got a question

it is a hot day in Nairobi, the temperatures are highs of 28 deg C. In the sweltering heat, a question occurred to me, it was a subject in the mind of the ancients. The question

is friendship possible between the sexes without sex?

Oscar Wilde wrote

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

81 thoughts on “got a question

  1. shelldigger says:

    I believe yes, but I must admit to being an old hound dog. Any females I might know casually, even though the topic of sex does not come up, I believe it lies unseen, unheard, unspoken, but definitely an underlying wisp of possibility that stays well tamed for the sake of social graces.

    In other words, right time, right place, right circumstances, anything can happen.

    I think most of us keep these options open whether we do it consciously, or unconsciously, and whether we know it or not. I am not looking, happily married and comfortable with who/where I am. But I am pretty sure us hound dogs are sizing each other up more than we would like to admit.

    Granted there are sure to be situations out there where the notion of sex is not an issue, but I believe for many of us it is there. We just don’t admit it to ourselves.


  2. I’ve been good friends with straight guys, but often they seem to wish I was more. Alas, I’ve already fallen in love and have my mate. I’ve been friends with gay fellows too and of course the issue doesn’t exist. 🙂


  3. Barry says:

    My wife is very sociable while I’m not. She has far more male friends (gay and straight) than I have friends in total. Gender has never been an issue when it comes to friends for either of us. In fact it’s irrelevant.


  4. nannus says:

    Definitely. Actually most of the friends I had in my life where female (and they where not girlfriends). My wife also has a lot of male friends (but not boyfriends). I think it is culture specific. I remember a discussion with an African (I forgot from which country) who thought it was impossible, and I know of German women who had African boyfriends and got into trouble because these boyfriends did not understand that they had male friends. If your culture prohibits it, it is impossible inside your culture, but here in Europe (at least middle- and northern) it is absolutely normal and wide spread. I find it totally natural. In German you would distinguish between “meine Freundin” (my girlfriend) and “eine Freundin von mir” (a (female) friend of mine). And also the male version of these expressions (“Mein Freund” and “ein Freund von mir”).

    Maybe that was different in Oscar Wilde’s time, or it was a personal problem he had. Being a homosexual, he should not have had trouble with it at all, but probably the role scheme for women in those days made it impossible.


    • fojap says:

      Wilde’s sexual orientation is debatable. While received wisdom seems to be that Wilde married to hide his homosexuality, and that was certainly what I had grown up believing, it is entirely possible that he found women attractive as well.

      Which would lead to the even more peculiar question: can bisexuals truly be friends with anyone or are we always thinking of sex. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Interesting perspective. I had not thought of it in the cultural dimension


  5. Absolutely. Perhaps the question you should be asking — “is friendship possible between the sexes with sex.” :p

    In all seriousness, I think it depends on the culture, “gender”, communication and maturity. Research on U.S. college students showed that male and female responses did differ on a few key items. Men were more likely to see sex and romantic potential in an opposite sex friend as a benefit. Women primarily saw it as a cost. As a result, men were also more likely than women to say that they had sex with an opposite sex friend (22% vs. 11%). ~ Psychology Today “Can Men and Women Be “Just Friends”?”

    Scientific American states:

    “These results suggest that men, relative to women, have a particularly hard time being “just friends.” What makes these results particularly interesting is that they were found within particular friendships (remember, each participant was only asked about the specific, platonic, friend with whom they entered the lab).

    This is not just a bit of confirmation for stereotypes about sex-hungry males and naïve females; it is direct proof that two people can experience the exact same relationship in radically different ways. Men seem to see myriad opportunities for romance in their supposedly platonic opposite-sex friendships. The women in these friendships, however, seem to have a completely different orientation—one that is actually platonic.”

    So, can men and women be “just friends?” If we all thought like women, almost certainly. But if we all thought like men, we’d probably be facing a serious overpopulation crisis.



    • makagutu says:

      Hahahaha. This

      If we all thought like women, almost certainly. But if we all thought like men, we’d probably be facing a serious overpopulation crisis.

      made me laugh


  6. If my personal experience is any guide, then the answer to the question would be: Yes, friendship is possible between the sexes without sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fojap says:

    I can’t help wondering about the context of Wilde’s quote.

    As far as the possibility of friendship goes, I think it is entirely possible. Sexual attraction can get in the way, but only if you’re holding out hope for a romantic relationship that doesn’t occur. I think for a real friendship, there has to be a level of trust and honesty, so if you’re hiding an attraction or you are secretly hoping something happens, it’s hard to be friends.

    I recall someone from high school. We went up to his room after school when his parents didn’t know we were there. They had a big old Victorian house with a back staircase. (What every teenage boy needs.) We smooched and fondled for a bit and the sort of stopped. Eventually we both admitted that we were that physically into each other. It was a little awkward. Then we became friends. We lost touch after high school.

    I guess it really depends on the person. My closest friend is a man. Now, interestingly, he has noticed that he doesn’t get along well with heterosexual men, although he is definitely straight himself. All of his friends are women or gay men.

    Having a sexual response to someone is different from wanting to have sex, which is yet again different from wanting a relationship.

    I’m inclined to agree with Ladysighs.


  8. Sonel says:

    Maybe in the time Oscar Wilde lived, it wasn’t possible. But nowadays it is and even in my younger days it was. I had lots of male friends, straight and gay and we just hung out and had fun. 😀

    Great post and question Mak. Have a great day my friend. ♥


  9. lexborgia says:

    Oscar is wrong. There is no friendship between the sexes absent ‘the thought’ of sex and the ability to lie. The sexual attraction, I propose, is one of many introductory factors, but an essential one. Naturally, varying stages in life (infancy, childhood, teen, young adult, middle-age etc) but the sexual is always lurking, as a positive or negative jolt.


  10. Real real me says:

    It’s absolutely possible… it happens all the time in the gay world 😀


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