Making love isn’t just another way to say having sex, though some may think of it that way. Sure, making love involves sex, but there’s a lot more to it. It can be more intimate, sometimes more intense. It can involve a lot more feeling and emotion, and as a result, the experience is different. But in the early stages of a relationship, when everything can be more intense it’s hard to tell if you’re having sex, or if it’s something more? If you’re wondering if what you’re experiencing together is more than just lust, here are some signs he’s feeling more:
There’s more emotional intimacy.
Love is an emotion, so when you’re making love, there’s a lot more emotion involved.
“There will be a lot more touching, holding each close and intimate moments during sex,” says Katrina Pointer, a licensed therapist, relationship coach, and owner of ‘Love Therapy’ in Atlanta, GA.
It’s not the same end goal.
When it’s sex, it’s all physical and the goals are all physical too. When you’re making love it’s now just about the physical enjoyment but about the experience and the emotional connection you feel.
“The goal of sex is to have an orgasm and it’s not necessarily about being closer together,” say s Pointer. “You’ll know when your making love because it won’t feel rushed.”
There’s less dirty talk.
When he’s making love to you, he’s usually nicer and gentler with his words. Maybe whispering sweet nothings into your ear. When it’s just sex, the talk can be a little rougher, dirty, and may make you excited but not necessarily loved and cherished.
The foreplay is different.
“The way that someone touches you, talks to you, and initiates sex will feel different when your’e making love,” explains Pointer.
Foreplay when it’s lust might be quicker, since the goal is to get you hot enough for sex. Foreplay for making love often feels different. He’ll take the time to caress you, massage you, and make you feel loved all over.
Pay attention to what happens after.
One of the best ways to determine whether your making love or simply having sex is to look at what happens afterward, says Samantha Morrison, a health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness. “For most people, making love will end with increased intimacy and connection, she explains. “In practice, this may mean cuddling, kissing, and even close conversation.”
The context in which you have it.
“Sex can be had with anyone regardless of the relationship status but making love can only occur with someone you’re actually in love with,” explains Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a marriage counselor and couples retreat leader in Colorado.
You feel more free and easy.
“People usually feel less freedom in sex because it’s not within the context of a safe and committed relationship compared to those making love in committed relationships,” says Fisher. When it’s just sex, you may feel more pressure to act a certain way or do certain things.
Making love implies a mental connection.
This heightens the overall experience, says Candice Smith, a sex expert and educator and also co-founder of the KinkKit, a quarterly “sexperience” box.
“Making love indicates that both partners are fully connected and present with each other. They’re invested in each other’s pleasure and feel a sensory connection that goes beyond physical pleasure and becomes emotionally fulfilling.”
Both sex and making love can be rewarding experiences that are important to your relationship. You may not ‘make love’ every time you’re intimate with your partner, and sometimes you both may crave a more casual, lighter sexual experience. But you should feel loved in your relationship and your sexual experiences are a way to express how you feel about each other.
If you’re not feeling the love in you sexual relationship and are unsure about what it means for the rest of your relationship, it may help to talk it over with you partner. Being honest about what you want and how you feel, is never a bad idea and may bring you even closer to the loving bond you’re looking for.