LOVE or LUST?

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Be­lieve it or not, the age of con­sent is usu­ally de­fined as the age at which a per­son is legally con­sid­ered com­pe­tent to con­sent to sex­ual in­ter­course. It has been said that mo­rals and moral­ity are sim­ply a mat­ter of ge­og­ra­phy; i.e. what you are al­lowed to think and do de­pends on where you try to think and do it. It may well be that the ques­tion of what is right and what is wrong is much more com­pli­cated than that, but le­gal opin­ions as to the age of con­sent un­doubt­edly vary from place to place. In Saint Lu­cia, it might ap­pear to some that age has noth­ing to do with it, it might even be part of the African Her­itage. In An­gola for ex­am­ple, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics I col­lected some years ago, males were judged com­pe­tent at the age of 12, while fe­males had to wait till they were 15. Ho­mo­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships were banned at any age. In Zim­babwe, girls had to wait un­til they were 16, but then, sur­pris­ingly, they could en­ter into a fe­male-fe­male re­la­tion­ship, while boy-on-boy re­mained taboo.

In Burk­ina Faso, 13 was the min­i­mum age for ev­ery kind of re­la­tion­ship. Nige­ria, too, ap­proved of the 13 limit for het­ero­sex­u­als whilst ban­ning ho­mo­sex­u­als. South Africa went for 16 across the board for all sex­ual cou­plings. Uganda made its ea­ger teens wait un­til they were 18, and even then only for het­ero­sex­ual for­ays. Rwanda opened the flood­gates for all types of sex­ual pair­ings at the age of 18. In some coun­tries, such as the Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic, Equa­to­rial Guinea, So­ma­lia, Benin, Sene­gal, the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo, Mozam­bique, and Zam­bia there was ei­ther no stip­u­lated age of con­sent or peo­ple were ex­pected to get mar­ried first. In­ter­est­ingly, Chad, Mada­gas­car, and Niger all agreed that mar­riage was a pre­req­ui­site for sex, un­less you were a ho­mo­sex­ual of any gen­der when the age limit was set at 21.

What's the dif­fer­ence be­tween Love and Sex? Come on, I'm sure the thought has crossed your mind at some stage in your life. Some­times we might have ro­man­tic thoughts about some­one with­out know­ing why. Pas­sion may sim­ply be a prim­i­tive urge to mate; ro­man­tic at­trac­tion is per­haps dis­tinct from sex­ual arousal. Who knows? But what­ever it is, it can be a real bitch at times. New cou­ples of­ten dis­play in­creased energy but less need for sleep or food. They ide­al­ize their part­ner, mag­nify their virtues and dis­miss their flaws. Friends and fam­ily may, how­ever, form a dif­fer­ent opin­ion of “the loved one.” Alien­ation might fol­low. A cer­tain de­gree of ide­al­iza­tion may be cru­cial to build­ing a longterm re­la­tion­ship. Un­less you choose to ig­nore some per­sonal flaws, there's a good chance you will end a re­la­tion­ship or not even start one.

Pas­sion sup­ports the first stage of courtship which quite of­ten de­votes it­self to self-dis­clo­sure and in­ter­de­pen­dence. Pas­sion might even sur­vive the next stage of con­flict, that of ten­sion, doubts, ar­gu­ments and soulsearch­ing.

Then of course, we have the dif­fer­ence be­tween Love and Be­ing in Love. Con­sider all your friends; count the peo­ple you love, those you find sex­u­ally at­trac­tive and those with whom you are "in love." The per­son with whom you are “in love” should ap­pear in all three cat­e­gories. Be­ing “in love” is a pow­er­ful blend of friend­ship, af­fec­tion and lust.

The speed at which early courtship moves along varies be­tween fast and pas­sion­ate, slow and doubt­ful, or sim­ply in-be­tween. Fast-track cou­ples be­come in­ter­de­pen­dent within weeks; they tend to ig­nore or for­get ini­tial prob­lems and are com­mit­ted to a last­ing part­ner­ship within sev­eral months. In con­trast, slow-mo­tion cou­ples take years to reach a com­mit­ment.

Re­search seems to show that the more “de­lib­er­ate” a courtship is, the greater the prospects are for a long mar­riage. Feel­ings of pas­sion­ate love and in­fat­u­a­tion of­ten fade dur­ing the first year, and are soon all but gone. We make wrong choices all the time. The emo­tional fall­out from a failed re­la­tion­ship is aw­ful, but as any ad­dict knows, the highs don't last, but nei­ther do the lows of with­drawal. Even­tu­ally, the brain re­turns to nor­mal.

But some­times, love-at-first-sight can work. I met my wife-to-be on Septem­ber 10th; we be­came en­gaged less than two months later on Novem­ber 4th ; we got mar­ried within three months or so on Fe­bru­ary 26th, and our first child, our daugh­ter, popped up in Au­gust of the same year (yes, you can do the maths) – talk about a whirl­wind ro­mance. We re­ally knew how to strike when the iron was hot in those days. Whoops! That's kind of am­bigu­ous, well, maybe not! This Septem­ber will mark 50 years since we first set eyes on each other, which is not bad when you think about it!

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