Difference between Making Love and Having Sex

December 20, 2016 by Editorial Team

Would you say you and your partner are “making love” or “having sex”? Are you confused about the answer? Then know that you are not alone. This is a dilemma for many people as telling the difference is very difficult. It would imply knowing for sure what the other person is thinking and feeling, which is impossible.

Therefore, how can we tell what kind of relations we are having? In the end, we can only control what we think or feel. Yet it matters so much for us to know that the other person is on the same page with us. So how do we make the difference between making love and having sex?


Making love is the physical activity of having sex in a way that is meant to create and emotional bond between partners. Therefore, you should share such a moment with a person you have strong feelings for. If anything, this act must bring two people closer together and it is the peak of any relationship. More than being pleasurable, love making should build up a relationship between two people. This is because it creates the most intimate setting possible and raises issues of closeness, trust and caring.

People tend to have high expectations from love-making as they want to confirm the connection they want to have. Therefore, in order to be pleasurable and not disappointing, both partners need to invest feelings in the same way.

Having sex is a physical activity by which the partners pleasure each other. As humans, we have a very strong need for closeness and contact with other individuals. However, going beyond satisfying basic needs, having sex is the most intense form of contact. Touching, hugging, kissing, biting and other actions allow us to feel the human connection we yearn for.

A person can have sex with one or several partners, individually or at once. It can also involve the use of props and fantasies. Sex can be very creative as partners look for ways to get as much pleasure as they can from the act. The partner becomes an object of pleasure.

This usually happens in one night stands or in “friends with benefits” types of relationships. In these situations, there is a level of selfishness as either partner tries to get personal pleasure from the contact.


The emotions involved make the difference between the two. Making love involves a strong connection between two people and the creation of an even stronger, more intimate bond. On the other hand, having sex equals personal pleasure.

Sure, nobody said that two people having sex cannot help the partner enjoy it as well. But they may do it out of politeness. They are less emotionally involved in whether or not the other person gets pleasure from the sex. On the other hand, making love is primarily about making the other person feel good, even as a priority to personal pleasure.

Another way to tell the difference between the two is by what happens at the end. Making love binds two people together. As Aristotle said, love is “one soul in two bodies.” Therefore, the partners continue to desire each other’s company. However, having sex can precede separation because with both partners getting what they wanted, there is no more need for closeness.

As far as means of pleasure go, having sex may imply the use of multiple partners, toys, or fantasies. It may be a way to compensate for the lack of emotional investment. Making love, on the other hand, implies that the strong connection between the partners should be enough.

Comparison Chart

Making LoveHaving Sex
Implies having feelings for the partnerImplies looking for personal gratification
Does not desire division when the act is overAllows separation as there is no more need for each other
Between two peopleBetween two or more people
The personal connection is enough to create pleasureToys, multiple partners, fantasies and other elements can be used to cause pleasure
The partner and his/her pleasure is a priorityPersonal pleasure matters most
Can create an even stronger bond between partners; attraction increases afterwardsPartners can see each others as objects; attraction fades once sex is over