The Difference Between Hook-Up Sex, Marital Sex and Making Love

Sex is an important part of marriage, relationships and of course, hook-ups. With modern dating increasingly focused on snap judgements and swiping right, it is time to ask if you know the difference between different kinds of sex?

Hook-Up Sex

Hook-up sex or casual sex is a fundamentally physical experience. It harkens back to our primitive nature, gratifying a purely physical urge. Giving in to our carnal desires can be very intense and arousing – it is also the least evolved form of sex.

While we have a physiological need and drive for this type of sex, something we share with animals, it ultimately fails to fulfil us on a higher level, which requires more than a lust-driven act.

Douglas LaBier is a psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, DC. He describes hook-up sex as, ‘mostly void of relationship beyond the physical connection; a form of playing through using each other’s bodies.’

If we wanted to draw parallels we could say hook-up sex is essentially the junk food of sex. It might feel great at the time, but it cannot provide long-term satisfaction or nourishment.

Marital Sex

When we say marital sex, we are not referring to a legal status. Rather, it is sex between anyone in a committed, long-term romantic relationship, whether gay or straight, married or unmarried.

Marital sex exists on a higher plane than hook-up sex. We say it exists on a higher level because marital sex intrinsically involves an emotional connection and degree of intimacy that sets it apart from hook-up sex.

Instead of being driven completely by hormones and animal instinct, this type of sex also engages our most important sex organ – our brains.

However, there may not always be a happily ever after story. Along with the emotional connection a relationship brings to sex come some pitfalls.

Disagreement, conflict and resentment that develop over time in a relationship can manifest in a couple’s sex life.

This ‘relational connection’, as LaBier calls it, is therefore a double-edged sword which brings both positive and negative aspects of a relationship into the bedroom.

LaBier says, ‘The good part is that your relationship is more humanly evolved, and contains the possibility of evolving towards Making Love.’

‘The bad part is that all the feelings, conflicts, non-mutual behaviour, hiding out and manipulation characteristic of the adolescent model of love can seep into your sex life like a growing virus.’

He goes on to give the example of withholding sex from your partner as a form of punishment, or using sex to manipulate them.

So, while marital sex is more fulfilling and more in line with our higher faculties, it can be fraught with problems.

Making Love

Finally, we come to making love. People sometimes use this interchangeably with sex while many others see it differently.

Christina Antonyan, founder of Confident Lovers, compares the heights of sex to the depths of making love, and says the latter ‘encourages both partners to make use of their minds, bodies, and souls to access each other’s heart’.

She sees it as a spiritual experience where both parties are free to be their true selves, uninhibited and unguarded. Lovemaking is a way for us to ‘exceed the limits of our physical body, and merge with one another’.

Relationship expert and author of Passion Spirit Purpose, Ana Weber says, ‘Making love is an art, formed by two people with deep feelings and emotions for one another, it’s a giving behaviour with commitment and care.’

In a way, making love transcends the act of sex itself, using sex as a vehicle for the melding of positive emotions and honest expression that only two people in love can share, to become more than just two individuals.

Of course, the sex itself is still central to making love, but the heights, or depths as Antonyan puts it, are only reached or found because of the freedom, care and love you share with one each other.

Now you know the difference between hook-up sex, marital sex and making love, be aware of which one you are seeking.





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