In my life, sexual desire has brought nothing but badness, lossage, and depression. Friendship, on the other hand, has brought nothing but goodness. Does this mean that friendship is better than sexual desire, or merely that I'm better at it?

If your experience is anything like mine, it's the way sexual desire manifests itself that's the bad part - either you try to get sex and fail, thus ending up humiliated and frustrated, or you succeed in getting sex and come face to face with the Law of Unintended Consequences. This can result in anything from a suddenly serious relationship with someone who - now that the sex is over and you're thinking a little more clearly - you suddenly realize is emotionally unstable and who will now proceed to make your life a living hell, to worse consequences like veneral disease or unwanted pregnancy.

Friendships, on the other hand, do not lead to venereal disease or pregnancy, and when they turn bad are much easier to get out of than a sexual relationship. This is not to say that sex is worse than friendship; but it's a lot trickier and should be approached with far more caution.

The way they used to do this back in the old days (according to Miss Manners) was to date for a while as "just good friends" - no sex at all in the equation. Then you get a chance to find out if you like and trust that person enough to take the next step. If you don't, then you can leave it as "just friends" and that's that. And if they're really screwed up, you simply don't ask them out again and hurt feelings are kept to a minimum. Wish I'd known about this system when I was in high school...

p.s. there are no doubt those who will disagree with me on the approaching-sex-with-caution front, and who will say that sex should be a sudden, spontaneous, unexpected thing. all i can say is that i've had sudden, spontaneous, unexpected sex, and while it was great at the time, it always led to bad craziness and emotional scars.

Sex and friendship are both good, but they are not illimitable goods - you can have too much of them, they can crowd out other good pursuits, they are not universally appropriate.

In my experience, a happy life contains more friendship than sexual desire, but sex is by no means absent from my pursuit of happiness. Moderation, consideration, and appropriateness are crucial elements of happily-fulfilled sexual desire.

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