Ask Kyle Anything… More Answers to Reader Questions

Lisa Asked “What’s the difference between lust and “in love” for you?”

Quick answer is, lust is about the body, the gonads, the physical sex drive to orgasm, wanting to get it on with someone.  On the other hand, “in love” signifies something larger, something that involves more than just the physical.  It signifies an emotional investment I’m making in someone, an investment of my energy, my support, my time.  Lust is a need that can be met without commitment, though it can also be met within a committed relationship.

When I’m in lust with someone, I may or may not be motivated to consummate that lust.  I can lust from afar.  When I’m in love with someone, I have a hard time being afar from them.  I want the relationship to grow, I want to know more about them, I want to have a larger share of their attention and time, I want to give them a larger share of my time and attention.  The warm glow of love starts in my chest, the heat of lust starts somewhere lower in my body.   There’s a definite difference in intended goals.  When I’m in love with someone, that state of being is signified by a different set of motivations and goals than when I’m in lust.  When I’m in love with someone, I want to know more about them, I want to know about their life, their past, their families, how they’ve been shaped by their experiences.  Lust has a different goal, not necessarily simpler but easier to define.  Lust wants to fuck, it wants to touch, be touched, kiss and be kissed, it wants the rush we get when we feel mutual attraction.  This is a much narrower focus than love.

Anticipating a follow on question, what’s the interface between the two?  When does lust turn into love, if indeed that transformation happens?  Lust can lead to love.  We haven’t talked about crushes yet, but a crush feels like a ‘in love light’, it’s less thoughtful than love, less aware of its surroundings, so to speak.  I have moved from crush to love, but I don’t know that I’ve ever moved directly from lust to love.  Crush and lust tend to commingle a lot before love emerges, at least for me.  Maybe when I’m in that situation again, I’ll be more aware of that transition into love, but right now it I’m having a hard time pinpointing it.  When did my crushing lust for Roxy turn into being in love?  What was the feeling that made me aware of the difference?  That’s really hard to pinpoint.  Going back to the beginning stages of my relationship with my wife, I have a similarly hard time nailing down that moment.  I think it’s somewhere in how you feel if you don’t see them when you expect to, or when there’s a threat that they may leave or change the relationship.  Speaking just for myself, if I’m lusting after someone and I find out their moving in a month, I’ll be disappointed but not heartbroken.  When I’m crushing on someone, the news that they’re dating someone else or leaving town is going to have a bigger impact.  I will feel the loss of potential more acutely.  When I’m in love with someone, the merest whiff of that relationship ending feels like harpy talons tearing my chest apart.  The world is ending, my heart is being torn apart and I can’t breathe.

On the positive side, when I’m crushing on someone and I see them, my whole body goes ZING! with adrenaline and I wonder how I can get closer to them.  When I’m in love with them and I see them, it’s all of that plus a very powerful feeling of being home, of belonging, of knowing that I will be received with joy.  And something else just occurred to me.  Love is not a solo venture for me.  In the scenarios I was just envisioning, lust and crush can exist unilaterally.  I can lust after someone or even have a crush, and not feel compelled to tell them.  They may never know.  Love, however, requires reciprocation.  Love is not something I feel I can indulge, accept, build, give to another, unless they are loving me in return.  So Love requires trust and reciprocity and shared emotional investment, and that trust results in more vulnerability, more openness. When I’m in Lust/Crush, I am selective about my vulnerability, about what I share.

Hmmm… fun how these questions get me thinking so deeply about these questions.  Thank you Lisa, for this one and thank you Jenna, for the original question.



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