Sex vs ‘Making Love’ vs F*cking: What TF is the Difference?
Last night, I finished watching Fleabag. And of all the marvelous things in the show, the one line that struck me most poignantly was when she says — “All he wants to do is make love. I wish he’d just fuck me!”
There you go! The ultimate underestimated conundrum of human relationships.
You’d come across this ‘comparison’ quite often in young adult literature and pop culture. And even without them, haven’t most of us quietly mulled over this ourselves? Haven’t some of us made up our minds, about how ‘fucking’ is dirty and beneath all things good, while ‘making love’ is the ultimate golden dream? Or how the former is the cherry on top of an otherwise crap cake of a life, while the latter is for ‘sissies’ and dreamers?
Or are you one of those who — like when standing at a confectionery shop trying to decide what dessert to eat while staring off into the glass freezer packed too many sweet choices — is not quite sure which one would be better? (Or you’re simply to shy too admit that you wonder?)
In isolation, they are well defined. ‘Fucking’, essentially, is sex without love. It’s all physical and stripped of inhibitions and often — but not always — of attachment. Fucking consists of those 'forbidden' things you’d be/do/say only behind closed doors; experimenting with how much carnal you could be without breaking the law (FYI, beyond that is rape, period).
‘Making love’, as far as the widely accepted notion goes, is exactly that — making, or creating, ‘love’ by undressing yourself literally and metaphorically before someone you feel deeply in love with. By letting them inside you — again, literally and psychologically — where the world is not welcome. It’s supposed to be the ultimate show of trust, of vulnerability. Of love, so to speak.
A simpler line of difference would be: fucking is meant to be rough, love-making is gentle.
Picture perfect so far? Good. Now here’s where ‘making love’ starts getting tricky.
This feeling of love is supposed to elevate the two people (yes, two; more than that means you’re fucking) involved above their utter physical needs. The imperfect bodies, the halfway orgasms — none of that is ideally supposed to matter. Or are they supposed to be ignored? Or accepted, because you love this person for who they are? But even if that’s tossed aside — like lingerie would be while fucking — where does the weird noises and smells fit in when ‘making love’? And what about the leg cramps, or when you slip and fall off, or when the position that looked so good for John and Bipasha actually start to pull your muscles or choke you?
“You communicate,” my happily married friend tells me. You laugh it off, or apologise, or massage it away for the other person. Or just cuddle and go to sleep — something you’re allowed to do when fucking.
But what if the ‘love’ is not that old and weathered, like it would be in a marriage or a long-term relationship? What if its new and you’re still learning to be comfortable around each other — still keeping the tap running in the toilet while you pee so that the other person doesn’t hear it, or fart only when they’re out of hearing/smelling range?
How does ‘making love’ fit into sex when the love is still too young and the hopes are still too high?
We learn to look at sex as a thing of fairy tale quotient from a young age, thanks to the lack of proper sex education (thank you, schools and parents!). Until porn comes into the picture, all we have are romance novels and movies, and they put up a show where there's candlelight, music, effortless lifting and carrying, white bed sheets covering the naughty bits all the time; the woman moaning aloud and ultimately climaxing into tears (the single tear that the guy then brushes off gently).
But in reality, the bed creaks, the skin sweats and the bodies, as driven with passion as they might be, tire before the tear or even the moan comes.
And here's another irony: lovers don't always make love. Sometimes, they fuck.
So, what’s left of making love then? Maybe it is not that much different from fucking after all, except for what you’re choosing to acknowledge: the carnal instincts or the love. And the part about being rough or gentle.
Or is it?
Almost, but not quite.
The difference, says my friend married for 11 years, lies not in the sex, but in what happens after you’re done. What you’re left feeling after the show’s over.
When you fuck, there is an array of other scenarios that can play out after you’re done. Both positive and negative. You could scoot, or sleep in. You could lay in peace, disheveled and spent, but content. Unlike how ‘puritans’ paint it, fucking does not always have to end in isolation or numbness. There's a sense of liberty here that you don't get elsewhere.
But sometimes, the other person rolls over and is snoring in minutes. And you’re left to stare off at the ceiling, alone with your thoughts. Most likely in the dark and pin-drop silence. Contemplating a getaway, or massaging that chafed muscle? Or maybe, just maybe — hypothetically, even — you find yourself grappling with this anxiety, this displaced sense of rejection and abandonment, while the snores gurgle into the night...
'See, there's the difference between the two!' my friend pipes in — when you're making love, when it's over, a lot of things can happen. But feeling abandoned is never one of them.
Everything else is the same.