Look deep into your partner’s eyes. What do you see? Limpid pools of love? Or rapacious lust that can barely disguise itself? What keeps the two of you ticking, talking and tantalising? With relationships these days having a shelf life of little over a nanosecond, and marriages for keeps crumbling in a heap, is it love or lust that makes the odd marriage last?
Hollywood stunner Charlize Theron says her relationship with boyfriend Stuart Townsend is all about passion and chemistry. When the sizzle fizzles, the equation comes undone. “I think I need a bit of both love and lust. I’ve been in situations where I have cared about someone, but there wasn’t that fire, and that is important. It’s chemistry and I don’t know why one person does it for me rather than another. It’s the mystery of life and love,” explains Charlize.
But does lust, which is all about craving and carnal instincts, remain unchanged when one’s been in a relationship for long? “Anyone who says the degree of lust in a relationship is a constant is lying through his teeth,” says Bollywood Dream Girl Hema Malini. “Lust becomes a casualty in a situation of over familiarity, where you know the person in and out, warts, moles, et al. What to talk about lust when there are times you don’t even want to touch each other; such is the extent of boredom. But let’s not mistake lust for love. Love thrives and prospers in a happy marriage or relationship, lust needs rekindling and reactivation,” she says.
But that is not to say that all relationships that have their basis in lust- at- first- sight are programmed for short-term existence. Media professional Kala Kanthan believes, “Lust has no boundaries, love does. For today’s youngsters lust works better than love. These days people are scared to care for someone and invest in love.”
Marriage and relationship experts, however, maintain that it is a combination of love and lust that keeps the relationship alive. “A good amount of sexual attraction is very necessary for a healthy relationship,” says psychologist Mary Rajan. Women must keep their men continuously lusting after them, she offers.
Why women, it is equally important for men to be in the lust workout zone, says Hema. “Women and men need to be innovative and ingenious in relationships to keep the spark from extinguishing. Take care of your appearance, be presentable, and plan surprises from time to time. Do not take love, lust or longevity in a relationship for granted. An annual honeymoon without the kids will up the lust quotient tremendously,” she prescribes.
Agreeing with her is Mary, who says, “Most Indian men, and women, give up on health, fitness, looks after marriage, and slip into the drudgery of routine living. This can be a big killer for the relationship.”
The definition of lust itself changes in a relationship, especially in a marriage. Lust then is not just about hormones on a horseback, it is more about enhancing and announcing one’s desirability.
Arvind N, a model, elaborates, “Women have no patience for men with paunches and uncouth habits. Nor do men take kindly to women who dress and behave like old hags. At a time when the institution of marriage is under scrutiny and attack, your looks can impact your lust factor and take you where even money and security can’t.”
Lust makes way for desire in a marriage or any long-term relationship. Lust is all about physical and basic instincts, whereas desire embodies within itself the spiritual aspect as well. “Couples need to work at keeping their desirability quotient high,” emphasises Hema. True love, says well-known model Shawar Ali, and never dies. “And lust and desire should not be allowed to die,” he adds.
So there we are. It’s both crackling chemistry and soul connection that secure relationship bonds. And that requires work. Aah, love’s labour lust, anyone!