When we were discussing the song "My Sweetheart's the Man in the Moon," the question arose as to whether the phrase "make love" in that song meant then what it means today.
In connection with that, I remembered a song from the early 1950s called "Make Love to Me," sung by Jo Stafford. Some background on the song:

It started out (early 20th century) as the "Rusty Rail Blues" and later became the "Tin Roof Blues." By the time it became "Make Love to Me," (in either 1953 or 1954) it had new lyrics, and the tune was slightly different, too. "Make love" does not appear to have been part of the earlier lyrics.
Having read the lyrics, I would say they can be taken either way as referring to relatively tame "making out" or to the Real Thing.

Lyrics for the Jo Stafford record:
Make Love to Me
Take me in your arms and never let me go
Whisper to me softly while the moon is low
Hold me close and tell me what I wanna know
Say it to me gently, let the sweet talk flow
Come a little closer, make love to me
Kiss me once again before we say good night
Take me in your lovin' arms and squeeze me tight
Put me in a mood so I can dream all night
Everybody's sleepin' so it's quite all right
Come a little closer, make love to me
When you're near, so help me, dear
Chills run up my spine
Don't you know I love you so?
I won't be happy till you're mine
When I'm in your arms you give my heart a treat
Everything about you is so doggone sweet
Ev'ry time we kiss you make my life complete
Baby doll, ya know ya swept me off my feet
Now's the time to tell you "Make love to me"
{REPEAT LAST VERSE except last line becomes}
Now's the time to tell you "Hey, baby make love to me" ==
Anyone having amorous thoughts now?
Me neither.
Maria Conlon
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When we were discussing the song "My Sweetheart's the Man in the Moon," the question arose as to whether the ... say they can be taken either way as referring to relatively tame "making out" or to the Real Thing.

It seems clear that "making love" to someone was originally the same kind of stuff as "pitching woo". OED defines 'philander' as "pay court to, make love to" clearly equating the two. "Sweetheart", the verb, is defined in a similar way. Now it is a euphemism for ***. So the key question is, when did it change? In popular culture it was probably somewhere around the 40s / 50s so I think you're right - the song in question could mean either thing.
If anyone has the inside track on sexual euphemisms, they might care to throw in a few lines about how "sleep with" came to be used for the sexual act too.

John Dean
Oxford
If anyone has the inside track on sexual euphemisms, they might care to throw in a few lines about how "sleep with" came to be used for the sexual act too.

My wife and I slept together much earlier than we slept together. Early in our dating relationship we attended an out-of-town wedding. We both had too much to drink at the reception to consider driving back to Chicago, so we both spent the night in the same bed in the apartment of one of the other wedding guests. Passed out is a more accurate description than slept, but we did sleep.

I used to joke with my wife about telling her family that we had slept together. She did not consider it a subject of humor. Her mother would not have considered it a subject of humor.
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If anyone has the inside track on sexual euphemisms, they ... with" came to be used for the sexual act too.

My wife and I slept together much earlier than we slept together.

The balance of an inappropriate, not to mention uninteresting, story about your marital relationships, snipped.

Charles Riggs
They are no accented letters in my email address
When we were discussing the song "My Sweetheart's the Man in the Moon," the question arose as to whether the ... Now's the time to tell you "Hey, baby make love to me" == Anyone having amorous thoughts now? Me neither.

People get together and nuzzle, pet, and maybe slobber over each other, getting more and more intimate, all as part of the working out of reproductive instincts, until at some point they may do something that makes offspring possible. It's all called making love, a term that is deliberately vague. It seems a sort of prurient interest to ask whether a songwriter meant to refer to a sequence ending in coitus or not.

john
Subject: Re: Make/Making Love From: "John Dean" It seems clear that "making love" to someone was originally the same kind ... a few lines about how "sleep with" came to be used for the sexual act too. John Dean Oxford

Sometimes it goes the other way. For example, when I was young, to "get off with" meant to have sex, whereas for kids these days that can mean simply a snog in a club. On the other hand, the word "flirt" is sometimes used nowadays as an excuse for having sex (I know young men who apologise for their promiscuity by saying they are helpless flirts).
But thank goodness that the expression "making love" endures. OK, it no longer means "paying court", but it still carries a whiff of romance and honour compared to the gross alternative "having sex".
Peasemarch.
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Subject: Re: Make/Making Love From: "John Dean" It seems clear ... used for the sexual act too. John Dean Oxford

Sometimes it goes the other way. For example, when I was young, to "get off with" meant to have sex, ... an excuse for having sex (I know young men who apologise for their promiscuity by saying they are helpless flirts).

Don't remind me. When my daughter was a teenager with boyfriends I was trying to negotiate my way round the difference between such terms as "going with", "going around with" and "going out with". Dangerous for all concerned to misunderstand the significance or lack of it in any stated relationship.

John Dean
Oxford
When we were discussing the song "My Sweetheart's the Man ... to me" == Anyone having amorous thoughts now? Me neither.

People get together and nuzzle, pet, and maybe slobber over each other, getting more and more intimate, all as part ... sort of prurient interest to ask whether a songwriter meant to refer to a sequence ending in coitus or not.

That would have been about the time when being
gay meant being happy.
When we were discussing the song "My Sweetheart's the Man ... to me"

= Anyone having amorous thoughts now? Me neither.

People get together and nuzzle, pet, and maybe slobber over each other, getting more and more intimate, all as part ... sort of prurient interest to ask whether a songwriter meant to refer to a sequence ending in coitus or not.

If you read a book on, I don't know, call it something like 'How to Write Pop Song Lyrics', they will likely tell you to intentionally be ambiguous. Not just about sex, mind you, about pretty much everything. First of all, it gets you more radio play while still getting the parents up in arms, two necessaries for getting the kids to tune in and buy records. The list of touchstones you can hint at include worshipping the devil, taking drugs, being gay and not liking Nixon. Thirty years later when you're an old man, you can let everyone in on how you didn't really rock with Moloch. It was all a gas, marketing hype, you even slept in Lincoln's bedroom.

Opening her own letter Dorothea saw that it was a lively continuation of his remonstrance with her fanatical sympathy and her want of sturdy neutral delight in things as they were—an outpouring of his young vivacity which it was impossible to read just now. -, "Middlemarch"
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