She is just not able to separate love from sex. She thinks they’re exactly the same thing. If she’s turned on, she says she wants to “make love.” She really means that she wants to make sex, but she just has to make them the same in her mind.


If the nineteenth century attempted a sexless love, then the twentieth century tried for loveless sex. Both efforts failed. Freud taught that love and sex could not be separated, and this view was incorrectly translated to the idea that love was sex or that sex was love. As the clouds and sky cannot be separated, they also are not the same thing. One would not exist without the other, they are part of a system, and so it is with sex and love.

The couples spent hours on their tapes debating the issue of who wanted sex, who wanted love, who needed more love for better sex or better sex for more love. The division is completely artificial. As psychoanalyst Reuben Fine states, “Both love and sex are essential for a full life.”

Love is the feeling and behavior of bonding. Sex is one of the bonding behaviors, the physical merging part of love. A problem is created when we equate that merging exclusively with a genital merging. Touching a shoulder, exchanging a glance, cuddling a child or parent, all are sexual acts and all are part of bonding.

Bonding is a mature, intentional, behavior as well as a feeling. Attachment, on the other hand, is an immature, childlike relationship pattern. I learned early in my work that the couples who had bonded experienced an easier remediation of any sexual difficulty. The couples who had “attached,” dependently and immaturely “linked to” one another, had considerably more difficulty solving sexual problems. They had not been able to integrate sex and love in their own minds, hearts, and relationships.

Ask yourself about your own relationship. Is it a “bond” or an “attachment”?


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