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Peter lived for nearly a half-decade in China, including two as a Peace Corps volunteer, and is the author of Socrates in Sichuan: Chinese Students Search for Truth, Justice and the (Chinese) Way. It is the intention of his blog to foster the sort of intercultural understanding necessary for long term relationships.
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SEX WITHOUT LOVE    

By Peter V
3648 Views | 8 Comments | 8/14/2010 5:37:13 PM
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If you’re not reading the forum you are missing some great discussions and a chance to exchange viewpoints with those pursuing the same path as you. I also happen to think the forum offers an invaluable opportunity to meet potential partners, because people who take the time to post are inevitably serious about this project of internet dating and usually pretty thoughtful as well. The topic that caught my eye most recently in the forum was a posting from one of the female members. As with many profound things, it appeared ridiculously simple. “I want to know,” she asked. Love and sex can be apart?”

Actually, the complexity of this inquiry begins when we realize it can be interpreted in at least four different ways. First it can be taken at face value of asking whether indeed it is possible to have a sexual experience that does not involve love. I will call this the “literal” interpretation. On the surface, the literal interpretation seems the wrong way to understand the question because the question would have such an obvious answer. Given the long history of prostitution, it is clearly not only possible but profitable to have sex without love. Still there is a related interpretation which would limit the scope of the question to non-prostitutes. Under this interpretation, she would be asking whether having sex without love is something most (i.e., non prostitutes) are capable of. This is only a remotely more plausible question, since in so many cases people claim to be having sexual intercourse unrelated to romantic feelings. But still one might claim that subconsciously all the people who say they are having sex without love are really feeling love, even if they deny it to themselves. Let’s call this the “unconscious motivation” interpretation. It strikes me as possible, but not very likely. Another possible view of the question might be called the “poetic” view. According to this interpretation, someone might argue that when people claim to be having sex without love they are not really having sex (as much as it might look like it to the untrained observer hiding in the closet). They are merely f***ing, and that’s not sex, is how someone who wanted to ask the question in this way might put it. According to this way of looking at things, sex is an act that by its very definition requires love in order to occur. Finally, the question might be seen as normative, that is, the questioner is wondering whether we ought to have sex without love, asking if it is a good thing. I will call this the “normative” or moral view of the question.

At least three of the ways of understanding the question have legitimate arguments on each side, so responding to it will not be easy. Hence, having completely confused you, let’s turn to some of the answers that were given:

A young Chinese woman started off the responses by claiming: “Of course they can be. However, I think when Love and Sex join together, that will be perfect. But if they are unable to be, then better don't have sex with the one you are not in love with because it would be a lust sin.” Here, she started out interpreting the question literally but ended up with what I would call a normative answer: Yes you can have sex without love, but it is something you should not do

Next was a man from Canada who simply said “I don’t think so.” He seems to me to be invoking one of the first two senses. If I had to, I would guess he is focusing on the second sense and that if you pushed him he would say that even those who have sex and claim they don’t love deep down really are aiming for love. After him was someone who had obviously not seen Oedipus, or visited the Appalachian Mountains. He said simply, “you love your parents, don’t you?” Again, the implication here seems to be taking the question literally and literally it is obviously answered in the affirmative with a simple example such as this.

Next came two of the most thoughtful answers.

“Separate love and sex? Some people can and other cannot. I am speaking in generalities here so do not get angry. Men usually can keep the two things separate - women have more trouble doing it. This is a subject that causes many arguments between lovers/sex partners. I had a CGF tell me flat out...."Sometimes you are my lover and other times you are my sex partner!" Go figure.” In truth, this is a line of reasoning one often hears in the States, that women are constitutionally unable to separate sex from love while for men, it is as easy as falling off a horse. Not enough Chinese women weighed in on this topic, but one who did said, “I agree that … most men can do, but it is more complex for women. Sometimes they can and sometimes cannot.”

The final answer I will relate I thought was the most eloquent: “I think that you can separate the two. Sex is physical, and just like physical beauty fades after time, sex is kind of like that as well. Plus with sex, we humans instinctively compare our partners, while with love, we see each love as a separate thing. So I think that it can be down, but I think it depends on the mentality as well as the age of the person. When I was younger, I use to think that loving someone means to ultimately get into bed with them. But now as I have grown older, I want something more. Sex all the time is like a fast burning candle, once it’s burnt out, its gone. That is why a lot of people cheat on their partners.

There are plenty of more answers on the forum and I hope you add your thoughts to that discussion or here below.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 8 of 8) 1
#2010-08-14 18:16:13 by kalzorch @kalzorch

You're right, I've never seen Oedipus. You're wrong, I have spent a lot of time in the Appalachian mountains. My sense of the question was: "Is love without sex possible?" And my answer is that love is, but lust is not. People often confuse love with lust. Love wants the best for the other person. Lust simply wants the other person.

#2010-08-14 21:19:30 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

Good topic.. Yes, the ol' sex & love question. Many women do feel they just can not give up their bodies so easily. They feel they have to be mentally devoted to the man before they can share the gift of their bodies. Others... well let's just say the other women are no different than the men. They want it and if they can get it, "Why not?" It does not make them bad or hookers.

We are adults and as long as you both agree it should not be any different for a woman compared to a man. It is a woman's choice and right. If men can do it, why not women? Sometimes sex just happens. A great date, the mood is right. ATTRACTION is strong and BOOM! A rumble in the jungle transpires! It's natural. Go for it! Just be safe and sure.

Now let me reminisce over those "OTHER women" for a moment. ;)

#2010-08-15 20:48:36 by coscoazul @coscoazul

We are biological machines. All our emotions and decisions have a chemical trigger. Recent research indicates that when a woman has sex, there are chemical changes in her brain similar to those she experiences when falling in love. This research suggests it may also happen (to a lesser degree) for men.

There is also an evolutionary explaination for the differences between men and women and promiscuity. Women needed the security of a provider before procreating, men followed the biological imperative of scattering seed. Of course, modern life has turned much of this on it's head.

I think for most women, separating love and sex is like separating her soul from her body. Of course, it's possible. I've known women that can do it. I wouldn't want to marry any of them.

#2010-08-21 10:06:41 by dudu1982 @dudu1982

yes, a good topic! 'Men usually can keep the two things separate - women have more trouble doing it.' i agree this attitude. but i wonder, what love is? what's the rigorous difference between love and like?

#2010-08-23 13:46:44 by amyi @amyi

an complex question,always!

#2010-09-21 23:37:37 by goldsilhair99 @goldsilhair99

It has been a while since anyone weighed in on this issue and it is time I put in my 2-fen (2-cents).As a man, I cannot easily separate sexual intercourse and my emotional feelings for my partner. I would not make a very good gigolo. If not true love, I still have to have strong feelings for a woman to have sexual intercourse with her. I have never been able to fully separate the two and I think most honest men feel the same regardless of what they may say. Sex with someone you care about is so much more satisfying physically and emotionally. So even if we break up at some point, she should know that she was not just a fling or that I was just in it for the sex.

#2010-09-21 23:42:32 by goldsilhair99 @goldsilhair99

As an aside, I do have to say that I had two friends when I lived in the US and though we spent time together as close friends, we were also f**k buddies. But even so, there was a big emotional part of a friendship that we found satisfying and the sex was an expression of that friendship. I was open to a more profound relationship but they were not for other reasons.

#2010-10-04 20:36:33 by rabbitpie @rabbitpie

geez..i can make a comment here..lol...the thing is i dont know how to open a blog here.lol

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