Many scholars and laypeople consider sex, sexual love, and erotic love as synonyms. Yet it is not exactly correct to equate these concepts. Why so? Because they mean different things, and researchers should distinguish between them (Karandashev, 2022). Yes, sexual love is
- a deep feeling of sexual interest, desire, and sexual attraction.
- a host of sexual feelings and emotions.
- involves various sexual actions between two people.
Let us review what sexual love is in more detail. Here I will tell you what sexual love is.
Sexual Love Is Similar to Sex
“Sexual love” is the physical and emotional sensations in the body, head, hands, legs, and genitals that may culminate in sexual excitement and intensely pleasurable genital-centered feelings. Typically, sexual love involves sex as sexual intercourse. But we cannot consider any sex as sexual love. Many forms of sex do not imply love. They are just sex. So, they are not really sexual love.
Sex Can Be without Love
Sex can exist in the absence of love, and sexual lust and the desire for sex are distinct from the Eros of love (C.S. Lewis, 1960; Wilson, 1980). Sex is a physiological need; it is a sexual impulse that an individual must fulfill, as well as a physical tension that he or she must release. The object that aids in releasing sexual tension is of secondary importance. A prostitute, a sexual toy, masturbation, or other object can fulfill this need. Pornography of any kind can satisfy the needs of sexual desire.
How Is Sexual Love Different from Sex?
Sexual love is certainly driven by the body’s natural urges. Yet, sexual love is a pleasurable sensual experience with a specific person. This man or woman appears to be special in several ways. He or she is uniquely different from others. Sexual love excites not only the body of the lover, but rather the whole person. Erotic emotions show the beauty of a person in sex and make sexual activities more thrilling.
Sensual and Sexual Feelings of Love
Sexual love is the sensual experience and acts that stimulate sexual desire and sexual activity. Many men and women gain joy and pleasure from sexual activity. Sexual love manifests itself through a variety of sensual experiences: the sense of seeing the most beautiful woman or handsome man in the world. Sexual love embraces the sense of hearing the enticing voice, the sense of smelling the pleasant odors of a partner’s body and perfume, and the sense of touching, hugging, kissing, penetration, and moving in synchrony. A variety of sensual and sexual experiences induce sensual and sexual attraction towards a particular individual. These feelings are universal across cultures. However, people in different cultures can view some of these sensual experiences as more desirable than others (Karandashev et al., 2019).
Sexual Dreams and Phantasies in Love
Sexual love engages sexual fantasies, sexual dreams, and sexual behavior (Gebhard & Johnson, 1998; Hite, 1976/2004; Hite, 1981/1987; Kinsey et al., 1948/1998; Kinsey et al., 1953/1998).
Sexual fantasies and dreams about the beloved – the object of admiration – satisfy a lover’s desire for sexual love. They satisfy the diverse feelings of sexual longing and desire of men and women (Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1986). On average, men are more erotophilic, lustful, and kinky than women (Schmitt & Buss, 2000).
The sexual fantasies of sexual love differ qualitatively from pornography motivated by basic sexual drive. The focus of pornographic fantasies is on sexual activity itself—which can be portrayed in a variety of ways—while the object of sexual fulfillment is secondary. It is the activation of a fundamental sexual urge. Different from pornography, sexual love manifests in sexual dreams with a particular individual – the beloved. Sexual dreams involve sexual images and scenes with a specific loved one. Hugging, kissing, petting, and other sexual behaviors and imagination meet their sexual love desires.
Sexual love being universal still varies across cultures involving cultural specifics.