What about the issue of sex hurting, or even destroying, the friendship between the people involved? Well, something that nonmonogamy has taught me is to be more open to letting interpersonal relationships "find their own level". Having detached the concept of "having sex with someone" from "being in an intimate/romantic relationship with someone", a universe of possibilities becomes apparent, possibilities which mononormative society tends to claim either don't exist, or aren't workable/sustainable. My lived experience is that this isn't necessarily the case. i have friends with whom i have had sex, and it hasn't altered the friendship one whit; it's just another good time we've had together. We might have sex again in the future, or we might not; either way, it's fine.
So it will come as no surprise that, increasingly, i'm seeking friendships with other nonmonogamous people who are open to sex with friends - because if there is sexual attraction, it doesn't have to be kept under wraps, or denied, thus creating a death-spiral of unresolved tension. Instead, it can be explored. If it works out, great; sexual play becomes just another thing that friends do together, like sharing a meal. If it doesn't work out, that's okay too. But what if one person is sexually attracted to the other, but the reverse isn't the case? That's also okay, at least for me; if i was sexually attracted to a friend, but the feeling wasn't mutual, i would accept it (with some disappointment!) and enjoy the friendship for what it is. And in the reverse situation, i would hope that the other person would take the same approach. Yes, it's possible that this issue might prove to be insurmountable obstacle, and cause the friendship to end. Yet friendships can end for all sorts of reasons; and of my friendships that are no longer extant, issues related to sex have only rarely been the cause.
i want to be friends with people i can relax with, people i can be myself with. i feel far more relaxed when i'm naked, and so want friends that don't mind me being naked around them. Similarly, i feel far more relaxed when issues of sexual attraction have to be avoided, or can be talked about but not acted upon. So i want to be friends with people with whom i can let the friendship "find its own level" - and if that level includes sex, that's a wonderful bonus. :-)
2. i say "inherently" because there are certainly situations where such play can, and does, negatively impact on one's intimate/romantic relationships. For example: having sex with someone in a way that breaks the safer-sex agreements one has with one's partners. In some relationships that might be something that can be apologised for and worked through; in others it might be a deal breaker. But either way, the issue isn't that someone has played with someone else, full stop; the issue is the specific person one has played with.
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