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I believe one of the most vastly underrated and underestimated loves in our society is the love between best friends of different genders. It’s often assumed that this type of love, even when it occurs between queer people, is meant to result in unresolved sexual tension or will end in passionate kissing. It completely discounts the idea of a love based on friendship, which is wonderful, although different from passionate romantic love.

Apart from Jaime, there’s one person I trust implicitly with my secrets, and that’s my best friend, who has been there for me for +5 years now. He’s a boy, and he’s very affectionate and loving, and we don’t fear topics deemed “awkward” by others, like sex, emotions, and desire. We thrive on it in fact.

Talking about these topics doesn’t mean we immediately want to jump each other’s bones, or that our relationship is crass and immature. It just means we’ve reached that point of trust where we can switch effortlessly from talking about Susan Sontag’s opinions on photography to the beautiful shapeliness of Penelope Cruz’s bum in Pedro Almodovar’s movies and still tease and depend upon each other like a brother and sister.

I cannot emphasize enough the value of a best friend like that. We all need someone who is going to be there for you, appreciates your sexual side, but is still a friend, not romantic relationship material. We need to see these relationships be celebrated, not as potential stepping stones to romance, but precisely for what they are.