an amazing connection. Love, lust and respect were all very strong. We focused our energy on the love and lust side of things and I started losing respect for her, until things became complicated, she cheated and it ended. The second was mostly lustful, a bit of love developed but again, little respect. I saw this going in the same direction as the first relationship so I ended it. The third one began with the foundation of respect, a little lust crept in, love developed and we got married and had a baby. The lust has dimished, but love and respect prevail. I often wonder if there was more lust, would it weaken my respect for my wife, and after reading this post I think it might do. Certainly, I see the appeal to having a lustful relationship, it's fun! But I don't know that it is a stable foundation for a healthy relationship as it was detrimental to my first two relationships. Sooner or later, the woman will realise she is not being respected, but lusted after, and I believe most women would rather be respected by their partner than lusted after. I'm now starting to think that lust can be problematic if that part of the relationship is focused on and developed more than love and respect. I think lust is something that needs to be managed and controlled and not allowed to take over. My 2 cents anyway :)

Jane on September 12, 2013:

I would argue that it is not love or respect, but familiarity and the almost inevitable complacency that develop in a relationship that kills lust (and sometimes respect and love). Why is the death of lust so much more commonplace than the other two? Maybe because it is primal. Maybe it is because it is seen as a cardinal sin in the modern Western world.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 18, 2013:

AmandaJon - That is a very insightful comment. Your explanation is a useful method for all couples who feel that something is slipping away. Thanks for stopping by.

Amanda Jones on June 18, 2013:

Excellent hub Glenn, you gave an insight on a very controversial subject. When you love someone you feel more tenderness and care for this person, but I'm not saying that there can't be lust in their relationship. I suggest for couples who want to feel lust in their long term relationship to experimentalize, what I mean is to try something different, something unusual, follow your instincts at unusual place or time, maybe then you'll feel lust again.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 25, 2013:

Laurel - I have to agree with you about that being healthy when you can have both feelings at the same time. It's something that some people need to work on to have a healthy relationship. I am sure that communication on the topic can help. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

Laurel on February 25, 2013:

For me it is the exact opposite of what you describe. If I am attracted to a man, and if I respect him, then the love and the lust get stronger. I think that is healthy.

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on August 12, 2012:

Hmm, an interesting hub here, Glenn. I have been married 3 times (strangely, not particularly because I wanted to be married but because the guy wanted to marry me, I just sort of got carried away).

I have known love and lust, intense and ... er, mild. The intense love/lust ruined a marriage and was simply not worth it in the end. Believe me ...

Men experience lust ... it is part of what drives them ... and correctly so, it ensures the human race continues. So men, I believe, can sometimes, (often?) divorce themselves from the person they are coupling with ... some even to the point of imagining their partner is someone else and thus experience lust. Does that make sense?

Women (usually and thank God) have to have some sort of feelings for the man they sleep with ... unless drunk. Women are usually the brake, the voice of reason and not all of us experience lust (sadly or maybe not).

When you get to my age, and have had some sexual/romantic adventures you eventually realise just how unimportant romantic love, with or without lust, is, trust me.

At my age (64) friendship is much more important. Someone to hold your hand when the diagnosis is not good, someone to worry with when your kids are going through hard times ...

Friends ... but with benefits :)

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 11, 2012:

Personally I think God made us thus. When a couple get married (assuming you are speaking religiously) I think their thoughts are much about lust and this is normal. Now if one gets tired of the other and lusts for someone else then there is the problem. Lust naturally will die down as the marriage goes on and turn more to love than lust. I think maybe that is why one or the other sometimes do turn to someone else if this is not mutual in the change. Even certain animals and birds are monogamist. It is a choice but lust within a marriage is certainly not wrong.

Mom Kat from USA on August 11, 2012:

My hubby and I have been together for 6+ years. We love and respect one another. I would have to say that he lusts after me more than I lust after him. I've settled into a practical stance where while I still find him attractive, I can wait until the kids have gone to bed before looking for affection. He, on the other hand, still lusts after me as much as when we first met. He wants to send the kids outside, plunk them in front of a movie, or ship them off to a relative for a few hours & he wants it "right now". It doesn't matter if I wear a gunny sack covered in mud! He's always "in the mood" & always waiting for the green light to pounce... lol (maybe it's just a guy thing)