性愛 meaning

Shouldn’t this mean something like…lust?

I can see @Jonapedia typing a detailed response, but while you’re waiting for that, here’s the trailer: welcome to the Greek concept of the five forms of love… though this article has six, despite the fact that I got there by clicking a link named “five forms of love”. The one we’re looking at here is eros.

Lust is nothing more than ape brain going “I want to make babies with that”.


To curb the evolution chat… we’re not apes, however, lust is an emotional attachment of “I’ll tap that” rather than to make babies, per se. I’ll look at your article though.

@yukinet isnt that an example of motherly instincts?

Oh boy, hahaha.


No, because it has the kanji 愛 in it. Unless we’re talking about rather twisted situations in which someone tries to pass ‘lust’ off as ‘love’, 愛 is always going to mean ‘love’. 性 simply means ‘sex’ or ‘gender’, and since that modifies ‘love’, the phrase means ‘sexual love’. The focus of ‘lust’ is desire. Thus, it contains the character 欲. The word for ‘lust’ is 性欲. To be more precise, 性欲 on its own just means ‘sexual desire’, and to make it clear that you’re talking about ‘lust’, you’ll need to add adjectives like 激しい or 強い in front of it. A context that provides a negative connotation also helps to convey the idea of ‘lust’. Again, however, I can’t emphasise this enough: 欲=desire (think ‘欲しい’. Even in Classical Chinese, 欲 was used as the verb ‘to want’. Modern Mandarin uses something else.); 愛=love (in all its forms).

This is another sort of idea: 母性 means ‘maternal type’ i.e. maternal, so 母性愛 means ‘maternal love’.
EDIT: 母性 means ‘maternal nature/essence’ in its most literal sense. That slipped my mind for a moment. Sorry.

I’m not sure I would use the words ‘emotional attachment’ because that sounds too much like ‘love’. I’m not here to start an argument over definitions, but for the sake of clarity, when I say ‘love’, I’m referring to emotional attachment (i.e. a sort of… desire to cling to/be around that person?) accompanied by a desire to care for someone and ensure their well-being, along with a willingness to consciously make efforts for their sake. When I say ‘lust’, I’m referring to a strong feeling of sexual desire that doesn’t require any sort of care for the other person, primarily based on features that make the other person sexually attractive, particularly with regard to physical appearance. Desire and love are not mutually exclusive, of course, but they are different, and that’s the reason I’m trying to explain the difference between 性欲 and 性愛.


Dont even, Leebo!

Edit: Okay so Eros as defined by the article @Belthazar gave me.

ἔρως érōs ) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion”.[6] The Modern Greek word " erotas " means “intimate love”. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction”. In the Symposium , the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal Form of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence.[7] Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.

After reading this, I would say it’s a severe physical attraction towards someone. I guess coming around to it… sexual love sounds right. Maybe there’s a better term rather than “sexual”, though.

First thing that came to mind was, well, sex.

What would the term be, though, for a love between a married couple?

An another side note… shouldnt 全然 mean never?

Agape. :slightly_smiling_face:

Helps if I read the whole thing, doesnt it?

1 Like

I certainly don’t have the only possible answer, but my opinion is that it really depends on the aspect of the love one wants to emphasise. 性愛 is correct insofar as their love is sexual: they love each other in an erotic sense, and a desire for each other’s bodies is likely a part of their relationship. More generally, they share a sort of love that only manifests itself between people who are sexually attracted to each other. 恋 would probably still be accurate, but tends to focus on the heady sort of attraction that people in love feel. I think that the sexual dimension is less important when 恋 is used though, with romance and desiring closeness being more important. 知音 might be a good term describing who married couples (ideally) are to each other: each is the other’s closest friend, understanding everything about them. (And in Japanese, it’s another word for 恋人, so it works pretty well.)

EDIT: I see that you meant in English/Greek. My bad then, but in case you’re wondering what you might say in Japanese…

Depends on whom you ask. In Modern Japanese, 全然 is generally used with negative constructions and means ‘never’ or ‘not at all’. However, it used to be used with affirmative constructions to mean ‘completely’, with such usage being common as recently as just before WWII (if I remember correctly – there’s a Japan Times article about it… the title is ‘No Way Around No’, I think). I believe it’s still acceptable to use it that way, and I’ve definitely heard such a construction at least once in an anime. Negative constructions are still more common, but I don’t think a positive construction can be considered incorrect. The positive definition is still listed in dictionaries, after all.

1 Like

So, technically, yes, but the usual use is the negative?

Yes. The main use is the negative, and the secondary use is the positive. The positive version usually gets replaced by stuff like 全く、すべて、すっかり and the like, but it’s not wrong.

Never isnt an accepted answer on WK, though.

What’s the ‘correct’ answer on WK then? I personally would primarily use it as ‘not at all’.

“Entirely” is the primary meaning. Secondary meanings are “completely” and “not at all.”

1 Like

If you don’t like always being a meaning think about it like this:


Break it down literally.

I [topic] always television [object] watch not

I always don’t watch television = I never watch television.

1 Like

I agree that this is the fundamental, etymological meaning that you get from the kanji, though I don’t really see how it’s different from ‘completely’ given that 全然 is rarely used relative to a certain ‘whole’. Oxford defines ‘entirely‘ as ‘completely’, for that matter. The second definition – ‘solely’ – doesn’t apply to 全然 in Japanese. For example, 「全然違う…」(Yuigahama Yui’s reaction in Oregairu after something turned out completely/entirely different from what was expected) – it’s quite clear that both words work.

The reason I called ‘not at all’ the ‘primary use’ is actual usage. It’s completely normal to deny something (e.g. ‘does this look strange?’) by saying 「いや、全然」. The negative meaning is quite firmly anchored in modern Japanese usage. It’s like how “aucun” and “rien” in French are always assumed to be negative – meaning ‘none’ and ‘nothing’ respectively – by association and common usage in structures for negation. However, their original meanings are ‘a certain one’ and ‘a thing’. Similarly, for some reason, 全然 has become associated with the negative. This is a postwar trend – the positive usage is not actually wrong –, but it’s still important to be aware of it in order to avoid confusion when facing responses like 「いいえ、全然」. Here’s the article I referred to above, which I’d like to suggest you read: Pessimists' grammar: No way around 'no' - The Japan Times
It discusses the trends of 全然 usage and contrasts modern purist grammar with past usage.

I agree, however, that we can (and probably should) argue that the negative meaning occurs purely by association, and that the actual negation manifests itself in words that occur with 全然 like ない.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.