I would say that friends are friends and lovers are lovers - however you define the difference between the two, there is still a distinct difference.
For example, I know that some asexual people date each other and they love each other, but they don't "have sex" on any sort of regular basis, if at all.
However, the definition of sex can be as loose as any genital contact, and I know that most people think of sex strictly as the act of penetration. So these people in "nonsexual" relationships might have their sex - by cuddling, kissing, etc. - but the community simply doesn't recognize that as "having sex" in the traditional sense.
Also, it is important to realize that there are MANY different forms of love that can be present; romantic and sexual are just two examples that I will use here.
For instance, one might be attracted to someone romantically, but not sexually (resulting in the relationship in question); or sexually, but not romantically (resulting in the well-known friends-with-benefits relationship).
Just because a relationship has no "sex" in it, doesn't mean it's not an intimate, romantic relationship.