“The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul” – William B. Yeats
Recently, it has come to my attention through a variety of inutile conversations; popular culture has deemed a male/female friendship unrealistic due to initial sexual attraction. We often wonder why our closest friends come from the same gender, but what characteristics of a same gender relationship do we need to carry over to the opposite gender relationship in order for it to be non sexual? This assumes that sex in a relationship limits the level of friendship if the relationship as a whole isn’t progressive (An example would be; higher level relationship aspirations vs. friendship consistency). The answer in my mind is twofold. First, we have to identify loyalty and intention through both genders. Females are more likely to be sexually competitive and males more likely to be sexually complacent toward each other. This means, as a man, I don’t view other men as competition, nor do I hold them accountable for my disposition in relation to my social status. On the contrary, females allow emotions such as love, jealousy and anger to come between their friendship loyalties and ultimately doubt is set upon each female/female relationship because every female is in competition. Secondly, we have to identify what makes any relationship achieve its full potential without crossing sexual boundaries. Obviously, most straight men that are friends don’t have a sexual component in their relationship, which allows them to concentrate on other variables, such as being “friends.” So how do we take sexual components out of a cross gender friendship?
When a male or female view someone from the opposite sex as family or a part of a kinship circle, then the subconscious inhibitions referring to incest make the conscience reject thoughts of sexual activity. Unfortunately, attraction is a main element inducing initial conversation between two strangers. At every point of a relationship, unless it is family, the origin of a relationship starts with getting to know someone you are unfamiliar with. Relationships we choose to pursue outside family and friendship/kinship circles are a side effect of attraction. However, attraction is not just about a physical appearance, rather an aggregate of the characteristics of a person. This being said, all attraction stimulates sexual tension. The terms I use for this initial sexual tension are called “Sex Reparation and Sex Debt.” Sexual reparation refers to acceptance of sex in a relationship and sex debt refers to the rejection of sex in a relationship. Whether popular culture accepts it or not, cross gender relationships can be possible through the acceptance of Sexual Debt as reimbursement for the initial attraction.
Sex reparation is the ongoing acceptance of sexual tension in a relationship that allows us to pursue a sexual interest with someone whom we are friends. More plainly, “I would have sex with my friend if it were all right with him/her.” There is nothing wrong with this because sex is a part of high-level relationships that progress into better or worse things. Sex reparation allows for a risk factor to be placed on the current status of the friendship. Most male/female relationships have sex reparation as a constant, however it doesn’t mean that this stasis is permanent. One of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill states, “The only thing that remains the same is change.” This being said, sex reparation can be halted by stages of life such as marriage, epiphanies, and value change. Some people think it is great to keep an open mind when it comes to sex in a friendship, but ultimately that notion deprives us from relationship idealism especially when it is known that the relationship can’t progress further.
Sex debt is the realization that sexual tension first initiated by a meeting can be forfeited for a greater good. The idea that you look at someone subjectively in a non-sexual manner, proven over time, allows the relationship to be more permanent. Other characteristics of a relationship replace sexual tension and physical fulfillment is no longer reparation of initial attraction. Some may argue that all men, or even women, want to have sex with everyone they are attracted to, however sometimes the love or likeness we see in others has a need to be preserved and contrary to popular belief there are relationships, both simple and complex, worth keeping despite initial sexual tension, which allows us to reject biological and emotional tendencies for the longevity of a relationship.
When a person is not coveted as a sexual object, the relationship becomes more personal just like kinship ties of family members. Even though sex reparation allows for a progressive future between two people of opposite sex, it prevents us from achieving an affirmation of caring for someone’s soul rather than body. I love my mother in a non-sexual way, but our relationship is stronger tenfold compared to my longest intimate relationship. Unfortunately, this could also mean that a cross gender friendship with no sexual interest has the potential to surpass the most intimate relationships, but that is neither here nor there. We are mostly all monogamous, which means we are searching for one person that fulfills us both in mind and body. During our quest to seek such a person, we find many people that fall short of this inner mark we set for ourselves. Rather than stringing these people along as a settlement to both debt and reparation, we should clear them of their obligation as a potential reparation and pay their debt with the acknowledgement of true friendship; Embracing one into your family, despite a blood line, refuting all that is object and connecting to another’s soul.
“Mortal lovers must not try to remain at the first step; for lasting passion is the dream of a harlot and from it we wake in despair” -C.S. Lewis