Why’s it so hard to talk about love?


graphic by Tyler Herron

You’d think it’d be easier to talk about love than to talk about sex. Isn’t that what they say, that sex is a difficult, embarrassing topic?

But when we sat down two weeks ago to plan this Love and Sex issue of the Trinitonian, nobody wanted to talk about love. Somehow, lube taste-testing became the meme of the evening.

Turns out, it’s way easier to talk about sex than about love. But why?

The past few years have seen a resurgence of sex-positivity in popular culture, perhaps as a reaction to the dangerous sexual climate of the 2000s and early 2010s that preceded the #MeToo movement. We’ve learned to talk about sex — but we aren’t well-prepared to deal with the depths of our emotions.

Conjecture aside, it’s undeniable that a certain vulnerability accompanies any attempt to confess how you really feel, how much you truly love someone or how much another’s action has hurt us. Apparently, most of us are more comfortable getting naked with our peers than we are with having these difficult conversations.

Of course, it wasn’t easy to get over that first hump, of talking about sex. In this week’s special section, senior staff columnist Gabriel Levine discusses the difficulties involved in opening oneself up to healthy, casual hookups.

And it’s not like there’s no danger in sex — far from it. But it is difficult and important to grapple with romance, with our own feelings. You can’t love until you let down your guard.

We’re not talking about the hackneyed clichés that you hear in radio-ready pop songs. It’s too easy to rely on superficial sayings in lieu of confronting our own, often difficult feelings. You can have sex and say, “It didn’t mean anything,” and that may well be true. But you can’t love someone and honestly say that it didn’t mean anything — even if you later wish it didn’t.

A challenge: Get emotionally naked. But be careful about who you expose yourself to.