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home > sex & society > the sexual system > being in love
Our sexual behaviour is determined by lust as well as aversion. This is most clearly shown when we are in love. Being in love is a beautiful thing. It makes us happy and gives us energy. Mutual love is heaven on earth. Two persons in love only have eyes for each other, and live in paradise. They only want to make each other happy, be together, kiss, caress, and make love. They would move to a deserted island if that were possible. And in a way they are on an island. Their environment is nothing more than a décor or a habitat providing them with daily needs.
Mutual love is pure heaven while it lasts, but it is often short-lived. Eventually lovers adapt to the reality of real life again. They end their love most effectively when they decide to start a family.
Falling in love: hurting and being hurt
Usually, however, being in love is not mutual, or it is only partly mutual. First experiences of falling in love are almost always characterised by such feelings. Boys fall in love with girls of their own age or older. These girls, however, are often out of reach, because they tend to fall in love with older boys or men. Older boys and men are abundantly available for the girls, but most of them do not come up to the girl's expectations.After all, the distinction between the sexes is that males are willing to love many different females, (they want to discharge their sperm as widely as possible), whereas females reject most males (they must select one because they want to have babies, care and protection). In this way love becomes a rather frustrating affair for both sexes, and this fact is established during early adolescence, or even before that time. This has far-reaching consequences for later sexual behaviour. The amount of suffering in so-called 'relationships' is a clear theme in youth culture, especially in music and songs. It shows that a substantial amount of antagonism accompanies attraction to the opposite sex. Hurting and being hurt is a standard ingredient of love affairs and has a clearly sadomasochistic character.
The feeling of being in love has an objective basis in hormone levels and brain activity, whose original goal is reproduction because it brings the two sexes together. This irresistible urge is tempered by aversion, defence, prohibition, problems, which channel lust towards reproduction, marriage and family. When that goal is is removed, a lot frustration, pain and sadness are avoided.
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