“Making love” used to be a euphemism for having sex, back when people tried to avoiding saying “sex” (unless they were referring to gender). Now, we talk about sex in so many ways that “making love” sounds sort of quaint.
But it’s quaint in a good way—like building a wood fire or playing a board game. The kind of good that helps us slow down and really connect. The kind of good that’s really appealing in our rushed, device-focused world.
Switching from “Sex” to “Love-Making”
“Having sex” is about the physical act, whether that’s PIV intercourse or some other sexual behavior. “Making love” adds emotional elements like caring deeply for your partner as a whole person, not just their body.
Having sex for its own sake can be fun, it can be amazing, it can be satisfying. But modern hookup culture glosses over the fact that for many people, sex is more satisfying and more amazing when it includes a deep emotional connection.
Making love is basically the opposite of hookup sex. Instead of keeping things on the surface and keeping feelings out, when you make love, you let the feelings in.
You can be more tender with each other, maybe more playful, maybe gentler. Where having sex often becomes goal directed–both people want to get off–making love is more about savoring and deepening your connection.
Less Brain, More Body, More Heart
If you’ve found a partner you care for, the main obstacle to shifting from “having sex” to “love-making” may be unhelpful thoughts messing with your mind.
People tend to have internalized scripts about what men or women should look like or how they should act in bed. Since most of those scripts come from stereotypes, movies, and especially porn, they tend to be more aggressive and goal-focused than other ways of love-making you might actually enjoy even more.
To break out of that unhelpful pattern, relax into your body. Let go of whatever “shoulds” may be messing with your mind. Pay attention to your body and your heart in this actual moment. Allow yourself to embrace your tender feelings for this person you care about. Tune into your partner’s body and emotions, to their warmth and joy and pleasure. Making love is only about the two of you, here in the present.
Look into your partner’s eyes. Smile. Kiss them gently as well as passionately. Tousle or stroke their hair if you think they’d like it. Take your time. Pause when you feel like it to gaze into their eyes, or comment on things about them you find beautiful, or be playful. Savor the journey. Bask in the time together.
When you do, your love-making will be pleasurable not only physically, but also emotionally. You’ll feel your heart expand and your connection grow stronger. And that’s worth taking the time for.