Can Love and Lust Coexist in a Relationship?
I have a theory: If you love someone and you 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? Somehow lust and respect don't work well together.
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 a definition of lust is necessary. According to Webster’s Dictionary, it has less appalling meanings than you might presume at first.
What Is Lust?
- An overwhelming desire or craving.
- An intense longing.
- A very strong sexual desire.
Let’s examine some definitions of lust along with my comments on each:
1. An overwhelming desire or craving.
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. A very strong sexual desire.
Webster goes on to say, “An intense or unrestrained sexual desire.” Okay, now we’re getting closer to the naughty side. We might say that lust is a physical need for someone.
So what is love? Can we say that if we love someone, then we do not need lust? Maybe so. Many relationships function like that, two people loving each other and respecting each other.
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.
Somehow lust and respect don't work well together.
The Dilemma of Love, Lust, and Respect
Some people are wired in such a way that they 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 a while. When a man respects a woman, he can't love her with a full feeling of lust. That is a strong 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 that way on a deep level 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. (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 your comments below.)
Thinking this way, a man will never have the enjoyment 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.
The Confusion of Mixing Lust With Respect
If a man who is in an emotional affair starts to fall in love with a woman who he respects, then he finds himself confused with having the thoughts of love and lust at the same time.
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 it with her due to his respect for her.
Now, this brings me to an important consideration. It is merely a normal sexual behavior that adds joy and entertainment to a relationship. Erotic thoughts are nothing terrible. Review the definitions above again that I took from Webster's Dictionary.
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 a full emotionally united partnership out if it?
Is it correct to say that love and lust are 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 the love and lust along with respect.
The Power of Lust
If you have lust with someone and you fall in love, the love will keep you together, and the lust will keep it alive.
Lust is essential for a relationship to flourish, in my opinion. 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.
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. Does that make sense?
It’s okay if you don’t need it. However, some people feel it's part of romance. Then what? You love and respect one another, but you can’t move forward with the relationship.
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.
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 without lust, that's fine if the love is strong enough. If lust is desired but missing, then help one another create it with honest and attentive communication.
What best describes your situation?
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
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.
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.Helpful 45
Is it ok to have sexual feelings for the girl that I am completely, deeply, totally and madly in love with?
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 the right for a relationship that is expected 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.Helpful 21
I began with love and respect followed. So far I know a sprinkle of lust can fire things up but my spouse is rigid on the lust side of things. What to do?
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.
The following article covers methods of communication about these issues:Helpful 19
Is it possible to still have sexual feelings for someone who was your friend in school twenty years ago?
It's common for people to remember someone from their early school days and still have feelings for them based on memories.
The important thing that most people don't consider is that they are infatuated with the memory and 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 both 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.Helpful 18
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?
You brought up a couple of different questions. Age has no bounds. One can fall in love with anyone — older or younger.
The key in your description, however, is how you talked about fantasizing. That makes me wonder how much in love you really are. This 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 making it a common desire, then it probably will never happen.Helpful 14
© 2012 Glenn Stok