Friendship Day

My calendar informs me that today is Friendship Day, but I’ve never heard of such a thing. A quick wikipedia search tells me only this:

International Friendship Day is celebrated annually, on the first Sunday of August, in several countries. It was initially declared a holiday in honor of friends in the United States by the U.S. Congress in 1935.

What? 1935? That was 78 years ago! Why haven’t I heard of it until today? Where’s the publicity? Do we value our friends so little that even Hallmark won’t try to cash in on this? I’m astonished that we even have a holiday for it!

Why is it that Valentine’s Day is such a big deal, but Friendship Day is relegated to the realm of the forgotten? So many people are single on Valentine’s Day anyway, and so the celebration doesn’t even apply to them (unless they do the Singles Awareness thing, but that’s more counter-culture than mainstream), but I’d venture to guess that almost everyone has friends. Why don’t we celebrate them? Make them feel appreciated? Why don’t we use this day as an excuse to get together and have fun, like they do in Argentina?

It saddens me that we are so focused on romance to the exclusion of other kinds of relationships, that so many people maintain their friendships only until they get married. The biggest problem with society today, in my opinion, is that intimacy is relegated strictly to sexual relationships. Only one type of relationship is validated, and the rest are seen as unimportant.

Even if nothing else ever comes of it, I hope that asexuals, as people who blur the line between friendship and romance (or, in the case of the aromantics, who don’t seek romance at all), will help to challenge these values and create a more open society with regard to the forging of human connections.

Maybe one day this holiday will be remembered and given the attention it deserves.

Sex as a responsibility?

I was rather shocked recently to hear someone with a high sex drive complain about her partner “shirking his relationship responsibilities” by not keeping her satisfied.

I just don’t see how it’s healthy to consider sex a relationship responsibility, for either party. It seems to me that it places unreasonable demands on the partner with a lower libido, and just… all around encourages negativity. Because then that person is going to feel upset or worthless because he can’t satisfy his lover, or resent that she demands so much from him, while she obviously already resents him for not doing anything about her sexual frustration.

And this is going to be one of those stupid questions only an asexual would ask, but honestly: why can’t she just satisfy herself?

Why is it his problem that she has such a high sex drive? Maybe that sounds a little bit cold, but I think that’s only because it’s normal in this society for people to privilege people with high sex drives. Except in very extreme cases, it’s almost never seen as a problem for someone to have a high drive—instead it’s a problem with the partner not matching that drive.

It’s not even about the mismatch itself, it’s about inadequacy. If they came at it from a point of view of, “okay, we have different sex drives, and that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either one of us, but we’re just a little bit different, so let’s both try to compromise so we can both be reasonably happy,” then fine, that’s one thing. In that case, I suppose it would be okay for them to view sex as a relationship responsibility—but ONLY if the person with a higher sex drive also agrees that she has a responsibility to make sure her requests are reasonable and her partner can fulfill them without undue distress. Otherwise it’s just selfish, although because it’s normalized selfishness it’s often not recognized as such.

But I still think that it shouldn’t really be about responsibility; that sets up a grudging “I have to do this” mentality, when really it should be something you want to do, if not for enjoyment of the act itself then at least as a gift that you want to give to your partner. And the sexual partner should treasure it as such, instead of just always demanding more.

I’m just honestly amazed that this kind of attitude is apparently still so prevalent; I thought it was a historical artifact of a bygone era. I guess I’m just naive.