Intimacy Revisited: 6 Couples Break Down Having Sex Vs. Making Love

Intimacy Revisited: 6 Couples Break Down Having Sex Vs. Making Love

Listen, when it comes to sex, if I have a tagline (that I made up, by the way), it would definitely be, “Sex doesn’t MAKE love; sex CELEBRATES it.” There are a billion-and-one reasons why I feel that way; however, for the sake of your time and my (writing) space, I’ll just name one: although sex is a very powerful thing, I’m not fond of it being seen as a way to make love happen.

Why? Because that’s how a lot of people fall delusionally into all kinds of relational nonsense: they thought that since the sex was good with someone and because oxytocin did what it was designed to do (which is bond two people together), they must, automatically, be on the fast track to love — when that wasn’t even close to being the case. And oftentimes? They had to find that out the hard way.

That’s why I’m a firm believer that sex should be the icing on the cake of a relationship, so to speak. It shouldn’t be relied upon to make love transpire; instead, it should help you and someone who you know that you love to celebrate your feelings and commitment to one another. Make sense?

Okay, so with all of that said, why did I decide to give this article the title that it has? For one thing, what I just shared is my opinion; others feel differently. And two, even if you agree with where I am coming from, pretty much all of us have been programmed to see “having sex” as being less impacting than “making love.” And the latter point is why I decided to ask six married couples to share with me what they think the difference is between having sex and making love — now that they can look at both from a personal experience and “lesson learned” standpoint.

*Middle names are used so that people are able to speak freely and comfortably*

1. Adrian (42) and Melissa (38). Married 14 Years.


Adrian: “When I was out in these streets, they should’ve named one of them after me; that’s how active I was. And if you asked me to recall what half of those women looked like, I couldn’t draw you a picture. I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying that to say that women need to not assume that just because a man slept with you that he wanted anything more than that one experience. Having sex gets projected to be more than that with a lot of men when that isn’t the case. When we get a nut, thank you…over and out. Making love is when we bring all of ourselves into the moment. We have feelings for the person. We let our guard down. We want to make it last for as long as possible because we enjoy being close to them. If you’re paying close attention, you can tell when a man is making love to you — and when it’s just…sex.”

"Making love is when we bring all of ourselves into the moment. We have feelings for the person. We let our guard down."

Melissa: “Unlike my husband here, I wasn’t ‘out here’ like that. I was never someone who wanted a ‘hoe phase,’ and one-night stands weren’t really my thing either. I did have some rebound sex situations, and that’s what I have to go on when it comes to having sex vs. making love. I think for us women, when we’re using someone to get over someone else, there’s no way that could be about love because the motive is selfish. Making love is about giving yourself to another and also wanting to please them as they do the same thing for you. You’re not looking for what you can get so much as what you can give. It’s literally about expressing love in a physical way. Having sex has nothing to do with any of this.”

2. Wesley (30) and Narielle (31). Married for Three Years.


Wesley: “Why isn’t f — king in here too? That’s another category. Yeah, if someone is just f — king you, there’s very little foreplay or kissing, and they have already timed how long you should stay or they’re gonna be at your place. If they’re having sex with you, they will care enough to tell you what the situation is and will pass if you’re not on the same page because they at least value you enough to not want to hurt your feelings or give you any illusions. If they’re making love to you, they’ve told you where they stand, emotionally, before the sex. It doesn’t always mean that you’re in a serious relationship, but the two of you do share similar feelings and are on the same page about where you’d like things to go. When men make love, there’s intention involved. They’re also figuring out how to fit you into their life besides the four walls of their bedroom.”

Narielle: “I think that having sex is more about physical pleasure while making love is a holistic experience. Whenever I make love, things feel more intimate, more intense, and more…involved. I’m also not looking just for an orgasm, but when they happen, they are so much better than when they happen with sex only. It’s like love is in action in the most profound way possible. That’s why I think they call it ‘making love.'”

3. Xavier (41) and Charlotte (38). Married 11 Years.


Xavier: “When you want to be as close as you can to someone because it’s where you feel safe, loved, and fully appreciated as the person you are, and you can trust that because that individual knows more about you than anyone else, that’s when you’re walking into ‘make love dimensions.’ I agree with you: sex doesn’t make love happen. It’s more like…the sex act makes it possible for you to share a closeness with someone that nothing else can. And when that closeness transpires with a person who you love with everything that you are, ‘make love’ is almost the only way to describe it. Now having sex? Animals do that. A sexual release doesn’t mean that anything life-changing or earth-shattering happened. If your genitals get stimulated, you’re gonna climax. Big deal.”

"When I'm horny, I have sex. When I want intimacy, I make love. Most of the time, those two things overlap, but sometimes, I just want to orgasm."

Charlotte: “Hmm. How do I put this? I guess the best way to separate having sex and making love to me is, when I’m horny, I have sex. When I want intimacy, I make love. Most of the time, those two things overlap, but sometimes, I just want to orgasm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I’ve got my husband ‘on tap’ to do that with, but the orgasm is really all that I’m after. Making love, though? That’s when the orgasm is the icing on the cake because, more than anything, I just want him inside of me to feel how much I adore him and how much he adores me. If we cum, cool. If we don’t…I’m fine with that too.”

4. Jacob (27) and Ashlynn (27). Married for Two Years.


Jacob: “I think that having sex is about what you can get out of sex, and making love is what you and your partner can get. What I mean is, back when I was just having sex, if the other person had a great time, that was fine, but it wasn’t my main goal. A lot of guys won’t tell you that getting your off is still about us and our ego when there’s not an emotional connection on some level. Making love? I’m not happy, pleased, or done until my partner is, and her being pleased brings me the most pleasure. Making love is a selfless act.”

Ashlynn: “Without going into too much detail, now that I’m married…I don’t think I’ve ever really made love until my husband. I had some really good sex but…when you’re fully committed to someone who is also fully committed to you, it shows up everywhere — including in the bedroom. It’s like…all of the love that I have for this man, I want him to feel it during the sex act, and that is A LOT. I also think that’s why our sex life only gets better over time. The more I love him, the more I wanna express it. Yes, even with sex.”

5. Richard (34) and Shayla (33). Married 7 Years.


Richard: “Mostly everyone who I’ve had sex with, I cared about on some level. I respected my body and time too much to lower that bar. Making love is something different. When men get to a point where they feel like they are ‘making love to you’ — they are totally vulnerable. They are bringing all of who they are into your energy and space. That’s why women have to be careful about how they treat men whenever a man initiates — he’s bringing his most fragile self to you when he actually loves you.”

"Having sex to me is about the animalistic side of sex. Making love is the emotional part. Sometimes, they meet... sometimes they don't."

Shayla: “I’m gonna be real with you: sometimes I ‘have sex’ with my husband, and sometimes we ‘make love.’ Yes, I love him all of the time, but I think the differences have a lot to do with the mindset you’re in while having sex with someone. Sometimes, I don’t want to be all emotional and cuddly. I want my back blown out! Having sex to me is about the animalistic side of sex. Making love is the emotional part. Sometimes, they meet…sometimes they don’t. I’m satisfied either way.”

6. Ransom (50) and Ostar (47). Married for 24 Years.


Ransom: “Not to go too deep on you, but I think the biggest difference between having sex and making love is in the first words of both terms: have and make. Have means that there are different degrees of possessing something. Make means that there’s a particular method or approach that you’re using to achieve a certain end result. When you have sex with someone, there are degrees of investing that you are putting in to get what you want — and based on who you’re having sex with, that goal can vary. When you make love, you’re going to take the approach that will make you and your partner feel the most loved. There are no variations because, each and every time you make love, love what you’re looking to achieve.”

Ostar: “Damn babe. See why I love this man? In all of our years together, I’ve never heard him speak on this before. He’s gonna get some tonight: sex and love! My thoughts are that having sex is ‘scratching the surface’ of intimacy while making love is going into the deep end of it all. When you want all of who you are to mesh with all of who someone else is, then you’re getting into the ‘make love’ side of things. Also, pay close attention to how you feel once the experience is over. If you want to learn even more about them, get closer to their soul and commit even deeper as you feel all of that being reciprocated? There’s a good chance that some ‘love energy’ was exchanged because, when it’s just sex, you tend to want to retreat back into yourself rather than share even more with someone else. Making love is a spiritual journey. Having sex can be just…physical.”


There you have it: six married couples (and 12 different people) sharing their thoughts on what having sex and what making love is — to them. And now that you’ve taken in their perspectives, I’m curious…what are yours? Hop in the comments and share. Because no matter where your feelings fall on the issue, if there’s one thing that all of these insights proved, it’s that sex isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of experience. And you know what? Making love isn’t…either.

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