Are sex and friendship compatible? Will having sex with a friend destroy your unconditional love?
Relationship issues, sexual desire, and how to love unconditionally, comprise the majority of emails that I receive. Most people, it seems, have difficulty loving unconditionally within a sexual relationship, or coming to terms with their sexual feelings for a friend.
Here is an extract from a recent letter from Brad in New Hampshire, and my response:
Since I was a teenager (I am 24 now) I have noticed that every time I really “fell in love” with a person, it was not sexual attraction; I felt pride and happiness for that person, and her achievements – often entirely ignoring her physical characteristics. I felt most of the things you described as unconditional and true love.
Instead when I just “dated” someone, I needed assurance that she was “mine”, felt jealous if she spoke to other men, and worried about loosing her. Or that if I lost her “she’s not the right one”.
Since about one year I’ve tried to love unconditionally (my approach arose from Christian narrative, altruism and similar values), but simultaneously pursued the idea of actually being together, being “partnered” with the person I love unconditionally.
Unfortunately, I never experienced such a relationship, mainly because every time I loved someone unconditionally, our friendship became so strong that social norms commanded us to “stay in the friend-zone”, as they make a strict distinction between friendship and love (Something I do not really agree with, but almost everyone does).
Do you think that in order to love unconditionally AND have a relationship of the kind I am talking about, it is still important to NOT ignore sexuality (i.e. follow the social norms on sexual relations in order to become a couple and not “just friends”)? And do you have any general thoughts about the “friend-zone” problem, and how it relates to unconditional love?”
You are drawing too many lines in the sand. I think you believe that unconditional love is exclusive to non-sexual relationships. You say that you feel this from society, but I feel it coming from within you.
Your sexual feelings engage powerful and primitive parts of your brain. While you are feeling these raw drives coursing through your mind and body, you are also perhaps trying to be cool, or spiritual, or correct in some way. And that is natural. As a man though, your primal sexual nature just wants total immersion with the body and spirit of a woman; the merging of flesh on flesh, the indescribable fullness, and the climax–that infinite moment of white light and absolute dissolve.
But because you have that disconnect between your higher aspirations and your sexual drive, you lose your spiritual sense when you engage in sex. That causes you to feel at odds with yourself; selfishly satisfied and guilty as a result.
On the surface, your sexuality doesn’t care about your desire to be spiritual or unconditional. it craves only simple satisfaction, and it naturally wants to possess it. Women are no different by the way. It may be a surprise to some men, but women engage the same primal forces. Their sexual drives also conflict with their perceived-to-be-higher self conceptions. So how do you cope with the inner conflict?
You can begin by considering that there is no conflict at all. Sex is a powerful and blinding drive, but it is not just a primitive drive to selfish and possessive satisfaction. Your sexual impulse can grow with you into a beautiful–and unconditional–physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual union. All of the differences, the power struggles, and the guilt, are dissolved.
Our sexual nature mirrors the union that is expressed in the higher spiritual aspects of life. It is our base experience of nirvana; the complete meltdown of boundaries and separations. And we can transform our sexual nature’s irresistible power into that higher expression, but we must begin by joyously accepting our basic drives.
This sexual alchemy takes time and energy to accomplish, but it is entirely doable. On one end of the scale, sex is a physical and emotional union with your partner, and at the higher end it is creative union with your inner and outer universe. So lighten up on yourself and accept your sexual desires as good and natural. Work with it. See where you can take it.
Unconditional love is all about erasing the lines in the sand; the separation between you and I, your judgments and your fears. Sexual relations can move you in the same direction.
Not only is it OK to sexually desire a woman whom you also feel unconditional love for, but the two drives are in perfect alignment. It is all a matter of choice and character. It seems that you have the character. You just need to make the choice–without attaching to the outcome–and work through your feelings, fears, and insecurities.
It is also important to remember that there is no possession when it comes to relationships. Everyone you meet is simply a different aspect of yourself, and naturally you want the best for them, because in a real sense they are you, and you are them. We are all one. So merge with the one you love. Don’t compete with them or try to possess them.
Make good choices, and remain in integrity. It will then all come together Brad.
Over to you Now!