You know the old yarn about how to woo a woman? There’s a list of 90 different things from flowers to cooking for her to poetry, etc. Then at the bottom it says how to woo a man… You know, Show up naked… and bring pizza? This came to mind the other night as I watched a sitcom where the characters were trying to explain the difference between making love and having sex to a couple of the other characters. There were suggestions about cuddling and about “making love without even taking their clothes off” through eye contact, etc.
I finished the show and thought that it was really pretty sad. A couple of the characters, who were all in their 30s, actually indicated that they’d never made love. And I listened to the strange explanations of how the “experts” said to do it and I got the distinct impression they were not speaking of anything real, either. So what is the difference? Are you in a relationship where there is true love being made or where sex is being had? How you can you change it if you are? Do you even want to change it?
An ex-girlfriend of mine used to say that no matter how bad it was, it was still better than no sex, right? It’s like pizza. Sometimes it’s incredible, other times it’s just meh, but hey, still pizza. So let’s go with her analogy.
Having sex is much like grabbing a pizza. You pull a frozen one out freezer, or a day old one out of the fridge, you warm it up a bit, throw it in the oven to get it all hot and enjoy. It’s a 20-30 minute experience. You feel good inside afterward, and everyone goes on with their lives or their day. Many people are pretty indiscriminate about how often they have pizza, and even who they have it with. Sometimes they grab a friend and enjoy one, sometimes they only eat it with their significant other. But, it’s just a pizza. Not that big a deal. Not gonna change your life. Sometimes you have one that’s a bit spicy. Sometimes it’s kinda boring. And some people just get sick of it – same old cardboard-tasting $3.99 brand from Kroger, same toppings, same old flavor. And they just aren’t into it anymore.
Sometimes you do something special and order a pizza for delivery, from Dominos or Papa John’s. Then you might get some hot wings along with it, maybe you order two, and eat them both the same night. That pizza can be great. And you even throw some in the fridge and pull it out the next morning for a before work snack as well. But, you can’t really order it that way all the time. Takes too much effort and money, but it’s good for a change up now and then and beats the frozen pizza.
Making love involves creation. You are making something. Let’s go with pizza again. Maybe you and your lover take the time to go to the store together – maybe you go to a special Italian deli. Maybe you get some authentic Italian sauce. You pick up true pepperonis, not just the Hormels in the Ziploc bag on the end of the aisle. But you get it in a white package wrapped by the deli guy. Then you go home and the two of you make the dough from scratch. You work it neatly into the pizza tray. You put the sauce on, maybe playfully dabbing your boyfriends’ nose with the sauce. You put each of the pepperonis on by hand, you slice the peppers while she slices the mushrooms. You get a good bottle of Cabernet Franc to compliment the pepperoni flavor. You get the nice glasses down from the top shelf and wash them first, because, you know, dust. You buy one of those special parmesan cheese graters and get the block of parmesan and grate it by hand. You place your masterpiece lovingly in the oven and sip the wine out on the back patio watching the sunset while waiting for it to cook. When it’s done, you serve at a linen table cloth table in the corner of the backyard with a cool breeze blowing. The fresh cheese glistening in the sunset and the smell of warm bread all around. This, O Grasshopper, this is Pizza.
I can see your eyes rolling right now. So if I really want to make love I have to go to all the work to make the pizza like that? It’s an analogy people, not a description of a date. Stay with me. Making love is all about creation. It was ordained by the Creator, “Two become one.” We literally use it to MAKE a human being. So it is all about creation. So when you are making love. Create. Create an experience for your lover. Make it all about their senses, appealing to each. Smell good, touch with gentleness, with firmness, with different textures and patterns. Taste in a new way, in a different way. See her and allow her to see you in a beautiful, tender way. Listen to each other breathe, study her breathing, watch for when it changes, keep doing what made it change. Create an environment of openness, of love, of safety, of hope. Then Be in that. Make it last, take a long time to get there. That’s making love.
Again with the eye rolling. It sounds like so much work. Well, it is. But it is work that is well worth it. The dividends paid on the love making side are so much more valuable than the rewards from having sex.
A friend talks of a relationship he had with a girl where the only thing the girl wanted was to get off. It took her a long time to get there every time and having sex became this job he had to do. Needless to say, the relationship went nowhere. If you’re approaching making love with a “when is this pizza getting delivered…” mentality, you’ll never get there.
The intimacy that comes from truly making love expands to many other areas of your relationship. It’s really difficult to make love to someone and argue incessantly with them over stupid little things. I know there’s this idea out there that there are some relationships where people are really good at “gettin it on” but not great at being friends. Those people are having pretty wild pizzas, but they are not making their own with authentic Italian Herbs and Sauce. And the end result is always a frustrating relationship.
I’ve unfortunately had abundant experience in the Frozen pizza market. I think I went 20 years or so in a marriage without having a homemade Italian pizza. I’d forgotten they existed. I think I literally believed that there were only frozen pizza’s in the world. Frozen microwave pizzas. 3-5 minutes. Is it freakin done yet?
It took a divorce and a couple of follow on relationships to understand again that there was such a thing as making love. I had to wait till my 40s to figure it out. But I don’t want you to think that everytime you get naked you have to go to the Deli. Sometimes a frozen pizza is a great tension breaker, sometimes you both just need to get rid of the stress and a microwave quickie is perfect for the moment. You wink at each other after, because you know you’ll be back at the deli later.
One last thing. You don’t take everyone to the Italian Deli. You just take the one you love. The one you know you want to be with. The one who will create with you. Create this indescribable, unknowable thing called love.
So to be clear, I’m not saying I’m any kind of an expert on this matter. I just know what I’ve seen and experienced. But in some small way, I hope I was able to explain a bit of the differences between making love and just having sex. And challenge you all to do more of the former and less of the latter. Also, I do think it’s pretty cool that the next time someone wants to order pizza, you’ll smile knowingly.