Between the crosshairs of love and lust, lies a fuzzy area in which many people often get lost. This can be cause for conflict in anyone’s life. In this paper I will be discussing the difference between love and lust as well as how this conflict comes into play in the short stories, Carnal Knowledge, Lust, and The Girls In Their Summer Dresses.
It is the folly of youth and the wanderlust of adulthood that occasionally takes us down a wrong path that eventually leads straight to the libido instead of love. Although that is no excuse, it often serves as a temporary answer to the confusion that most of us have felt at one time or another. For the most part, lust usually relates to a physical feeling and love is usually defined as an emotional feeling. In these three stories we will see how characters face these conflicts and what it eventually means.
Writer Nancy Friday discusses in her book Women On Top how normally, men easily distinguish lust and love because quite often they are encouraged to understand their own bodies and sexuality, even from a young age. It has in a way become a social norm. In this way, men begin to be able to distinguish physical sexual feelings from emotional love feelings. That is not to say though that men understand it all and are infallible when it comes to separating lust and love.
Up until more recent times women were not encouraged to understand their own sexuality. Some women don’t have the ability to understand the distinction between sexual arousal and emotional love feelings. For example when a young man places his hand on a girl’s knee she may start to feel sexual arousal, but in her nave mind, she thinks these stirrings are love. More recently efforts have been made to make women more comfortable in their sexuality and to explain the difference between the body and the mind reactions so that they can better understand their feelings, physical and emotional.