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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Spirituality & Beliefs > Love & Relationships -Friends and Family

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2017, 12:13 PM
A human Being A human Being is offline
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Relating to the opposite sex

I guess this is a variation on the 'Can men and women just be friends?' question, though that question leaves me feeling a little sad that it's even up for debate, tbh - I mean surely we can, can't we?!

There's a common consensus, I think, that there's always going to be a sexual undercurrent between women and men, and I would probably go along with that - but is that actually a bad thing? I mean it's just unavoidable, it seems to me, because we are sexual beings, after all, and it's an aspect of our nature that's to be enjoyed I think. Of course it's also vitally important to be responsible, too, all kinds of issues and heartache can materialise when we behave irresponsibly in relationships - I suppose the only thing that matters for me is, Is love present, too? When love is present - not infatuation, or obsession, or neediness, but true love - then for me respect is also present, and so boundaries aren't going to be breached without consent, and then relationships can be playful, flirty, affectionate, and - most importantly - loving.

I think it actually causes just as many issues when we try to deny or suppress that sexual undercurrent, it seems to me that this actually reinforces the sense of separation between men and women because there can be a guardedness there, a wariness. I've experienced this with a female friend with whom I have a bit of a history - long story, I didn't sleep with her but it still belongs in my 'Well You Handled That Like An Insensitive Berk!' file and there's some awkwardness between us, largely because there's still a mutual attraction but also hurt feelings and unexpressed resentment (I tried broaching the subject with her but she was evasive, she doesn't find it easy to express these feelings). So in that case I think the sexual undercurrent creates an issue because the emotional connection is lacking, and I guess that's what it comes down to for me.

So yeah, just interested to hear about other people's views and experiences of relating to the opposite sex :)
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:09 PM
ocean breeze ocean breeze is offline
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I agree with you.....for the most part. As long as both are clear about their intent and respect each others boundaries.

Quote:
There's a common consensus, I think, that there's always going to be a sexual undercurrent between women and men, and I would probably go along with that - but is that actually a bad thing?

No, but i can understand why women may hold back sexually if the desire is there. Its not uncommon for men to act like a friend just to engage in sex. Women need to be a lot more cautious. Unfortunately men get a bad rep for the few that act like j**ks. I keep this in mind whenever i interact with women.

And yes, I do believe men and women can be good friends without feeling sexual towards each other. They could even be loving towards each other without the need for sex.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:56 AM
Lorelyen Lorelyen is offline
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No doubt you guessed I'd turn up sooner or later!

What a dirty-great subject! Well, yes, I had this email from God saying “Look, I put two genders down there for a very good reason. Stop messing about, stop all this waffling and get on with it!”

I reckon you’re probably right and in this taboo ridden age with its media-driven morality when flirting borders on criminal offence much gets suppressed rather than just contained. Hardly healthy from any viewpoint. Men have a different take on this I’m sure. They’re the initiators after all. If they can’t rise to the occasion LOL nothing happens.
My dear parents tell me that in the more “permissive” 1960s this wasn’t an issue – that a second date almost guaranteed you were going to “sleep together” without all the fuss that seems to prevail nowadays.

I think it’s possible to contain and eventually overlook the sexual fluence but I can only speak for me. Possibly things get suppressed but if so they don’t seem to matter. It surely depends on the understanding you create as the friendship develops. A slight undercurrent may still exist but isn’t obsessed over.

I think age comes into it too. The vigour of youth comes with drives that manifest probably as a constant fluence between the opposites no matter how the rhetoric goes. As people move on those drives are probably tempered with other needs: companionship, reliability, collaboration and stuff – not always but mostly I’d guess. Understandings are more easily reached, boundaries are implicit in the small signals we give each other.

It was interesting that a different topic ago, Freud was drawn into the discussion and how basic drives are converted into outward symbolic behaviours – displacements came into it. I hadn’t wanted to revise that stuff in my mind on the forum but it rings true. Leaning on his theories your view is right-on although it is adjusted by the people involved surely, whether they find each other attractive or repelling (not directly sexually but whether their deportment and looks make you think "Yes, I'd consider him a friend if he has the right qualities"). I know it doesn’t come just down to looks but if there’s an innate feeling that nothing is sexually possible, what bearing does that have on a potential friendship?

I may need to edit this. It’s one of those days when I don’t know what I’m talking about.
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2017, 12:14 PM
A human Being A human Being is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocean breeze
I agree with you.....for the most part. As long as both are clear about their intent and respect each others boundaries.
Agreed.
Quote:
No, but i can understand why women may hold back sexually if the desire is there. Its not uncommon for men to act like a friend just to engage in sex. Women need to be a lot more cautious. Unfortunately men get a bad rep for the few that act like j**ks. I keep this in mind whenever i interact with women.
Yeah I can understand the holding back, too, I think I'd be wary if I was a woman as well. When I interact with people I try to do so on a human level, first and foremost - if I find the person attractive I'll acknowledge the attraction, of course, but without fixating on it (or at least that's the aim!).
Quote:
And yes, I do believe men and women can be good friends without feeling sexual towards each other. They could even be loving towards each other without the need for sex.
Depends on how you define 'feeling sexual', I think - we are sexual beings, after all, so I don't think it's as cut-and-dried as simply desiring sex with another. But yeah, I think men and women can definitely feel loving towards one another without the need for sex.
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2017, 02:00 PM
A human Being A human Being is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorelyen
No doubt you guessed I'd turn up sooner or later!

What a dirty-great subject! Well, yes, I had this email from God saying “Look, I put two genders down there for a very good reason. Stop messing about, stop all this waffling and get on with it!”
Did wonder if you'd swing by to proffer an opinion at some point tbh, yeah, and yep, characteristically enough you're cutting through the bulldust straight off the bat
Quote:
I reckon you’re probably right and in this taboo ridden age with its media-driven morality when flirting borders on criminal offence much gets suppressed rather than just contained. Hardly healthy from any viewpoint. Men have a different take on this I’m sure. They’re the initiators after all. If they can’t rise to the occasion LOL nothing happens.
My dear parents tell me that in the more “permissive” 1960s this wasn’t an issue – that a second date almost guaranteed you were going to “sleep together” without all the fuss that seems to prevail nowadays.
Mm, a shame really though not that surprising - the pendulum swung too far one way, now it's come back t'other, and hopefully at some point it'll settle in the middle (some hope!). What a lot we are... I wonder if God didn't set himself a challenge of creating the most neurotic species he possibly could when he created humans :o
Quote:
I think it’s possible to contain and eventually overlook the sexual fluence but I can only speak for me. Possibly things get suppressed but if so they don’t seem to matter. It surely depends on the understanding you create as the friendship develops. A slight undercurrent may still exist but isn’t obsessed over.
For me it's ultimately a question of fully integrating all aspects of ourselves, including our sexuality (stop rolling your eyes!). I think our tendency is to compartmentalise, suppress, fixate, because we're subject to all this conditioning about how we're 'supposed' to relate, what's 'proper' and what's not, and that's how it had to be for us to reach this stage in our evolution - but now we need to go beyond that because our society has become dangerously dysfunctional, and that's reflected both individually and collectively.
Quote:
I think age comes into it too. The vigour of youth comes with drives that manifest probably as a constant fluence between the opposites no matter how the rhetoric goes. As people move on those drives are probably tempered with other needs: companionship, reliability, collaboration and stuff – not always but mostly I’d guess. Understandings are more easily reached, boundaries are implicit in the small signals we give each other.
Oh yeah definitely, age is a factor. Maturity comes with experience, and desires and priorities change with age; initially we tend to be more beholden to our primal urges and therefore more prone to irresponsible behaviour, but as we grow we (hopefully) become less 'me'-centric and we recognise the rights and needs of others.
Quote:
It was interesting that a different topic ago, Freud was drawn into the discussion and how basic drives are converted into outward symbolic behaviours – displacements came into it. I hadn’t wanted to revise that stuff in my mind on the forum but it rings true. Leaning on his theories your view is right-on although it is adjusted by the people involved surely, whether they find each other attractive or repelling (not directly sexually but whether their deportment and looks make you think "Yes, I'd consider him a friend if he has the right qualities"). I know it doesn’t come just down to looks but if there’s an innate feeling that nothing is sexually possible, what bearing does that have on a potential friendship?
Fascinating about basic drives and displacement, I managed to miss that particular conversation but I may have to have a look. Good question, too... I'm not sure, I'll have to think about it!
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I may need to edit this. It’s one of those days when I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Step away from the edit button, it's fine!
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2017, 04:54 PM
Lorelyen Lorelyen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A human Being
For me it's ultimately a question of fully integrating all aspects of ourselves, including our sexuality (stop rolling your eyes!). I think our tendency is to compartmentalise, suppress, fixate, because we're subject to all this conditioning about how we're 'supposed' to relate, what's 'proper' and what's not, and that's how it had to be for us to reach this stage in our evolution - but now we need to go beyond that because our society has become dangerously dysfunctional, and that's reflected both individually and collectively.
No eye-rolling! Re-integrating our sensuality/sexuality into our spiritual lives is so important, it having been stolen by religions for so long now. (By spiritual...(sorry, I hope I don't get too litigation-sounding again here - someone might just pick me up on it) I'm pretty sure you'll know what I mean).......... by spiritual I meant into our whole-selves so that the Superego doesn't keep passing judgement on sensual matters thanks to the way it was conditioned in earlier life; and acknowledging the demands of the id (good old Freud!). Sexuality/sensuality are in the flow of our self expression. I read so many stories here of repression, suppression and displacement that deny our psyches honest expression. Sure, knowingly block them if someone wants to for whatever reason but be aware, kind of thing.

In some faiths/currents the segregation never happened. It doesn't mean they're romping around at sex the whole time, in fact probably less than most because there's less obsession arising from those basic drives and - so much healthier; emotions are less convoluted and closer to ones "surface" (...it seems from my admittedly limited immersion in the culture.)

It's interesting that you comment on compartmentalising. It does seem to pervade people's lives. Education | work | play/socialising | sex | religious activities | hobby | etc. I've always thought of education as life-long, not something that ends as you exit the school gates for the last time. Same with hobbies, incorporating them in some aspect of work, even if only to regard work as a way of financing them (which helps to divert selling out to the great corporate trick)!


Quote:
Fascinating about basic drives and displacement, I managed to miss that particular conversation but I may have to have a look. Good question, too... I'm not sure, I'll have to think about it!
Step away from the edit button, it's fine!
Beware you don't waste your time. This psychology stuff came up in semiology and marketing. I'm no fan of general psychology but psychoanalysis is something different. Anyway, the topic made me think - something I've been warned against many times plus it gives me such a headache.

(Anyone got any spare morphine....?)
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:26 PM
A human Being A human Being is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorelyen
No eye-rolling! Re-integrating our sensuality/sexuality into our spiritual lives is so important, it having been stolen by religions for so long now. (By spiritual...(sorry, I hope I don't get too litigation-sounding again here - someone might just pick me up on it) I'm pretty sure you'll know what I mean).......... by spiritual I meant into our whole-selves so that the Superego doesn't keep passing judgement on sensual matters thanks to the way it was conditioned in earlier life; and acknowledging the demands of the id (good old Freud!). Sexuality/sensuality are in the flow of our self expression. I read so many stories here of repression, suppression and displacement that deny our psyches honest expression. Sure, knowingly block them if someone wants to for whatever reason but be aware, kind of thing.
Apologies, I thought talk of integration might sound a little New Age-y to you! But you've said it very well, and I completely agree :) (Slightly tangential, but it's funny you should say that because I've been thinking today about how I relate to my sensual experience and I've become hideously aware of just how very white, English, and male I am in that respect - God, being uptight really takes it out of you :o).
Quote:
In some faiths/currents the segregation never happened. It doesn't mean they're romping around at sex the whole time, in fact probably less than most because there's less obsession arising from those basic drives and - so much healthier; emotions are less convoluted and closer to ones "surface" (...it seems from my admittedly limited immersion in the culture.)
Also a great point - if you want to give something more power, repress it! Ugh, deary me... it's frustrating that certain faiths/cultures have such a seemingly unhealthy attitude towards sexuality, though I'm sure there's a logical explanation for it (I don't know enough about these things to know either way, in fairness). In my own case I come from a religious background - two Christian parents who handle such matters by basically avoiding talking about them if they possibly can (the most you'll often get is a raised eyebrow), and the church I belonged to when I was younger was stiflingly conservative in most respects. The result is a lot of shame and guilt around sex and sexuality, such feelings being more and more evident the more conscious I become... if nothing else, it's given me an insight into the effect these influences can have on a personal level.
Quote:
It's interesting that you comment on compartmentalising. It does seem to pervade people's lives. Education | work | play/socialising | sex | religious activities | hobby | etc. I've always thought of education as life-long, not something that ends as you exit the school gates for the last time. Same with hobbies, incorporating them in some aspect of work, even if only to regard work as a way of financing them (which helps to divert selling out to the great corporate trick)!
You're right, the compartmentalising does seem to pervade most aspects of our lives - a reflection of our tendency to create rules and laws in a bid to contain and regulate our various desires and impulses, it seems to me. I absolutely agree about education being life-long, it's a mistake I think to imagine that we've reached a point at which there's nothing left to learn.
Quote:
Anyway, the topic made me think - something I've been warned against many times plus it gives me such a headache.[/b]

(Anyone got any spare morphine....?)
I know, I keep failing to heed the warnings too! Sadly no morphine to spare, either
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2017, 08:51 AM
Lorelyen Lorelyen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A human Being
Apologies, I thought talk of integration might sound a little New Age-y to you! But you've said it very well, and I completely agree :) (Slightly tangential, but it's funny you should say that because I've been thinking today about how I relate to my sensual experience and I've become hideously aware of just how very white, English, and male I am in that respect - God, being uptight really takes it out of you :o).
Uh-oh, this isn't going to be a "quick, jam on his nose" moment is it?

This gets interesting because I’ve wondered whether women/men make (just) friends more easily if at least one is aware of their sensuality. Sensual doesn’t mean hedonistic or sexual all the time – its sensations are really the further reach of sensuality. I’ve always been “sensual” (as far as I remember) because of music, my “inner world” swirled into motion by impressionistic music, the kind that captures mood – it has melody/motif obviously but that’s secondary to the play of colour and mood painting. It can simply take me over. (A popular example for piano is Debussy’s Clair de Lune) Why this is so I really don’t know. Same with just being in Nature and absorbing Her moods. That’s where a lot of it starts.

So this issue of integration never needed to happen - latent until the time came. It's nearer extreme and absorbing rather than just gratifying the senses, closer to the psyche and one's mysteries than physical.

Is it easier just to be friends with this broader awareness? Even with someone of similar makeup? At the very least one doesn’t need to (or simply doesn’t) put forth a physically attractive image: body shaping garments, cosmetics….. You see women trying to attract…then wonder why their emotions aren’t fulfilled with their “haul” so to speak.

In those situations, the mating game seems to preclude an ordinary friendship.



Quote:
Also a great point - if you want to give something more power, repress it! Ugh, deary me... it's frustrating that certain faiths/cultures have such a seemingly unhealthy attitude towards sexuality, though I'm sure there's a logical explanation for it (I don't know enough about these things to know either way, in fairness). In my own case I come from a religious background - two Christian parents who handle such matters by basically avoiding talking about them if they possibly can (the most you'll often get is a raised eyebrow), and the church I belonged to when I was younger was stiflingly conservative in most respects. The result is a lot of shame and guilt around sex and sexuality, such feelings being more and more evident the more conscious I become... if nothing else, it's given me an insight into the effect these influences can have on a personal level.

I was initially brought up in the shadow of Christianity. I’ve since abandoned religion as a tao of obedience though I hold believers in respect. It's easy to feel the attraction of belonging and atmosphere in those churches that invite solemn worship; having as a youngster been in a choir that allowed girls. The Merbecke communion service stirred me even if I was too young to be confirmed, one of the few liturgical things that reached deep. Synaesthesia on the part of Merbecke? I shall never know. No matter, it got me up at 7am to be in time for the 8 o’clock service!

A bit later this was transmuted by a syncretism that gave more scope for self-expression and awareness of the integration spoken of here.

So it throws light on why ordinary, maybe platonic friendships could unwittingly be obstructed by the way the female/male attraction process(!) operates. It becomes an expectation.

Crikey, that's done me for the day. My Queendom for a coffee pot and aspirins! she cries!
Hoping you have a pleasant day.

Pax et coffeeus tecum.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:52 AM
Akira Akira is offline
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Originally Posted by A human Being
I guess this is a variation on the 'Can men and women just be friends?' question, though that question leaves me feeling a little sad that it's even up for debate, tbh - I mean surely we can, can't we?!

There's a common consensus, I think, that there's always going to be a sexual undercurrent between women and men, and I would probably go along with that - but is that actually a bad thing? I mean it's just unavoidable, it seems to me, because we are sexual beings, after all, and it's an aspect of our nature that's to be enjoyed I think. Of course it's also vitally important to be responsible, too, all kinds of issues and heartache can materialise when we behave irresponsibly in relationships - I suppose the only thing that matters for me is, Is love present, too? When love is present - not infatuation, or obsession, or neediness, but true love - then for me respect is also present, and so boundaries aren't going to be breached without consent, and then relationships can be playful, flirty, affectionate, and - most importantly - loving.

I think it actually causes just as many issues when we try to deny or suppress that sexual undercurrent, it seems to me that this actually reinforces the sense of separation between men and women because there can be a guardedness there, a wariness. I've experienced this with a female friend with whom I have a bit of a history - long story, I didn't sleep with her but it still belongs in my 'Well You Handled That Like An Insensitive Berk!' file and there's some awkwardness between us, largely because there's still a mutual attraction but also hurt feelings and unexpressed resentment (I tried broaching the subject with her but she was evasive, she doesn't find it easy to express these feelings). So in that case I think the sexual undercurrent creates an issue because the emotional connection is lacking, and I guess that's what it comes down to for me.

So yeah, just interested to hear about other people's views and experiences of relating to the opposite sex :)

Hey there
This is really interesting to me, because most of my mates are the opposite gender to me. We're great friends and there isn't really any underlying oddness between us. I am not even sure there is an undercurrent. I have known most of these folks for years and years now and we're like family. To be honest I prefer these relationships and my own gender don't seem to like me that much in truth. There's always a competitive edge which doesn't happen in the different gender dynamic.

Sexual undercurrent isn't there for me either, it might be for them. Guess it depends, I dunno our relationships are what they are. Maybe the sexual undercurrent is there because you're not friends (as in you see something more in one another)?

As I say there is none of this with my mates - no sexual anything, just great friends who I get to laugh with and share with. Plus I don't really have to be anything, they just take me as I am.

That's my take on it
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Old 19-10-2017, 01:54 PM
A human Being A human Being is offline
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First off, sincere apologies for the (very) delayed replies, I've been feeling rather, um, delicate the last week or so
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Originally Posted by Lorelyen
Uh-oh, this isn't going to be a "quick, jam on his nose" moment is it?
Oh cack, have I got jam on me nose?

(Um but yeah, I think at this stage nothing short of electro-shock therapy will suffice )
Quote:
This gets interesting because I’ve wondered whether women/men make (just) friends more easily if at least one is aware of their sensuality. Sensual doesn’t mean hedonistic or sexual all the time – its sensations are really the further reach of sensuality. I’ve always been “sensual” (as far as I remember) because of music, my “inner world” swirled into motion by impressionistic music, the kind that captures mood – it has melody/motif obviously but that’s secondary to the play of colour and mood painting. It can simply take me over. (A popular example for piano is Debussy’s Clair de Lune) Why this is so I really don’t know. Same with just being in Nature and absorbing Her moods. That’s where a lot of it starts.


So this issue of integration never needed to happen - latent until the time came. It's nearer extreme and absorbing rather than just gratifying the senses, closer to the psyche and one's mysteries than physical.
That's an interesting question, and you make a good point with regards to sensuality and sexuality - I think men in particular do often tend to conflate the two, which for me is a shame because sensuality can be a really loving, warming thing that makes you feel connected to another on a whole other level. When you're both aware of your sensuality, that can be a really beautiful thing - I had that sort of relationship with my last manager, of all people, we're both tactile types and as a result we had a very warm relationship without it ever getting overtly sexual or inappropriate for an office environment (though I did find her attractive in many ways) :)

Love what you said about your sensual nature, you expressed it beautifully :) Just curious as a fellow English person, and knowing just how uptight and repressed we can be - how do other English people respond to your sensuality, are they generally open to it? (Of course I'm a northerner and we do tend to be more emotionally constipated, so your experience may differ markedly from mine!)
Quote:
Is it easier just to be friends with this broader awareness? Even with someone of similar makeup? At the very least one doesn’t need to (or simply doesn’t) put forth a physically attractive image: body shaping garments, cosmetics….. You see women trying to attract…then wonder why their emotions aren’t fulfilled with their “haul” so to speak.

In those situations, the mating game seems to preclude an ordinary friendship.
It's a crying shame that people in our culture tend to be so image-obsessed and superficial, I feel, so much of our self-worth is so tied up in what we look like and what we have but that's all so surface, and we're very often estranged from our inner worlds as a result - and as a consequence, deeper connection is often lacking and people feel alienated from one another. It's a sad consequence of rampant consumer culture that little importance is attached to our being (if it's even acknowledged at all) when there's so much concern with 'keeping up with the Joneses' and appearing to be successful and an attractive proposition.

And I've got to say, there's little that's less attractive to me than a woman who's neurotically obsessed with her appearance. Hopefully that doesn't sound uncharitable, I do understand that that's sadly a reflection of the world we live in and I do have compassion for such people, but what's really attractive to me these days is a woman who's comfortable in her own skin and doesn't feel the frantic need to conform to some ideal of beauty.

(I do also just want to point out that I don't mean to imply that there's something wrong in wanting to look nice - not at all, I like a woman who takes care with her appearance. It's just when it becomes an unhealthy obsession that the alarm bells start ringing.)
Quote:
I was initially brought up in the shadow of Christianity. I’ve since abandoned religion as a tao of obedience though I hold believers in respect. It's easy to feel the attraction of belonging and atmosphere in those churches that invite solemn worship; having as a youngster been in a choir that allowed girls. The Merbecke communion service stirred me even if I was too young to be confirmed, one of the few liturgical things that reached deep. Synaesthesia on the part of Merbecke? I shall never know. No matter, it got me up at 7am to be in time for the 8 o’clock service!


A bit later this was transmuted by a syncretism that gave more scope for self-expression and awareness of the integration spoken of here.
Yeah, I can see the attraction too, though I must admit that I couldn't when I was younger - the tradition I came from was so staid and deadening, and as a result I developed an antipathy for religion generally. I imagine I'd have felt much differently if I'd attended the Merbecke communion service :)

And with that, I think it's time to bust open the Nurofen (and also google the meaning of 'syncretism')! Wishing you a pleasant day, too.

Last edited by A human Being : 19-10-2017 at 03:03 PM.
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