building a successful and enjoyable platonic relationship

Why have a platonic relationship?

Have you ever thought to yourself that you would love to have sex but not with the annoying inconvenience of being in a relationship? If you need to learn how to do this (because for whatever reason you think this knowledge is obscure and does not come naturally) you can surely find plentiful resources on the topic if not in your local library, at least out there on the Internet.

by Lauren12391 http://www.deviantart.com

This article is for those who wish to do the opposite, those who love the emotional connection of a relationship, the adventures, the ups and downs, and the ultimate joy of sharing your life with someone, but don’t want the annoying inconvenience of having to put out.

Advantages to having a platonic relationship include not having to worry about STIs, not basing a connection only on physical pleasure, and for the truly devout non-sexuals, the lack of having to do something you are not particularly interested in doing in the first place.

Structurally, it’s not too much different than an intense friendship except that the platonic part implies that this is a person you would otherwise be expected to indulge in carnal pleasure with, and the relationship part implies exclusivity, the idea that the connection you share with this person is not merely a connection shared among friends, but a thorough combination of psyches built upon the same kind of trust you would expect from a sexual partner.

So, all you non-sexual predators, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting things going with your platonic crush:

1)      Begin as friends within a group of likeminded individuals who share your same philosophical boundaries. By observing how well this person interacts with others and giving this potential partner a chance to do the same, you can understand exactly how sincere your targeted platonic crush is about forming a nonsexual relationship.

2)      As trust develops, plan outings to determine what your platonic crush uses to substitute sex. Perhaps it’s a myth that a platonic relationship requires a substitute for sex, but it’s at least profitable to know what your potential partner is really looking for, as for many this is uncharted territory. Some of the most desirable sex substitutes in my opinion include cultural activities, travel, enlightened discussion, dance, playing music and reading together. By the way, if you aren’t convinced yet that a platonic relationship is an excellent life choice, consider how these activities can be heightened by the participation of a partner you know and trust.

3)      Share private space. This is the true test of a platonic relationship. Not that you need proof for yourself (obviously you’ve already chosen to be platonic), but sometimes a timid sexual hopeful will hang on no matter how many friend groups you spend time around or adventures you have. Such a person is simply biding his/her time until a private moment can lead to an unwanted mistake. Set it up. Make it romantic if you really want to know your platonic crush’s intentions. You’re building trust at this point; you haven’t actually achieved it. Besides, a romantic scene is as pleasurable to the nonsexual as it is to the sexual, perhaps more so because the low lighting, home-cooked meal, pleasant smells and intelligent conversation are there to be enjoyed for what they are, not just as a pathway to a moment of orgasm.

4)      Continue to test trust and look for red flags. I’ve heard it said that true love has no tests. I consider that to be vain fantasy. There might come a time that your partner is no longer interested in being platonic, in which case you must either put out or be cuckolded. If your partner is flirty with others, you should not feel ashamed to say “this is not what I wanted” and despite the possible protests your partner may have, end it and move on.

5)      Communicate. Often people act in ways contrary to what they say; this is no mystery. That should not dissuade you, however, from continuing a crucial dialogue on your feelings towards each other. Even if your thoughts, actions and words are contrary to each other, at least plotting out a manifesto of intention can save your ass if your partner claims they didn’t know what you were thinking or what you expected. Of course thoughts change over time, but the mutability of intention makes communication yet more vital, for your partner has a right to know when you have altered your view of the relationship. Define what you mean by platonic. Does it mean no physical contact at all? Does it include cuddling, holding hands, kissing, or sometimes being naked around each other? Is there a financial division or commitment implied? Will you cohabitate? Are you in an “open” platonic relationship? Will you feel threatened by other potential platonic relationships? What do you consider to be the difference between a friendship and a platonic relationship? Discussing these things will save tears, awkward situations and emotional rollercoasters.

A platonic relationship ought not to be viewed as less than a sexual relationship. In fact, platonic partners are more likely to view the absence of sex as being the absence of an insincere gesture, either in the beginning wherein one is focused simply on achieving orgasm and doesn’t really care about the quality of the partner in all of her/his diversity of personality, or later on when the mechanical ritual of sexual gratification, having been the basis of the relationship, becomes the only way of expressing love, whereby if the sex is not particularly enjoyable, then the love is judged the same way. Furthermore, a radical examination of all insincere gestures may ensue. Platonic couples may find that even kissing begins passionate and slowly degrades into a mechanical gesture to signify love.

Perhaps other love signifiers you have employed, the aforementioned sex substitutes such as travel and adventure, will lose their appeal as most overindulged activities eventually do. The glory of having a wide range of love signifiers is that as you gradually become bored of them, as you would in your own solitary life, you get to see how you both grow together, dropping some interests and picking up new ones. With a sexual relationship, you don’t have this level of freedom. Once the sex is gone, there’s really nothing to replace it with other than non-gratifying sex.

My personal opinion is that a platonic relationship ought not to be partaken of for religious reasons. The religious motivation to save sex for marriage still highlights the eventual goal of sex. Marriage is, on earth (unlike in heaven), a legally binding agreement to remain exclusively coupled with a partner until either death or divorce, and ought to be treated rationally: your wife or husband is your business partner for life, so you ought to want to keep the business running for a while. The chimera of sex and business does not a happy couple make. Happiness results from a shared vision, a manifesto of intent agreed upon by both parties.

Follow this process and you may just have a fulfilling platonic relationship. Or you may just decide you want the sex, in which case, I’m surprised you’ve read this far.

Happy hunting!

 

 

 

 

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travel: Loboc River, Philippines

 

As dusk hits, we are bussed to a small shack by a river. We drop off our things, don lifejackets, and get a quick lesson in kayaking. The woman asks if anyone has done this before. I reply yes, remembering the days when my family’s friend Wendell would take us out on Lake Okanagan for tours around Rattlesnake Island. The tour manager then proposes that I don’t need a guide, and I can go solo in a sea kayak. I am skirted up and we take off against the current under a darkening, star-filled sky.

The sea-kayak by comparison is much faster than the guide boats, but I am still responsible for powering myself, turning, obeying instructions quickly and keeping to whichever side of the river the guides request. My personal task is to dodge oncoming motorboat traffic and do my best not to collide with the river kayaks. I’m starting to wish I were relaxing in front of a strong-armed guide. I now see their trick. Get the guy who claims to have experience and you don’t need to send out a
guide. Hoisted upon my own ego yet again.

Nohyun and I question a guide and he is filled with information. He talks about the two combining phosphorescent chemicals in fireflies. He tells us they are poisonous to eat. I never planned on eating them, although I do come from the land of bon-dae-gee. We learn that they have an average lifespan of two weeks, and that they mate at night, using their lights to communicate with each other. He talks of the mangrove tree where they live, a tree that sends out a scent signaling to fireflies that there is abundant food beneath the tree in the claylike mud. Periodically as we paddle, some fireflies come out to meet us. Strings of brightly coloured plastic netting float by, but I might be the only one here with the night vision to see them.

I’ve been showing off. I’ve been going much faster than I ought to. I’ve been doing as I was instructed and pushing rather than pulling the water with the oars. My arms are spared, but my back is beginning to ache something fierce. We are two kilometers away from the shack, two kilometers that I am not ready to paddle. I need a rest, but I don’t want to voice my pain. The guide next to me whispers: Now we’ll really see something. We’re going to the firefly city.

We edge around the elbow, and there it is. After ten or so Mangrove trees we had seen swarming with fireflies, here is the city: a tree fully lit, looking like festive holiday decorations. The tree is shorter than most, but it is swarming with tiny lights. We sit quietly, spellbound.

Our guide whispers to me a few things about the fireflies passing by my cheek. He tells me they are males, for the females stay within the mangrove trees. Eggs are deposited in the mud beneath the trees, sometimes underwater. Another guide remarks that obnoxious motorboats disturb their habitats. We watch a motorboat putt through, its engine loud and sputtering. He laments that some tours run a motorboat straight onto the mud and up to the trees, destroying countless firefly spawn. Maybe they don’t know about that, I tell him. Maybe they don’t want to listen, replies the guide.

The guide informs us dinner is almost ready and asks us if we want to leave now. Don’t give them the option, I whisper. Nohyun laughs, understanding that this group is too polite to make a decision. Back in the shack we eat coconut rice bound in reeds alongside chicken and squares of pork. For dessert we have a stupid man game where we eat ridiculously spicy peppers no bigger than a pushpin.

A handicraft catches my eye. Most of the things here are woven reed, but this item is a colourful little change purse stitched with brightly coloured stars. It is made of plastic, probably from those colourful plastic strands of river refuse I saw in the night water. The tour manager explains to me that it has been woven by the local women. The woman who made it comes over to our table, combat-prepared and ready to bargain. I just pay her the price she has asked and her look softens into a smile.