by Naren Duffy, UK
‘Sex’. What power a little three-letter word can have! Chances are that many people who read this will have had their interest piqued simply because of the word ‘sex’ in the title of this post. It is amazing to me that such a little word can bring such a huge range of emotions and reactions within us. Of course, it is not the word that has this power, but the power we give to it that makes it powerful. It is what sex has come to mean to us in the world we live in that brings up such a huge range of responses in us. From titillation to disgust, and everything in between.
But what about ‘making love’? Is it the same as ‘sex’? Describing the physical act, ‘sex’ and ‘making love‘ are often used interchangeably. But are they really the same? Even just saying ‘making love’, it is pretty clear that there is something more going on than just sex. The words themselves when compared to each other are like completely different concepts. Sex as a word is punchy, short, terse. It just is sex. It does what it says on the box. No more, no less.
‘Making love’, however, has the potential to mean so much more. There was a time not too long ago, at the beginning of the last century and possibly earlier, when just flirting with someone was called ‘making love’. The entire wooing period in a relationship was making love. A look across a room was enough to be considered making love. Given the words that make up the phrase, doesn’t it make sense? Expressed in this way, people were literally making love together. So how is it that in a few short decades we have ended up with just sex?
There has been a lot of press and lots of studies about how we behave as a society when it comes to sex, and I do not pretend to be an expert beyond my own experiences. However, it does not take much to see that something is not quite right in our attitudes towards our most intimate of relationships. People are starting to have sex younger. Education about responsible sex in some countries is completely intertwined with religious beliefs. Pornography is very easily available to anyone regardless of their age as long as they have an internet connection, and the porn that is available is more and more extreme. We live in a time when ‘sex addiction’ is now considered an illness. How did we get from the innocence and fun of flirting being considered making love, to a society where people are being diagnosed with a sex addiction in just a few decades?
I remember having a girlfriend who once said to me, “I do not want to have sex with you, I only want to make love”. I scoffed at the idea. “Sometimes I just want to have sex”, I said. Only making love and not having sex felt limiting. Making love conjured up candle-lit scenes on a bearskin rug in front of a fire place. It was not that I was adverse to making love as well as having sex, I just didn’t have time to prepare that kind of setting every other night. I just “wanted to get my freak on” whenever I wanted (though I don’t think I ever actually used that phrase, thankfully).
I was up for exploring all the facets of physical intimacy, but it was all about sex. Sex was the goal of a night out. Sex was the point behind buying flowers. Sex was the desired outcome that was lingering behind even a simple touch.
As far as I knew, a good sex life was the mark of a good relationship. I read sex advice books, watched some pornography, even experimented briefly with tantric practices, all of those things that I had thought were there as tools to make people better lovers. And I thought that they were not unsuccessful. While I was no casanova by any means and was in several monogamous relationships, I felt competent in the bedroom because of these things.
But there was a problem. Something just didn’t feel right. I was stuck in a very familiar pattern of starting a new relationship which would begin full of excitement, spontaneous passion and creativity, but which inevitably ended up in a rut of doing the same thing again and again. There would then begin a search to rekindle the missing passions through the occasional drunken or drug-fuelled night, or trying something new: but boredom, or worse, infidelity, would creep in, and eventually the relationship would end. Then the search for a new partner would begin again.
Fast forward to three years ago, and at a presentation Serge Benhayon is asking, “Do you make love, or do you have sex?” At first I thought to myself, as I had before, “what’s the difference?” Well, the difference is connection. Making love is all about connection. And that connection is to ourselves first.
He presented to us that making love is a confirmation of the love that is already felt in ourselves, which then finds itself reflected back to us by the love that is already there in another. Therefore, if we truly love someone we must love ourselves truly first. If we do not love ourselves first and we say, “I love you” to someone, or we have sex with someone, we are searching for the love that we do not feel for ourselves to be fulfilled by another. And chances are that the other person does not truly love themselves either.
Serge presented the possibility that sex was not about love. It is about needing to get attention from someone and mistaking that attention for love. It is not that sex is bad (Serge never has said something is ‘bad’ or ‘good’, or one thing was better than another), but just having sex is limiting when compared to the vast and beautiful range of expression that we can experience when we make love. In sex we do not feel the amazing person that we truly are first, and then as that amazing person we choose to be with someone who also feels amazing. Instead, we feel the emptiness that comes from not being all that we know ourselves to be, and from that feeling of lack we go looking for a someone or a situation that makes us feel good – either physically good, or good about ourselves. Sure, sex can feel amazing, but inevitably there comes a time when we ask ourselves, “Is that it? I could have sworn there was something more here.”
Most importantly, we were presented with the fact that, for a man, sex is often about finding relief. There are lots of analogies and sayings about the pressure that men feel around having sex; both peer pressure, and a physical building of pressure that finds relief through sex. However, when men have sex, a big part of what is actually being relieved is the pressure to be the kind of man that they are expected to be by the world, but know that they are not on the inside. Because for many men, in that fleeting moment of orgasm he can be tender and caring in a way that the world does not always allow. Men miss feeling that deeply within themselves, and even though we do not always know it or allow it, deep inside we are looking for a way to feel that tenderness – or sometimes just to feel anything at all.
All of this was an enormous revelation to me. It was not exactly a comfortable one, but it was profound. It explained the treadmill of relationships I had been on. It explained why I looked at women in a certain way, and what I had actually been looking for. It explained why no matter what I read or tried with my partner, things would slip into dissatisfaction. It explained what was going on in our attitudes towards sex, as a society. It exposed the pressure that exists on men and women to look a certain way, or have a certain job, or wear these or those kinds of clothes. It was all about putting on an outer shell so the thing that was missing, actually feeling lovely just being myself with myself, would be fulfilled for me by someone else.
Having been in numerous bars and clubs and both observing and taking part in the ‘mating dance’ that takes place between men and women, it was very clear to me how we want the love we desperately miss for ourselves to be expressed towards us by another, and how we mistake love for the temporary attention that sex brings to us. Relationships are so often built on a foundation of this temporary attention. Marriages are made, and children are conceived and raised on this basis.
What was now being proposed to me was that the relationship with myself is the most important relationship I have, and that relationship has to come first always if I want to have a truly loving relationship with anyone else. In building that relationship I have had to take responsibility for the way I have been with previous girlfriends, how I have been towards myself, and what it truly means to be a man. It has not always been easy, I am forever learning more and more. It is not an overnight switch to making love all the time, but it is definitely simpler than what I was doing in the past.
Making love is now just a part of my day. It is when I make food. It is having a conversation. It is walking or bathing or shaving, or even brushing my teeth. It is the look across the room. It is a smile. This is all making love so that there is more love in my life for me to express. Thus, when I touch my partner it is simply about being love as much as I can, and when we lie down together it is not a solemn, serious affair but it is simple,
185 thoughts on “One Man’s Experience – ‘To Make Love Or Have Sex’?”
The simplicity is GOLD Naren and when you shared: Making love is all about connection. And that connection is to ourselves first.”. I love how this brings the responsibility to ourselves first and foremost – we cannot expect another to bring this to us and then we can bring this to them, for it begins with ourselves first and then only can we bring it to another whether they do or not.
“There was a time not too long ago, at the beginning of the last century and possibly earlier, when just flirting with someone was called ‘making love’. ” – Making love has been bastardised over eons and this is great to clock as Naren has so beautifully explored in this blog.
“Sex as a word is punchy, short, terse. It just is sex. It does what it says on the box. No more, no less. ‘Making love’, however, has the potential to mean so much more.” – The words do say it all and we know there is so much more.
I agree, the relationship we have with ourselves is most important relationship we have, ‘if we truly love someone we must love ourselves truly first.’
Every movement can be done in a different quality. Sometimes, the different quality is not represented by a different name of movement; other times the name we use to name it is different. The latter is the case when we refer to sex and making love
Our true expression is Love and when we take Love into every aspect of our lives we truly evolve. Love is what The Students of The Livingness are continually sharing about our relationships and how to be more loving in the truest way possible. For all of us are students but on a different foundation because we have all walked and left shadows of our own making that are completely different and thus returning to Love will come for us all in our own true time.
Thank you for unraveling what making love truly is and how simple and every day it is.
This is a great synopsis of sex and making love. There is much to take from this writing, consider and be honest about even when reading it again, and again. I am aware of so many pictures around sex. It was not hard to find a partner and have great sex however, there was no intimate feelings there with my partners.There was no space to express openly with my feelings and the relief was the sex. I was not making love with them outside any detail of the sex. They felt that too and that was there ‘get off’ too. I was not happy actually I was depressed so it was a bonus to get sex – a brief moment of feeling wanted. It never changed me though I was still depressed and withdrawn from life. .
Naren, it is so true and important to remember that ‘the relationship with myself is the most important relationship I have, and that relationship has to come first always’. Otherwise as soon as we put another 1st we are putting ourselves second and not equal. It is only when we are fully ourselves that we are love and so then can share the love we are with another, otherwise what are we bringing?
I feel the loveliness and simplicity of what you share Naren, and the reminder that making love is that connection with ourselves and the thing we most deeply miss, and so we look out there for it, all the while missing the basic foundation that it starts with us.
Very true Monica, as soon as we look outside of ourselves for love we miss the very thing we have and have always had within. And nothing outside of ourselves in this realm can bring true contentment and love.
Indeed and in that missing we seek outside to ‘find’ it with others, whilst it just asks from us to reconnect with ourselves. A loving gesture, a gracious footstep, a smile, it can be that simple.
I didn’t realise that “making love” was an expression that was used many years ago to describe the wooing period and to simply describe a look across a room. What I find is that it’s never about the action but the depth of quality that occurs with it, so one look can feel like one million roses that have been hand delivered, one look can change a day or leave an imprint that lasts a whole life.
Summed up simply Naren — making love is knowing your love and feeling how that expression of love is with you in any given moment and therefore another receives.
I so enjoyed the openness with which you shared your story, Naren. As a woman who has been on the receiving end of gestures purely focussed upon “having sex later on”, it’s beautiful to know there are men like you reconsidering their ways and embracing the love within.
Beautifully honest blog, which would benefit many boys as they become young men, to read and know that building a connection with themselves and deepening that connection to know who they are, means they know what love is and therefore there is no need to look for fulfilment elsewhere and when the time comes they can honour themselves and their partner by knowing that it’s about connection.
Thank you for sharing so candidly your journey from having sex to making love, Naren. I couldn’t agree more with what you say about developing a loving intimacy with ourselves, to re-connect to the exquisite tenderness inside that cannot but then be shared with another.
Awesome, Naren! You speak for so, so, SO MANY of us!
Humans have the fantastic ability to turn the limited-less into the limited option by means of playing with words. Words, give us the perfect excuse to choose the limited now turned into the limit-less.
Yes, Eduardo – the reductionism at play which we then stay enamoured with to avoid any true responsibility.
Beautiful, tender and gorgeous to feel how you are with yourself and how that has changed everything in how you are with your partner.
My body cringes at the word sex and melts with the words making love.
It is absolutely awesome to read a blog written by a man with such honesty, humbleness and grace. Seriously, go you Narren.
“Sex was the goal of a night out. Sex was the point behind buying flowers. Sex was the desired outcome that was lingering behind even a simple touch.”
As a woman this is felt and is something that I personally hardened to, but accepted as notmal. Anything we feel we have to harden our bodies to accept is not normal. It is instead an opportunity to discover why we choose to harden instead of to talk about and unravel what we are feeling.
The tenderness in a man is divine, but can only be appreciated by a woman who is tender with and within herself.
In the physical act of sex, if the closeness and intimacy of tenderness with one another is not present, the fulfilment that is being sought will also not be present.
Well said Healther – and thus the seeking will continue to fill the emptiness that one has not filled first by connecting deeply to self and building on the intimacy with self.
This is a great sharing Narren and to come to this . . .”Making love is now just a part of my day.” . . . is inspiring and endearing as a tenderness can be felt from this . . . it a far cry from the programming men receive through multi-media and advertising in general or the dictates of our society.
“making love is a confirmation of the love that is already felt in ourselves, which then finds itself reflected back to us by the love that is already there in another.” Beautiful words. Thank you Naren.
I like the simplicity in what you share, that all that it takes is a closer and observant look at how we live to then be able to see and ‘undo’ the beliefs we hold and live by.
It is a real treasure to have men like you around Narren that openly share their experiences, showing us all that there is a different way. That I honestly feel inside, but don’t always allow myself to live and try to replace by attention instead of true connection to myself and my tenderness.
This makes so much sense, ‘that the relationship with myself is the most important relationship I have, and that relationship has to come first always if I want to have a truly loving relationship with anyone else.’ I agree completely.
I love how you unravel what making love is and how we have simply allowed sex to substitute for it more and more. It is like sex is the quick fix while making love is a steady everyday commitment that we grow in and with ourselves and then encompasses all that we do.
I love to go food shopping as I love to make nourishing meals for my body. I love to walk and exercise my body along the beach in the sunshine. I Love to prepare myself lovingly for bed in the early evening, and have a hot shower to warm my body before bed. I love to apply makeup to enhance the beauty that is already there. I love to rise early to have lots of time to prepare for the day ahead. There are many things I love to do for myself, and in reading this blog, I have realised that I am making love with myself and have just realised that ‘making love is now just part of my day too’. Thankyou Narren for sharing your experience and wisdom with us all.
‘the relationship with myself is the most important relationship I have, and that relationship has to come first always if I want to have a truly loving relationship with anyone else’. My body resonates with these words and perfect for me to read today as I open to share more of myself in a new relationship.
I have always felt a difference between what is sex and what is making love. The difference is so huge and stark naked that it is an elephant in the room, there is no way to mix them up or to try to make them to be the same thing. Knowing this difference in such a big way, the responsibility is to live what is truth and always live what is truth without shying away or not wanting to commit to what the world has bastardized, because only by living truth wholeheartedly and consistently, will truth be once again what is normal.
Stunning Naren. This blog is a beautiful expression of love.
I loved reading the reasons you put forward for the obsession with sex in our society. It makes absolute sense to me that most people seek relief through sex. This approach feels cold and empty to me now but in the past I was as lost as anyone.
What you have shared here Naren, about the ‘relief’ that can be sought by men through sex deserves to be read by every man and every woman, to be included in our education of our young people, and so much more: “…when men have sex, a big part of what is actually being relieved is the pressure to be the kind of man that they are expected to be by the world, but know that they are not on the inside.”
What if we truly understood this? And how it is no wonder that both men and women are seeking so much through sex, and missing out on the deep beauty and true intimacy of making love… We would recognise how divorced from ourselves we have become, and the call that is here loud and clear, to restore ourselves to a true connection once again with the tender intimacy inherent in all men and women alike.
This is a blog so worth revisiting, periodically throughout our lives. Thank-you Naren. It IS all about connection – and how we been largely conditioned to seek connection outside of ourselves, which, without a foundation in our own being, can never actually fulfil us.
A great blog to reread so many great meanings throughout.
As long cannot be contact or limited to any one action, it is a quality in which we live.
When we inject the quality of true love into anything that we do whatever we are doing comes alive.
It is gorgeous that you chose to share your thoughts and experience so openly for so many to relate to… I just love what you shared about having sex being limiting ‘when compared to the vast and beautiful range of expression that we can experience when we make love’…. making you question why you would ever want to limit yourself when there can be so much more when connection is the foundation.
Very cool Naren and very well written. As you say when we have sex we get to the point where we feel we can open ourselves up a little bit more than usual but that openness is possible to feel all of the time as you share.
There are many things we claim to love, that are infact not love, but poor substitutes by compare.
I agree Adam, once I would have said I loved horses, music and chocolate, discovering now what true love is I would agree that the word “love” used back then was a cheap substitute for the depth and breadth of what love truly consists of.
“Of course, it is not the word that has this power, but the power we give to it that makes it powerful.” This sentence alone is profound and shows that there is more at play – that every word we utter comes with something (an energy), and this something comes loaded with possibilities – thus we cannot say it is just words but always need to take a step further and care for and question the quality in which we speak.
It is amazing how laced ‘sex’ is and when we think of it what it brings. I know for me there are heaps of images and ideals around it. Whereas making love takes the pictures away – and brings it back to connection and away from purely the physical act.
Reading this again brings a deeper understanding of making love. In my day to day life I see it is all about making love my way of life, so this is the way I will be we with everyone – bringing joy and tenderness to every moment.
No judgement here expressed. Every thought and intention we have on sex, our partner feels it all and we feel it too, that at times the relationship is not about love. Every time when love is not our focus, we have reduced ourselves and what is truly relationship, we have chosen to live less than the grandness of who we are and that in honesty will never be enough.
‘ Thus, when I touch my partner it is simply about being love as much as I can, and when we lie down together it is not a solemn, serious affair but it is simple, and lovely and beautiful and fun and joyful’. I love the way you end this blog Naren, I can feel the natural ease that you relate to your parter with and how simple making love is. We have made the words ‘making love’ mean so much less.
Having this blog out there on the internet is an enormous healing — it speaks to all men and women Naren. Amazing what you have claimed so humbly and beautifully in your own life that you can now share with us all.
This is an absolute gem Naren. There’s so much here. This line struck me as I was reading it (amongst many more): ‘How did we get from the innocence and fun of flirting being considered making love, to a society where people are being diagnosed with a sex addiction in just a few decades?’. I wonder if as well as the true tenderness that a man deeply misses, that we also en masse miss that innocence, so much so that in the pain of knowing we walked away from it, we disconnect more and more. In our own self-fury we go for the fast sex, the hard sex, the pornography, and a gazillion other offerings of relief from this ache within that are available, and in so doing, we disconnect more and more from the one thing we long for most.
This is the education that all young boys would benefit so much from. Thank you for offering this inspiring message Naren.