Is it “Love” or is it…Desire? (Part 1 of 3)

“Hello, I love you won’t you tell me your name” – The Doors (1968)

“Love” as described in this post is not the emotion marked by care, devotion, compassion and sensitivity from one person to another.

In this case, “love” is more appropriately termed “lust” or desire, which has as its expression the selfish craving to use another person as a means to gratify one’s own selfish and more than likely sexual needs. One of the most important mentors I’ve had in my life, Dr. Patrick Carnes, wrote an appropriately titled book that describes this phenomenon called “Don’t Call It Love” (1992) and he’s right, because “Love” demonstrated like this isn’t Love.

Keep in mind, we don’t want to pathologize  healthy love and healthy expressions of one’s sexual experience.  We will never do that. However, the point of this document is to expose the unhealthy expressions of this emotion and to learn how we may have gotten into hot water because of it.  Insight about correcting our behavior will be seen in Part 2 of 3 (Is it “Love” or is it …Desire?) and in Part 3 of 3 (Love and Desire: “The Five words for Love“).

But back to “Love.”  This counterfeit expression of “love” is manifested by behavior that is usually seductive, insensitive, uncaring and manipulative, as its chief goal is to take possession and control another person and to use them as “an object” for their own personal and sexual gratification. Let’s see what scripture has to say about this word.

Scriptural Insight (Zodhiates, 1996)

  • Lust (Proverbs 6: 25): The Hebrew word is “HAMAD,” and it means to desire, covet, long for and it refers to an ungoverned selfish desire, whether it be for silver, gold, idols or prostitutes. It is the word that is used to describe the desirability of that certain tree (and its fruit) located in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6).
  • Lust (Ezekiel 20: 30): The word is “ZANAH,” which means to commit fornication, commit adultery, seduce as well as engage in prostitution. The word ZANAH also means to have forbidden involvement with false gods and denotes illicit sexual activity.
  • Lust (Colossians 3: 5): “PATHOS,” means to lust, and specifically, sexual passions associated with the emotion and is used to describe expressions of lust as is written in Romans 1: 26 through the end of the chapter.
  • Lust (Romans 1: 27): The word here is “OREXIS” and it conveys the meaning of appetite, lust and desire, and it is always the reaching out after an object with the purpose of drawing it to oneself and doing with it as one pleases.
  • Evil Desire (James 1: 14): The word is “EPITHUMIA” which is a compound word (“epi” [toward, upon] + “thumos” [fierceness, breathing hard passion]), and although it is a “neutral” word, in this passage of scripture its meaning is the longing or craving for that which is forbidden and unrighteous, in addition to the unleashing and directing of emotion toward that object.

Signs and Symptomatic Behavior of “Love” (“What will I notice in the person who is “loving?”)

  • A person who is focused on self and whose mind may be obsessed and saturated with sexual thought (see lyrics to “Obsession” below).
  • A person who devises plots, plans and schemes in an effort to seek after another person, much like a hunter goes after his “prey.”
  • A person who demonstrates out of control sexual behavior, possibly preceded by clever and seductive behavior to disarm the “victim,” who is often treated as an object to be manipulated.
  • A person who demonstrates drastic changes in their emotion(s) as their sexual behavior and activity is curtailed.
  • A person who is engaged in very high-risk, and possibly criminal sexual behavior, with adults or minors.
  • A person who spends large amounts of time and money focusing on and engaging in their sexual gratification, in addition to a experiencing a lengthy time to recover from the effects of his/her sexual behavior.
  • A person who continues their behavior despite experiencing severe consequences associated with it.

In Part 2 of 3 and in Part 3 of 3, we will look at suggestions from scripture to hopefully cultivate healthier and “loving” experiences for ourselves, eventually to be shared and enjoyed in healthy experiences with others. You can also read about the neurochemistry of Desire in Head Games: Drugs of Abuse and in Head Games: Come on Now (Part 2 of 3).

OBSESSION by Animotion

(A little dated – 1985, and this is not a “coffee break” moment but a Visine™ moment!)

You are an obsession
I cannot sleep
I am your possession
Unopened at your feet
There’s no balance
No equality
Be still I will not accept defeat

I will have you
Yes, I will have you
I will find a way and I will have you
Like a butterfly
A wild butterly
I will collect you and capture you

You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me
You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me

I feed you I drink you
My day and my night
I need you I need you
By sun or candlelight
You protest
You want to leave
Stay
Oh, there’s no alternative

Your face appears again
I see the beauty there
But I see danger
Stranger beware
A circumstance
In your naked dreams
Your affection is not what it seems

You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me
You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me

My fantasy has turned to madness
And all my goodness
Has turned to badness
My need to possess you
Has consumed my soul
My life is trembling
I have no control

I will have you
Yes, I will have you
I will find a way and I will have you
Like a butterfly
A wild butterly
I will collect you and capture you

You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me
You are an obsession
You’re my obsession
Who do you want me to be
To make you sleep with me

Feel free to leave a comment or pass this post to others who you think would like to read it and by all means visit my other page at dr ken mcgill’s blog for more helpful “counseling” information.


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