Difference between Love and Lust

Key difference: Love is associated with emotion, while lust is more physical in nature.

Humans are fascinated with love and lust. We need love, we crave love, and we’ll do anything for love. There are pages and pages devoted to love throughout history, stories, poems, sonnets, paintings, and so much more. However, in this need for love, at times we cannot tell the difference between love and lust.

Love has always been associated with the heart, with feelings and emotions. Lust, on the other hand, is always purely physical. Lust is an altered state of consciousness programmed by our primal urge to procreate. As much as love has been heralded over the centuries, lust has always been looked down upon. However, what we fail to understand is that they go hand in hand. You cannot be in love with someone and not be physically attracted to them. Also, a relationship started with lust might develop into one of deep love. It works the other way as well; people might fall out of love if they realize that they are no longer attracted to each other.

Scientifically, there is a slight neurological difference between love and lust. Studies have shown that lust triggers the part of the brain that responds to pleasure, while love triggers the part which gives pleasure meaning. The progression from lust to love occurs in the insula and striatum. The insula is located deep within the temporal and frontal lobes while the striatum is located inside the forebrain.

Lust lights up the part of the brain which is also associated with food, physical pleasure, satisfying cravings, etc. Love activates the part that facilitates the process of conditioning, by which you learn that a pleasurable thing could also entail a reward. This part of the brain is also associated with drug addiction. According to Jim Pfaus, the person who analyzed the data, “Love is actually a habit that is formed from sexual desire as desire is rewarded. It works the same way in the brain as when people become addicted to drugs.” Basically, love is a habit which is formed when sexual desire is rewarded.

Love is more universal in nature, it can be used to refer to “love for the country,” “love for God,” and “love all,” i.e. the whole universe. Furthermore, lust which suggests sensuality, can also be used to refer to “sex appeal,” “physical appeal,” “lust for money,” “lust for land,” etc. Lust has been generalized to refer to any and all material pleasures.

Image Courtesy: singleswarehouse.co.uk, mobiletoones.com

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