What is the difference between these two concepts? Sometimes a voluptuous attraction to a person is so strong that it can be mistaken for love. The saying goes that love is blind, but the same is true of lust. When you are in love, you are blind to the shortcomings of your partner, however, being in a state of all-consuming lust, you can also not notice reality.
It’s no surprise that people have a hard time distinguishing between love and lust, given that the two activate similar neural pathways in the brain associated with self-image, goal-seeking behavior, happiness, reward, and addiction.
Love and lust scientifically
Psychologists and sexologists interpret the concept of love as a long-term attraction with a deep sense of emotional attachment to another person. Lust is a physical attraction with an overwhelming feeling of sexual desire due to the active production of hormones.
In the 1990s, a group of scientists led by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher studied the science of lust and love. The researchers decided to divide romantic love as a mental phenomenon into three categories: lust, enduring attraction, and attachment, because each of these feelings, as it turned out, has its own different brain chemical signals.
It turns out that passion, fueled solely by the desire for sexual satisfaction, releases testosterone with estrogen, that is, hormones that increase the individual’s libido. Desire that goes beyond sex causes the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which can lead to feelings of elation, as well as loss of appetite and reduced need for sleep.
Attachment, or “concomitant love”, is safer, more reasonable, longer lasting than lust and attraction, and is associated with the production of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.
However, aside from brain chemistry, which you can’t test on your own, how can you tell if your feelings are love or a fleeting sexual attraction? Simone Humphrey, Ph.D. in Psychology and Signe Simon, Ph.D. have worked together for many years, in which they analyzed the differences in behavior, sensations, desires of a person who is in a state of exclusively sexual desire and truly deep love. Some of their findings will help you figure out exactly how you feel.
You can’t talk
Two people, passionately connected only by the desire for sexual intimacy, can easily stay up until the morning because of their intimate entertainment. But, this will not be a stimulating factor for their verbal communication, and the couple will not stay awake all night for the sake of talking.
However, two people in love are just as interested in the spiritual, intellectual knowledge of each other as in physical intimacy. A couple can easily lose track of time, even if they are only talking. In this case, the partners do not “go in cycles” on the topic of conversation, and, even if they do not agree on everything, each of them will remain intrigued by the worldview of his interlocutor.
Do you want to wake up together
With a loved one, you want to fall asleep together and wake up in his arms. You yourself cannot understand what is better – sex or, following it, a state of unity, comfort, deep spiritual intimacy. When sexual intercourse ends, you find pleasure in communication with each other and simple gentle hugs. The thought of waking up together and having a quiet breakfast together fills you with the same joy that children experience in anticipation of a gift.
You don’t stop thinking about the person you love
Of course, the object of lust can also occupy your thoughts, part of which is devoted not to the person himself, but to savoring the physical aspects of your relationship and, possibly, sexual fantasies in which you both appear.
For those who are in love, thoughts about a dear person become a kind of obsession. You will remember his or her words, actions, behavior, and only in a positive aspect. Your memory returns again and again to hugs, kisses, gentle touches and glances, all that you experienced the day before.
You will begin to think over what you will say to your partner at a meeting, how you can please, surprise or make him laugh. And you know what? In feverishly excited thoughts, physical intimacy will not be the main focus, although it cannot be argued that your thoughts will remain completely pure.
Do you want to know the intimate circle of your loved one?
Lust extends only to the object of lust itself. You are not interested in the circle of his or her family, friends, you will not have a desire to get acquainted with their relatives and close friends, and even more so to like them.
Love encourages the desire to know all aspects of a partner’s life. Your loved one can talk a lot about the people around him, but you want to get to know them personally, and not only get to know them, but also like them. You will also want to build good relations with them and win their sympathy. You will feel that the intimate circle of your loved one, especially his family, is a vital part of the development of your relationship.
In turn, you will be thrilled and proud to introduce him or her to your best friends and family, and want them to adore your new partner and see in him the same qualities that you appreciate.
You accept your lover’s flaws
In the rational mind of modern man, we are all well aware that no one is perfect, but we easily lose sight of this when blinded by hormones and desire. Lust for someone, we make up an idealized idea of a person, and do not see his real image.
We all also tend to imagine the ideal version of ourselves when relationships begin to emerge, and try not to show our shortcomings, at least those that we know about. We get to know others and reveal ourselves only as time passes.
When the self-control of both partners weakens, and the veil of the first enthusiasm falls from your eyes, you will recognize the person for who he really is. This will either end the relationship, meaning it will never get past the lust stage, or your feelings will remain the same, indicating that they are growing and turning into true love. If you love, then you are aware of the partner’s shortcomings, accept them and, most likely, consider some of them as advantages.
True feeling takes time
No matter what you think, but love at first sight does not exist. Of course, you can experience instant sexual attraction and something like a lightning strike with fireworks in your head at the first kiss. All this is easy to confuse with love, especially if the relationship continues to develop.
Not infrequently, the stage of lust develops into real strong feelings, but this takes time. True love, with its deep affection and sense of security, does not appear overnight. To love someone, you must spend time with them and really get to know the person.