Are you in love with the person or the sex?

How many times have I been down the road where I was in love with the sex and confused it with being in love with the man? Too many.

Sex is a powerful thing. Too often I have allowed it to cloud my judgment and still my inner voice. I have allowed it to completely take over and become the most important thing about a person and a relationship.

I remember a lot of shame being associated with sex growing up. It was taboo to talk about it. Sex was usually done in the dark, behind closed doors, and sexuality was certainly not recognized as part of who we are.

And God forbid if you were having gay sex. You were on your way to Hell. Do not pass go or collect 200 dollars.

I have since come to realize that sex is a beautiful thing and nothing to be ashamed of. I am also however, learning to distinguish the difference between loving the sex and loving the person.

Now, it’s an awesome thing to love the sex. But it finally dawned on me that for a healthy relationship to last, you must also love the person. For me anyway, it’s easier said than done. When I have sex, my emotions become easily involved and before you know it, Bam, I’m in love. 

The question I now have learned to ask is, “What am I in love with?”

Too many times, I’ve met someone and right away the two of us are going at it several times a day like energizer bunnies. This would go on for several weeks to several months and was blissful. But as the sex became far less frequent and the sexual passion diminished, the relationship was over. It ended. 

Guess what? One of us, or both of us, was only in love with the sex.

The question, “Am I in love with the sex or the person” has taught me the importance of getting to know someone before engaging in sex. I have learned to fall in love with the man first, then the sex, and it’s been vital for relationship longevity and happiness.

You are much more likely to stay with someone if you are in love with them and not just their body. 

Is it important to love the sex? Absolutely. It is a huge part of the way we share our love with each other. So when do you have sex with someone you’ve met? Is there a right or wrong time?  

There’s no one answer. Each individual has to ultimately go with their feelings and do what feels right for them. I am just asking that once you do, you ponder the question, “What exactly am I in love with?”

Vince Shifflett is a critical care nurse and freelance writer living in Atlanta. vinceshifflett.com

This column appeared in Q magazine. Flip through the full issue below, and pick up a new edition each Thursday.