Two weeks ago, a friend I was hooking up with wanted to dtr, and I told her that I thought we were “just friends.” She got extremely angry and sent me paragraphs upon paragraphs of texts telling me how I have destroyed her life and demolished her notion of love. A week later, I wanted to dtr with another friend I was hooking up with, and she said she wanted to be “just friends.” How ironic.

It’s quite interesting. If anything, I think being an adult just means that all of your friendships become more sexual. The line between friendship and romance becomes more blurred, and it leaves a lot more room for emotional chaos. Both friendship and romance, of course, are forms of love, and sex is only one medium that separates them. Nowadays, however, it feels that sex has become more and more isolated from the intense feelings of romantic love that supposedly surround it. Sex is an act, and romantic love is a complicated concoction between a feeling, an experience, and a phenomenon.

I think a good test of whether you actually like someone romantically or not is the oral test. The question: Am I going down on this person because I want to have sex with them, or do I actually just want them to feel good? It’s a pretty good test, in my opinion. Another test is the post-orgasm test. The question: Do I still want to touch this person after I orgasm? It also works pretty well, in my opinion.

The more I grow up, the more convinced I become that the only difference between friends and significant others is sexual compatibility. The train of thought goes as follows:

Am I attracted to this person?

If yes,

Have I had sex with this person?

If yes,

Did I think the sex was good?

If yes,

Did they think the sex was good?

If yes, then you have the possibility of a relationship.

It’s a simple decision tree. I could use solver in Excel if I really wanted to.

Given cultural lags in generations, we tend to borrow a lot from Victorian norms to explain things that our culture hasn’t had time to disseminate, and I think the association between sex and romance carries an interesting connotation at this point in time.

Before contemporary post-Victorian sexual liberation, the desire for sex an romance would be simultaneously pursued. There would only be one gate of attraction, and that gate would encompass both sex and romance. But, given the increasing availability of sex, there are now two gates: sex and romance. Sexual attraction does not imply romantic attraction, and romantic attraction does not imply sexual attraction. Although, I have never heard of an instance of romantic attraction not implying sexual attraction.

There is a lot about Asian male subject-identity formation that I could go into, but I feel like it is especially prevalent that Asian males use sexual prowess as a mechanism to secure sexual legitimacy in a culture that otherwise feminizes Asian identity and emasculates Asian males. This results in an active search for sex, which is associated with masculinity, and disregard for romance, which is associated with feminity, regardless whether these associations are actually accurate or not.

I think the term “fuckboy” is a very intriguing product of contemporary culture because it captures the evidence of sexual attraction without romantic attraction. I also think this term is overused and capture a new notion of romantic entitlement running parallel to sexual entitlement.

Given the rising prevalence of incels, mostly through displays of abhorrent violence, there is a lot of discourse surrounding the association between male identity and sexual entitlement as a product of patriarchal norms. And, to a very large extent, I think there’s a lot in our culture that reflects an aesthetic okay-ness in men pursuing sex. But, I think there is also a lot of lacking discourse on the legitimacy of a sexual relationship without a romantic relationship, which reflects some of my experiences.

The first girl I had sex with wasn’t attracted to me romantically. It was pretty sad for a time, but I got over it. In the process of “getting over” her, I have come to understand the distinct division between sex and romance, and I tend to conceptualize it in two gates.

Although I was attractive enough to her sexually to warrant sex, I was not attractive enough to her romantically to warrant a relationship. I was able to pass through the first gate, but I was not able to pass through the second gate. It was also my first time having sex, so the sex was probably not that great either. But, that’s how I thought about it: you can only enter a relationship with sufficient sexual compatibility and romantic attraction.

Likewise, there have been a lot of girls I have been attracted to sexually but not romantically. Some of those girls with whom I was hooking up wanted to be more than just hookups. But, since I was not romantically attracted to them, I tried to be honest and told them that I did not want to be in a relationship with them. This, as you can imagine, has resulted in many girls accusing me of being a “fuckboy” and wanting to stop being friends with me.

I would imagine there is a lot about society that belittles women into being sexual products of their bodies, and I’m sure to a certain extent I am speaking from a place of privilege that does not understand this insecurity. But, regardless, I still think it is interesting how romance has been commodified just as sex has into a means of achieving an antiquated Victorian pairing of sex and romance.