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The term ‘making love’ is just plain ooky


After 14 years with the same man, one would think I would have graduated past “having sex” or “screwing” or sometimes even the F-wording…. Sadly, we haven’t. Despite being in mad love and sharing enormous amounts of our life and energy and three children, we have never used the term “making love.” And I doubt we ever will.

The fact is, “making love” is just kind of skeevy. It makes me feel like I am 65 years old sitting in a hot tub, reading poetry to my “lover” and drinking good wine. It’s a term that feels outdated at best and weird and intrusive at worst.

I am not alone.

I informally polled a number of friends who also agree: the term just feels ooky on our tongues. On the other hand, it feels wrong to describe what you do with a person you have been with for a long time, with whom you share children and love, as “sex.” Sex is what you have with a one night stand or something that is an entirely physical act. Love is something else.

The truth is, the idea behind “making love” is nice. When you are with someone you truly love, it’s more than a sum of body parts or a physical act that leads to orgasm. It’s touch and pleasure and sensation and, very often, deep, beautiful emotions. So what does one call that if it’s not “making love?” Having sex is to clinical. Screwing is too harsh. So where does that leave the rest of us?

I am on the hunt for a new term. Connecting? Horizontal love swap? We need a term for emotional intimacy expressed in a physical way that doesn’t make most of us want to dry heave. We have a million ways to say sex in crude terms: boning, porking, horizontal mambo, the beast with two backs. But we have few ways of expressing the emotional intimacy that comes with sex beyond “making love.”

Let’s find a new way, please.

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