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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love... and sex


You know the old song? Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage? Nonsense, of course. What about affairs, friendships, family?

Men can love other men very deeply, without even thinking about sex. At the other extreme, they can have random pickups and be fine with that. It is a myth that men -- even straight men -- don't love other men. They do. They just don't find them sexy. In the 19th century, men would have intense friendships with other men, even share their beds, but without indulging in what Montaigne called licentious Greek love. These days, when we sexualise everything, it seems hard to believe that they could be so close and not be lovers. Yet, I'm sure they were "just friends". Consider, as an aside, how 'lovers' means 'people who fuck', not 'close and dear friends'. Like the word 'intimate' is a euphemism for 'has sex with'. Our culture devalues friendship and obsesses about sex. Which is kinda sad.

I suppose a modern version of the romantic friendship would be the bromance. Less high falutin' though. More bro'.

I didn't desire my best friend. My mum would say to me occasionally that he was sexy and handsome. He wasn't, to me. But I did love him very deeply. Perhaps this is the deepest love you'll ever have apart from your spouse/partner. I spent some part of every day at his house, or he at mine. We never even considered that there might be a sexual component. We were too innocent. The thought of sex with him was and still is icky. We didn't consciously recognise it as love either. Yet it was.

Some men love like that, and some others, even though they're straight can also love as 'lovers'. Sometimes those relationships last for years. To outsiders, they're "just friends". To them, they are friends, lovers, partners. We think it normal if a boy and a girl who are best friends fall in love. I wonder, in a world where same-sex love was completely accepted, whether same-sex best friends would also fall in love. I hear of so many who fall in love, but whose love is doomed to fail because our thinking is so confined, because we can't shake off our conditioning. So many men alone, because they're afraid to love another man, whether it's a bromance or a friendship or a love affair. One final point: most probably the guys who grow to love their male best friends will be bisexual. Their primary sexual attraction will most prolly remain towards women. But loving their friend will forever alter the way they see love, its dimension and colorations.

2 comments:

Nan Hawthorne said...

I often wonder if both emotionally and biologically there is no hetterosexual or homosexual, but just a person who loves or loves and desires one other person, and that gender is irrrlevant. In this era of identity politics the GLBT community needs to define the distinction, and certainly those whose sense of their self is tied up in the gender they are, will reject the notion that love and sex are part of a continuum for each and every one of us. What a wonderful world it would be if one could just turn to the one they love and act on whatever comes naturally to them. I don't care for it when people decry labels. but then again, I myself don't see the point of them. I am convinced I am, affectionally and sexually, all the possibilities within myself. And the last thing I think is that I am unique. I just seem to know it before everyone else.

Nan Hawthorne
Author, An Involuntary King

Nigel said...

I agree. I'm now convinced that the labels themselves mislead. "Straight" and "gay" cover so many variations, and as a friend says, "there is no one bisexuality -- there are bisexualities "

I know of "straight" men who love just one other man -- their best friend -- yet are otherwise entirely het. What are they? And, in the end, does it matter?