Lightworker Tiffany Curtis on platonic partnerships and how you can deepen meaningful connections.
– KEYS SOULCARE
When we think of love, we often think about romantic and sexual relationships. The importance of finding your “one true love” is usually prioritized over finding our one true community (or self!). But, Tiffany Curtis — the award-winning sex educator, writer, and full-spectrum doula whose work and words have been featured on Bumble, HelloGiggles, and Refinery29 — wants to change that. She’s on a mission to share the gifts of practicing intimacy in all of its forms, one friendship at a time.
Here’s our chat.
What do you find so fascinating about sex as a focal point for soulcare?
Because it’s about more than figuring out how to reach orgasm. Our sexual relationship with ourselves is the most important one we will ever have, and by pouring into that relationship, we hopefully learn what we want and need as well as what we don’t. Plus, we’re able to articulate those things to ourselves and others. Sex can teach us to advocate for ourselves, set boundaries, be present, as well as breathe and play. And all of those things are self-care.
Soulcare is about nourishment, about existing as the most full and fulfilled versions of ourselves. There is no soulcare without sex, relationships, and identity. The kinds of sex we have — or if we have sex at all — and the relationships that affirm our pleasure and our existence are both tied to our identities.
You talk a lot about platonic romantic relationships in contrast to society’s perception of “real” or “end-all, be all” relationship definitions. Why?
I think that platonic intimacy gives us space to experience love and affection in an abundant way. So many of us grow up thinking that platonic relationships and friendships are a consolation prize, a second place to a romance coming first in our lives.
Our society has this binary view of relationships: you’re either friends or partners. But sometimes the two coexist, and sometimes they don’t, and platonic relationships are not “less” than romantic ones.
Can you share a few ideas for rituals that could help us connect more deeply with friends?
I think that vulnerability and intimacy in friendships can be uncomfortable, and it feels like friendship takes more investment the older we get in order to keep them intact. I think that people can begin to connect more deeply with their friends by first expressing that desire.
Buy your friends flowers, write them a love note (or text), show up for them, set boundaries with them, tell them what makes you feel loved, ask how they like to be loved. Hug them. Hold them.
Maybe you set a phone call date once a week with a friend you miss talking to. Make a meal together. Read books together. Meditate together and share wellness or spiritual practices. Plan a short trip. Play a game like “We’re Not Really Strangers,” and ask your friends something you’ve always wanted to know. Talk to your friends when you are feeling low and let them care for you. Do the same for them.
None of these things have to only exist when we are dating someone. We have to keep the spice alive in our friendships, too! Encouraging others to divest from the idea that their lives have to center around romance only or at all is key because there is so much space for us to create the kind of loving relationships we need. And, to limit that to romance only puts a cap on how much love and care and affection we can have, when we deserve an abundance of it, for as long as we are alive.
What’s something profound that friendships can teach us that other types of relationships can’t?
Friendships can teach us what’s possible in our connections when we don’t adhere to a prescribed relationship ladder. What can love and care and choosing someone over and over again look like when we dismiss the idea that relationships have to follow certain steps?
How can you practice platonic intimacy more? Share your thoughts in the comments!