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It’s hard to weave a narrative out of “Well, we get along great and we have a lot in common, but we know it wouldn’t work out, so we’re happy as we are.” Platonic friends are for supporting characters, the ones who’re cheering on the protagonists to get together…and even they usually end up with a “pair-the-spares” b-plot running in the background.
A recent article in Scientific American drew the conclusion that no, no they couldn’t, based on a pair of studies of 88 couples in mixed-gender platonic relationships.
Our culture is so tied up with mixed messages about sex and sexuality that we can’t keep them all straight.
Sex is dirty and wrong and only bad people have it… Sex is awesome and we should be having it all the time…
And yet the idea that men are ultimately controlled by their libidos is an insulting one; it implies that we have no free will once sex is in the picture, that we are nothing but erections with legs, compelled to plunge ourselves into whatever orifice will receive us.
The idea that men are incapable of controlling their desire is an infantilization of male sexuality; it implies that men are baser and less-evolved than women and as a result, women are the de-facto gatekeepers of sex.