Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?
Notions of love are Culture-specificShow moreShow less
Many different cultures have specific ways of defining and experiencing love.
Many cultures spurn sexual desire as part of love, believing it to cheapen or dirty the experience of authentic, pure love.
For instance, in some South Asian or Chinese cultures, sex is considered to actively have negative health effects. Sex is often depicted as "polluting, repellant and risky... surrounded by multiple taboos and restrictions". This is often due to a societal prioritisation of chastity.
Perhaps best illustrating how this rejection of sexual desire can influence cultural attitudes to love is Manus Island, where reportedly sexual desire is considered unrelated to love so wholly that an illicit love affair may consist only of sitting, talking and laughing with someone.
[P1] Love is completely unrelated to sexual desire, and can indeed be actively marred by it.