Some people find the term ‘making love’ a bit cringe, but I have to disagree. It’s not that I yell, ‘We’re making love!’ while in media res between the sheets. And I don’t think I’ve ever had an ‘aha’ moment when masturbating that I’m making love to myself. But there is something different between making love and sex. A deeply visceral feeling of connection. A certain X factor. And since I’ve been on a mission to create more intimacy with myself and others as of late, I want to unpack what it really means when we say ‘making love’.
Making Love vs. Sex
First, we must acknowledge the male centered heteronormative lens through which we have historically defined sex – ‘penis in vagina’, penetrative and orgasm (read, male orgasm) being the goal. This is absolutely reductive and we need to move into a more inclusive space for how we define sex. Penetrative sex can be a component of making love, but it’s important to broaden our notion of what making love might mean.
On a physical level, making love and sexual activity in general can lead to an increase in the bonding hormone oxytocin. There can also be an endorphin release into the system which can increase a sense of overall wellbeing. Making love and sex can both lead to emotional connection and feelings of euphoria. Is the difference then about intention? Is sex more of an act and making love more of a process?
Making Love – Solo Style
When is the last time you made love to yourself? I’m not just talking strictly masturbation. I’m talking deep, soul contact pleasure. Like warm liquid honey pouring through your whole body. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just want to orgasm. I want a quick release. But there are other times that I want to feel a profound connection and union with myself.
We usually think of seducing someone else, but what about the art of self-seduction? Making love includes a component of care and attention. Why not start the act of making love well before anything gets physical? Daydream during work about how you are going to pleasure yourself later. Take yourself out to lunch and read an erotic story. Fantasize, fantasize, fantasize. Hit the coffee shop with a pen and paper and write down your hottest fantasies. Like a secret you only know, create a mood of expectation and desire for what’s to come. Pun intended.
Set the Scene
Don’t just wear your favorite scent or lipstick for someone else. Make a little ritual of getting ready for your pleasure session. I love to take a long scented bath while I listen to some audio erotica and enjoy a glass of wine. Afterwards, I get ready like I’m going on date. Except, I usually skip the full on outfit and go straight to my favorite kimono. I make my couch or bed super lush with blankets and pillows. Think atmosphere, darling! And then of course, the sex toys come out. I lay them carefully next to my water-based lube and massage oil.
Making love to yourself carries a sense of timelessness and experimentation. No pressure to please anyone except you. Take it slow. I begin with massage oil, rubbing my toes, feet, calves…consciously and with attention, I move up my body. Self-massage brings awareness and mindfulness into making love. Leave your genitals to last on the ‘touch’ list.
When I’m feeling fully connected to myself, I introduce some focused stimulation. Making love is more journey than end point. Recently I added the Womanizer OG to my sex toy collection. I own other Womanizer products and consider myself a devout aficionado of their patented Pleasure Air Tech – I might even say the kissing, sucking sensations feels like the toy is making love to my clitoris.
The OG caught my attention as offering the same stimulating treat, but for my g-spot. It took some time, but I found this toy invited me to savor the different layers to my sexual self. Really, it’s a super sensual toy – delivering an orgasm like thunder rolling in from the distance.
Making Love – Partner Style
Connection begins with communication. Just making time to talk with your partner before making love can feel special. Or getting vulnerable and expressing any percolating emotions. However, I wouldn’t excuse dirty talk from the table when making love either. Paint a verbal picture to your partner about how you want to connect with them. Making out and I mean really MAKING OUT as its own standalone erotic activity delivers intense sensations of arousal and delight.
Remember how we need to redefine what sex is? That includes making love with your partner. Making love invites you to reframe time which in turn, changes up expectation. If penetration and orgasm are NOT the only focus and goal, what else might surprise you? Slow your roll. Pay special attention to your partner’s body – behind their knees, the crook of their elbow, the nape of their neck. Stay present in the moment. Focus on sensations. Tease, touch and taste your way through the experience.
Making love with a partner can feel like an act of creation. It’s as if two people become something bigger than themselves as individuals. I’ll be honest – I’ve cried after making love. Not out of sadness or pain, but more like an opening occurred deep inside of me. Strong emotions there! But making love can also include playfulness and curiosity. Introducing sex toys into partnered making love can open communication channels around new ways to play and intensify bonding.
We- Vibe’s Sync – the most popular of couple’s vibrators is a sure-fire way to invite in physical and emotional sparks between partners. C-shaped for a comfortable internal fit, the Sync stimulates both the clitoris and g-spot with deep rumbly vibrations. But the sweet spot is the shared sensations from the penis slipping in behind the toy during penetrative sex. The word ‘sync’ takes on a whole new meaning as both partners can ‘hum’ together until climax.
Each touchstone I mentioned above can be folded into both solo and partnered making love. And of course, making love means different things to different people. Cultivating intimacy and pleasure as complimentary, enlivening and connecting forces with ourselves and others takes practice. I believe our mind, body and emotional life deserves it.