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As philosopher Martin Buber would express it, the intimacy of love-making is at the level of “I-Thou” as distinct from “I-It.” Thus, you cease to be an object or thing and instead become “Thou.” I am bound up with you as Thou and you with me.Of course, as Buber reminds us, the unity of the “I-Thou” is not permanent and I must at some point begin to see you as an “It.” For example, in touching each other’s body, each does what he or she knows is most erotically felt by the other.In making love, there is thus a virtually seamless reciprocity between I-It and I-Thou.There is also powerful symbolism in love-making as depicted.However, for Kant, it is in the transformation from self-regarding to rather than as mere objects or things.
Unfortunately, this common use (or misuse) can mask the important distinction between these two activities.
Of course, in love) necessarily involves having sex.
But having sex, even great sex, is not necessarily making love—just as a nice cool beer is not a glass of wine. The first of these three questions can be answered only if one knows the difference between having sex versus making love.
Where the other seeks only a body, wanting only sex, love-making is squandered even if it is not (at least at first) apparent to the one attempting to make love.
It is a counterfeit if based on pretense because there is duality, not unity, and there is manipulation and objectification, not authentic, mutual respect.