I (Viro) have been traveling extensively for a number of weeks and I’m currently re-adjusting to life stateside, so instead of answering a question this week, I’m posting a guest column on sex within the context of healthy friendships from Soatok, your friendly neighborhood gay dhole (Asiatic wild dog), “cryptografur,” and pun enthusiast. I’ll soon be resuming the usual weekly advice column posting schedule, hopefully beginning next week!
What is it that makes you happy?
If you were given the opportunity to have/do more of whatever makes you happy, would you take it?
Guess which of the following will make you happier:
A. Win the lottery and gain millions of dollars.
B. Be in a tragic accident and become paraplegic.
If you thought that was a stupid question with an obvious answer, surprise! Science informs us otherwise.
There's a lot that has been written about the science of happiness, but it can be summed up as:
- Happiness does not come from without, nor is it the result of exerted willpower. It can't be purchased or willed into existence.
- Happiness comes from in-between; from having meaningful connections to others. Which makes sense, given that humans are a social species.
What does this mean in practice? It means having good platonic friendships is vastly underrated.
That's neat. So, why are we talking about this?
Quick bit of background: I'm currently single, and a lot of furs have messaged me lately on Twitter, Telegram, and Pounced with no interest in having a real conversation.
It's totally fine for people to only want a hook-up, but I worry that a lot of furries are acting against their own long-term happiness. (Especially when you're trying to hook-up with someone who is very clearly NOT looking for that!)
Furthermore, I've been told by some furs that they don't feel it's necessary to befriend someone before pursuing an intimate relationship. If you peel back the layers of this notion, there's an echo of a heteronormative fear rearing its ugly head: The Dreaded Friend Zone.
What's the Friend Zone, you ask?
As the story goes, the "Friend Zone" is where, if you're viewed as a friend by a prospective partner, they will never sleep with you. This creates a tiered, gamified worldview of human relationships: Stranger, Friend, FWB, Sexual Partner, Spouse. In that order. There are a lot of flaws with this worldview (unrealistic, monogamy-centric, the whole Elliot Rodger incident, etc.). But most important to the conversation at hand, it totally DEVALUES friendship. Which, in turn, makes people less happy in the long run.
If you subscribe to this worldview and are prone to depression: Maybe it's time to rethink your values? It might help.
Earlier, I had mentioned that we can't become happy through sheer exercise of willpower, but we absolutely can choose to appreciate and support each other.
It's okay to want sex, and it's okay to only want sex, but you may be hurting yourself if you view friendship as an obstacle to sex.
If not in the short term, then almost certainly in the long term (Unless the science is wrong!).
Personally, I consider myself very fortunate to have platonic friends in this fandom. Y'all make me happier than I can put in words.