Over the years I have been aware of a distinction between having sex and making love. Recently I have come to see how far apart they are.
In his book ‘Indecent Practices and Erotic Trance: Making Sense of Tantra’, John Ryan Haule questions our use of the term ‘making love’ for anything sexual. I recently spoke about this during my workshops. As I did, I came to see how clear a concept ‘making love’ is.
We all know what sex is and maybe even have had some experience of making love. When I’ve spoken about the difference, everybody in the room has agreed.
I’ve come to define sex as a goal-oriented genital activity. The goal is orgasm for at least one of the people involved, both if you’re lucky and/or know what you’re doing.
Making love is a different story. The words themselves tell us that we’re going to make something, we’re going to create it or build it, or mix the ingredients to get something more or different than when we began. And because it’s love that we’re making, our hearts are involved. Our mouths, our hands, our genitals, our bodies become a channel to express that love.
Aware and awake
This tells us that there’s an intention involved. We’re not unconscious of what we’re doing, it’s not out of habit, as is often the case with sex. We’re aware and awake. We’re creating something between us, or just with ourselves, that wasn’t there before.
This act of creation is really exciting because it’s done with pleasure, in the name of pleasure. It forces us to use aspects of our bodies and minds that we wouldn’t normally bring to a sexual encounter.
We have to take time to make love, get the mixture right, give it time to brew and bake, to heat and settle. So we slow down from the speed of the world, we can breathe. And we’re saying I’m important, you’re important, what we have is important. We have value. In valuing we are nourished.
And in making love we’re able to feel beautiful, whatever the body looks like. If you can give and receive pleasure at this level, you will feel beautiful. Think about the relief and peace you’ll feel accepting yourself because somebody, even yourself, loves you.
What about sex?
Now before you jump down my throat and say, ‘What about sex?’. Sex is wonderful, orgasms are great! I teach people how to have better sex, how to have awesome 20 minute orgasms.
But if sex is all there is, we have a problem. Because it’s not enough. If sex is all there is we will get bored, that is guaranteed.
Once we’ve done everything we possibly can, with every position, every orifice, once, twice, ten times, we will get bored and look for new levels of excitement elsewhere, or stop having sex.
What about those not in a relationship?
You’re not excluded from making love. This doesn’t mean orgasm-oriented masturbation. It means a sensual exploration of your body, your face, allowing your heart and your genitals to talk to each other, allowing your hands to express your heart's love to your body, feeling and touching your own beauty.
Being open to your own self. For you are a sexual and sensual being in your own right, regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. You can make beautiful love to and with yourself. Wonderfully, gently, passionately.
Are sex and making love exclusive?
Of course not, you can make sexual love. Having become aware of this difference and talking about it in massage and touch workshops, it’s amazing to see how these experiences can become acts of love-making, where something real and tangible is made.
It’s also been incredible to watch people make love to themselves and not even touch their genitals.
In one of his songs, Nat King Cole sings about, ‘a strange, enchanted boy’, who teaches that:
the greatest gift you’ll ever learn, is to love, and be loved in return. Let’s Make Love!