It's not because I don't understand the difference between fucking and making love, oh no. I agree that there can be an emotional plane to having sex that isn't covered well by the term fucking.

It's just that reserving the term making love for sex implies that no other act can be on that same emotional plane. A terrible implication.

He bought the white motorcycle helmet instead of the matte black one that looks cooler, because he knows I worry about his visibility and how it affects his safety.

I'm leaving the town I love to be with him.

He, too, is patiently re-arranging his life to accomodate me.

We snuggle under the covers together on weekend mornings.

And yes, we have the hot, sensual sex of long-time lovers.

Which of these is "making love"? All of them.

I don't mind "making love" so much, however I prefer to call something what it is. "Making love" is good for poetry; for simple exposition, "having sex" is to be preferred. Though I prefer the English way of saying that, "sharing sex". (Doesn't apply to masturbation, obviously.) I think "sharing sex" would satisfy those who definitely want the listener to hear the romantic emphasis.

Many people like to reserve "making love" for romantic sex, and "fucking" for sex driven by hormones or just as a heckuva fun form of exercise. (My comment about euphemisms notwithstanding, I find "getting laid" to be coarse enough, though possibly heading toward the other extreme from romance.) While I also desire the distinction, I dislike using "fuck" to mean sex in general. Fucking is a particular activity which many sexual episodes, though by no means all[1], include. Extending the word is like using "chew" to mean "dine", when it is simply one of the procedures involved in the carrying out of the whole experience. Taking "fuck" to mean, at its root, coitus (the penetration of a vagina by a penis), gives us a very special word. It is one of two verbs that describe copulation (the other is left as an exercise to the student) and is the only one that can be used transitively. And, of all the slang words that people use (screw, ball, etc.), "fuck" is the only one that (etymology aside) doesn't mean something else. Fuck means to fuck!

But even for people who like the feeling of "making love", I have a request:

Please don't say "making love to...".
Say "making love with..."!
If you're sharing one of the most wonderful gifts that we humans have with another person who makes you quiver when e enters the room, don't make it sound like you hit em over the head with it!

[1]  I despise the copping-out people do when they claim that there is no sex in the absence of fucking.

"She's got the sweetest pussy, and her blowjobs just about kill me, but we're waiting until after the wedding to have sex."
I don't know if this self-deception started with the infamous President Bill Clinton, though I've certainly heard it a lot more since he "did not have sex with that woman".

When attempting to construct a sentence which includes a reference to sexual intercourse, you are faced with a mind-boggling set of alternatives. Euphemisms and synonyms abound, each of them carrying its very own, distinctive mix of denotation and connotation. Sex can encompass many different levels - physical (pretty much compulsory), emotional, spiritual. As such, finding a word or phrase that surmises everything you want to say about a particular instance of sex is a daunting task.

I personally dislike the term "making love" because it is just plain awkward. It tries to be a single verb whilst selfishly occupying two words. The whole structure, and the way you shape the other words around it, has a certain wonkiness to it that puts me right off.

The tragedy is that if you want to describe sex as being a profound experience, full of meaning and emotion, and you think "making love" sucks, your options are quite limited. Fuck? Too crude. Screw? WAY too crude. You can use shag, but then it's just too tempting to exclaim "Do I make you horny baby!", and I think we can all agree, that constitutes a big step backward on the road to romance. You can cop out by using the lighter euphemisms "cuddle" or "snuggle", but those sound like you're trying to pretend there is no actual sex involved, not to mention that they are ambiguous. A cuddle could just mean a cuddle. So you have to use them in context, or accompany them with eyebrow-waggling (ugh).

In the end, the term "having sex" is usually the only decent choice left to me. And that phrase is grossly oversimplified.

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