Love vs. Lust: How to Understand You're in Love, and Not Craving

When is it lust, and when is it love? The idea that someone might just want to be with you for the potential of physical pleasure is a hard concept to understand for some people. However, the desire to be with someone in a lustful manner provokes similar feelings in people who are feeling love. The intense feelings of loss when someone is not around or paying attention to you. The willingness to do anything to be with them at any time of the day or night. Some could even argue that there is less separating love and lust than most people think.

So, how do you recognize when you're in love instead of just craving some physical affection? There are many ways that you can tell the difference, and we're going to delve into them from various perspectives. Does someone want a relationship or just sex? We will show you how to tell the difference!

What is the Difference Between Love and Sexual Attraction?

Before we can give a straight answer about whether it is lust or love, it's important to define the two and show you the differences. Based on what the experts had to say, we have to start with the question: what is lust? The vast majority of people have felt lust. It is the desire to be with someone in a physically intimate manner. Whether that is kissing, hugging, or something more intimate, it's lust. The major difference is that lust is solely about physical desires, short-term actions, and surface-level need to be with a person.

Complicating matters is the fact that sexual attraction and love share many of these traits. After all, when you have a romantic connection with someone, it is only natural to want to share sexual experiences with them. It's part of growing a strong relationship. The differences between these two are best presented as foils in the following maxims:

  • Lust is about physical attraction and desire; love is about the emotional connections
  • Love takes time to build while lust is present immediately and can last a short duration
  • Lust will fade away the longer you feel it, while love will continue to build and reach a plateau level
  • When you are lusting after someone, the feelings center on you. But when you love someone, the feeling is centered on them

These understandings can shape how we look at the topic of love and sexual attraction or lust. You should understand that the major differences are the ways that people feel about a person. If it is solely a physical attraction that a person wants to consummate, then it is probably lust. If you feel an emotional connection with someone and want to build a relationship that also has a sexual component, then you're feeling love.

The only issue is that love takes a while to build. So, if you love someone early in a relationship and still feel those lustful pangs, you might mistake your feelings. The only way to know for sure is if you lose interest in someone over time, and that realization can be quite harsh. Unfortunately, some people get involved in a relationship with a person and don't realize until much too late that they had a complicated feeling of lust rather than the emotional capacity to love that individual. You won't know for sure until you take the leap and decide to try to love someone, though. Now that you know the lust definition and how it is different from simply "horny love," you can take your personal relationship into account and determine what kind of outcomes you want to see.

Is It Worth Comparing Love and Lust?

Is it better to have love or lust in a relationship? Most of the time, it depends on the person. After all, you might need a quick night of fun with someone to blow off some steam or have an ongoing short-term relationship with someone, and there is nothing wrong with that. The feelings are confusing, though.

When you have intense sexual chemistry with someone, you might mistake that for love. Still, if you look at the impacts of love and lust, it is rather simple to see why some people believe that love is the way to go. Overall, the first thing that you need to understand about love relative to lust is that love is a form of sharing and giving yourself while lust is taking from someone to give to yourself.

Companionate relationships are the cornerstone of most loving relationships. These are supportive, romantic interactions that people have where they help one another throughout every aspect of life, not just focus on their physical desires. A person that is in love will help their partner study for a major test. A person that is lusting after another will be more likely to tell their partner to put off their studying efforts in favor of sleeping with them. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with this action, but you should pay careful attention to the way that you act as a result of lust as compared to love.

There are several other ways of comparing the two romantic feelings that go beyond the idea of giving and taking. For one thing, love is a lot more patient than the lustful feelings that people harbor. If you said to someone that you'd rather wait to engage in sex until you get to know them better, then you're probably feeling love rather than lust. If you turn to a dating site that same night, find a hookup, and then ditch the first partner that wanted you to wait, then it was lust all along.

Being in love with someone also means that you have their best interests in mind. You will be willing to sacrifice something of yourself to help them achieve their goals, feel protected, or anything else. Lust is all about self-interest. You will be more coercive with your date when you want to be with a person physically, and that is you demonstrating feelings of lust toward them.

Another thing about lustful behavior is the way that people feel toward their partner. Since a lustful person is always seeking what their partner can do for them, they will often be jealous of anything their partner does, which does not involve them. For example, they will often not want someone to go out with their friends to a party because they're worried that their partner could cheat on them. That feeling is borne of worry that their partner will meet someone that could take from them in the same way they take from their date. People that are loving are patient, trusting, and willing to impart freedom to their dates because it's what makes them happy. If they have a trusting, loving relationship, then they know their partner will come back to them at the end of the day.

These are some of the best ways to tell what kind of relationship you have. While some of these ideas may overlap or not be present at the early stages of a relationship, they will reveal themselves in time.

How to Know for Sure that There is More Than Lust?

Another question that people face when they're examining their relationship in terms of lust and love is, how can they know that there is more to their relationship than the feelings of lust. Well, the obvious way of knowing is also the most difficult: take some time to let the relationship develop. As we've said before—time reveals all. Your relationship will be shown to be love or lust when the initial feelings of intense attraction have worn off a little.

Still, if you're wondering how to know if someone is thinking about you sexually or more seriously, there are telltale signs. People will often ask, what does lust feel like? Many times, it will be a serious desire to be with someone in a physical, sexual way. The person could be very attractive to you, and your body wants theirs. It's that simple. You will notice that your lust is the only thing that is connecting you, though. Or, at least, it's the most powerful feeling that you have about that other person. Over time, that lust can form into love in the right circumstances, but it's not that often.

You can definitely tell if someone considers their relationship with you to be a lustful one, though. It's as simple as telling them about your feelings. If you are dealing with a personal problem and let your date know, they will have a telling response. They might want to know what is wrong and how they can fix it for you. They might also have another response—not caring at all. For the latter, that will demonstrate that they are not interested in becoming emotionally invested in you, and that will mean it is only lust that they feel for you.

Another way that you can find out what you think of your partner and what they think of you in terms of lust and love is how you want to integrate them into your life. Do you want your partner to start coming to family events with you? Would you invite them over for dinner with your parents? If that feels a little invasive to you, then you might have a new relationship or one that is solely lustful. On the other hand, if your partner doesn't want to come to your place or get involved with your life outside of the bedroom and dates, it means that they only feel lust for you.

Lastly, you have to think about what it means to love someone. When you love someone, you let them learn about your innermost thoughts, feelings, and faults. You are incredibly vulnerable to them, and that is something that every expert ranks as an indicator of true love. If you're willing to be open and honest with your partner about things that you would never reveal to others, then it's more than lust.

These are some of the best ways of learning whether you have a loving or lustful relationship.

Can You Have Love and Lust At Once?

Another common question that people have about love and lust is whether or not the two can coexist. As we have said before, there are definitely some sections of overlap. Moreover, lust can turn into love in the right conditions.

Think about it this way. When you love someone, you're bound to want to be with them physically. Thus, having sex with someone you love might seem like a lustful act, but it is merely part of the long process of you both bonding with each other.

There can also be love without feelings of lust. As relationships and marriages get longer in duration, people are less likely to have those lustful feelings. Of course, studies show that people of all ages still have active bedrooms, but they are not feeling those lustful desires like a pair of people that just got together for the first time.

So, you can have both lust and love in a relationship. In fact, some people would argue that you need a little bit of lust to keep things exciting in the early stages. That being said, your relationship should mature into love before you consider taking the next steps.

Knowing the difference between love and lust should help you get ready to make some big decisions about your life. You might only want a lustful relationship at this point in your life, but you will also be prepared for the future where you desire to love. Learn more about how to demonstrate and increase the level of love in your relationship, and you're bound to have more success in your love life.