Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex?

get elephant's newsletter


I want a life of a million lovers.

I want to love you.

I want to love you if you are male or female, young or old, single or married…

When I see you we will embrace and hold a hug long enough to glimpse some insight from each other’s heartbeat.

When we walk down the street we shall link arms, pause frequently, and turn our toes and noses towards the other to speak directly without modesty.

I would like us to share the couch together, rather than creating a “do not cross” line where we may as well be sitting on brick blocks seated four feet away. Give me your knee, your foot, your thigh—let your body dangle on top of my body so I can know you the way litters of kittens know each other.

I want to show up to you and look into your eyes instead of at your eyes. I want to feel your hand and be consumed by it until the rest of the world ceases to exist. I want to be in your presence and be in want of nothing.

I would like you to leave our time together feeling loved and free and full of your most vibrant and luscious hue of you-ness.

Please do not get confused: I do not want to have sex with you—whether you are male or female.

I have no sexual agenda, as you know, because we laugh at the freedom we feel to speak to strangers for reasons other than because we have to or because we’re hitting on them.

For me, sharing sex with someone requires a certain alignment, and I do not take that lightly. My sex requires that I can possibly foresee living with a person and combining all my stuff with all of their stuff (and I mean physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual stuff—the stuff that just feels heavy if it’s not the right fit, but feels buoyant beyond imagination when it is). It is delicate, it is careful, it is not presumptuous or impulsive.

And I do not think that our connection is somehow weakened because we do not share our bodies with each other.

For love is love is love is love, and that is what I want.

I only want us to fall in love.

Now I realize that at some point, either you or I may change our minds and crave sexual expression with each other.

For I am human—as are you—and we have wants that change and grow.

But if that desire should spring upon one of us, I hope that we will talk about it, the way we talk about the universe, cultural tropes, the nature of depression, what makes a good cup of coffee, and how your day was yesterday.

I hope that that topic of conversation is no more avoided than talking about the latest episode of Doctor Who or how to effectively clean one’s mouth from Oreo breath.

I would like you to share yourself with me—every stitch of you—so that I may be warmed and nourished by your tapestry. And I would not like you to worry that some of your threading is inappropriate or uncomfortable to share with me, because I am only here to accept you exactly as you are and to take interest in the way you step through life.

So lay on me your doubts, your troubles, your faux pas, your suffering, your sadness. Lay on me your hopes, your dreams, your excitements, your curiosities, your guilty pleasures.

I want to see you how you see yourself.

And while you tell me all of this and more, I would like to rest my eyes upon your eyes, and take my hand upon your back, and laugh up to the ceiling as you divulge, because it is in these moments of pure exposure that I bask in the ever-so-specific you, and I become the ever-so-specific me, and even though you’ve never stepped into the tides of the pacific and I’ve never ridden a skateboard, I am more sure than I’ve ever been that we are the same.

I don’t care if I see you everyday or if I see you only just the one time when I happened to be in that coffee shop and you happened to be making my drink (which was delicious, by the way, and thank you for not rolling your eyes when I asked if your only non-dairy milk was soy)—I want to be your lover.

And I will have the lover whom I share a bed with, and it will be nonetheless—on the contrary, that love will be all the more—because I take on another million lovers.

So if you’re ready, let me see you and let me love you.

My insides, my arm, my couch, my laugh, my eyes, my toes are all for you.

I hope that is enough.


Bonus: How to have a fun, sexy, heartfelt, genuine, mutual experience when making love.


Learning to Make Friends with Ourselves: a Pema Chodron video, on “Maitri.”

Maitri: how to be Alone.



Like elephant love on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise



is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Brentan Schellenbach

Brentan Schellenbach is a yoga teacher, writer and spiritual truth seeker. She teaches and writes for Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, which serves over 1,000 yogis a week in person and online. She is dedicated to the study of herself and the world around her and offers knowledgeable insight from these observations. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram and keep up with the different studio writers online. Take a class when you’re in town!


151 Responses to “Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex?”

  1. ekati says:

    Its very wonderful,enlightening and educative. I have been smiling all through my reading of this article and imagining the love of my life as i read. Good work and keep it up.

  2. Gene Paton says:

    Before I even made it to the end of this blog, before knowing if the author is male or female (and I am a heterosexual male), I said out loud to my partner "I love this person". This is one of the most honest, true, heartfelt, insightful blogs i have read to date. This is an incredible piece of literature that rings so true with my own personal desires, and articulates that in a way I would never be capable of. Kudos.

  3. Ina says:

    I love this article, because it perfectly describes how I have felt and want to be allowed to feel again. I’ve lost more than one friend, because they just didn’t understand, but when they will, it’ll be great and I’ll still be happy for them.

    I’ve gotten reluctant to show and say how I feel since, but it’s hard to contain. It’s like shaking a bottle of soda, sometimes I feel like I’m about to explode with love and appreciation.

    “He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.” – applies to unconditional and universal love as well. Let it out!

  4. Mark says:

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, hippie shit, no, no, no, no.

  5. Rest says:

    Breeds emotional relationships and infidelity. .. Ridiculous ideas…

  6. Cheryl says:

    Beautiful expression of love for all beings (because we are made of the same energy, and are all one!)!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Beautiful expression of the highest love for all beings (because we are all one- made from the same energy)

  8. hal says:

    Of course we can my love. But then you will allow ne to enjoy sex with someone else that I don't love as much as you but that she is sexy as hell and enjoys amazing physical contact.. my love. And you won't become paranoid and selfish that you are indeed 'desired' but not desired.

  9. Michael says:

    Thank you for this. It awakened a dream that I thought had died in me long ago. I used to feel this way about people all the time, but was always afraid to speak the words you put to paper so well. It must never be too late.

  10. Sarah says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing thoughts most of us can’t put into words. They ability to love, be close and show affection…intimacy, is not limited to our sexual lovers.

  11. Zach says:


    I will not be the missing piece of your relationship with someone else.

    Emotional Affairs hurt the most.

    100 percent relationship with me or nothing at all.

  12. Ken says:

    I love the idea of this, but I feel this level of intimacy, which is really MORE intimate than some sexual liaisons, should be reserved for your Husband or Wife…Peace.

  13. Christie says:

    I feel you there, eyes across the distance. Arms stretched open and waiting. A mirror of my own reflection. I love you as you love me

  14. Kc says:

    This is beautiful and all, but one of my ways of feeling and expressing love is through sex, and my boyfriend refuses to have sex with me. That makes me feel unloved, unwanted, and depressed. He thinks that true love doesn’t find attachments in sex. I am deeply hurt.

  15. Vega says:

    I'm in love with this article. I am a 23 year old male, and over the last year I have become so conscious of the amount of love I have and the love I want. I have basically lived my life with the principles of sensing what people need on order to be happy and feel loved. Whether it's a genuine conversion, a mindful ear, a shoulder to cry on, hugs that embrace and loving energy passed to them. I have been accused of flirting, hitting on, or being too forward by men and women who are defending themselves against that intimacy. I have also been aggressively pursued by men and women who are so deprived and crave of love that they latch on and think the only way to move forward is with sex. Especially in my age group I cannot find others who believe in love and intimacy in this way. I believe myself to be the only man I know personally that has no sexual agenda. Im going to use your article as a tool to try and explain myself and y beliefs to my friends. I could not have ever explained it so well myself. Thank you for putting into words what I never knew how to.

  16. Sam says:

    I click on verry very few articles based on emotional pieces like this one , But as soon as I read the headline , I just knew my day or week or the year wouldn’t be the same without reading this. Thankyou. Thankyou so much for writing this. Beautiful. Just beautiful . :’)

  17. Yara says:

    Wowwww this is so beautifully written! You really painted a picture with your words. I love walking around with an open heart & open eyes; it’s the only way I truly know how to live. I love to flirt with/in life. People respond confused to me sometimes when they find out my legs are not as spread open my heart and mind, so to speak. This article gave me some new vocabulary to explain myself more accurately in that matter, if I feel like explaining it. So thank you for yur beautiful words and beautiful heart <3 Love, Yara

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.