What keeps men and women interested in each other? Is it love? Sex? Companionship? Can we, as sexual beings have true and loving friendships with the opposite sex without having sexual feelings towards one another?
The anticipation and beginning of a friendship with someone holds out the possibility of a love between two people that changes and matures into its own. Love as an emotion, is something we as both men and women will never fully understand. But we definitely spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out!
I love my friends (both male and female) deeply and feel that a friend is a person with whom I may be sincere, I may think aloud, and feel that I am in the presence of someone real and equal. A friend allows me to drop those undermost garments and not hide under a false appearance. He allows me to experience the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. Electrifying at the very least!
I have worked with, and spent the majority of my days with many men other than my husband, during my adult years. A few of these men were assholes, but several were some of the best friendships of my life and have continued beyond 25 or more years. Sex was never an option to me because of my marital commitment. I didn't say sex never came up. It just was never an option. So my belief is that, yes, sex does come up when you truly love and admire a friend. And while it may be acceptable for some, it isn't on the table for others.
We humans are social beings. We survive in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from other's activities. For this reason it is not a surprise that most of our happiness comes as a result of our relationships with others.
To me, relationships, of all kinds, are like sand held in your hand. If you hold the sand loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. When you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most of it will seep through. Most relationships are like that. If held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But if you hold too tightly, too possessively, the relationship slips away and is lost.
" But oh! The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort . . . the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person . . . having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859