For most people, sex is an important part of our daily lives. Whether through sexual intercourse, masturbation or fantasy, we define ourselves through sex. Our view of ourselves sexually can determine how we relate to people and can be a powerful force in how we live our lives.

While most people are able to manage the intricacies of sex, it remains a highly complex and often confusing aspect of life. Most people live by the misconception that sex and love are connected. For most women, this is the case, in that their sexual response is closely connected to their emotional response. For men, on the other hand, sex and love are not necessarily connected, although they can be. Most men have an intimate relationship with Mrs. Palmer, although there is obviously little emotional attachment.

In a similar vein, people frequently confuse the act of love and the feeling of the love. Most of us have fallen in love, which is a wondrous and exhilarating feeling of intense eroticism and passion. This is the feeling of love which has nothing to do with the behaviour of love. Most likely, romantic love is a biologically determined mating behaviour to ensure the survival of the human species. Studies show that the rate of intercourse drops precipitously in marriage after approximately 18 to 24 months. This suggests there is some significant change in behaviour and emotions after the honeymoon period.

On the other hand, I would argue that love is a behaviour, not a feeling. The behaviour of loving is listening to your partner when you are not interested, putting their needs before your own, preparing a meal for them, giving them a massage or a thousand other simple acts, many of which may go unnoticed.

Given that this more substantial type of love is a behaviour, you can become more skillful by practice. Love is not just simply a matter of feeling romantic, it is a series of behaviours which you can practise on a daily basis to help you become more skillful at loving. So, while the romantic feeling of being in love is like riding a tidal wave, ultimately the tidal wave recedes and you are left with the day to day issues of living a relationship. It is at this stage that love changes to a more meaningful set of behaviours.

By Dr Love