A Loving Reflection on Passionate Friendship

Posted by Planet Waves


This week’s relationship-themed column comes from The Thinking Asexual blog, written by Marie S. Crosswell, who prefers the devotion, intimacy and joy of “passionate friendship” over traditional or stereotypical “romantic” and sexual relationships.

Note: This week’s relationship-themed post comes from the Thinking Asexual Blog by Marie S. Crosswell, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (full legal code here). — Amanda

By Marie S. Crosswell / The Thinking Asexual

Ever since I was a child, I’ve felt that passionate friendship is the most beautiful form of human love and relationship possible. It doesn’t matter anymore what name I use or what name other people use: romantic friendship, queerplatonic relationship, passionate friendship, primary friendship, platonic life partnership, sensual friendship, some combination of those or none of them at all.

Image from The Thinking Asexual

Image from The Thinking Asexual

It is the idea of a friendship between two people—without sex or sexual attraction, without romantic attraction or attachment—that is so passionate, full of overwhelming love, intimate and emotional and sensually physical, deep and powerful and spiritual, a bond so strong that it cannot be broken or resisted except through death and even death cannot extinguish the love and desire still felt by the living friend for the departed. It is a friendship that is also a partnership: a primary partnership, a domestic partnership, a family tie no different than legal or religious marriage, a relationship that is the source of committed companionship and support and care and love, a relationship that matters so much that both friends will prioritize its survival.

I just love and adore the idea of two people choosing this kind of relationship for their primary partnership or one of their life partnerships, rejecting traditional romance and even sex, rejecting traditional marriage and the nuclear family and the whole concept of primary romantic-sexual relationships, and instead living their lives in a passionate friendship that takes them to the heights of love and emotional intimacy and spiritual intimacy and even physical intimacy that does not intersect with genital sex.

I love the idea of passionate friends being primary life partners and domestic life partners, sharing a home and a future and being there for each other always.

I love the idea of passionate friendship families and networks, of people being so blessed as to have more than one passionate friend in life and allowing their friends to have other passionate friendships if they occur. I love the idea of families and tribes made of friendship, of nonromantic and nonsexual love and commitment.

I love how passionate and sensual nonsexual/nonromantic physical intimacy can be: how much you can desire and adore someone else’s body and their physical closeness to you, without sex and without romantic attraction, how much pleasure you can experience physically in a nonsexual/nonromantic relationship. I love that passionate friends can hug and cuddle and kiss and hold hands and caress each other and kiss each other’s body and even be together almost naked and experience a deep, pleasurable, sensual, intensely intimate and loving physical connection with each other from a place of nonsexual, nonromantic love.

I love that they can love each other and desire each other and share pleasure and connect because of an emotional attraction, not romantic attraction, from spiritual and sensual attraction, not sexual attraction. I love that they live and prove how much love and intimacy and touch and pleasure is possible outside of sex and romance.

I love people who want passionate friendship and who want their primary life partner to be a passionate friend and who don’t need romance or who don’t even need sex to be happy. I love people who have sex but want a passionate friendship instead of a primary sexual partner. I love people whose ultimate idea of happiness is to have a lifelong passionate friend who they live with and love. I love people who see and appreciate passionate friendship as the greatest form of love and relationship because they just value and prioritize and love friendship in general that much.

I want to be surrounded by these people: by perpetually single aromantics, by people who desire and dream about and choose nonromantic/nonsexual life partners, by people who have passionate friendship and know what it is and value it as the most important relationship in their lives, by sexual people whose desire and appreciation for sex is nothing in comparison to their desire and appreciation for friendship—especially primary friendships, loving and passionate and committed friendships, queerplatonic friendship, romantic friendship. I want to be surrounded by people who revere loving friendship the way I do, who respect it and love it and prize it and desire it and create it and protect it and feel unspeakable joy flowing through them when they’re living that friendship.

I want to love and be friends with these people who feel the way I do about friendship and love, who will marvel at the sacred event of true and loving friendship that reaches these levels of passion and love and intimacy and connection, who will desire me and love me and admire me and appreciate me because I am who I am and I feel the way I do about friendship. I want to love and be friends with these people whose greatest happiness is in passionate friendship and romantic friendship and queerplatonic friendship. I want to love and be friends with these people who are capable and ready and eager to experience complete emotional openness and connection, physical and sensual intimacy, love and affection, care and tenderness in friendship.

I want to spend the rest of my life in two passionate friendships, with my male partner and my female partner. I want to love them with every particle of my body and soul. I want to care for them and appreciate them and support them always. I want to love them unconditionally. I want to have fun with them and always see the best in them. I want to share beautiful domestic lives with them. I want my love and appreciation for them to deepen and grow and intensify as time passes. I want to open myself completely to them: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. I want the bliss of physical, sensual intimacy with them: I want to hug them every day and cuddle them and touch them with love in my hands, I want to kiss their mouths and their bodies, I want to look into their eyes with pure love in my own, I want to let go and allow them to touch me and hold me and kiss me and love me and my body, I want us to sleep side by side some nights, I want us to spend hours in bed together stripped to our underwear—just touching and kissing and holding each other and basking in the love we feel for each other.

I want to love them and stand by them no matter what happens in our lives. I want us to always find our love for each other, even as we evolve individually and rediscover each other’s new incarnations. I want us to be kind to each other, sweet and gentle and supportive and nurturing. I want us to love each other unceasingly, no matter what the physical or material conditions: as we age, as our bodies change, no matter what our health or wealth statuses are, no matter who else we’re friends with and who else we love, no matter how many days or months of the year we spend physically apart, I want to love them and I want to feel their love for me unchanged and sure of itself. I want these two people in my life until the day I die, and on that day, I want to look back on my life and feel blissful that I loved them so well and was so well-loved in return.

I raised myself through childhood and adolescence in devotion to friendship, and now I am an adult and my desire and passion and admiration for it is stronger than it’s ever been. I know more about it than I did when I was younger but not as much as I’ll know when I’m older. I know my incredible worth as a friend and a partner, and I want to give all of this love and affection and care I possess to my own passionate friends, my life partners, and the other queerplatonic/romantic/sensual/intimate friends I make throughout my life. I am sure that I am the passionate friend and partner that some wonderful man and wonderful woman desire more than anything, and I’m sure that there are other people who want someone like me for a loving friend too. And I am ready for them. I am so ready.

I dedicate myself to this practice of loving, high friendship the way priests and monks dedicate themselves to God. Friendship is my own way to spiritual enlightenment, to the cosmic source I believe in, to my higher self. Friendship is what will teach me love, hold me in love, call me back to love when I’ve disconnected from it. Loving friendship is my bliss, my heaven, my passion. Friendship is my holy love. The cosmic source I believe in is nothing but pure, unconditional, eternal love—and the friendship I desire and adore is that too.

I am forever thankful that my asexuality and aromanticism enhance and support and nourish my devotion to friendship, my desire for passionate friends who are also my partners, and my capacity to love and care in friendship and to treat friends as my social and emotional priority. I would not be the person or the friend I am without asexuality and aromanticism. I would not believe in and desire passionate friendship with so much intensity if I were not asexual and aromantic, and for that reason alone, I am so happy and thankful that I am exactly as I am.

5 thoughts on “A Loving Reflection on Passionate Friendship

  1. Amy Elliott

    I’m very grateful to have the chance to see this post. It’s beautifully written and gives an intriguing glimpse into asexual and aromantic relationships. Yes, there is so very much more to life than romantic love and sex. As a society, we need to get past the idea that everyone needs a monogamous, romantic relationship. They certainly have their place, but can also be dreadfully limiting.

  2. LizzyLizzy

    “I love that they live and prove how much love and intimacy and touch and pleasure is possible outside of sex and romance.” But surely this IS a form of sex and romance? – and it’s all good? To each his/her own? (written by someone who has been single for many years and has some very close, important friendships).

  3. M. S.

    I don’t know, seems the line between a sensual-platonic friendship and sexual-romantic one is quite thin as outlined in this article. I understand the need and expression of sensual/physical contact in platonic relationships/friendships…but naked? Touch is so important to humans – the need is generally normal and part of a healthy life. We love to love on our kids, our pets, and yes, our friends. Maybe I am not evolved, but if I love someone to the point of wanting to get naked with them and then proceed to engage in very sensual touching, the likelihood of sexual arousal happening is pretty strong.

  4. Cowboyiam

    Sexual arousal is a part of every fiber of intimacy but that doesn’t mean that everyone is sexually compatible – or that we cant control ourselves. Being human we have allowed the sexual instinct to separate us from our most intimate instincts. We desire to be emotionally open with the others but so often reject that desire because we feel threatened by our sexuality. We have been trained to relate emotional openness with sexual desire and sexual activity. We are made more confused by our tendency to become sexual with another before we achieve emotional connection. We have become accustomed to trying people on sexually and when they no longer fit – casting them away. We waste so many beautiful relationships because we buy into the idea that once the sex is over we must sever the tie. We are fearful of deeply emotional connections with anyone we don’t want to become sexual with. The active mind that seeks out solutions to problems that never existed is so deluded by our social structure that we don’t even perceive our craziness. There is so much gained when we allow ourselves freedom to explore what is possible fearlessly. Sexuality should be expansive not limiting. To be an emotionally free sexual being without anything to prove – that is where true relationship begins.

    What Marie has described in this beautiful tribute to true friendship is how we most long to be together, freely open and honest with our most deeply held feelings, unafraid of our sexuality. Thank you Marie, this is a tribute to my highest self’s desires.

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