CUR­RENTS

Bayview Post - - CURRENTS | DR. JESS ON SEX -

them­selves and their kids.

Di­vorced and sep­a­rated par­ents are also de­fy­ing con­ven­tion and opt­ing to live to­gether de­spite no longer be­ing ro­man­ti­cally linked.

Beach res­i­dent Stan­ley has con­tin­ued to live with his part­ner in their fam­ily home since their di­vorce. They have two teenage sons and can of­ten be found shar­ing a laugh and a drink on their ter­race with their new part­ners — they seem to get along as well as any other group of friends.

Liv­ing-to­gether-but-sep­a­rate (LTBS) is yet an­other trend that flies in the face of re­la­tion­ship — and breakup — ex­pec­ta­tions.

And fi­nally — though not a trend per se — non-sex­ual, af­fec­tional re­la­tion­ships are also be­com­ing more com­monly ac­knowl­edged.

These re­la­tion­ships might in­clude love, in­ti­macy, cud­dling and other forms of phys­i­cal af­fec­tion but pre­clude sex­ual en­coun­ters (i.e., no goal of arousal or or­gasm).

It makes sense that some folks who iden­tify as asex­ual may pre­fer af­fec­tional re­la­tion­ships (al­though asex­ual needs and de­sires are highly var­ied of course), but they’re not the only ones.

A polyamorous friend ex­plains to me that she has mul­ti­ple part­ners: a par­ent­ing part­ner, two sex­ual part­ners, a life part­ner and an af­fec­tional part­ner with whom she shares ev­ery­thing ex­cept sex. Dif­fer­ent part­ners ful­fill dif­fer­ent needs, and it re­duces the pres­sure for one per­son to be your ev­ery­thing.

As so-called trends be­come more vis­i­ble and ac­ces­si­ble to more peo­ple, it’s im­por­tant to note that some of us have more priv­i­lege to chal­lenge so­cial con­ven­tions and/or be re­warded for do­ing so — but re­la­tion­ship norms will con­tinue to evolve.

And as our op­tions for cus­tom de­sign­ing our re­la­tion­ships to suit our in­di­vid­ual needs ex­pand, I see a bright fu­ture for love, in­ti­macy, re­la­tion­ships and sex: a fu­ture in which va­ri­ety is cel­e­brated and cer­tain types of love are no longer rel­e­gated to the fringes.

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