He Said/She Said: Making Love vs. Having Sex

10 Jan

Here on the #ThreadBlog, we pride ourselves on keeping it real with our thREADERS and giving you an unadulterated look at issues that we face on a daily basis. With that said, a few days ago, there was a question posed by a friend of the thread on Twitter. To quote her, she asked, “Is there REALLY a difference between “making love” and just having sex? What’s the difference?” Of course, I figured this would be a perfect question to pose to the Thread. Here are some memorable quotes:

“’Making love’ is a loosely applied term that just means you have some emotions attached to it.”

“The zenith is inhibition-less sex with someone you’re in love with or care for. Usually people are self-conscious, especially with someone they care about. Once you reach that point where both parties are ready to just let it rip in the bedroom because they’re that confident and their bond is that tight, it’s f***ing beautiful.”

“The only difference is what you say before, during, and after…and whether you want to cuddle after or ask for a sandwich.”

“The difference between the two is not necessarily physical but mental. Love-making can’t be measured because it’s in the eye (or other body parts) of the beholder.”

As you can tell, we had fun with this topic and there are some differing viewpoints. I pulled two of the Threaders to address some questions on the topic. Obviously, people can justify how they feel on this based on their experiences, but I just wanted to present some opinions and leave it open for you to give us your opinion.

1. Is there a difference between “making love” and having sex? Why or why not?

He Said: There is no actual difference. There is a perceived difference. For example, you have a cup of water. When you take a drink, you may just be taking a drink. However, you may have been fortunate enough to have quenched your thirst if that drink fulfilled its purpose. Having sex and making love work the same way. The only difference is people use it for different purposes. Some people use it to validate their emotional connection. Others may use it to burn calories. If you have sex with someone and you consider it making love and they don’t, then it’s not making love. You would never know if the other person in fact saw it as making love. You can assume that, but there is no telling. You are basically calling it something else in order to feel better about the act. Therefore, there is no difference.

She Said: There is a difference. The difference is your mindset going into it. Even when people have the intention of making love, it is difficult the first time. It has to be something that is worked up to. Both parties have to have an emotional investment in order to make love. It is not self-serving. At its best, it is based off the principle of putting the other person’s satisfaction and gratification ahead of your own. At the same time, you’re physically and emotionally satisfied from seeing the other person satisfied.

2. Assuming there is a difference, can you only make love to someone you love? Why or why not?

She Said: I don’t think you have to love them. There has to be an attachment, but it doesn’t have to be love. You may not know if you love that person. Even in a relationship, sex may happen before you realize you love that person. Do you think it has an effect on determining whether or not you eventually love the person? It depends on how high a person rates sex in a relationship. For some men and women, it’s a deal breaker. For other people, they feel they can work on it. If it’s mind-blowing, that’s a scary thought. It could certainly make the relationship. Other factors are involved, though. It can’t make me love a person, but it can certainly keep me intrigued in the relationship.

He Said: You would call it making love if it fulfilled some purpose. You don’t have to love the person but you do have to have enough of a connection in order for it to be fulfilling in some way other than just getting a nut. However, those motivations may not be enough to call it love-making. Example, I planned a special evening with a woman I was talking to. I got us the dinner of her choice, a room at the Omni Hotel, and top-shelf liquor so we could entertain ourselves through the night. There was a lot of consideration that went into that night, but by no means, did I want her to feel like it was love-making. I just wanted her to understand that it was really, really good sex. If you went the extra mile, why would you not want to consider it love-making? The fulfillment of the evening was the fact that I was able to have sex. It wasn’t about feelings at all. My goal was to make the moment intimate enough to be comparable to making love in terms of its quality; but I was just having [good] sex.

3. Is “making love” more of a mindset or is it a term that describes the act? Is it both? Is it neither?

She Said: Both. It’s the mindset you have going in. It describes the act in that people picture the setup (the aroma therapy, satin sheets, dim lights, mood setters, slow jams, rose petals, candles, etc.). It’s a mental thing. It’s also something that is prepared for or calculated. It’s the difference between a final exam and a pop quiz. You’re mentally prepared for it and picturing how it’s going to go. Having sex is a pop quiz. Both are a means to an end. All making love isn’t great, but it’s how you went into it. The mindset sets up the technique.

He Said: I believe it’s neither, but it is confused to being both. In terms of it being a mindset, one could be misleading the other for the intent of simply having good sex. They may heighten the intimacy for their personal enjoyment, but nothing beyond the physical gratification. As far as the act, you can call the act making love, but there is nothing that you can do specifically during the act that would qualify it for love-making. My issue with this question is that if this is the criteria by which we judge a subjective bright line (an imaginary line between two concepts that are mutually exclusive) for what is love-making and what is just having sex, we will find that there isn’t a universally acceptable definition. In short, people will call it making love not because of something that specifically happened but because they want to hold this particular instance special.

4. Why do you think people have such varying opinions?

He Said: Like I said in my last answer, there isn’t a clear bright line. The reason is because people’s perception is their reality. Nobody who intends to be making love wants to know that they are really just getting “fucked”. If the same acts occur that yield the same result (example: a smile on your/your partner’s face), then it shouldn’t matter what you call it.

She Said: Everyone has different sexual experiences. It’s not clear cut and seems to be more about previous experiences, which define future experiences. Think about your first time. Was it with someone special or was it something you approached with just wanting to get it over with? There are a lot of factors that affect what you’re willing to accept and what you’re willing to give. It depends on previous experiences, how you grew up, your sexual background, and comfort levels. I also think that too often people cross love, emotions, and physical attachment. Those lines are blurred to a point where people are emotionally attached because of how the sex is/was. I think that making love and having sex are similar and not as clear cut. Making love and f***ing, however, are very different and are easier to define.

Based on the opinions of the Threaders and my personal thoughts, I would sum up this discussion in these words: “Different strokes for different folks.” I do think there is a difference between making love, having sex, and f***ing. However, they aren’t as far apart as I once thought they were. How do you feel about this? By all means, please leave your thoughts, comments, and opinions. We really do read and value them.

-23, facecurtainista, & King’s Law


Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Relationships, Sex


14 responses to “He Said/She Said: Making Love vs. Having Sex

  1. MYH

    January 10, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    LMFAO @ that Omni hotel story! x__x

    • The King's Law

      January 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      KING’S LAW: If the hotel is better, then it gets wetter… #justsaying

  2. SJohnee

    January 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    My sister and I have had many a discussions on this subject. We came to the conclusion there is really no difference between making love and having sex. Before having sex, I had these preconceived notions about making love and whatnot. After the event transpired, I realized I was wrong. Whether feelings are involved or not, sex is sex. Although, it does tend to be more enjoyable when feelings are shared. I do believe there is a difference between having sex and f***ing. With the latter, usually one person doesn’t respect the other and/or the act itself.

    • The King's Law

      January 10, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      I’d venture to say that f***ing and “having sex” are the same thing, one is just more vulgar when some people hear it.

      I think that all three phrases are synonymous terms we use based on our comfort level with using the words within… Some people hate the word “fuck”… while others are still squeemish to the word “sex”… and I know a whole bunch of “love” haters out there as well.

      My point is, you do the same thing [essentially] regardless of which phrase you use… people just use the phrasing to clarify their own intent at times. If somebody “fucks” somebody BECAUSE they love them… does it qualify as “making love”… see what I mean? ambiguity. No brightline…

  3. SJohnee

    January 10, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Yes, the act in itself is essentially the same. Me, personally I refuse to use the f*word. Not because I think its such a “bad word”, but because of the way I hear it being used. “Yeah I fucked that girl after the club”. It’s being used in such a way to dismiss the other person and the act, like it meant nothing to them. Its all the same but the phrases we use, tend to give insight on how we view sex.

  4. justinfication

    January 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    LOL. Good discussion.

    Yeah, we definitely all have our own standards. How about that zenith though? Is it too much to assume that we’re all pursing that?

    I understand that it’s difficult enough to maintain good conversation with a friend, much more a pleasurable experience with a partner.

    “How many people really know what love is?…Millions never will.” (c) A.Keys

    Most folks are just having sex ’cause they don’t know how to pursue love.

    Many of the Threaders already know my standard–and for the following statements, I will reference my opinions to it.

    I think sex is given too much power. We shouldn’t allow the sex itself to set the tone of a relationship or define what the relationship is or how the relationship is going. I know that’s a bit off the path of this discussion, but one reason we all have differences of opinion is due to how we each regard the purpose of sex in the relationship.

    Sex isn’t meant to be the dividend, difference, quotient or sum of a relationship. #mathanalogies

    Sex should only be allowed to be a multiplier to postively magnify the product of the relationship that already exist.

    [For you smart asses, concerning my analogy, I understand that negative sex times negative relationship gives a positive product. Please disregard that scenario.]

  5. sultan

    November 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    its avery intresting subject i think and believe thier is a very clear and huge diffrence in between making love having sex and fucking or getting fucked it all meets in the nature of the act wich is sexuale contact and desire one of the ingredints thats the phisical when you say i fucked him or her its like your more of a doer and it doesnt indicate any emotions its completely a phisical desier while when you say we had sex even in the sentence you hear respect and sharing in the act a posibility of emotions can occur in the future while when you say i fucked you speak of only setisfieng a sexuale desire a very importent point hear a woman always knows weather a man was fucking her making love to her or haveing sex u still have face exprestions while having sex the way you touch your eyes like if a guy has an inter cours with a woman but avoides kissing her she knows hes just fucking her a woman knows even a man does well if hes more of a sensitive person . now in making love you dont just feed a sexuale desire but you feed an emotional need of beeing so close to this person its expresing both sexuale and emotional need making love has great deal of both shares when some one pays to sleep with a hooker they dont say i made love to her and she wouldnt say i made love to him but she’d say she made love to her boyfriend in the end it is a set and state of mind but it makes all the deffrince .

  6. Jen

    March 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM


    If you know that ur man loves you, but he does not tell you in person, what should you do? N

    • Jen

      March 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      Ignore this comment…..hit send before I was finished. :-/

  7. Jen

    March 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM


    If you know that ur man loves you, but he does not tell you in person, what should you do? Nothing, just be happy that he does? Because I try to do that and it only gets me riled up. I’d rather address it by explaining that communication is important to me and that he should feel comfortable talking to me. However, men tend to be more aware of the fact that “just saying” could result in more problems bc women sometimes can be negative if “he didn’t say it the same way” or “he forgot to tell me” or “wow, we are def getting married aren’t we” and just on and on. I’m a woman, so I hear this all the time from friends. However, I find that I think more like a man bc what’s not being said often times brings me more comfort and joy than what could be said. My question still remains though, why can’t he just tell me that he loves me to my face and not just in a card or text???


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