Lust and love can be extremely confusing, especially when sex is involved. As you probably know, lust is that exciting and euphoric stage of courtship. It's often really intense and can be confused with love. Add sexual attraction to the lust and you have the perfect recipe for romantic befuddlement. So what are the signs you're sexually attracted to someone, and not actually in love? How do you know that it's just a little fun and not something more long lasting? It turns out there are some pretty obvious markers to help you figure it out.
Before getting into the signs, you should know how lust and attraction begin. It's often thought that emotions are involved in being sexually or physically attracted to someone. After all, you feel all types of things when you see a hot person walk by on the street. But real and deep feelings aren't involved initially. The laws of sexual attraction are actually rooted in science (sorry if this doesn't sound too sexy). Humans are physically attracted to one another at the biochemical level via scent, pheromones, and voice pitch, according to a HuffPost article. This doesn't mean sexual attraction can't eventually turn into something long term, but it's good to recognize the difference.
Knowing what type of relationship you're in (and what kind you want) can help you make crucial decisions about that person and your love life as a whole. Here are nine things to look out for when trying to decide if you're just totally hot for a person, or you're really in love.
1. You Don't Actually Spend Time Together
Melissa Divaris Thompson, a licensed psychotherapist in New York City tells Romper that if "you just want to make out or have sex, not actually spend time" with the other person, then it may not be true love. She says if you notice that you don't really want to take the time to get to know the person (you just want to get to know their body) then you're not in love.
Nadine Sabulsky, Founder of The Naked Life Coach, and author of Secret Weapons of Mass Orgasm: The Science of Sex & Artistry of Love agrees and adds that, "they make you incredibly horny, but outside of sex you only endure their company, and the whole time you're together you're just waiting to get to the bedroom or the sex," it's probably just sex you're wanting and nothing more.
2. You Keep Relationship On The Fantasy Level
It's important to note that fantasy play can happen during sex in a committed relationship, but if you're in a land of make believe all of the time with your partner it probably isn't love.
"If you don't feel you can be open and honest with your partner and would rather pretend you have a perfect life it is a sign of lust, not love," therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Romper. "When you love someone there should be trust, honesty, and communication."
3. There Is A Lack Emotional Connection
You may have a really good sex life with this person, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're connecting on an emotional or intimate level. Part of connecting is talking to each other.
"If you're always up for sex, but there is little interest in having conversations this is a sign of lust not love," Hershenson says. "When you love someone you should feel supported and be able to express your needs."
4. You're Focused On Their Physical Appearance
Being physically attracted to the person you have a relationship with, whether it's a sexual relationship or otherwise, is certainly important. If, however, you're only focused on the dreamy eyes and nice butt it's probably not love. Hershenson says:
"If you can't stop thinking about how good looking your partner is or how great their body is, and there is little else that comes to mind when you are thinking of what attracts you to them, this is a sign it's lust not love."
She also notes that there are many other important qualities to look for a person if you want to commit to a long term relationship like kindness, dependability, support, and trustworthiness. Thompson agrees and says when you're in love you tend to look for traits that make a person unique on the inside too, and not just on the outside.
5. You Don't Care About Getting To Know Their Family
"When you love someone you care deeply about getting to know the people they care deeply about," Thompson says. "If you don't this is a sign you are probably more attracted to them physically."
Similarly, you may also find yourself not jumping at the chance to bring your lover around your nearest and dearest in either.
"While you don't necessarily need the approval of loved ones, if you completely avoid bringing them around your family and friends, that's a good sign they're not 'the one,'" Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating coach and owner of The Popular Man tells Romper. "Most people want to share the existence of their partner with others, not hide them away."
6. They Make You Nervous, And Not In A Good Way
If you're feeling nervous and your gut is screaming "red flag," it may be time to honestly ask yourself what kind of relationship you're in.
"Your subconscious has picked up cues that they're not what they seem to be, but maybe you're disregarding the signs because you want the sex, or you're just plain lonely," Sabulsky says. "Put aside your sexual attraction for a moment and ask yourself what it is about this person that's rubbing you the wrong way."
7. Your Best Friend Dislikes The Person
If you have honest friends like I do, it should be easy to find out rather quickly what they think.
"Unless your friends dislike everyone you meet on principle, in which case it may be time for new friends, they are probably noticing the things that your lust-hazed brain isn't capable of seeing," Sabulsky says. "Ask them why they feel this way, and take the time to really listen to their response, without defending your choice or your lover."
8. You're Extremely Careful About Birth Control
This one is for people in hetero relationships who may be using some form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
"You know deep down that you'd never, ever want a kid with this guy, so you take extra precautions when you two have sex, Bennett says. "While you may love the shape of his body, you definitely don't want to be the mother of his child."
9. You Can't See A Future Together
"If you want to rip his clothes off, but can't think of any scenario where you two could live happily ever after, it's a good sign you're just in it for the sex," Bennett says.
Being in a relationship solely for the sex isn't necessarily a bad thing, if that's what you want. But knowing the difference between the two will be key in securing your emotional happiness.