Love

LIFETIME LOVERS

Love & Lust

Can we be friends and lovers?
Can we be intimate and erotic? 
Is it possible for love and lust to co-exist in a healthy marriage? 

“Lust is a lovely word and makes love so much more interesting.” – Michael Faudet

 
Can we be friends and lovers?
Can we be intimate and erotic? 
Is it possible for love and lust to co-exist in a healthy marriage? 
 
While writing, I was searching for quotes about love and lust. I immediately realized that lust and love are seen as extremes, opposites, placed on two different continuums.  It is considered that lust is something negative, something that is bad for you, something that is filthy and selfish and leaves you empty. Something that is purely for self-gratification and disrespectful of another’s feelings. Lust is sinful. It is one of the seven deadly sins. 
 Love, on the other hand, is seen as something beautiful, it is a commitment, safety, closeness, intimacy. Love is the beauty and lust the beast. If we look at it this way, lust is evil, and love is pure. 
 
 

What is lust?

The Oxford dictionary defines lust as: “A strong sexual desire.” 
Synonyms for lust are sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, sexual passion. Considering this definition of lust - it is something we all could appreciate in our marriages. It would be lovely to be loved and adored with desire and longing.
According to ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Plato- the romantic type of love in marriage is named Eros. It is the feeling you get inside your body when there is chemistry between the two people; it is the feeling you get when you think and fantasize about your partner; it is what turns you on, it is what connects your bodies; it is what makes intimacy come to life. It is what differentiates eros from friendship and familial love.
Love needs lust, pure and healthy lust, passion and desire for that one person you chose. When done with respect and trust, the goal is mutual enjoyment. It is what brings excitement to safety and adventure to everyday married life.
We need to rethink lust within the context of love. Love keeps a marriage together, while lust keeps it alive.
Love makes us faithful companions, but lust (desire and passion) make us lovers. We need to bring back the lust (desire) into a safe, committed relationship.
  • The bottom line is recognizing that we have a longing for love, real love expressed in intimacy, closeness, trust, conversation, care, etc.
  • But we also have a lustful hunger, a sexual desire, and passion.
  •  We want to feel wanted, we crave to be touched, we have fantasies, and we yearn for something sweet and spicy in our relationships. 
  • Love and lust shouldn’t be separated, but it should be intertwined healthily, celebrated and embraced in marriage as a whole. It should be a celebration of two hearts and also two bodies.

An Exercise.

It is essential for partners to discover their views of love and lust and to share them with each other. It is necessary for couples to learn how to express lust (desire/passion) in a way that leaves the couple filled, loved and integrated. Esther Perel gives an excellent exercise for partners in the discovery and realization of our view of love and lust. Both of you will need a piece of paper and a pen. Divide the piece of paper by drawing a line in the middle, write the word love on the left and lust on the right. Now write your own associations beneath each heading. It might help you to ask yourself some questions, for example: “When I think of love, I think of…”; “When I love, I feel…”; “In love, I look for…”; “I feel loved, when…” When moving to the right-hand side of the page, think of your own associations with the word lust. Ask yourself: “When I think of sex, I think…”; “When I hear the word lust, I think of…”; “In sex, I long for…”; “I feel desired when…”; “It sexually excites me when.”

 

Sharing and discovering with vulnerability.

The next step might be challenging, but oh so worth it. You are now invited to share your associations with your partner. The goal is not to evoke judgment, shock or any emotion that brings separation. You have to allow yourself to be open-minded; to allow yourself and your partner to bring their lustful joys, their inner beast out in the open. An exercise that can help with this is to mirror each other. To “mirror” each other, you will need to listen intently, let go of your assumptions and ideas and hear what your partner is trying to say. You can start by sitting across from each other, comfortably (it might be helpful to dim the lights, to create a romantic atmosphere as it can feel quite exposing). Start with the easier associations; the way you see love. And then move to the associations with lust. Let your partner tell you their association, and then you mirror him or her by repeating what you have heard. For example: “It sexually excites me when you take complete control over me during sex; it makes me feel wanted.” Then you look your partner in the eyes and repeat: “I hear that it sexually excites you when I take complete control over you during sex and that it makes you feel wanted. It is important to share your inner thoughts aloud, but also to hear them aloud and have your partner voice what you have been feeling and thinking. It is essential on this note to take a moment where you honestly share with each other what makes you feel uncomfortable, what scares you, what you are not willing to do, what you might need help with. You have to come to a mutual agreement of what you will allow in your marriage and in your bed. Healthy lust and desire could not be forced!
 

Start exploring.

  •  “Talk is cheap; money buys the whiskey.
  • Sharing and communicating with each other is crucial, but it needs to move over to action.
  • You have to do something about it.
  • It is time to open the door to new sexual expression between the two of you and discover how intimacy and eroticism meet; how safety and wildness co-exists; how your marriage grows but also flourishes; how love and lust collides.
  • In maintaining a healthy and flourishing marriage, it is imperative to remember that lust and desire could fuel your marriage.
  • It is important to remember that lust and desire are supposed to be a healthy part of marriage, just like love.
  • It should be mutually accepted, enjoyed and celebrated.

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