Just recently I was reading an article lamenting that platonic love was dead.
It differentiated platonic love from deep friendship as it (to the author) has an unrealized sexual component where deep friendship doesn’t. That has me scratching my head as I always believed that friendships were platonic.
The diagram depicts the way the author believes current love is experienced and platonic love makes up the lower circle and as you can see friendship makes up the majority of the circle. It’s where it overlaps the other two that the author focuses on, particularly on
It certainly does show the complexity with which we face relationships these days. There used to be a set acceptable societal norm for relationships: platonic, romantic, comfortable numbness.
These were devised with the focus on child-bearing and making sure men knew from who and where their ancestral line emerges. For women it was easy as we carry and give birth to the child.
Therefore, it was important to keep women chaste, pure and ignorant of sexual pleasures as this would only complicate the determination of parentage.
That kind of simplicity was shattered with the invention of two things: birth control pills and DNA testing. BOOM! The chaste virgin view of women died.
With the pill, women–and not whores– were allowed to like sex. Oh my!
Women were further empowered by DNA testing to force men to recognize their own offspring. So now men can “know” their lineage. Where does that leave love and friendship?
If the need for procreation is not the driving force behind love in society, what does that mean?
Can we have love that transcends the physical, the sexual? Can we have platonic love as Plato describes it:
The beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one’s attention to spiritual things.
Do we have to equate male-female (et. al) relationships down to whether or not they have sex with each other? Was platonic love an illusion based on societal norms? Or is it the other way around?
By removing the barriers would we interact sexually without examination or recourse? Would sex then fall to that of any other physical activity; and then love and emotional bonding be elevated to something else?
Would we love with our hearts and our minds? Would we allow our souls to be touched and inspired by those around us without the need to bed them, as the author states? In essence, would we find that platonic love does exist but, gets complicated when sex is involved?
Is it societal norms that make us jealous of others? Why do we get so upset when our partner is close to another man/woman? Even when we know sex isn’t involved? Are we really jealous of that connection?
Forever territorial, our partner’s muse is coveted zealously by us. It is for us and us alone and if someone else can spark passion even if it’s mere intellectual passion it makes us crazy and insecure.
Is that what the author truly means about the death of platonic love? Not the advent of fuck-buddies, true love, unrequited love or love gone awry. But, the actual realization that with or without sex, we want to hold the starring role in our partner’s passions.
It’s funny my best friend is a man and I’m friendly with all my exes, yet I see the insecurity in their current spouses. I feel the wall come up. They may really like me if they didn’t have to guard against my stealing their love’s affections. I feel for them. I wish that they can truly experience platonic love as I do. I don’t want to steal their husbands. I have no need to do that, for we converse on a different level. Our sexual relations are either nonexistent or in the past a will forever remain there. It is for that reason I can be their friend and confidant.
Many souls have inspired me, many a day I find myself enjoying sharing my journey with another kindred soul. I’m truly happy for them and their mates. I ask for no romantic ties, most of the time it doesn’t occur to me.
I just enjoy being with them. For me that is enough. Sure I have experienced passion, I have had my share of lovers, but I’m very selective on physical intimacy.
Why? To me that is the most personal you can be with someone, more so than sharing a meal or your home etc. it takes me a long time to get to know someone well enough to become sexual with them. By then I’m well acquainted with their likes and dislikes. I know what will provide them pleasure and how to ask for what pleases me. It’s all very personal. And for me intimacy needs to be reached first. Knowledge is power, but it’s also pleasure in my world.
Yet, with platonic love, truly platonic love, I have reached a level of intimacy and knowledge that no amount of sex can provide. It’s a kind of knowing.
Knowing that no matter where or with whom we are, no matter how far we travel physically from each other, we are still on the same journey, we are still facing in the same direction and we love each other beyond anything.
There is no need to leave a physical legacy or testament to this knowledge. It existence is all that is required.
I can count on one hand those who have reached that level in my heart and I am grateful to know each one of them. To me they are proof that platonic love is never-ending. It can not die. The only thing that changes is how we view it.
Platonic love dead? I think not.