The three kinds of sexual relationships occur on different planes.
Did that title get your attention? No, this isn’t a “bait and switch.” It really is about the differences between “hook-up sex,” “marital sex,” and “making love.” I’ve found that confusion about those differences play out in many of the conflicts people experience in their sexual-romantic relationships, no matter what their ages or kinds of relationships.
First, some clarification about what I mean by each term. “Hook-up sex” refers to a purely physical encounter. “Marital sex” is the kind of sex life that most committed couples tend to have-married or not, straight or gay. And “making love” is a different kind of experience that transcends both of the other two kinds.
That is, the three kinds of sexual relationships occur on different planes, different levels of integration between your physical, animal being, and your relational and spiritual beings. The kind of sexual life you have-and its conflicts-are embedded in the overall relationship you learn and how you “practice” it with your partner. I’ve described some of these connections in my previous posts on our adolescent model of love, the soul mate, and the positive power of “indifference.” Most relationships limit the capacity for “making love.”
“You know how there’s good sex, great sex, and then really great sex? That’s what it was like with her!” With gleaming eyes, Ken was telling me about his latest sexual encounter. He was a 44-year-old trust fund guy who lived with his mother and had never married. https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/myweekly/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2017/02/fallsmainx.jpg” alt=”escort services in Pompano Beach”> He entered therapy because he wanted to learn why he hadn’t been able to form a lasting relationship.
The Differences Between Hook-Up Sex, Marital Sex, and Making Love
In hook-up sex, you and your partner use each other’s bodies for your own pleasure. It can be extremely intense and arousing, especially when you feel lust towards a new partner. There’s a place for this kind of sex, but it’s also the most primitive, least evolved form of sex. It reflects the purely animal part of being human-our physiological needs and impulses. We share those with other animal species. From a human standpoint, though, it’s mostly void of relationship beyond the physical connection; a form of playing through using each other’s bodies.
Aside from Ken’s deeper emotional issues that he’d never faced or dealt with, another barrier to his forming a relationship was that he had turned sex into a technique-dominated sport. He saw himself as a great lover and, in fact, had become very proficient in Tantric sexual practices. Handsome and charming, he was able to find women eager to participate. Tantric and related practices are, in fact, part of “making love,” but they can also be misused. Ken’s mastery of them had become an end in itself, and they were entirely divorced from human connection, beyond pure sex.
He was like a character in Nobel laureate Doris Lessing’s novel, The Four-Gated City, a man who had become a master of Tantric sex, but had devolved as a human being. He had no soul-to-soul connection with any of the women he drew into his serial sexual relationships.
“Dr. LaBier,” she said, “I read that women require an average of 14 minutes of sexual stimulation to reach orgasm. Maybe that’s the problem-that Tom’s just not a good lover.”
Julie and her husband had descended into what I call a “functional relationship.” They didn’t have sex much anymore, and when they did it was pretty uninspired. They remained committed to each other, though, and wanted to improve their sex life. Their sex life was an example of what most long-term couples experience, as research and surveys have documented.