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Lust Or Love: How Can You Tell?

Lust Or Love: How Can You Tell?

Jessie Bennett

Lust or love? It’s a question we’ll more than likely ask ourselves a few times throughout our lives. The two emotions are very closely linked, which often makes them difficult to distinguish. When you’re a teenager this can be especially true as you begin to experience a lot of different feelings. Throw hormones into the mix and things can get a bit overwhelming.

There’s no need to worry though, we’re here to help you distinguish the difference between lust and love. It’s important to remember that lust and love are both very valid emotions, and perfectly ok to experience. Lust often gets a bad rep because of it’s close connection to sex, but there’s more to it than that…


What Is Lust?

You’ve probably heard the word in movies and TV shows, but what exactly is lust? Surely it’s just really intense love, right? Not exactly. The Oxford Dictionary defines lust as “very strong desire for something or pleasure in something.” Lust is very strongly associated with desire. You can lust after a lot of things from money and power to people. In this instance we’re talking about lusting after people.

What Are The Signs?

Lust in relationships is often the intense desire to be with someone physically. If any of the following sound familiar then you are more than likely in lust, rather than in love:

  • You find yourself very attracted to your other half physically but not on an emotional level.
  • You don’t feel the need to discuss feelings with your other half.
  • You see this as more short term than long term.
  • You’re happy to kiss and canoodle (safely and consensually) but you’re not keen to spend any real time going on dates.
  • You don’t see them as a friend, you wouldn’t confide in them or spend any real time together if you didn’t have that physical attraction to them.
  • You’re not too interested in meeting their friends or family, and you certainly aren’t keen on introducing them to yours.

Most people experience lust, it’s just a part of life, especially when you’re growing up. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with lust, if you feel that the person you are with might have actual love-like feelings towards you then it’s best to broach the subject with them. Likewise if you feel you are developing strong feelings for someone who may not feel the same, you need to talk to them.


What Is Love?

Lust, whilst different to love, can actually turn into feelings of love. But what is love? If we turn to the Oxford Dictionary, love is defined as “A feeling or disposition of deep affection or fondness for someone, typically arising from a recognition of attractive qualities, from natural affinity, or from sympathy and manifesting itself in concern for the other’s welfare and pleasure in [their] presence.” Love is more closely linked to emotion, and deeper routed affection.


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What Are The Signs?

Love is different for everyone, what one person feels is being ‘in love’ with someone might not suit another person. This makes it hard to distinguish between lust and love. Psychologists have done a lot of research around this very subject.

Some signs that you are in love include:

  • Wanting to spend time with the object of your affection. Even hanging out doing nothing is appealing when you’re in love.
  • You’re friends. If they’re the person you want to tell any news to straight away, the person you tell your secrets, hopes and dream to, or the person you want to cheer you up when you’re down then your feelings certainly go beyond lust.
  • You connect emotionally. Being able to discuss your feelings, and converse on an emotionally intelligent level is a sure sign you are on track to love!
  • You want them to meet your friends and family, and you want to meet theirs too.


Like we said before, lust or love, your feelings are valid and so long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else, it’s good to experience both throughout life. It can often make defining how you personally experience the two emotions a lot easier.

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