‘Late Modern’ Love and the Transformation of Intimacy

Isn’t it nice to be in love? Isn’t the feeling of love wonderful? But wait – are we talking about the enticing, heart-pounding, sexualised passionate form of love, or the steady-as-she goes companionate form of love we feel for friends, families and partners we’ve known a long time? Or are we talking about something else? Should love be overwhelming or considered? Perhaps it depends on our social context.

The experience and structures of love and intimacy in society have changed over time. Love in the Victorian Era involved published etiquette-based rules of courtship, and considerations of many things besides how one simply felt – there was one’s gender, class, finances, and the social respectability that came with marriage and family to keep in mind. Moving into contemporary times, Anthony Giddens describes the ‘transformation of intimacy’ in the later 20th century ‘late modern’ period, which continues today. We have so much more independence now from the constraints of traditional family and gender roles, that we can (and do) seek love and the ‘pure relationship’ in any number of forms. And Eva Illouz argues that this has created a society of commitment shy people – men in particular – and new inequalities in gender and intimacy.

What do you think? Has love changed? Is ‘all fair’ in love and sex these days?

#S327UOW16 #Tut5

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, Tutorial 5, UOW.

8 Comments on ‘Late Modern’ Love and the Transformation of Intimacy

Stacy said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

Joanne Damcevski @JoSimon7 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

There are so many varying degrees of love these days. The love I have for my children, my partner, my parents, my friends, extended family members and even my ex-husband, all fit in different categories and varying degrees of the term 'Love'. The love for my children is unconditional, just like the love of my parents to me and my love for them. The love for my partner is of an intimate nature as we connect in more than just the physical aspect, it is also on a mental and spiritual nature, where as the love I feel for my friends and extended family is more a mental and companionship like relationship because of the similarities and common interests. Whilst I am not "in love" with my ex-husband, I still have love for him because of the way he interacts and cares for our son as well as being respectful of me. The term 'love' and its meaning has definitely changed over time with the freedom and movements of women's liberation, providing them with power to make their own decisions, the ability to take birth control, have careers and the choice when and if to have children or a relationship, the freedom for people to travel has resulted in men and women having relationships later in life and women choosing to have children later in life also. When someone says they 'love' something, it doesn't relate only to the feeling between a couple, as it now incorporates materialistic items as in 'I love my phone' or 'i love my car' and so on. While I think love is a very strong word, it is used a lot more loosely these days.

Nadia Gool said : Guest Report 3 years ago

What do I think? Using one word to describe a feeling that can be felt at various degrees makes the word somewhat vague. For example you have anger, but then you have fury. You have the love for your cell phone, but then you have love for your mother. The emotion is intensified but the word remains the same. People can misinterpret the use of the word which can potentially, based on precent ruin lives. This single word 'love' is so powerful yet when we are asked to define it, many display difficulty. Is it because we don't know what it is? Or is it because it is so powerful that the English language does not accommodate for such greatness. Has love changed? Of course it has. Anybody that says it hasn't is living under a rock. As society changes so does peoples perceptions, executions, and acknowledgment of love. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. The manner in which we express feelings towards those we value can never be seen as a problem no matter how much it differs from previous centuries. Women's place in society plays a significant role in the change of the idea of love especially keeping in mind that they used to marry for reasons such as money, these days women can work for their own money. Also, arranged marriages are declining and internet dating has been introduced. Is 'all fair' in love and sex these days? Most certainly not. Love is the centre of life, and who ever said that life was fair. That is the way things are. 'Should we accept it?' is a different story but the question of 'How can we change it?' is merely impossible to answer. It is not fair that if a female has had a number of sexual partners she is deemed 'impure' and 'undesirable' but it is acceptable for a man. It is not fair that we are limiting marriage which is a universal act of true ultimate love to only heterosexual couples. Who are we to put restrictions on love? In the article I picked up on the part about the Victorian era and find it necessary to note that this is still lingering in society today, the man making the first move and the woman resisting sex until marriage. Men making the first move is still prominent however sexual relations before is more dominant than ever.

Jess Essex @jess_meow121 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Growing up as a female I was often exposed to the idea that the man makes the first move when it comes to relationships. If there is to be any form of commitment made it is up to the men to do so. Throughout high school if I liked a boy I would wait for them to proceed and make the first move, like many of my female friends also did. And if they didn't do anything nothing would happen. Even with my now finance when we were dating I waited for him to ask me on our first date, for him to ask me to be his girlfriend and for him to ask to marry me. Even though I wanted these things and he quite obviously wanted these things too , I waited for him to act. I feel as though I was just subscribing to the norm of society when it comes to love and relationships. The same went with sexuality. Females who have many sexual partners or act sexually publicly are seen as undesirable or not 'relationship material' (this is changing however). Throughout my teenage years up until this point in my life, although I never challenged this ideal I did question it. After reading the article 'commitment phobia and the new architecture of romantic choice' by Illouz it became evident where these norms originated from. The first few pages of the article talk about what love and intimacy was like in the victorian era. The men always were expected to make the first move and women should resist sex until they are in a committed relationship. It is obvious these norms still exist in our society. However with the acceptance of other forms of sexuality and the rise of womens equality it is becoming evident that these norms are changing and how we view relationship are different to the victorian era. However I still think we hold onto some of these norms. #S327UOW16 #tut5 #Mon1530

Vanessa Jenkins vanessajenkins0 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The various forms of love are so complex, there are so many different forms of love i believe that make us feel all different and unique feelings and emotions. Being in love is the most amazing thing and can be simple or complicated depending on the personalities of the person and there social life. Stevi jackson talks about descriptive based passionate love which can do bad things like jealousy, envy, possessive behaviour. It can take a hold of your life. 'Love can hold the promise of power'. Our whole body can be infused in the power of love games. Its important to keep a sense of reality and stay in a healthy loving relationship. Love has changed in the context of the victorian era as status wealth and power and family etc does not define who you can and cant marriage its more on just how the two people conncect and the actual love and relationship itself. We defiately have more freedom in todays era and i feel the social context is less defiant on the relationship because we are more individual and have more say, voice and an opinion. Its overwealming to think how much love has changed over the decades since in late modernity there was already a huge transformation of intimacy. There was rise in digital networks, movement of women into paid work, change in industrialisation. Love has taken on a less thing that controls our whole life whereas in victorian era it did i feel. #tut5#mon1530 #s327#UOW16

Penelope Daley said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Love of any kind is purely compassionate, as we should have feelings of mutual trust, respect and affection for anyone we love whether it be our grandparents, siblings, parents, friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. Although passionate love is felt within sexual relationships with partners, this does not necessarily define the love we have for an individual. I think the importance of compassionate love is more effective in withstanding a relationship of any kind in comparison to passionate love, as if there is no trust in relationships and purely sexual attraction the relationship will potentially be temporary. Love and intimacy has changed overtime to adapt to modern society, it can be seen that love in the Victorian era, did not allow women to make the first move in a passionate relationship, giving superiority to men to engage in courtship. This has also adapted as relationships are no longer dependent on income or status and their is no regulations on who marry's who. Modern society allows us to seek love and intimacy with those we desire rather than those we are forced upon as seen in history. It is no longer necessary for couples to get married creating a relaxed view of love and intimacy in modern society. Love has definitely changed over time, as the acceptance of gay marriage and single sex relationships has become a societal norm and the majority of relationships have become fair and reasonable within todays society. #tut5 #mon1530 #s327UOW16

Chloe Hancock said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The English language has just one word for love, in contrast to Sanskrit, which has 96, ancient Persian, which has 80, and Greek, which has three. Whether this is the result, as Illouz discusses, of the imposition of abstinence during early Christian centuries which constrained sexual behaviour and expression, and the display of romantic emotions set by eighteenth and nineteenth century courtship, is debatable. No matter the reason, this incredibly broad definition results in a stunted ability to express emotional constructs and define what you actually mean when you say “I love you”. The changing dynamics of modern relationships is in part a result of these social constructs and our poor definition exacerbates this social paradigm, which is exemplified by Illouz discussion of the current situation where the words love and commitment hold no meaning to men. This is merely one example… let’s save the antiquated notion of love and marriage for another discussion. If we could accurately describe our experience of loving emotions and sensations, and acknowledge the vast and multiple meanings of love, our lives and relationships would undoubtedly make more sense. We would all be less lonely and inadequate if only we were able to relay in words the varying sensations and waves of emotions we umbrella under the “love” title. Love can be displayed through sex, yet sex doesn’t have to mean love. Love can be displayed through companionship, yet doesn’t always imply romance. You can love stuff…like your car, or your phone, or a piece of jewellery, or even food…which we can only assume is the non-sexual kind of love, but it’s the same word. Love changes and change is ok. Sex is amazing. Love is a happy word. #Freelove #everybodywalkthedinosaur #S327UOW16 #tut5 #Mon1530

Laura said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I agree with the idea that over time love has changed along with society. Maybe not so much the intensity when we feel it, but definitely the way it exists and is portrayed within society. A hundred years ago as mentioned before, a variety of things were to be considered before and during courtship, as well as when making a decision regarding marriage and commitment. Back then, individuals amongst society had less freedom to go against social norms and express who they are. Often love rarely existed or was considered when making these decisions when it came to choosing a life long partner. Public displays of affection weren't encouraged, and love was always considered to be very "traditional." Now days however, equality and the rights of individuals are far more obvious amongst society, therefore people have greater decision when deciding on many aspects of their lives. Love can be, in my opinion, considered one aspect that most people have the freedom to embrace. People now in more modern times fall in love and often don't consider material things, feel confident to show their love and are considered a totally equal and normal member of society if they never do find that special person. Gay marriage is still something that is being accepted among some societies and cultures, however how society views the gay community, although still isn't ideal as far as equality goes, is a lot more accepting as opposed to centuries ago when gay men and women would be sentenced to death. In my opinion, there is a lot more freedom surrounding love and what we choose to do with it, whether we choose to embrace it, and how we see It exist. #SOC103 #Tut4 #Wed17:30

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