very strong sexual desire : he knew that his lust for her had returned.
• [in sing. ] a passionate desire for something : a lust for power.
• (usu. lusts) chiefly Theology a sensual appetite regarded as sinful : lusts of the flesh.
Yes, of course, we all know the difference. We talk about love, sing songs, write poems and recite quotes, express it to others, cherish it and generally put it on an emotional pedestal. We all know that “Love makes the world go round.” Or, do we sometimes confuse that ever present and overused word “love”, with another word which is “sinful”, not to be mentioned in not only polite society, but somehow regarded as weakness propagated for centuries by most religions as undesirable. This dreaded word is, of course you’ve guessed it, LUST.
Yet, I suggest that these two words, love and lust, are much more interchangeable in our lives than we would like to admit. This somehow applies to men more often than women, which is not to say that women are immune to lust. On the contrary, it can be just as strong a driving force in a relationship although most of the time does not lead to a long-lasting and happy partnership.
Of course, as we can see from the definition above, lust is closely connected with sex. Although you may lust for money or ice cream, this is not what we are talking about here.
This article is about being able to distinguish between love and sex. Why, you may ask. As I mentioned in previous articles, being present to, and conscious of what is real and what we imagine in our own minds can and will make the difference in your ability to make sound choices and create your own happiness. How many broken relationships and marriages have you known that started with a couple being “madly in love.” Maybe it was one of your own. The divorce rate in the military is about 80–90% mostly due to young people having sex for the first time, falling in love (read: lust) and getting married, and the numbers tell you what the outcome is for the most part.
How many times have you confused love and lust? How many times have you told a woman that you love her just to get her into bed. How many times have you actually believed it if you are a woman? What were the consequences? How many hearts have been broken because people could not distinguish between the two?
Men and women usually “fall in love” for different reasons. Real, unconditional love has nothing to do with this phrase. For men, qualities, which mostly have to do with sex, i.e. looks, are important. By their good looks women are subconsciously flaunting their fertility. And, women know very well how to do it: thus, make-up, tattoos, boob implants, high heels and such. For a woman, what is more important is the approval of her attractiveness and man’s ability to satisfy her other needs. For a woman lust is rarely first on the list. Be aware, if sex happens to be first on your list if you are a woman, run as fast as you can if you do not want an almost certain break up in the near future.
This is in a nutshell, how we operate in relationships. Our wants and needs go hand in hand. Nature has designed our mating game to perfection. Our “selfish genes” are fulfilling their selfish agenda very well — too well sometimes. (There are 6,500,000,000 people on earth mostly poor and struggling for survival.)
Yet, we like to think of ourselves as conscious beings in control of our actions and lives. Nothing can be further from the truth; lust and sex are the most ancient and the strongest impulses that are hard to control. Yet there is hope. The vehicle to knowledge is language. The vehicle to wisdom and happiness is the constant expansion of our awareness of the distinction between reality and our interpretations of it. In other words, calling a spade a spade might help. Timely distinguishing between lust and love may save you from a lifetime of suffering.
In the end I would like to make clear that despite what the church, your mother or society says, there is nothing wrong with “lust of the flash”. Lust is a hormone-driven natural process aimed at reproduction and it is hard to fight. As long as we do not confuse it with love we can put it to our service instead of being its slave.
Love and lust! Just know the difference.