Could this be love, or is it just sex?

The Pleasure Principle

The Pleasure Principle

Mellisa Estebo

This week’s question comes from an anonymous listener. They ask, “I find myself falling in love with someone after I sleep with them, is this really love?”

Many of us find ourselves with feelings of what we interpret as love after sleeping with someone. However, there is a vast difference between feelings of attraction, lust, arousal and feelings of love. People in love can decide to have sex, but just because you have sex does not mean you are in love.

There is some truth to the fact that those who take time to get to know each other before deciding to engage in sexual activity often become closer on an emotional level. This won’t be like the feeling of love felt after only a sexual encounter.

I hate to be the one to say it, but if you are using sex as a way to fall in love, you’ll probably be disappointed. What you are feeling is more than likely arousal and feelings of attraction. All of these are normal, but they do not necessarily mean you are in love.

To be honest, sex does not automatically make you closer to someone; this fact might prompt you and your partner to ask each other some important questions before you decide to have sex. What does sex mean to each of you?

Why do I want to have sex with this person? What are my values surrounding sex? Is this encounter a one-time thing, or are our expectations to have a relationship?

One of the trickiest situations is when one person wants a one-night stand and the other wants a relationship; I can assure you, anonymous contributor, that this is not a situation in which you want to find yourself. Being open with your potential partner and discussing these things beforehand can save you a lot of heartache.

Deciding to open ourselves up to the possibility of loving and being loved is one of the most intimate decisions we can make. You’d be wise not to take this lightly, as heartache is also one of the most intimate and powerful emotions.

Mellisa Estebo is a psychology sophomore and host of WRFL’s “Sexually Speaking.”

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