What Is Lust? The Typical Signs and Ways to Turn It into Love

So… what is lust and are you in it? Furthermore, is there any way to turn lust into something real? We’re answering these questions and more.

what is lust

Lust makes for great sex and poor relationships. So, what is lust? The dictionary defines it as a very strong sexual desire. Basically, it’s that overwhelming sexual force that’s based solely on physical attraction to your crush. In fact, looking back on some of your past relationships, it’s probably easy to separate which ones were true love and which ones just gave great orgasms.

People make lists comparing love and lust and telling you how to distinguish what kind of relationship you’re in. What they don’t tell you is whether you can turn a lusty tryst into a meaningful relationship. We’re delving into the nitty gritty truth, defining what is lust, and if it’s even possible to train your brain to rework your FWB situation into a relationship.

Here are the up and down sides to being in a lusty relationship and what you can do to change it.

So… what is lust? 7 signs you’re in it

If you’ve been wondering, what is lust, then fear no more. Lust refers to an intense sexual desire that is usually based entirely on surface-level attraction. Merriam Webster’s dictionary refers to it an unbridled sexual desire.

When you’re in the moment, it can be hard to see past her long blonde hair, his 6-pack, and how horny you are… but trust me, there are some obvious telltale signs of lust. Take off the rose-colored glasses and take a look at these 10 signs you’re in lust and not love.

#1 You overlook ridiculous personality traits. She is dating other people, and you’re okay with that. He makes dumb comments about your weight or your attitude. She’s an absolute liar. He openly hates your friends.

All of these are completely unacceptable personality traits for boyfriend/girlfriend material – yet you overlook it all just for another chance to see them naked. Oops, you’re in lust. [Read: What are you feeling? Is it love or lust?]

#2 You’re all fire and no faith. One of the biggest draws of lust is the passion involved. When you lust after someone there is a fire; an obsession that comes with it that is addicting. If your ‘relationship’ feels full of fire, chaos, and gut-wrenching butterflies and lacks any form of stability… consider yourself King Lust. And now you’re no longer wondering what is lust.

#3 You know nothing substantial about your mate and vice-versa. If you’re not comfortable enough to share your life with your partner, that’s a red flag. Furthermore, if you never bother asking your lover about their life, job, or family then you are in Lust-Ville. [Read: How to know if you love someone – Early signs of a new romance]

#4 You’re not friends… not even a little bit. Having sex is an awesome part of being in a relationship. It bonds you as a couple, teaches you how to be a giving partner, and hell – it feels amazing! There is nothing wrong with wanting to bone your partner every single day.

The trouble comes in when you find yourself uncomfortable at the thought of actually having a conversation with your lover. If you’re always having sex and never Netflix-binging, going on road trips, or heading out for a drink, you probably only like this person for their body. [Read: 17 sordid signs you’re just a hook-up and nothing more]

#5 You don’t see a future together. You don’t have to know if you’re going to marry someone after two months, but you should definitely have a feel for whether you could be in a long-term situation with your current partner. If you don’t see a future with your mate, then you are definitely in lust. Again, no more wondering what is lust!

#6 You love people seeing you with someone so hot. Showing off your partner is a great way to show them that you care… or that you’re completely shallow. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?

The truth is that those in lusty relationships are extremely keen on showing off how hot their lover is, and they love being seen in public with someone so attractive. This is great for relationships, too, but it turns into a lust-induced problem when *all* you want is to admire their physical appearance instead of getting to know them.

#7 Silence is the Devil. If a sudden silence begins to lull you into a terrifying panic, then odds are you are either at the awkward beginning stages of dating, or you’re in lust. When you like someone, you want to get to know them and use quiet opportunities to snuggle or to make conversation.

If being silent in the same room only makes you wonder why you aren’t getting naked right now, then your relationship probably exists purely on a surface level. [Read: 10 booty call moves that may look like true love]

Why it’s okay to be in lust

As long as you can acknowledge that you are in a lusty dating situation, it may not actually be that bad for you. Just as long as your ‘relationship’ is not harming you physically or psychologically, we say there are actually some upsides to being in lust.

#1 It’s the perfect rebound. Rebounds usually crop up around after a serious, long-term relationship has just ended. This is your way of reminding yourself that someone else is out there, and that you’re still able to care about someone else.

A rebound is usually defined as “bouncing back” from a broken relationship and it helps you move on. So… why not do it with someone absolutely gorgeous? [Read: 13 rebound sex questions to know if you’re ready for it]

#2 You’ve never looked better. When you’re in lust, you want to look and feel your best so that your partner will be equally as attracted to you as you are to them. You’re plucked, waxed, curled, and always look like a 10.

This usually results in you working out and eating better. Both of these habits can boost your confidence and make you feel like a sexy beast. What’s so bad about that?

#3 You don’t have to worry about someone else’s drama. Why not admit that you’re in lust and embrace a surface-level relationship for a while? This means you rarely have to deal with someone else’s drama because the truth is… you probably don’t know enough about them to be involved in their problems!

#4 It helps you figure out what you want out of a relationship. Being in a bad relationship sucks, but it can help you figure out what you want from a real partner down the road. Take some cues from the lusty relationship you’re in, and put your foot down about what you will and will not accept from a future partner. [Read: Are you sure about what you’re looking for in a relationship?]

Can you turn lust into something more?

Lust is a tricky mistress to maneuver. You may be wondering if you can turn lust into a meaningful relationship, and unfortunately, the answer is usually not. When you are in lust, your brain usually puts your lusty lover in a figurative box somewhere in between friends-with-benefits, boyfriend-material, and friend-zoned.

These three cases marry and create a partner you can’t wait to get naked with, but don’t see a future with, nor do you desire to get to know them.

If you’re really set on turning lust into love, here are some tips:

#1 Create a friendship. Start opening up to your lover and making a diligent effort to share your life with this person. This means telling them about your life growing up, your dream job, your inspirations, your values, and anything else you would tell your BFF about. The best way to turn lust into love is by creating a friendship with this person. [Read: Love is in the air! 13 signs you’re starting to fall in love]

#2 Do things together. If you want to turn your lust into love, try doing things other than having sex. Go out and bond over common interests. Invite your friends for a mutual hang out, play sports, play video games, meet each other’s families. Ask get-to-know-you questions and try to care about what the answer is.

#3 Take it slowly. If you’re all about the animal magnetism you feel together, try taking a step back. If you’re pounding away like jack-rabbits 24/7, that means you’ve skipped some pretty important ‘relationship’ steps like, you know, dating. [Read: How to fall in love slowly like you’re in a fairy tale]

Slow it down and try to re-establish a traditional approach to relationships. Go out on dates, text each other daily, and take time to make out without it leading to sex so you can build up sexual tension. Building a bond is important for creating a real relationship.

#4 Understand it may not happen. Don’t be disappointed if it still doesn’t work out. Odds are, if you’re in lust, so is your partner. When you start opening the ‘relationship’ door, your partner may not be receptive. And no matter how much you try to build an emotional connection, you may end up with a dud.

[Read: 12 real signs of true love in a relationship]

So… what is lust? It’s a mess, especially if you’re trying to turn a lusty relationship into a meaningful one. So, can it be done? Sure, but it isn’t easy.

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Waverly Smith

Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...

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