Nana asks: I would like to know how we could maintain a healthy friendship devoid of any form of intimacy which could lead to sex.
Hi Nana –
I wish I knew who you meant by “we,” because there are a few different answers to your question.
First, if you’re talking about you and one special person, with whom you’d like to have a friendship without sex (the big word for a relationship like that is “Platonic”), the answer is… just do it! If it’s what both of you want, you’ll be able to do it easily (It’s really easy to not have sex; I do it all the time!). What’s hard is if one of you wants to make the relationship romantically intimate. If that’s the case, you really have to talk, and figure out what you two can tolerate. Lots of times people have great friendships even though one person is attracted to the other. But if that attraction is so intense that a friendship is impossible, and the other person really doesn’t want a romantic relationship, then you probably have to give up on having that great friendship. You can still be friendly to each other; it just might be too painful for the person who wants the romance, so they might have to keep a distance.
Okay, second – you might mean “we” referring to Everybody. As in “Why can’t we all get along,” or “We need to stop polluting the Earth.” Are you asking how people in general can have Platonic relationships? If so, I’d say, just look around you. Even in these days when there’s so much sexy stuff in the media and everything, most relationships of most people are completely Platonic! Now if have any friends who think they can’t be your friend without sex… you just need to start meeting more different people! I’m not here to say what adults should or shouldn’t do, but I will always argue my big rule about sex (at any age): No One Should Ever Feel Forced To Do Something They Don’t Want To Do, with Anyone! Ever! If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. And if someone’s pressuring you into anything, then they’re not a friend. You ALWAYS have the right to say no.
And my favorite reading of your question, the third – when you say “We,” you mean you and me! You want to have a healthy friendship with me that doesn’t include any romantic intimacy. Well you’re making me blush (which is weird-looking on a dog), but here’s my answer, Nana: You’ve Got It! Now I won’t promise that if we ever meet I won’t jump on you and give you a lick, but that’s only friendship, I promise!
Okay, that third one probably isn’t what you meant. Darn.
But I’m very serious when I say that what you’re really asking about is how you can set boundaries in your life. And my main answer is that you always have the right to. Again, if you refuse to be romantic with someone, they do have the right to walk away. But they never have the right to turn your friendship into something you don’t want.
But if you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to go cuddle up next to Handsome on the couch. I truly honor your desire to have a relationship without intimacy, but I gotta say, I just love it. Especially when it comes to tummy-rubs and ear-scratches. And I know Handsome loves giving those to me too.
I only hope you find a relationship that makes you as happy, Nana, as mine with Handsome makes us.