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What is Love?

loveIs there any word more bandied about than the word 'love'? There must be libraries of books written about it, from the trite to the sublime.

When I use the word I mean putting another person's welfare and happiness before my own welfare and happiness - as when a mother is prepared to sacrifice her own needs for the sake of her child, or a 'lover' for the one 'loved'.

For example, at the highest point of sexual intercourse, what is uppermost in a 'lover's' mind? Is it a sense of 'giving' or a sense of 'receiving'? If it is of 'giving'  to me that is love. If it is of 'receiving' pleasure, that, to me, is simply using another's body for one's own pleasure - the very antithesis of love.

But what do I, a bachelor, know of these things! Just musing.


er, aren't you a celibate? how would you have the least idea what felt like love in sex? for most people, this is not a theoretical exercise. & as with most theories, the difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference.

that said, failing to fully accept and appreciate pleasure when provided by a partner strikes me as utterly unloving; ungrateful, even. you might as well be celibate for all the love that allows into lovemaking.

"giving" is great, but you're attached to the nervous system that "receives", and you are best equipped to appreciate what you experience directly than what you might imagine is experienced second-hand. if you want to be a "good lover", work on your giving. that's a fine thing, plus you'll get invited back to get laid more. if you want to experience love to its fullest, it is necessary to be the best recipient possible -- and help your partner to become theirs as well.

(i wrote out a long and graphical analogy about horseback riding, which i teach, but i thought the metaphor might strain you and a similarly graphic answer about sex would be wasted entirely. so you'll have to do without an example :)
"failing to fully accept and appreciate pleasure when provided by a partner strikes me as utterly unloving"

Each must be GIVING in the relationship. Of course each must be happy to RECEIVE as well.
That is, for a lack of a better word, a lovely entry. :)
Hugs, Jon
I would say that intercourse for me, is about both giving and receiving, as it is for my partner. In an orgasm, yes, I am looking to reach a level of physical pleasure and am focussed on receiving what I need from my partner to get there, and he is giving me what I need to orgasm. Similarly, when he reaches orgasm, I want to do all I can to help make that pleasurable for him. Unless we both go at the same time, there is going to be a point at which one of us is the giver, and one of us is the recipient. Because we care for each other and want to give each other pleasure, that is love.

With regards to other forms of love... I have realised that even though I am very willing to make sacrifices for my children, there is also a limit to which that should happen. I've learnt from experience that giving them my everything, giving up everything for them, is not healthy. They know I love them, but I think it's important for them to realise that other people have needs as well, and I'm getting better at telling them 'no, this is for me.' Because I need something of myself to keep, or I end up with nothing. This also goes for chocolate, by the way.
I agree fully with what you so well express.

True love does not require any response on the part of the one loved.
There are many types of love, as we know, but overall, I like to see tolerance as my day-to-day form of love for humanity.
Saying that there are many types of love, to my way of thinking, is part of the problem. It then can mean anything such as saying 'I love that book', etc. What of yourself would you sacrifice for a book?
it is what the people involve make it
talking about love is like talking about color
there are theories - there is science - but in the end color is a perception
people who have green/brown "color blindness" perceive the world differently but it isn't different to them.
So love can mean anything you wish?
On the basis of long past but well remembered experience, the moment of orgasm was something akin to a mystical experience. Notions of "getting" and "giving" seemed irrelevant as the experience was overwhelming, "too deep for words."
I used that example because people refer to 'love-making' when speaking of sexual intercourse.
The selfless 'giving' on your part is what I call love.
The 'receiving' on your part depends on the 'giving' of the other and is not essential to your loving.
just as there are different types of relationships and roles in this world, so there are different forms of love. I love my country, not in any patriotic or romantic way - for I feel patriotism is a form of controlling people so they react without thinking, and the other would be a neurological condition. But I have trained and gone out to battle the elements to protect large swathes of the land as a volunteer firefighter. And after the fires were out, I've gone back out again to help rescue the wildlife that could be saved, and helped the vets with heartbreaking job of euthanising those who were too badly damaged to survive. Heart and soul I love my home.

I love my children, and I see it to be my role to help them get to the path they will have to tread onwards alone, but they carry in them the knowledge of my love, as they make their own choices. I will see them into their adult world fully capable of caring for, and valuing themselves and others.

Of romantic love, an equal partnership where the meeting of minds and hearts is as powerful as the meeting of bodies, and the desire to work to a future together - that to me is love.
Thank you. Two things started me musing on the true meaning of 'love'.

One was the many references these days to the love of country expressed by the courage of British and other soldiers in WW1 and those who rose in rebellion in 1916 in Ireland. This led me to think of those down through history who died for their faith.

The other was trying to understand the mind-set of those young people in the Middle East responsible for so many car-bombings and suicide deaths.

Edited at 2014-01-16 11:56 (UTC)
I love my wife. I have no doubt I'd die for her if the situation demanded. I'd even kill for her if need be. Now, the situation would have to be quite extreme for someone's death to be required, but yeah, she's my everything.

As far as what I'm thinking at the pinnacle of lovemaking.... er, there's not much thinking going on at that point. All the giving and receiving is done and both parties are lost in the moment.
I used that example because people refer to 'love-making' when speaking of sexual intercourse.