Lust Vs. Love: The Heart Of The Difference

Quick summary

The word lust almost always refers to purely physical desire, while the word love can refer to many different types of affection, including romantic and familial love.  

Matters of the heart are often complicated, and it is easy to confuse the similar words love and lust. Do you desire to know the difference between these two passionate words?

In this article, we will examine the words love and lust, explain the differences between them, and give examples of how we typically use love and lust in sentences. 

love vs. lust

As a noun, love typically refers to a passionate affection for another person or a deep, personal attachment to another person. As a verb, love typically means to feel love for someone else.

There are many different types of love, and they often depend on the specific relationship. For example, people who are dating or who are married typically feel romantic love for each other. Other types of love include the love between family members, the love between close friends, and the love people have for their pets. 

As both a noun and a verb, love is also used figuratively to refer to a strong liking for someone or something. 

Here are some examples of the different senses of love:

  • My parents love each of their children very much. 
  • Romeo loved Juliet from the moment he saw her. 
  • David loves the sun.
  • We love to go hiking in the mountains every summer.

Lust, as both a noun and a verb, typically refers to intense sexual desire. Unlike love, lust only refers to a purely physical attraction that one person has for another. Because of this, lust is a much more narrowly used word than love. Like love, though, lust is also sometimes used figuratively to refer to a strong passion for something. 

Here are examples of the literal and figurative senses of lust:

  • The lecherous troll was filled with lust as he watched the beautiful fairies dance in the enchanted forest.
  • The evil wizard lusted after the elf princess. 
  • My uncontrollable lust for money eventually led to my downfall. 

To keep these two strong emotions clear in your mind, remember that love is a general word that refers to a wide variety of relationships and feelings that involve strong affection. While love can refer to sexual desire, it also has many more possible meanings. Lust, on the other hand, is a narrower word that refers primarily to physical desire and sexual attraction. 

However, love and lust can both be used figuratively to refer to a passionate liking of something. When used this way, love and lust can often have the same meaning. 

For example:

  • Jace has a love of knowledge. (Jace really likes learning things.)
  • Jace has a lust for knowledge. (Jace really likes learning things.) 

Examples of love and lust in a sentence

Let’s demonstrate our love of words by checking out how we typically use love and lust in sentences. 

  • Belle’s love for the beastly prince broke the witch’s curse.
  • The terrible book was about a vampire lusting after a werewolf. 
  • My wife loves horror movies, so I’ve seen most of the best ones.
  • The warlock’s lust for power drove him to madness. 
  • Lance lusted after Gwen, but she was already in love with Arthur.

When love strikes, any old words won't do. Learn some idioms for expressing your inner romantic!

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