A few months ago a man in a writers group spoke of having sex and a woman in the group rather assertively "corrected" him, saying the proper term is "making love".

I didn't feel courageous enough to ask if she would enforce her view by telling a man to find another prospect.

The group members were middle-aged and grew up in a different time.

Does the distinction matter to younger people?

Tags: attitudes, battle, copulate, euphemisms, of, sex, sexes, sexism, sexist, the

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I do think that the two different terms have differing connotations, but they're mostly synonymous. "Making love" sounds more smarmy to me than "having sex" but there's no reason IMO to require one over the other.

I've seen people get very upset when someone refers to "sexual assault" as sex, too, but I don't really see the big distinction - "sex" to me is just an umbrella term that includes more or less all sexual behaviors, with the other terms simply being more specific.

To me the two terms invoke very different imagery.  A person can have sex without an emotional attachment, or any feelings other than attraction.  However, typically making love involves something beyond two people joining genitals.  There has to be romance of some kind for true love making to occur, at least from my point of view.  You can't "make love" during a one night stand.  You can't "make love" to a friend with benefits.  

I know that the term "love making" often seems hokey and overly sentimental, especially on a site where we try to dispel mysticism and spirituality, but I believe that feeling a passionate and romantic connection to a person is irrational, chemical, and often defines logical explanation. 

You don't think to yourself, "I want to be with this person because our lifestyle and values are compatible", you do it because of feelings you often can't explain.  It's from these kinds of feelings that love making, which is different than sex, can occur.   

Right, Noah!

making love involves something beyond two people joining genitals

Agreed, Ruth.

During my testosterone-fueled years Victorianism ruled; men joined genitals with women but women were not allowed to join genitals with men.

In today's writings by young folk on sexual behavior, no one remembers Victorianism. Men and women join genitals with about equal abandon.

I was born fifty years too soon.

Just remembered. Thirty years ago in San Francisco, a woman sex educator said she wanted to write two books about sex, one for gay men and one for gay women.

Her book for gay men would be on how to have a platonic relationship. Her book for gay women would be on how to have a non-platonic relationship.

Times and mores have changed.

The set of instances of lovemaking is a subset of the set of instances of having sex.

Set theory! Of course!

In that writers group the conflict blinded me to this. Where were the peacemakers?

Thanks, Keith.

I don't like the term "making love" because I think it is silly.

I think my distaste for the term comes from the gender distinction that women prefer it. As if we need something greater than sexual desire to justify sex.

This gay woman needs no instruction on how to have non-platonic relationships. I like having sex and I make no apologies for it.

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