One thing that pleasantly surprised me when I moved from Canada to China was the platonic intimacy here. It refocused my perspective on how homophobia manifests in the West. Specifically Canada and the US, and how touch starved and lonely most people are as a result.

Somewhere along the way it was decided that closeness that didn’t lead to sex was not acceptable.
It’s hard to determine if this was the cause or result of our rape culture, but the outcome is the same. Everyone is held back until we normalize platonic intimacy.

“Let’s normalize platonic intimacy pls”


A contributing factor to the lack of expressions of physical affection in a platonic way is homophobia. That’s not to say homophobia doesn’t exist in other parts of the world. Just that how it is expressed is different

Homophobia is inconvenient for heterosexuals, but can be fatal for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with any sexuality and if you’re heterosexual, there’s nothing wrong with someone mistaking your sexuality for anything other than straight. Taking offence implies that there’s something wrong with sexualities other than yours … and there isn’t.

“And once people recognize the difference between the need for intimacy and the need for sex, they’ll quickly see that intimacy isn’t limited to romantic/sexual relationships, but that it can be found in many of the familial and platonic relationships we already have.”

The result

The attitude of intimate relationships having to be straight and having to be sexual in nature is ignorant. This thinking leads to an unspoken assumption that any form of intimacy must be romantic.

It makes daily life for women more dangerous when they interact with men. This is what leads to women being murdered when they reject a man’s advances.

For men, they often feel they are not entitled to platonically intimate relationships with anyone other than their partner. This limits their opportunity to connect with others.

In countries where homosexuality is illegal, there is all the more reason to normalize platonic intimacy. Sadly, throughout most of the world sexuality is punishable by prison or death. And in many countries where sexuality isn’t criminalized, it is still used as a legal defense to justify murder.

“We think we want sex. It’s not only about sex. It’s intimacy we want, to be touched, looked at, admired, smiled at. Laugh with somebody, feel safe, feel like someone’s really got you. That’s what we crave.”

The Next Step

It is worthwhile to note that everyone would benefit from more close, platonic relationships with the people in their lives. Normalizing platonic intimacy will literally save lives.

There are many countries in which we could safely normalize platonic intimacy. In those places we should make the effort to do so. The best way to create the culture we want is to lead by example.

“I’m extremely here for normalising platonic touch, intimacy and telling your friends you love them, but I’m way more here for normalising the fact that not everyone is comfortable with those things and they deserve to have those boundaries respected. Normalise CONSENT.”