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Section 4
Track #4 - Understanding 6 Kinds of Love & Where Sex Fits

Question 4 | Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Printable Page

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On the last track, we discussed being in love. This included choice, giving, closeness, trust, caring, responsibility, respect, delight and self-awareness.

On this track, we will discuss six kinds of love that I have found beneficial in discussing with teens. These will include humankind, God, someone to help, parents, oneself, sexual longing and where sex fits.

Sarah expressed further interest in what it meant to love, as opposed to being in love. Once again, the ethical boundary issue of providing Sarah with information as opposed to appearing to encourage sexual involvement by discussing sex needs to be decided by the therapist here. The following is a further summary of what I said to Sarah over several sessions. 

Understanding the Six Types of Love
Loving another person involves the total relationship you share with that person, along with the relationships you share with others. There are also different types of love, each based on the type of person or object that is being loved. Let us consider briefly six kinds of love that seem to be a part of the human experience.

Type #1 - Love for Humankind
First, let’s discuss love for humankind. This is the kind of love for others we feel as we realized that all of us have a great deal in common. When we really feel our connection and equality with our fellow humans, we can begin to care about them.

Type #2 - Love for God
Second, let’s discuss love for God. In most religions, this goes hand-in-hand with loving our fellow humans. It is often emphasized in religions that love of God is shown by a feeling of oneness with a divine being which is expressed in the actions that the person takes.

Type #3 - Love for Someone We Can Help
Third, in addition to love for humankind and love for God, let’s discuss love for someone we can help.  It is this sort of love that a mother and father feel for their child or that you might feel for a younger brother or sister.

Type #4 - Love for Parents
Fourth, let’s discuss love for parents. This is an example of the kind of love we feel toward someone who has protected you and taken care of you when we needed help.

Type #5 - Love for Oneself
Fifth, let’s discuss love for oneself. This is often misunderstood and confused with conceit. It does not refer to the sort of thing I once saw in a client of mine. He was always saying, "I am great!" Instead, it means having self-respect and being able to trust in your own actions.

It means caring about what happens to you as well as others around you. I have found that many clinicians, myself included, believe that before you can be a truly complete person and before you can really work at loving others, you must first care for yourself.

Type #6 - Love with Sexual Longing
Sixth, let’s discuss love with sexual longing. This is the kind of love that involves the desire to share sexually with another person. This kind of love involves wanting to feel closeness and excitement that a sexual union can achieve. It is more than the pleasure of bodies physically being together, but includes all of the emotional aspects of people deepening their levels of communication and mutual delight.

Where Sex Fits
At this point, Sarah asked, "Where does sex fit into the picture?  Is sex even meaningful without love?" I continued my explanation to Sarah. Some people have enjoyed casual sexual encounters with others. Without any emotional involvement or loving feelings expected, some agree to share sex with one another and enjoy that sharing. Others sometimes find it difficult to become sexually involved in such a casual way without feeling some sense of guilt. 

Still others would not even consider having quick sex with another. This is one of those areas you may want to spend some time thinking about in order to decide what your feelings and values are. One of the things that must be carefully considered is the increased risk of casual sex. When you do not have an established relationship of caring and trust, it is more difficult to be safe from the chances of disease transmission or emotional pain.

However, it may be a mistake to assume that good sex is all there is to a good loving relationship. Likewise, it could be naïve to believe that sexual contact with another person can only be fully enjoyable and successful when loving feelings are involved. Each of us, as the individuals we are and want to be, must decide what the level of interaction between love and sex will be.

Do you have a Sarah who might benefit from hearing this track in your next session? 

On this track, we have discussed six kinds of love. These have included humankind, God, someone to help, parents, oneself, sexual longing and where sex fits.

On the next track, we will discuss saying no to sex. To provide my teen clients with methods for avoiding unwanted sexual advances, I review with them 3 steps to not having to say NO. These three steps are plan ahead, look for signs of possible problems, and know how to communicate your feelings.   

QUESTION 4
What are the objects of the six kinds of love? To select and enter your answer go to Answer Booklet


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