“Just Sex” Versus “Making Love”: Is It Possible to Tell the Difference?

Although there’s nothing wrong with casual sex that comes completely string-free, sometimes you’re looking for more than that – meaningful sex that’s part of a growing connection. However, the two can look infuriatingly similar to one another, especially when you’re still in the process of getting to know someone.

Thankfully there are sexual cues that can make it easier to tell the difference. Here’s a closer look at what to look for and how best to read the signs. Some are even possible to spot before things turn sexual in the first place, especially if you’ve been spending a decent amount of time together.

Sex is an option, not a requirement.

What role does sex play in your relationship with the person in question? Does it feel like the only reason they ever want to get together, or is time with you something they genuinely seem to enjoy in other contexts?

Someone who’s into someone on a level that goes beyond sexual will undoubtedly love the sex. But they’ll love doing other things, as well. If this person seems just as eager to spend time with you when sex isn’t on the table, you’re more than just a booty call to them.

They’re attentive to your sexual needs.

It’s possible for someone only interested in sex for its own sake to genuinely enjoy pleasing their partner as part of the experience, but it’s not really the norm. When it’s all about sex, you can usually tell. They may seem focused strictly on getting off, or they may want you to do things they enjoy without ever asking what you like.

When someone sees sex as making love and it’s meaningful, they take their time. They seem to be savoring every kiss and trying to make every second in bed with their partner count. They definitely seem focused on making sure you have a good time and will likely communicate that directly.

There’s just something different about the sex lately.

It’s not uncommon for sex to start one way and gradually evolve into something else as time goes by. Plenty of people begin a connection as casual bed buddies or friends with benefits only to become something more meaningful over time. A shift in the overall vibe of the sex is a clue that this might be occurring.

Sometimes things start feeling more intense, or your lover seems to be handling you with a more loving hand than they used to. Such changes can happen all of a sudden or build slowly over time, but they’re often a sign that you, your partner, or both of you are starting to see what you’re doing as “making love” instead of just getting it on.

They stay the night when you’re done.

Sure, some people do decide to stay the night after scoring a successful booty call or enjoying a one-night stand because it’s convenient. It’s a lot more typical for the person to want to get dressed and bounce after the sex is over, though. Why hang out or chat when there’s no real connection outside of the bedroom?

When someone’s really into you, whether you’ve known each other long or not, it’s different. Not only will they want to stay the night, but they’ll welcome the chance to get to know you better and spend more time soaking up your presence. They’ll be more into the idea of cuddling and really going deep when it comes to the conversation, as well.

You feel comfortable being yourself.

Not just outside the bedroom but between the sheets, as well. Casual sex with someone when there’s no deeper connection can be a good time, but it’s not always easy to really let go and let it all hang out. Is this usually the case for you? If so, feeling a level of personal comfort you wouldn’t typically feel could signal that one lover, in particular, is more than that.

Do you find it easier to let go of your inhibitions with this person? Does asking for what you want and enjoying every second of it come naturally? And what about them? Do you get the impression they get lost in you and your connection when you’re in bed together? Are there delicate details that probably wouldn’t be there if it were just a one-night stand – like eye contact, hand-holding, or caressing?

Of course, no two people or connections are precisely alike, so signs like the above may vary from couple to couple. But the more of them you’ve noticed, the more likely it is that your sexual connection is about more than just getting down and dirty in the bedroom. Now all you need to do is decide where you’d like it to go from here.