With Valentine’s day just around the corner, most folks are either making plans with their significant others or making sarcastic jokes about being alone this year.
When you think about relationships, what type of relationships come to mind? Maybe significant others or maybe family relationships? There’s a whole other side to relationships that not many folks know about — platonic relationships.
Many folks who are asexual/aromantic or even polyamorous have platonic partners (or sweeties, boyfriends/girlfriends, as they’re sometimes called.) Platonic relationships are so lovely. They can often, be difficult to fully explain, but I digress.
These relationships can be so beautiful and meaningful. When you make a friend and connect with them on a deep, intimate level; that’s how it all starts. These relationships don’t, typically, involve sex and usually aren’t seen as a “friends with benefits” type of situation. (Some of them might, and that’s very valid as well.) They can have a lot of intimacy, but not the sexual kind.
Folks often say that you can’t be in a platonic relationship or that these types of relationships can’t exist without sex, or without secretly wanting sex, or that these kinds of relationships don’t exist altogether. See, intimacy can exist without sex in the same way that sex can exist without intimacy. There are so many gestures that have become entirely sexualized throughout time. Ones like holding hands, hugging, cuddling and even kissing. Why must all of these gestures be seen as sexual? When done with a person’s consent, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting physical affection. Cuddling and hugging can help with anxiety and can help make the person feel more safe and at-ease, same goes with holding hands.
As for kissing, I’m a firm believer in the intent behind the kiss dictating its meaning. Of course, keeping in mind any current boundaries on kissing, in your relationship(s), as it relates to possibly cheating is important. Communication is key here! Having an open, healthy dialogue about boundaries is always great. Regardless, we live in a society that sexualizes any type of intimacy we try to share with the ones we love. It’s something that we should be trying to break away from. We tend to have the constant need to police and sexualized bodies and relationships, but we should be able to hug our friends/platonic partners more, cuddle, and hold hands — consensually of course — without having the idea that we’re in, or wanting, a sexual relationship with the person pushed on us without our consent.
I’ve had several platonic sweeties in the past, and currently have two. One of these has been my best friend (and platonic wife as I call her) since I was 15 years old. These are folks that I relate to and connect with on an organic and beautiful level. We love each other fiercely and always validate and affirm each other. We hold hands, love on each other, we share so many beautiful, radical, vulnerable moments together. They’re people who have never assumed that they deserve my trust or that they should be able to see my vulnerable side. These are some of the only people that I’ve allowed to see my most stripped down moments. These are friends that know my soul almost better than me at times. They’re the ones who share the same morals that I do, share similar interests and we support and encourage each other in all of our endeavors. We hold each other in love and witness each others pain and struggle(s). Our aim is to complement each other and never complete or compete with each other. They’ve been by my side at some of the best and worst times. Knowing that I have someone I can go to when I’m in need of support, a few laughs, or just to share space and witness each other grow and shine has been so fulfilling and life-changing.
If you’ve ever heard a friend of yours say “I want to marry you, but as friends,” that’s almost what it’s like. Being platonic sweeties is much like a regular friendship, except deeper. They can involve strong feelings of love and can even include romance, in the same way that most romantic relationships do. Everyone’s experiences with relationships are completely unique.
It involves love and trust, it’s all about enjoying the person’s companionship and their company. Often times, platonic relationships go beyond words, or thoughts. They transcend the physical aspects of other types of relationships, you can almost feel them on a spiritual level. It’s a way for two people to hold space with each other and share compassion, radical vulnerability and give each other advice. Even the silent moments are great, just being in the presence of that person can be fantastic.
Related: 9 Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s Day
Share more intimate moments with your friends. There’s nothing wrong in adoring someone in such a raw, uncanny way. Intimacy needn’t be sexual. You can love and care about someone, passionately, without wanting sex — or a sexual relationship — with each other. Celebrate folks and love on your friends more. Deconstruct the notion that closeness and affection means that you’re sexually attracted to someone. Challenge the way we look at relationships and love this Valentine’s Day!