Close couples may not be having sex for a number of reasons, yet still be close.
When I was newly separated from my husband in my mid 30s, I was at a loss for a male escort for social occasions that seemed to require one. I invited a work colleague to one event and had a great time — much better than I had been having with my former husband. My colleague invited me to something soon after, and in short order, we became an item of sorts.
He was a gay man and needed a female on his arm for some occasions, just as I, a single woman, sometimes required a gentleman escort. (This was more than 40 years ago. Fortunately times have changed.) At the time, we each suited each other’s needs perfectly. He was handsome and excellent company and the issue of sex never came up. It was a very good relationship for several years.
Some years later, when I was coupled and living with a man, his old school friend came to visit, a man I found extremely attractive. Acting on that in any way would have been enormously unwise, so I didn’t. I never mentioned my feelings to him, and he never said anything to me (if he had any such feelings toward me). We became good friends, and that little frisson of forbidden attraction on my part only made the friendship more enjoyable.
A dear friend of mine in her 80s is coupled very happily with her longtime companion, a very sexy man who, for medical reasons, is unable to have sexual intercourse. Meeting these two for the first time, you know there is a great deal of “juice” between them. That’s a term from my counseling practice: Some people may be estranged, or quarreling, but you can see that they sit close together on the couch in my office, they touch each other, look at one another, look to the other for confirmation of something one of them said. They are strongly connected emotionally, even physically, despite whatever brought them into my counseling office. They have juice.
Many would see my friends in their 80s, if they noticed them at all, as just two old people who are very sexy to each other, and maybe to others who can see past the wrinkles to the twinkles in their eyes.
Perhaps what I’m talking about is not so much “sexless” relationships as chaste ones, an old-fashioned word not much in use these days meaning, among other things, “abstaining from sexual intercourse.” The point I’m making is that there are warm, satisfying relationships available between two people in which no overt sex is happening, but something hot and juicy does hold them together.
The takeaway is perhaps: Don’t exclude someone from coming into your intimate circle because they’re not your type, or you see no romantic possibilities. I wouldn’t have given up on any of the above relationships that obviously brought the participants pleasure.