Tuesday, April 18, 2006


What does it mean to love someone?

At the very least, when you love someone:

Your heart goes out to them when they suffer.
You feel genuine joy when they succeed.
You worry about them more than they worry about themselves.

These feelings are easy to see in a parent’s love for a child, less so in a child’s love for a parent. These feelings can be seen in the love between two friends, And those feelings are all that exist in the Greek agape which is fellow-feeling among our species.

These feelings can be more difficult to find in the relationships our culture most strongly associates with the word “love,” sexual love.

Sexual desire isn’t really associated with the three feelings listed. Male sexual desire, (as I experience it), can aim at people never met. The mere sight of someone can initiate measurable sexual response. Then as I draw closer the someone’s posture and movements give clues about potential sexual movements. Then there’s voice, and smell. All entering the calculations of how pleasant a sexual interaction might be with the someone. Both people do it and if no impediments arise mating behavior begins. I hope what I’m talking about is “object cathexis,” meaning the focus of one’s sexual desire on particular individuals. Object cathexis means, “I want to have sex with that person.”

Complicating is “act cathexis.” Act cathexis says, “I want to have sex, period,” or “I want to do this particular sex act.” While object cathexis has produced much high art and low pop songs, dependable old act cathexis, I bet, is responsible for our species’ populousness.

Really great is the mutual confluence of these two aims, when each finds the other highly attractive and each enjoys accommodating the particular things the other likes to do sexually. Then, the two people can have lots of sex fun. They’re a sex fun team. I’m not sure exactly what you call this.

The hours each month during which (hetero) intercourse could result in pregnancy are few. Frequent intercourse over a period of time increases the likelihood of conception. A documentary showed lions fucking every five minutes during the fertile time.

So how does this relate to the other meanings of love? Certainly this sphere of activity is not exempt from the golden rule. We’re supposed to be nice to people, even when we're fucking them.

When two people wish to maintain their sexual love they build a relationship that extends beyond the bedroom. In doing this they develop the kinds of feelings associated with parent/child love and with the love between two friends. I think the parent/child thing is a big part of it.

From allwords.com:

cathexis noun
cathexes 1. psychol.
A charge of mental energy directed towards a particular idea or object.

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