Sex and love are two distinct and independent ontological spheres. One stands without the other. The latter is not required in places where the former is sought. It is just a matter of being there where one gets into an agreement with another either for a fee or just for the heck of it—no strings attached. In such cases, the condition could be open, casual and fearless. However, it could also be so private and discreet, even extremely secretive and with a lot of risks involved if divulged.
Sex, being biologically instinctual, is basically amoral. In normal circumstances, experiencing sex entails diverse levels of thrill and exhilaration. In this sense, sex between two (or more) consenting individuals is fundamentally an outward expression of natural psycho-physical desire mutually felt by one towards the other. We humans like those of the so-called lower species in class Mammalia are animalia sexualem. In fact, the eminent (though highly controversial) Austrian psychiatrist (later psychoanalyst) Sigmund Freud robustly theorized that sex is the foundational and determining factor—the begin-all and the end-all of meaningfulness—that sets into motion the complexities of the human condition in the unending experiential trails of pains and pleasures that characterize the constancy of human existence. Whether we agree with Freud (and there have been a lot of more sensible and erudite scientific minds who have vehemently disagreed with him and vigorously lambasted him as well) or not is not our present concern.
But there is more to sex than the plainly biological. Focusing on the human realm, we enter into the socio-cultural domain with all its moral ethos and traditions, standards and conventions. Sex in this light is hence contextually seen contrasting in the distinctive loci of permission and prohibition. Instances where its practice is moral on the one hand and immoral on the other are socially decided, established and instituted in both written and unwritten principles, rules and decrees. In certain cases, the moral is eclipsed by the legal while in other occurrences, the moral just has to push the legal aside. But one thing that stands out and transcends this whole moral-legal landscape is the matter of feeling—human affection at its most passionate point prone and persistent to defy social mores and cultural norms.
Society is basically defined in terms of human association and interaction. Personal relationship is a primal consideration that makes up a society. In this connection, social relationships assign certain roles to people as relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues among others. Beyond this issue, however, is the emotion factor involved in a relationship. One´s feeling of intimacy towards another is reckoned in terms of the degree of their closeness with each other but such closeness is set within the distinct bounds of socially defined and accepted areas of interaction. Society is hence formed in, by and for human relationships wherein social roles determine the scope and limits of the expression and measure of affective closeness one is supposed to show towards another (or others) in a particular type of relationship. This is the specific point where the subject of love enters.
Love is expressed and qualitatively viewed in terms of the degree of intimacy in a certain type of relationship. In this consideration, we should look into the various types of relationship in society and distinguish from them the different expressions of love shown in diverse degrees of depth and breadth of intimacy. A child´s love to her/his parents; a parent´s love to her/his children; a brother´s / sister´s love to her/his sibling(s); an individual person´s expression of sisterly/brotherly love to her/his close friend; a husband´s love towards his wife and vice versa; a girl´s love towards her sweetheart. There are myriads of instances wherein love is conveyed in various degrees of feeling. In fact, the term ¨love¨ is even used to express one´s feeling towards pet animals and highly valued objects as well. But for our present purposes, we specifically use it in the context of the human condition.
Love in the landscape of human interactive relationship is a broad terrain. It doesn´t require the essence of sex to fully define and describe its substance. It is an entirely distinct sphere as sex likewise is. In reference to David Hume´s theory of causality, there is NO necessary connection between love and sex. Using the mathematical model of set theory, it is a given that sex and love are independent sets. However, it is also an empirical reality that there is an intersecting area wherein sex and love connect. In the Humean formulation, we concur to the notion that they do not actually have a necessary connection but the area of intersection reveals what Hume called a constant conjunction. The connection is therefore not analytically (or logically) but rather synthetically (or empirically) established.
Within the intersecting area, sex becomes an expression of love. The intensity of love in a zealous commitment between two human beings is not only given expression in the sentimental meeting of souls intimately connected but also in the explicitness of physical engagement as a performative celebration of such commitment elevated to the level of a mutual erotic passion. Sex in this particular context makes love exhilarating, even electrifying. So that love in its erotic form achieves a completeness and sex as it is performed in erotic love is spontaneously raised to the level of aesthetic exquisiteness. Sex in this sense becomes an art.
The interconnectivity of sex and love in the present specific context is an ancient one. It is characterized by a lofty metaphysical formulation enshrined in the mythological traditions of antiquity. And there is something splendid in this interconnectivity.
Love in these mythologies — more pronounced in the Mesopotamian tradition — is viewed as a primal life-force characterized by 1) fertility (possibilizing-of-being); 2) formity (molding-into-being); and 3) formality (ordering-of-being).
In the Greek tradition, it is a primeval energy that cyclically flows from a universal timeless ocean — the Primordial EROS — to the “lakes” of gods/goddesses-in-time-and-space — Aphrodite and Eros — to the “rivers” of human passion and back to the universal timeless ocean.
Egyptian mythology dramatizes that in the “rivers” of human passion, love expresses itself as 1) physical desire (ka love); 2) sharing of the soul (ba love); and 3) commitment of the spirit (akh love).
Ontologically, the love portrayed in ancient classical mythologies cannot be boldly signified if not viewed as the spirit that “inspires” the embracing arms of creation and destruction, order and chaos, peace and violence. In Greek mythology, love (Eros) is the intensifying passion that calls into being the sting of destruction/violence (Eris).
Love is, hence, an ancient wave that vibrates, interpenetrates, and interconnects the divine and the human in an eternal cosmic dance that makes life dangerously exciting, poignantly challenging and desperately imminent in its expression of a “longing for itself”.
[From: Ruel F. Pepa, ¨The Dynamics of Love as Fertility, Formity and Formality in Ancient Mythologies: A Critico-Structural Excursion into the Classics¨in SOPHOPHILIA: Critical Readings in Philosophy, pp. 58-59. . . http://issuu.com/kspt/docs/sophophilia%5D
In conclusion, we affirm the independence of the spheres of love and sex from each other. Nevertheless, we likewise affirm the reality of a context where the two spheres intersect and a wonderful interconnectivity is hence established. There is a specific ontological location where the association of sex and love perfectly fits so well. To distinguish it from other ontological locations where different forms of love are found is thus important and will lead us to an intelligent vantage point where we will never get into the error of always associating sex and love across the board.
© Ruel F. Pepa, 3 September 2013
@ruel, It would depend on personality; extroverts are more open to casual encounters, the pleasure and excitement of exploring new partners, then introverts feel vulnerable in the act and so feeling exposed they need a certain level of trust in a partner. I suppose it comes down to what the person is looking for, an extrovert will associate great pleasurable sex as love while an introvert will associate a feeling of safety and of being at ease as love.
@ruel, Beautiful. What can be said, that hasn’t already? Not much at all. Great substance in this post. Thanks for sharing.
The delusional paradox humans have created by connecting love and sex in an infinite loop, is one we need to remedy. It is one of, if not the most progression crippling aspects of current society. If we could pull our heads out of our asses on this, we would all see things a lot clearer. And be collectively a healthier species.
Freud was controversial because he was right and we weren’t/aren’t ready to admit that about ourselves yet.