Emotion Commotion: Love Vs. Lust

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Written by Kimberly Elmore

This section is all about emotions and learning about our mental health. Kimberly Elmore, an Identity Staff Writer, has dedicated her time to educate and discuss a particular emotion in each issue. It’s a great way for women to open up and become more aware of our emotions, feelings, and human behavior. All of these emotions help us understand how to Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM and to Feel Beautiful Everyday!TM


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What is love and what is lust?

Typically in this column, one emotion is studied. This issue, let’s delve into the love vs. lust phenomena.

Searching love on dictionary.com provides 28 definitions for this one word! We all know the feeling of love is complicated, and even the definition isn’t a simple one.   Some definitions of love include: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; sexual passion or desire; to need or require, benefit greatly from; to hug and cuddle; to embrace and kiss, to engage in sexual activity; and a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.

Love vs. Lust

Lust, on the other hand, produces seven definitions on dictionary.com, which include: intense sexual desire or appetite; a passionate or overmastering desire or craving; and to have a yearning or desire.

Probably not shocking that lust is easier defined than love. Lust is superficial, temporary, so of course it’s ‘easy come, easy go.’ Love on the other hand…hard to come by, hard to let go of (sometimes).

I asked a few friends for their initial reaction of love vs. lust. Just like dictionary.com’s definitions, my friends categorized lust as ‘simpler’ and love as ‘more complicated.’ Here are some of their (often amusing) responses:

“Lust is better. Relationships are a freakin’ headache.”

“Lust is soooo much better when love is involved. Although, lusty one night stands are fun because you can be uninhibited and never have to see him/her again. Well, unless you see them out…then it could be awkward.”

“Both can be good depending on the mood.”

“You lust someone before you learn to love that someone.”

“Lust is instant. Love takes time to grow.”

“Lust is an urge, love is an emotion.”

“Lust is all play and love is all work.”

“Lust is temporary. It is a wonderful, passionate feeling that keeps you wanting more at the moment but never lasts. Love can be similar but yet so different. Love is also a wonderful, passionate feeling. Love is different in the sense that it feels like more of a comforting sense of eternal happiness, security, and euphoria.

“Lust is not a $250,000 divorce.”

From a physiological standpoint, the intense falling in love feeling is often associated with dopamine, which is associated with reward and reinforcement. If the relationship evolves into long-term then a maternal type love is engaged–which is related to the areas of the brain with oxytocin, the bonding hormone.

As a matter of fact, love can have you so infatuated with someone else that your brain filters out any negatives (a.k.a., red flags). Some studies have shown that the parts of the brain that normally judge human behavior get dimmed when falling in love.

What is Love

Love is a connection. Lust is a craving. Love is expecting nothing in return. Lust is all about what you can get in return. Love is a sense unity. Lust is an intense yearning for self gratification. Love sustains with communication and commitment. Lust sustains on sex. Love is about compatibility. Lust is strictly about physical chemistry.

Lust vs. love. Instant gratification vs. building a nurturing relationship. Which do you desire?

About the author

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Kimberly Elmore

Identity writer Kimberly Elmore is currently employed by Delta Dental of New Jersey in the corporate communications department as the community relations coordinator. She serves as one of our top and longest contributors.

Kimberly has been a huge part of Identity's success since the beginning of 2006. During Kimberly's college years she served as the arts & entertainment editor of her college newspaper and interned in the public relations department at the March of Dimes.

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