"Friendship essentially involves a distinctive kind of concern for your friend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind of love. Philosophers from the ancient Greeks on have traditionally distinguished three notions that can properly be called love: agape, eros, and philia."
-- from the first paragraph of the Stanford Encyclopedia article, linked above
Thinking out loud....: While our culture is making more and more room for intimate, loving, but non-sexual friendships between persons of the so-called "opposite" sex, most of us--I'd guess--probably had our initial sense of the concept of friendship as a same sex relation. Now, of course, how much this is so probably depends a good deal on culture, sub-culture, and historical period. When and where I was a kid (and we learn how to be and have friends as kids), childhood friendships are generally between persons of the same sex.
For "heterosexual" (or hetero-amorous) folks, at least some of what is eros doesn't enter into the intimacy of friendship, allowing philia and/or agape to express without worry over at least some kinds of desire. Sometimes, in the case of the exclusively homo-amorous, the situation is flipped and heterosexual friendship is possible without the influence of eros (or, at least, sexual eros).
But bi-amorous folks like myself might have a relatively unique experience of intimate friendship, in that sex (as 'gender') is much less determining of how we might respond to another in intimate friendship. Almost anyone could evoke erotic desire in the biamorous.
Well, at least that possibility isn't determined by sex (as gender).
I almost wish, sometimes, I could know what same-sex intimate friendship was like, from the inside, without the possible involvement of eros (more narrowly defined). Whenever I have had a very close friend, eros has been there with it in some manner, to some degree -- whether wanted or otherwise. What might it be like to, for example, give and receive affectionate touch with NO POSSIBILITY of "turn on"? I surely know what it is like to give and receive such affectionate touch without "turn on," but never without the very possibility of turn on.
No doubt, this has also had some significant role to play in how I have related to/with my heteroamorous friends, and they with me.
An example comes to mind. I went to embrace my hetero- friend, Sean. It just happens that I did so while I was laying in bed (and he standing next to the bed). It freaked him out and he backed away. Yet, had this occurred away from the bed it would not have represented a problem. He'd have freely shared that embrace. Somehow, in that moment, he mistook my philia for eros of the sexual desire sort.
[Not everyone agrees that eros is strictly about sexual desire.]
Last edited by River; 02-24-2010 at 02:19 AM.