So how do you define platonic ?

I'm not looking for the Wikipedia definition or what Webster's dictionary says. I'm looking for what your own personal definition of the term is and what comes to mind when you hear it. What's acceptable platonic behaviour between friends in your eyes and how does it jive with the TOS of the site ? ( No this is not an attempt on my end to skirt rules or find loopholes before someone goes down that road ) and how do you apply your own personal definition of it when selecting a partner to cuddle with and how you set your boundaries during a session ? But this also stretches beyond the cuddle realm .... Cannot platonic friends discuss sex & relationships ( including & not limited to personal experiences ) ? I have platonic female friends that don't give a second thought about going into graphic details of their exploits but the thought of cuddling me completely freaks them out. Is it appropriate for platonic friends to see each other naked or in various other stages of undress ? Can they share a bed for sleeping if need be ? Can they vacation together without being mistaken for a couple ? If one of them is involved in a relationship can they spend time together sans the significant other and if so how much and what activities are appropriate without offending any of the involved parties ? Is it ok for one person to cover both people when they go out without romantic expectations ? Our answers to these questions probably shape how we look for folks here on CC and how we set our boundaries. By the way since Im sure opinions on this are subjective Im not looking for a shouting match saying one person's answer is more appropriate than someone else's answer. Its all about your personal definition of the term and what your personal boundaries are. Sorry about the long read.



  • edited January 3

    To me it means without expectations of sex. Doesnt mean it cant ever become that, however the intent is not to force the evolution into something that it is not meant to be. All about intent.

  • That's a nice succinct answer @pmvines. I'd have to add, without entertaining the possibility of sex until the agreements historically made are discussed and new agreements are made. So added to intent is actually the willingness in action to refrain from expressing sexual energy through words or actions -- in other words, intent plus commitment through action. To me the agreement is not to not have sexual feelings, which come up sometimes, but to not act on them, unless and until a discussion happens and the agreed-upon context is changed.

    I can imagine all kinds of things happening between two people who have a platonic agreement. Anyone who has bathed with their baby or been in the hot springs with their best friend knows you can be naked with another human without it being sexual. At the same time, not everyone has enough self possession to be naked with someone attractive and not compulsively cross that line. So to me part of a platonic agreement where there's attraction is to enter into activities with a sense of your own capacity to keep to the agreement and not let the beast make the choices instead of the higher nature. Sex doesn't "just happen" -- there are always two choice-making adults.

    Is it appropriate for platonic friends to see each other naked or in various other stages of undress ?

    Sure, see above.

    Can they share a bed for sleeping if need be ?

    I have, with male and female friends

    Can they vacation together without being mistaken for a couple ?

    Probably not - the world sees through the eyes of couplehood

    If one of them is involved in a relationship can they spend time together sans the significant other and if so how much and what activities are appropriate without offending any of the involved parties ?

    All of my significant others since I was 30 have been flexible enough to roll with all kinds of close platonic relationships with all sorts of people and any activity but sexual activity has been two thumbs up.

    Is it ok for one person to cover both people when they go out without romantic expectations ?

    Probably depends on who the person is who's covering things. My friends who buy me dinner because they love me generally don't take that as an expectation for sex. I'm not sure if I met someone I didn't know if they would have that notion. I certainly never feel like accepting a dinner means I owe sexually.

    I love the question and it will be an interesting discussion! Thanks @hugonehugall.

  • @littermate Totally agree. Quite often friends, even platonic friends, are attracted to each other. Attraction is fairly common and even normal. However it is what you choose to do with that, the intent as well as the willingness to not act on it, that defines it within the platonic context.

  • I would also add it depends what you're expectations are when you meet someone and the context in which you met them. IE someone on a dating app seeking platonic friends.

    Thanks @littermate I like to think I use my noggin sometimes.
    You hear the word used so often on this site I thought it was about time to get to the bottom of what people think it means and how it affects their cuddling choices.

  • Yes, once again @pmvines in hardly any words you sum it up.
    @hugonehugall <3

  • @pmvines pretty much summed it up succinctly... intent + willingness

  • I am a man of succinct words

  • @2dogmom what would you say your own definition is ?

  • Objectively and non-sexual, non-sensual -- with otherwise intent, I'd say.

  • I think it may be easier to define "non-platonic", and work backwards.

    The expression "when push comes to shove", means "when the desire is resisted, so the effort is increased".
    "Attempted murder" is when the desire to do something, is coupled with acts which might realistically fulfil that desire.
    "Acts preparatory to terrorism" are acts which are normally done only for that purpose, or are done by someone who has that proven intent.

    When a couple "starts dating", that can often be when they do something together, that they have done together before ; but it is recognised to be a step along the "coupling" path.
    The behaviour itself, isn't enough to define "non-platonic". However, "friends with benefits" is probably against the spirit of CC rules.

    A man might visit a particular café because it has a particular waitress, whom he finds attractive. He might engage her in conversation, and imagine they are dating or even doing other things together. He might dress well and "scrub up" each time, and moderate his language and choose topics of conversation she might enjoy. He might hope that a relationship might develop, like someone polishing up their car and putting a "for sale" notice in the window.
    The line is crossed, if the waitress feels "targeted", that she has to somehow defend against that aggressive advertising ; as one might to a door-to-door salesman.

    Sworn enemies can meet in situations ( e.g. peace negotiations ) where each believes the other would not use the opportunity to fulfill their desires. They can talk together, without needing the "Mexican stand-off" of pointing guns at each other.
    The desire alone, is not a problem.

    Rape and sexual assault are clearly non-platonic. They are equivalent to beating someone with a paving slab.

    However, there is often a tipping point in a relationship or physical interaction, where emotional momentum takes over, and inhibitions are overcome. That is like leading someone onto a roof, then gently pushing them to let gravity do the rest.
    Non-platonic behaviour would therefore include anything intended to get that person on the roof, such that a gentle push can use "emotional gravity" to make them, hit the paving slab ; with the same result.

    Some people say some women sometimes complain they were raped, when in fact they consented at the time but regretted it afterwards. Perhaps there should be no distinction ; that consent which is regretted, was not consent after all. I think Sweden and Spain have very different definitions.

    "Distance-selling" regulations include a "cooling-off" period, to let someone change their mind, which discourages "hard" selling. Maybe the CC rules should similarly say that non-platonic behaviour is prohibited during an arranged session, and also until say 24 hours after the end of an arranged session.

    Boundary pushing may be done for its own sake, but I believe it is more often done with the intention of leading someone onto the "emotional roof" where they can be tipped over. No different really to plying someone with alcohol until they can't say no.

  • I agree with what has been said, but I think I would add the word romantic into the mix. As in "platonic is the intent to not pursue furthering sexual or romantic avenues or act upon inclinations to do so."

    Cuz we all know sex and romance don't always go together.

  • Please define romantic.

  • it’s more than just setting boundaries...platonic is no longer the correct definition when there is sexual desire. not acting on that desire physically or verbally, does not define one’s actions as being platonic. it only means that a choice has been made to not act...possibly for the moment. so in another words, “we are not having least just not as of yet”. at minimal, a friendship between anyone, that has no sexual desire or any consideration for it, is sincerely platonic.

    i find it very peculiar that this site has so many discussions that involve sex...and it appears to be most often from those that rant about being “platonic”. the last statement is not intended to offend...but is merely from observation from so many posts, on so many different threads.

    @hugonehugall...i don’t believe that the subject of sex or sexual activities, is considered appropriate to be discussed between platonic individuals. as harmless as it may seem, having the discussion is bound to create arousal. the female friends you described, that are open to discussing their sexual conquests, probably don’t have any concept of platonic contact, so their view of any closeness with another person, means that they will be expecting sex. that’s my interpretation of why they don’t want to cuddle with you...

    arousal during cuddling is not accidental, nor is it platonic...just like boners are not accidental, LOL. when ive read about that in other threads, i can’t help but crack up laughing.

    PLATONIC, PLATONIC, would be quite interesting to see if someone opened up a thread that welcomed confessions, and supportive discussion, of non-platonic feelings that have occurred...ijs

    maybe it’s just me, but the platonic subject just appears to be one that has been worn out and any further discussion only seems to spawn innuendo with the suspicion of a hidden agenda...

  • I don't think we need to define platonic as "I wouldn't even have sex with you, if you were the last person on earth ( of my preferred sexual gender )".

    Imagine a man who is married to one of two identical twin women ( or roles reversed ). There is no way for him to physically tell them apart, but he is platonic with one, and non-platonic with the other. If there is only one present, and he knows which one she is, he will be "appropriate".
    The unmarried female twin, shares the genes which makes the man attractive to her sister, but one hopes she will not try to steal him.

    Ask him "If your wife died, would you marry her sister ?"
    What if his wife told him, "If I died, I wouldn't want you to remain lonely and unhappy".

    The key point surely is whether or not this option is in his mind ; for instance when he has taken out a $10 million dollar life insurance policy on his wife, and they go on a long ocean yacht trip together, and she falls overboard.
    What if the unmarried twin is there too, so she is a suspect ?

    Scientists did an experiment on mice, to see if bad experiences could be undone. They put a male mouse in a room and scared it, so it was afraid of the room ; then put it in the same room as a female mouse, and found that the bad memory was erased in part.
    It was the company of the female mouse that worked, they didn't have sex there or even act romantically.

    The females of many species go "on heat", and at other times are "platonic". The key skill for humans is presumably to control our emotions, and I don't think it matters what goes on "inside the box". Is it platonic, only if the person is unaware of the attractiveness of the other ?

    Some gay / bi men and women might hide their orientation, to have closer contact with people than would be accepted if that orientation was known. Should we suspect all our same-sex friends of hiding their orientation, to get close to us ? Men probably particularly struggle, because a sexually aroused female is less obvious.

  • A platonic relationship means a love or friendship that involves the exchange of emotional feelin and touches that are non-sexual. Platonic cuddling is very essential towards having a peace of mind and utmost pleasure due to the fact that it is more intimate.

  • What I'm about to say has already been pretty much said. But I will say it anyway.

    For me platonic is non penetrative. As long as the interaction between two people based on their agreed upon intentions, consents, expectations and boundaries do not result in any penetration of a body cavity.

    That said yes I do believe platonic means I can talk about sex and relationships with a friend.
    In fact when it comes to choosing a cuddle buddy comfort in having all sorts of conversations with him or her does matter to me. It's not a criteria but an important consideration.

    Appropriate is a subjective term best discussed between two people. It depends on one's comfort level in one's own skin, personal values and what protocols of disrobing is discussed and agreed upon among folks.

    Can they share a bed together, go on vacation together and/or spend time with each other without a significant other?

    I would say yes to all of the above. Again it depends on what the level of communication is and agreed upon boundaries, intentions, expectations and consent is between folks.

    I have personally experienced all of the above with success.

    Recently my ex, his girlfriend, both sets of children, myself and a long-time platonic male friend met up for Christmas dinner and an overnite stay at my ex's house. And we had a great time together: lots of great conversations, laughter, poking fun at one another. And lots of cuddles. He cuddled with his girlfriend and I cuddled with my platonic male friend. Our children who are teens to young adults cuddled with their significant others. And with one of my young adult daughter's consent even cuddled with her significant other! It was one of the best family meet up gathering I have had in many,many years. Truly special. And I hugged my ex for the first time in almost 10 long years.

    And oh yes we did communicate with each other for weeks prior to meeting. And we did discuss all of the above-mentioned.

    Spending time without the significant other, vacation together with the significant others require the respective parties to be open to and communicate with each other. The specifics of how that works depends on each person and how as a group you all negotiate the boundaries of what is considered appropriate or not, what each person expects and agrees to. And most importantly to keep the lines of communication open. We have to be comfortable knowing that whatever arises when we're together we can talk to each other about and can hear each other without judgement.

    On one recent vacation with my platonic longtime male friend last year spring we had a spat of very rainy weather at our location. He has an agreed routine with his wife to check in with her at least once per day while he was away. That day we were fighting flooded streets during a freak shower storm and did not get back to our hotel until very late. Make matters worse his cellphone battery died on him. He felt very upset with himself about not being able to honor his agreement to check in with his wife. But lucky for him, because we've known each for so long, and I also knew his wife I offered my phone for him to call her.

    My point is communication in such a situation is essential. His wife is aware of me as a friend. He told her all the details she asked for during our time together. Because like me he likes to be transparent in his actions and communication. We never cuddled then. But we certainly have since we went on that trip together. And we only cuddled after we both had that conversation with his wife . It was a 6 month conversation back and forth with lots of deep probing questions about our intentions and expectations. Equally long woman to woman conversations between me and her. Because naturally you will get suspicious of any woman other than yourself being wrapped up so intimately with your husband! My best new year gift was being able to cuddle with both of them, separately. I had to do a demonstration of what cuddling is about to her. I had never cuddled with a woman before then. But it was amazingly fun with her. She felt my spirit and she let her guard down with me. Now I have committed to cuddling with her when ever she's in my state or region. Just because I wanted to. It took a lot of convincing for her to agree that I could cuddle her husband but it was worth it.

    So to answer your question yes all of the above can be done and still remain platonic. As many have said it comes down to communication around expectations, boundaries, consent and unexpected,unplanned and uncomfortable moments that are bound to pop up during or after or even before the meeting or event.
    As long as you keep the lines of communication open and a mindset of talking through whatever as it happens with understanding and non judgment then it's all good.

    And re this site as I've said above it does factor as a consideration in choosing a cuddle partner. It is important to be comfortable communicating with a cuddle partner about many things.

    Platonic for me also means being willing to discuss topics around the intimacy involved in touching another. That includes sensations that give rise to sexual erotic feelings when being touched or while touching another. The willing ness to discuss what those feelings do or don't do for you mentally and physically with out needing to act on it . The mindful awareness of being able to share those thoughts and feelings non judgmentally and co creatively. Co creative simply means exploring ideas around the cuddle experience together.

  • @hugonehugall I will not be as eloquent as some here but, more or less, "platonic" means non-sexual/romantic interactions or human interaction that does not desire or have the intent to end in sex/sexually grounded physical touch.

    I do think people can be platonic and emotionally or physically intimate but that also depends on one's definition of intimacy. To me, the difference is sexual feelings for another person and the desire to act on those feelings.

  • @Bles
    It sounds as if you have this cuddling all worked out. I feel like a toddler next to an Olympic sprinter. 😀

    "those feelings do or don't do for you mentally and physically with out needing to act on it ."
    I'm told that if you want to quit or prevent an addiction, it is a bad idea to avoid the temptation ; because you don't then have the mental tools, to prevent yourself acting on it, if the opportunity arises.

    Sometimes it is the certainty of being able to act on the temptation, which makes it easier to resist ; telling oneself each day, that one will act on the impulse "tomorrow".
    Others are also likely to trust you more, unlike say a man who has abstained from heterosexual intercourse for many years, while they were in prison.

  • @littermate romantic intent being the intent to become (typically) a mutually exclusive relationship where Eros, Philia, agape, and pragma love combine to form a strong two-way bond.

  • For me platonic is more of an emotional or mental thing more than anything physical. As many of you said part of is intent and for me a big part of it is also expectations and as always context is everything.
    Personally I don't think just the physical act of sex or doing something sexual or sensual itself takes 2 people out of the platonic realm but more so what were your intentions before it happened and what are your expectations after ? If your intentions were not for that encounter to happen and your expectations are just to remain platonic after and that was just 2 people filling a need at the time they needed it and recognize there is no intention of it happening again you are still platonic friends.
    I believe 2 mature adults who are comfortable with each other should be able to discuss what's going on in each other's dating / sex lives without it being taken as an invitation to try and get into each other's pants.
    Again tread lightly as far as who you deem comfortable enough to share that part of your life with.
    Yes I agree when a man & woman are seen out and about together the world automatically jumps to the conclusion that they're a couple or at least there's romantic interest from one or both of them. This has both advantages and disadvantages , no one ever stops to think they're friends , coworkers , or some other form of acquaintance. If two friends go out to eat and there's no romantic intentions the onus of who pays I believe falls on the one that extended the invitation. But again context is important here as well , there is a far cry from a burger at McDonald's or Happy hour & Chili's compared to a full course meal at an expensive steakhouse or the new French restaurant that just opened down the road. Fair or unfair we all have acknowledge that certain price tags come with some certain expectations so if a " platonic " friend is offering to treat you to meal at one of the aforementioned high price places it might be worth a conversation about intent beforehand.

  • edited January 4

    I'm not sure what you mean by "platonic" @hugonehugall if you say:

    I don't think just the physical act of sex or doing something sexual or sensual itself takes 2 people out of the platonic realm

    The dictionary definition of platonic is: "intimate and affectionate but not sexual,"

    I know you say you're not into the dictionary definition, but if we don't define the terms we use, there are huge gaps in our expectations and understanding of what we're engaged in.

    I think it's important for us all to be on the same page about what platonic means on this site since it's a vital part of the context, the rules and the expectations of each. If someone wants to snuggle with me and part of their definition of platonic is "doing something sexual" they'd best look elsewhere.

  • @littermate fair enough ... You're right in regards to this site and the site rules everything is to remain by the literal definition platonic. My personal definition I guess is drawn from personal life experiences and conversations Ive had with people close to me.

  • edited January 4

    I can see where @hugonehugall is coming from with this . I don't call someone platonic if there is a sexual dynamic , though I do / have had FWB who I would not refer to as more than friends , however it is understood clearly with us that we are merely friends who might do things together from time to time . So it does def blur the lines within that context but that's negotiated before even entering into a sexual relationship so there are no misunderstandings or mixed feelings . However I realize this is not the norm for most , so when I refer to a person as platonic , I am referring to completely non sexual in nature .

  • @geoff1000 I don't have this cuddling thing worked out at all. Like you and many others I'm learning and growing from every cuddle experience, good or bad, pleasurable or not.

    And unlike many I'm willing to feel every sensation and go where ever it leads me. Because I'm constantly seeking my own truth whatever that is. Believe me it hurts like hell sometimes.

    I lose my appetite. I get consumed by my own thoughts and feelings for days. Even as I work and serve my community I keep going. But I never give up my probing questions to myself to understand what I feel and why and when. Even as it hurts like hell because I want to grow. I want be a different person a year from now: mindfully aware and compassionate.

    Is that too much to ask of one self or at all?

  • @hugonehugall @pmvines
    Yeah, we totally get to do what we want with who we want and call it whatever we call it, but if some folks on the site are moving from platonic means we might have sex and others are moving from platonic means no sexual vibe shall enter the space, we have a problem. I tend to assume that everyone knows that platonic means nonsexual, and perhaps I shouldn't be assuming such!

    Once a cuddle session is over and the two people want to negotiate the terms of engagement for further snuggling outside of the bounds of the site, so be it and whatever is negotiated, groovalicious! I just notice the abundance of women who leave the site because they thought the context was nonsexual only to be hit on, pushed, grabbed, etc. So it does matter to me that we are clear enough on terms to be able to follow the rules of the site and create a safe nonsexual space for those who are attracted to the mission, intent and rules of the site.

    I guess I have lots of relationships and I don't give them names or categories. Each is unique and what we do comes from what we negotiate. I honor whatever anyone else finds to be useful in their relationships. But when I use the word platonic, I use it as defined, just like if I used the word drunk, I would mean inebriated with alcohol, not with a full belly of Mountain Dew. We need to have common meanings to terms in order to be on the same page.

  • My understanding of cuddling partners is that they meet regularly, but not often ; so if sex was only "from time to time" that would be at every meeting.

    Conversely, if partners were regularly cuddling but only occasionally having sex, that would be like - most couples.

    I thought I understood that the site put a boundary on sex, or "acts preparatory to sex", else it would be like vegetarians saying they occasionally eat a juicy steak. They might say they occasionally yearn for a juicy steak, and enjoy the sight of one on a menu ; but vegetarianism is presumably defined by what you do, not what you want to do.

    I don't care what other people think when I'm out and about with a female friend or colleague, I don't feel the need to put them straight. If I shared a hotel room for cuddling, it might be more fun to know the staff had guessed wrong.

  • Platonic cuddling is just two people cuddling while discussing philosophy and the Greeks. Just kidding.

    Platonic just means non-sexual and non-romantic

  • @littermate I agree that there has to be "common" and agreed-upon definitions for clarity and to set expectations. Thus, every cuddle, according to site rules, should be entered into with platonic intent only, meaning affectionate and intimate but not sexual. And, again, if there is a mutual, consensual agreement between the two cuddlers that it be something more then that is their choice, but it should be a... surprise? benefit? plus?... not an expectation for either person.

  • @Janoy_Cresva ha ha ha

    @2dogmom agreed. What's grey is how that happens and when and I guess this comes down to personal preference and personal boundaries. I don't want my cuddle partners asking me if things can go sexual in the middle of a cuddle, and my concern is that this grey area allows for it to be okay for someone to posh sex in the name of "I was just trying to secure consent." If one can be banned for suggesting sexual activity, then when is it ok toi suggest sexual activity in order to secure consent? In a cuddle? After a cuddle? This is an area I find grey on this site which I think breeds confusion.

  • One of my favourite movies is "The Bodyguard", but I can't help feeling that Frank Farmer ( Kevin Costner) should have resigned a little earlier.

Sign In or Register to comment.