March 2019
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a committed relationship does not need sex to be deep

If a relationship involves sex, it is considered natural and healthy to expect it to be deep and intense; you're expected to mourn and be heartbroken if it ends. But if the relationship does NOT involve sex, people think it is unnatural -- even unethical, or 'wrong' -- for it to be deep and intense, and it is somehow proof of the 'unnaturalness' of it that one is heartbroken when it ends. In our disconnected world, people are afraid of intimate connections. People cannot imagine intimacy without sex, because intimacy is so scary that they won't attempt it without the physical high of sex.

I have had several relationships which I call soulfriendships. A short definition of a soulfriendship would be: a committed friendship where both are completely open and honest with each other, include each other in every aspect of their lives, support each other, and continually help each other to grow. ((you can read a more in-depth description here, but be aware that I need to update it)) You could also see it as a platonic marriage/partnership.

Recently a soulfriendship of mine ended, and I began to mourn the loss of it in my journal. Most of those who commented to me offered comfort, but one person took the opportunity to tell me that "I think you are putting unrealistic expectations on yourself and others by expecting your relationships to be that deep all the time. Perhaps if you allowed nature to take its course and appreciated the natural waxing and waning of all things, you wouldn't feel so devestate and depressed after the loss or lessening of a connection." I think the person had good intentions, but what struck me about the comment was that it suggested that it was wrong to expect depth in my friendships. I do not know the person, but this is not the first time I have been faced with this attitude; people get downright hostile with me about it. Those same people would not say "you can't expect it to be forever, because humans don't work like that" about a romantic/sexual relationship -- even if it may be true! Many people get married with the expectation that they will continue in that relationship 'until death do us part' but I have found few to believe that such a commitment can be made without sex or laws to hold it together.

Does love require sex in order to be deep? I believe it doesn't.

I'm tired of my friendships being viewed as lesser because they don't include sex. I loved Hannah every bit as much as I loved my partner Ben -- I loved them both with all of my heart. And she loved me as much as she loved her partner Nick. We didn't rank each other lower because we weren't lovers.

I do not expect too much. I do not expect soulfriendship with anyone unless we have thoroughly discussed it and decided to embark on it together -- just like two people in a marriage/partnership discuss it and choose it together. Of all of my other friends, I have no set expectations. I 'let them flow.' But just like a romantic relationship, friendship changes when you add commitment to it. It is a different kind of relationship -- more intense. And just like I wouldn't swear off romantic relationships because one ended, I'm not going to swear off soulfriendship. I know what it's like; I know what incredible benefits it gives, the love and growth and learning. I fully intend to keep on having soulfriendships, whether they are with lovers or not.

LJ idol topic 5: "Sexual Ethics" ((if you got something from this, please vote for me!))

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diepunyhuman ══╣perspective╠══

Sounds like the person who left said comment is probably a little bitter, jealous or who-knows-what. Sure, we've all been burnt before but I don't see anything wrong with wanting to connect with others on a deeper and less superficial level. Hell, I wish more people were like this.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
I wish they were too!
desert_rose ══╣╠══
Thanks so much for this great entry! I sent a very special friend an Email earlier tonight expressing how I feel for him, and the definition of a soulfriendship fits how I feel exactly! I am very happily married to the most wonderful guy, but can still be committed to a male friend, as there is nothing physical in the friendship.
belenen ══╣writing╠══
it sounds like you really got what I was expressing; thanks for the comment!
mourningdoveava ══╣╠══
I would almost certainly have to agree. I would think that while physical intimacy (in terms of sex...not cuddling) can almost certainly *add* to or supplement a deep attachment, it cannot function as the basis for a deep attachment, and deep attachments can exist without its presence.

This has become so manifest in the relationship between Dani and I. Sex is a relatively new practice within our relationship, one that we've frequently had to suspend due to either his sexual abuse issues or my issues with Michael. It's foolish to believe that the strength or depth of our bond could fluctuate depending on our level of sexual intimacy. Our love is what it is, and while sex plays a part in that, it is neither necessary nor vital to the duration of that love.

Stay strong in your beliefs and who you are. I'm proud of you.
belenen ══╣soulfriendship╠══
YES. You get it! But I knew you would ♥ Thank you *hugs*
futurelessons ══╣╠══
I really hate the way people have such low expectations when it comes to friendships, "soul-friendships", and relationships. By setting such low expectations, it means that they don't push themselves to go through bad as well as good to maintain such relationships. Because they are precious, they are important, and there's no reason why they can't last for a very, very long time - if not always.
belenen ══╣strong╠══
By setting such low expectations, it means that they don't push themselves to go through bad as well as good to maintain such relationships.

exactly! Without a commitment to pull one through, I think many relationships would not survive conflict (which any deep relationship WILL have).
elva_undine ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣writing╠══
yes! *nods* thank you for this comment ;-)
Izzie in focus.
dragonwine ══╣Izzie in focus.╠══
I also agree that the type of love that defines soulfrienships doesn't require sex to be considered deep and substantial. Physical intimacy is a bonus layer to any relationship/soulfriendship, etc that should already be sound and functioning through preexisting emotional agreements by both parties. Not that it negates the comfort that making love has to offer, but intimacy doesn't automatically and rarely equates to the act of sex.

I think we self-create our own vicious cycles by choosing to temporarily be a part of someone's life, no matter how briefly, only to feel emotionally unfilled afterwards. Or desiring a deeper connection that never was previously there or mutually agreed upon. The type of deep connection that you're describing definitely is on the opposite spectrum of that and it's a view that should be respected and considered more.

Too often have I had fair-weather friendships that never amounted to the emotional security and love that you ascribe to with your soulfriendships. Finding such a commitment and thriving within it is the essence of unconditional love. A soulfriendship is definitely what you make it to be and what both partners put into it. It doesn't make it lesser or even comparable to other's ideas of what friendships are.

Expectations and perceptions of what qualifies as a deep friendship is unique to each individual. I'm sorry that your connection with Hannah has broken, but it doesn't mean that it wasn't an intimate, loving dynamic for you both to grow and foster within. I'm sure what you two shared, exemplified the notions of community, love, and support in a manner in which most of unfortunately will never experience. Be proud of that fact. There will always be criticism on the edges of every decision you make, it's up to you to accept what you find reason in and disregard those critiques that don't agree or fully understand your stance.

I think you should definitely rejoice in what you had with Hannah for the time that you had it. The experiences you both shared are invaluable and intimately yours. Usually the naysaying and passive aggressive critics are the ones who will never come close to tasting the purity of a deeply-rooted and healthy soulfriendship like yours. So don't take it personally. Pity them instead and move on.

Relieving yourself of the bondage of "self" through a soulfriendship leaves you open to positive, shared opportunities and a oneness that is unparalleled and thriving with meaning.

I continuously believe in you, Bella.

woven souls
belenen ══╣woven souls╠══
Finding such a commitment and thriving within it is the essence of unconditional love.

EXACTLY. I agree so much with everything you wrote here, especially that part. And I agree with what you said about not taking it personally because they are speaking out of their poverty. It doesn't bother me so much on a personal level, but on a philosophical level, I guess you could say. I get annoyed with the cultural bias.

Ideally, we would all live in soulfriendship with every other living thing. But most of us have been through so much that has broken us that we can't even manage one, much less multiple soulfriendships. I think it hurts less to disbelieve in unicorns than to know that other people can not only see them but ride them and live with them, and you can't. I used to wish I could disbelieve, but I never managed it -- I'm really not sure why. Maybe it was my early soulfriendship with Rebecca that built the belief so strong. Even though that relationship was so... young, it was so strong!

thank you lovey ♥ It means so much!
libra_dragon ══╣╠══
Excellent and interesting piece of writing.
I had never heard the terms, soulfrienships, before.
In terms of friends that is totally what I look for in a friendship.

belenen ══╣writing╠══
thank you! I coined the term soulfriend -- and then years later discovered that there is an ancient Gaelic concept called 'anam chara' or 'soul friend' and it means the same thing! how amazing is that! ;-)
08; candles.
delicatexflower ══╣08; candles. "glowing wicks"╠══

oh i totally agree.

i believe soul friendships (if ended...)
can hurt as much as any relationships...

i think every relationships needs openness,
honesty + communication. it also needs trust
and lots of affection and care. a lot of people
mistake affection for sex, but i think affection
isn't ONLY that... it's hugs, kisses, snuggling,
touching... it's feeling with the whole of your
belenen ══╣adoring╠══
it's hugs, kisses, snuggling, touching... it's feeling with the whole of your heart.

yesss! you know ♥
dragonfly_sidhe ══╣Goddess╠══
This is absolutely true. I fell deeply in love with someone I'd never met - have still never met. Sex was a non-issue. I believe you hit the nail on the head when you say people are afraid of reaching out for that intimacy, and in a lot of ways, they don't know HOW to be intimate without physical touch. I'm not sure why today's society is like that, it may be worth exploring.
sylvanfae ══╣Magic╠══
*waves* Hihi dragonfly_sidhe my lovely friend! Interesting to see you pop up here. ;)

And to add my two cents... Emi and I fell hard and trod our path for months before sex came into play at all. It was refreshing, actually... I think forging the bond was easier w/out hormones and pheromones and all that influencing things. ;)

In fact, sex almost always complicates everything. =/
dragonfly_sidhe ══╣╠══
sylvanfae ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
brighid0704 ══╣╠══
As usual, I loved this. You have a way of totally making me think. Sometimes, it's difficult to think about certain things, but it's definitely something that needs to happen for me.

This time, you caused me to think about friendship, and how realistic my expectations are. Thank you so much for sharing.
belenen ══╣loving╠══
thank you! that's really encouraging to read ;-)
suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
Like I said before, I think your concept of soulfriendships is absolutely beautiful and fascinating. You write about it in such a lovely way; it's always a pleasure to read about. And to top it off, I very much agree with your points here. Very nice job.
belenen ══╣writing╠══
thank you! ;-)
this makes the world go round
smurfb1ue ══╣this makes the world go round╠══
I really liked this.
You have every right to desire and have deep friendships. The problem is that many people are satisfied, or accept less because they think they don't deserve it or that it's not possible. Don't give up hope.
Sex does not equal intimacy. I think a lot of people do themselves a disservice by believing that.
A couple entries ago you had talked about not feeling as though you and Ben had or could have a soulfriendship, though I remember you saying before that you had. Does that have to do with your reworking of soulfriendsip? I'd be curious to hear how you'd define it now.
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
I may be wrong but I think I actually said that Ben and I don't have a spirit connection. That's not at all the same thing as a soulfriendship, though I think a lot of people get confused. A spirit connection is something that just happens -- I believe that it is when two people who were friends in the beforelife find each other here and their spirits recognize each other. A soulfriendship is something you choose and build, like a marriage. Ben and I do have a soulfriendship. ;-)
smurfb1ue ══╣╠══
hair in face
kittenboo ══╣hair in face╠══
i like how you explained that type of friendship, i have had them at various points in my life but never really understood how to explain it or talk about it.
belenen ══╣artistic╠══
lucky you! They are hard to come by; rarely are people able/willing to give so much of themselves to another person.
n_decisive ══╣╠══
I'd read what you wrote before about soulfriendships, and really liked it. Having you tie it into this topic worked very well for me. :)
belenen ══╣writing╠══
awesome, thanks!
monkeysugarmama ══╣mermaid╠══
A soulfriendship is certainly the best kind. I have two of these soul friends, no sex, just deep love. Sometimes I think the closest friendships are the ones that thrive even when there is no physicality.
belenen ══╣writing╠══
that's wonderful ♥
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.