When we talk about sexuality, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Perhaps one of the most basic topics is how we describe sex. For many people, the idea of having sex connotes simple physicality versus the idea of making love, which is more emotionally connected and involves being in love with your partner.
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What Is Making Love Exactly?
While mastering foreplay, learning some wonderful new positions and using a lot of variation is great for having fun sex, having sex is not the same as making love. Think about that for a minute. Even read it again: Having sex is not the same as making love. Becoming a sexual goddess is great for keeping your man happy. But it’s not necessarily the same thing as making love to your guy.
When you make love to your husband, your aim is to have more than just sex. It’s to bond with him. It’s to show him how you feel about him. To show him that you love him. And hopefully for him to show you how much he loves and cares about you too. So remember this. It’s not just about crazy, animalistic sex. It’s about connecting with him.
Making love is powerful because it reaffirms the value that you have to your partner and vice versa .
You’re not alone if you’re a woman who desires that connection via sex. While the media argues that only women make this distinction, there are many men who also see a clear distinction between having sex and what it means to make love, and they desire it, too. For many couples, achieving this level of connection is the ultimate goal in the bedroom.
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If you want to achieve this goal, you’ll need to define what making love is to you. How will you know it when you’re having sex vs making love? What’s missing when you feel like you’re just having sex?
Try to be more specific than, “I’ll know it when it happens.” Envision the specific signs he is making love to you. What will you and your man do, say, feel, and even think when making love? Then, use the following advice in this love making guide to get more of that when you want to make love passionately.
Related: Keep in mind that there is a difference between making love and having sex. Look out for these 17 signs that he is making love vs having sex.
Techniques For Making Love
While you don’t have to use all of these love making techniques all the time, proactively focusing on these aspects can lead to deep passionate love making.
1. Set the Scene
Imagine any of the great love making scenes from Hollywood. More often than not, the lighting is dimmed, the doors are locked and a sensual or sexy song – like the ones in this list – is playing in the background. It doesn’t matter that many of those things are edited into the film after the initial filming.
Make sure your space is warm, clean and inviting. Change the sheets. Burn a scented candle. Clean up a little beforehand so that the scene you’re making would be fitting in a movie.
This won’t be hard to do if your bedroom is a quiet sanctuary. On the other hand, it might be harder to do with little ones running around or roommates in the house. Consider hiring a babysitter or even renting a hotel room for the night when you want to make love. Many hotels offer romantic packages too!
If you find that you rarely make love, it could be that you’re not setting the scene properly. By making a point to create a romantic space, you ensure that you don’t just have a quickie or focus on mechanical sex.
Consider some sort of signal when one of you would prefer more romantic sex, even if it’s just asking to make love. The two of you might then work together to create an intimate scene that will be conducive to love making.
2. Express Your Love
Sometimes, when you make love, it’s not because it’s well thought out. Instead, it’s because you’re overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings. This can happen if you’re talking about how much you love each other or have witnessed an emotional situation such as a wedding. Sometimes you can’t help but show your love in response to a thoughtful and caring action by your man.
You can replicate this by taking the time to show and tell your man how much you love him. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time and you won’t be interrupted. Perhaps plan a romantic dinner in your favorite restaurant or plan a meal to be waiting for him when he gets home after work. After all, it’s hard not to feel the emotion after a romantic date.
Your expressions of devotion shouldn’t stop once sex begins, either. Tell him you love him during the act. It will make everything feel that much more intense. Of course, if you’ve only been dating a little while, you might want to hold off on those three little words. But you can still express how important he is to you.
As long as everything you do is done with love, it matters less what specific techniques you use between the sheets.
3. Take Your Time
If you’re in a rush, you’ll probably be disappointed when you want to make love but wind up falling short. You’ve got to slow things down to make love. We literally mean to slow love making and taking more time to get to the final event.
Dedicating time to foreplay is a great way to learn how to make love. Plus, it helps ensure you’ll orgasm, a concern than many of our readers share. Take as much time as you need to. Trace your fingers across every inch of his skin. Memorize the way he smells, tastes and feels. Slow your breathing.
Love making isn’t a race or about the goal. It’s the journey that matters.
4. Stay in the Moment
For many people, their overactive minds take them out of the moment, which isn’t what you want when you’re learning how to make love. You can help yourself stay in the moment with a few practices, which should come easily if you’ve ever participated in guided meditation or tried your hand at Tantric sex.
Whenever you recognize your mind is wandering, focus on the pleasure you’ve giving or receiving. Notice how your head, your arms and hands, your legs and feet and your core feels.
Focus on your breathing and his. If it helps, you can breathe in tandem or imagine yourself inhaling his breath and him doing the same with the breath you exhale. Imagine that breath as energy moving through your body to ground yourself.
For some people, it helps to notice the stimulation of each sense. For instance, moaning can help to keep your auditory sense enthralled. Or you may need to switch positions to get your head back in the game. There’s a lot of different advice because no single thing works for every woman.
These practices are part of what is known as mindfulness. Mindfulness can be useful for dealing with anxiety as well as stress [2, 3], but it can also help inside the bedroom! Mindfulness can help women get wetter [4 p 111] and improve their sexual function [5, 6]. It may also lead to more sexual satisfaction [7, 8, 9]. and help women with sexual dysfunction increase their sexual desire .
In fact, sex researcher Lori Brotto wrote an entire book about how mindfulness can help women have better sex, but men can benefit from mindfulness, too!
5. Incorporate Your Full Bodies
Many women know what it’s like to have sex with someone who views them as nothing more than a warm, wet hole. This is pretty much the opposite of making love. So if you want to make love, do the opposite. Think beyond genitals. Incorporate your whole body — and his, too.
Lavish attention from his head to his toes. Kiss him all over. Caress your hands across the skin of his chest, arms, back, and legs. Try to connect as much of your bodies as possible.
6. Remain Connected
Part of the difference between making love and just having sex is that you and your partner remain connected. The same care you use outside of the bedroom can help you master how to make love and bring your love making to another level inside the bedroom.
Do this by making eye contact, using each other’s names and focusing on providing pleasure rather than just getting yours. The art of making love is all about connecting with your partner as an individual. You don’t learn how to make love to a man, you learn how to make love to your man.
Because eye contact helps to keep you grounded and connected, you might prefer to stick to positions like missionary or cowgirl, where you can make eye contact with your man. Many people feel that doggy style or anal sex, for example, are incompatible with love making. However, that’s entirely up to you!
If a guy makes direct eye contact, it’s a sure sign he is making love to you.
You can also hold hands and wrap your arms around him like you’re hugging to keep your body entirely connected while you make love. Bury your face in his neck, where you can moan directly into his ear. Kissing is a big difference between making love and having sex, too. Some people never kiss people they’re not in love with! Check out this advice to kiss passionately.
Obviously, it’s difficult or even impossible to feel like you’re making love with a one-night stand. While we completely suggest trying casual sex if it’s up your alley, this isn’t the time. Furthermore, you’re going to have an easier time achieving those loving feelings with someone whom you trust, emotionally and physically.
7. Focus On the Journey, Not the Destination
In sex, orgasm is the finish line. To many people, it’s the goal. And it’s okay if you prefer to orgasm with sex. But getting so caught up in the goal can leave you forgetting about the journey to get there. It’s pretty much the opposite of staying in the moment.
But it can also be detrimental because you can get into a routine and forget to explore. But when you make a point to focus on the journey, you slow things down, and slowing down is one thing that can set apart making love from just having sex. Plus, it gives you more time to fully explore your own body and that of your lover.
If you happen to orgasm, that’s great. If you don’t, you redefine how sex looks and perhaps what it means to you. That’s also great. And when you focus on connecting and pleasure, it can take off pressure from trying to orgasm or to make your partner come.
Our expectations of sex don’t always help us out, so it’s okay to not expect… anything.
8. Try Tantra
Some of the advice we’re already provided borders on tantric sex, a philosophy with roots in ancient India. Tantric sex is, in some ways, more purposeful, and this can help you feel more like you’re making love than just having sex. Tantric sex focuses on exchanging energy with your partner, which sounds a lot like intimate love making to us!
Tantra emphasizes things such as breathing in sync and making eye contact, which you can work on with your partner. You might also consider an experienced teacher to help you master the art of tantric sex.
9. Cum Together
Now, it’s not necessarily easy or possible for you and your man to orgasm at the same time, but doing so will certainly make you feel like you’re making love as opposed to just having sex. There are a few steps you can take to make this easier.
For starters, know how long it takes you to get off and what you need to do. If it typically takes you much longer to get to the point of no return than it does your man, starting with oral sex or manual stimulation might be necessary.
If you’re able to follow our advice to become multi-orgasmic, you might be able to control when you cum to share the moment with your man. Additionally, consider edging, where you bring yourself just to the edge of orgasm but back off, to facilitate an explosive orgasm when you want it.
For many people, what happens after sex is just as important as what happens during. If one or both of you rush off immediately, it won’t feel like an emotionally intimate event. Plus, oxytocin is released during orgasm , so now is the time to bask in it. You might recall that oxytocin is the cuddle hormone that encourages bonding [12, 13].
Set aside enough time to touch and cuddle after sex. This can make the transition from sexy times to real life less jarring, too. Maybe take a nap with your man after love making and wake up feeling satisfied and loved.
When You Struggle to Make Love
The advice above can help you be more proactive about making love to your husband. But what do you do when you’ve tried all the love making techniques and it just doesn’t feel right? And how do you react if your man doesn’t respond in kind?
Consider Your Relationship
If your relationship is under stress outside of the bedroom, that will certainly impact what happens inside of the bedroom. You can’t expect to make love to your man if you’re fighting, resentful, or otherwise emotionally disconnected.
Furthermore, if you’re attempting to feel an emotional connection with someone who isn’t a romantic partner, such as a friend-with-benefits, it will be hard to feel like you’re making love. It’s time to rethink what you want out of this relationship, and if you can’t get it, walk away.
It Might Not Be About You
When you occasionally feel like the sex you have isn’t that intimate, it could be that your partner is not fully in the moment. Perhaps he is stressed from work, exhausted, or dealing with some sort of pain. He might be seeking sex in these moments to help relax rather than connect with you, which might not be an issue if it only happens from time to time.
Some people simply view sex as a source of pleasure and physical release. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care or love you. They just might show that in ways that don’t involve sex. For them, making love might be something they don’t really consider and would have to work at if a partner expressed a desire to make love. This can be distressing if you view sex as the ultimate form of intimacy, but may be worked through if you express how important it is to you .
Both of these potential issues bring us to our next point.
Talk To Your Partner
The most effective way to get what you want in bed, whether you want to make love or be spanked, is to be direct and talk to your partner about it. Of course, it’s not necessarily easy to talk about sex, which is why we’ve written this guide to sexual communication.
When it comes to expressing your desire to make love, you’ll want to emphasize that sex is good, but you’d like to feel more connected. During this conversation, you need to be open about how you feel and what you desire. You need to be kind and willing to be vulnerable. Remember, vulnerability is one factor when it comes to making love.
You can use this discussion to learn what making love feels like for your man, too.
This is the time for you to let him know if he often seems distanced or distracted. You’ll tell him how this makes you feel, but you should try to remain calm and not accusatory. He might not even realize that this is the case!
While you shouldn’t make demands of your partner, you can ask him to do the things that will help you feel more connected during sex. Being specific is helpful if your guy just isn’t the type who expresses emotion through sex or doesn’t think of sex like that. If you want him to slow down, kiss you more, breathe in sync with you, or to do anything else, tell him!
The two of you might work out a signal or phrase that indicates when you want sex to be more about the intimacy and less about the physical aspects. There are plenty of slang words to use when you want to have sex .
Also, make sure to look out for the signs he enjoys making love to you and be more intimate.
Redefine How You Make Love
Perhaps the reason you feel like you’re not making love is that your view of having sex vs making love is too rigid. Yes, eye contact and sensual caresses can provide those feelings that you desire, but they’re not the only way. When you’re in love and you have sex with a person, almost any type of sex can be an expression of that love. This includes rough sex (more about rough sex) or kinky sex. For some people, BDSM is especially loving because the dominant cares and provides for their submissive and the submissive obeys and adores their dominant.
Just like you can’t tell how love feels from the outside, it’s impossible for you to know whether a couple feels like they’re making love. Of course, sexy movie scenes look like love making, but they’re not. It’s all perspective.
Furthermore, keep in mind that you’re unlikely to achieve the sort of calculated perfection you see on your TV screen. These sorts of expectations can lead to disappointment and even resentment. Real sex can be messy, silly, awkward, uncomfortable and more. But that shouldn’t take away from the experience you’re having with the person you love.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to make love every time. Sometimes it’s nice just to give in to lust and have passionate sex (get ideas here) or to have a quickie that gets the job done when you only have a few minutes to spare.
As long as you at least occasionally make pasionate love and show your love outside of the bedroom, that should be good enough.
For many people, there’s no greater way to connect with their partner than to make love. It’s the utmost vulnerability, and there’s nothing greater than to show love to someone who you know loves you back.
Better Sex Through Mindfulness, a book by Dr. Lori Brotto, describes the benefits of mindfulness. Staying in the moment can help you feel more connected to your partner, and this book can teach you how.
Men describe what making love vs fucking means to them in this article on the Good Men Project.
Elliot D. Cohen dives into the philosophy behind making love on Psychology Today.
This article on the NY Post discusses the results of a survey about sex, including what differentiates making love.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1 – Does sex have to be slow for it to count as making love?
Making love is more about how and what you feel rather than what you do, which is why there’s no right way to make love. For some people, rough sex can create the sense of connection that’s so crucial to making love in bed. As long as what you’re doing expresses vulnerability and emotion, it can count as making love, even if it’s rough or kinky.
FAQ #2 – Why doesn’t sex with my partner feel like making love?
It can be disappointing if you want to make love to your man but it only feels like you’re having sex, especially if you’ve been able to achieve that with past lovers. There are a few reasons, including a partner who focuses on the physical aspects of sex, making orgasm and not pleasure the goal of sex, issues within your relationship, trying to find emotions that are not there, and focusing too much on your genitals. Talking to your partner and potentially redefining making love can help.
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