I will begin with an apology to anyone who landed here, hoping for tips and tricks to having sex on an escalator. If that is your passion, I wish you well in securing private access to one – can you rent a mall or maybe bribe the overnight guard? I don’t know, feedback is welcome on that front.
The escalator I’ll be talking about is the relationship escalator. The one where you have a crush on someone, text a bit, maybe google them, go on a date or few, move in together “for financial reasons”, get a plant, make sure it survives, introduce friends and family, get a pet, make sure it survives, get engaged, get married, get pregnant, make sure it survives, grow old, and die. Society’s script for how a relationship should go. So, where on the escalator does “seeing each other naked” go? Even if there was a good answer to that, what happens for those of us who got off the escalator?
Why does sex always have to complicate things? No, really – the infamous “they” always say that sex complicates things, but why do they say that? Is it a universal truth? Or is it merely an idea we’ve come to believe based on a forced, secular way of looking at the world?
I have written before, I often view non-monogamy along the two axis of ethical to unethical, and all about relationships to all about sex.
The swinger quadrant and polyamory quadrant have far more in common than not, there’s often a lot of overlap. Research I’ve read, said the primary difference was political ideology, polyamorous people being more liberal and swingers being more conservative. It may seem the divide between, “you got feelings in my sex, well you got sex in my feelings” would be a bigger concern, both prefer some amount of cerebral / emotional intimacy with some amount of hanky panky. The hope of having a solid group of friends we sometimes sleep with is a common theme for both. Also, communes.
Yes, sex can be a very intimate expression of love, but there are other ways to engage with another person intimately, and there’s certainly more than one way to show love, ask your happy asexual (ace) friends. This is especially clear when we consider how we love our friends, versus our romantic partners. We can be intimate with these people without involving romance and we can love them without introducing sex into the relationship. Contrariwise, the thrill of having a couple drinks and good laughs without all the baggage of our life to have some sexy fun is far from the worst way to live life.
But what is it that separates our friendships from our romantic relationships? That’s simple, you might think. Sexual attraction. To which I ask you this: what creates sexual attraction?
The answer to that question is, it depends. It depends on who you ask, what their situation is, how they personally identify, and what they’re life experiences are. Theoretically, you can have a more intimate relationship with a close friend than with your sexual partner – especially if your sexual partner is just that… a person you have sex with. But, why wouldn’t you want to experience sexual intimacy with a close personal friend with whom you connect very deeply? Is it perhaps because it might complicate things? Would it be weird, or would it be awesome?
Why is it that we can engage in sexual relationships with people who we know nothing about and don’t connect with when we’re treating sex as just sex, but we can’t share it with friends we love dearly? Why do some close relationships make the cut for sex while others don’t? Especially if we are people who identify as bi-sexual, pansexual, kinky, swinger, or polyamorous. Is it because sharing sex with people we truly care about feels scary somehow? Is it because sex is special and only some people are worthy of it? Or is it because sex really is just sex, and our dearest friends are too important to lose over something that may or may not complicate things?
Another point of view could be that sex is too vulnerable to share with people we’re afraid of losing. Sharing it with random partners, or only a specific set of people might feel safer, because we’re not putting our emotions on the line. We’re not risking the supposed complications that come with mixing sex and feelings together. Even those of us that are well practiced with escalating and descalating relationships may worry crossing the, “I know about that thing you do with your tongue” line will create a situation where the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.
What do you think? Have you introduced sex into a friendship dynamic or friendship into a booty call dynamic? Did it complicate things? Or do you identify with the idea that true connection with another person is more important than sex / the sex was too good to ruin with a lot of talk? Are there types of friends you won’t date or sleep with? Or is all of this so confusing that you don’t even know how to identify your feelings.
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