This is a response to Vol 11 Holly 6 ("In the way")...
No! I, er, that is Dick, is not just looking for a one night stand. Dick takes his relationship with Jane quite seriously and he knows that when close friends become lovers the relationship cannot fail to be significant to both of them. Jane is the one who is afraid of commitment.
I think that the notion of "casual sex" is almost a contradiction in terms. Even when both participants tell themselves and each other that they are hopping into bed just for the fun of it, it never seems to work out that way.
The stereotype is that men crave casual sex and can bounce from bed to bed without ever getting hurt. This is not at all true for me, and I have a suspicion that (despite surface appearances) it is not true for most other men as well.
You can't have sex without getting naked. And to be naked is to be vulnerable. In fact, that's really the point, it seems to me. That's what makes it such a powerful experience. It's that dangerous risky poignant vulnerability that makes sex so exciting (and so scary at times). Sex is the pressing together of two hearts, and hearts can never touch each other without risk.
Those men and women who try to deny this only succeed in making themselves miserable. I'm not saying that one night stands are always a bad idea; sometimes they can be exactly what we need. But I AM saying that it is a mistake to pursue "meaningless" sex - there is simply no such thing.
Both Dick and Jane understand this. If they didn't take sex seriously there wouldn't be a problem. But they do; they must; and this is why sex is so very dangerous to friendships, and why men and women cannot be friends without extra effort and wisdom (and sometimes not even then). As you say, sex ALWAYS intrudes, even if only for a half second, and that intrusion is never trivial.
Does commitment equal marriage? Dick does not think so. Not neccessarily. The transition from friends to lovers is a profound one, a new plateau, and Dick is committed to exploring that plateau in depth. He is willing to risk his heart. He is willing to devote enormous time and patience and energy. And then, if all goes well, marriage and a family is the next plateau after that. One plateau at a time.
Jane is the one who is afraid to commit. She knows that once you climb that plateau there is no going back. And at this particular point in her life she's not ready to go climbing, at least not with Dick anyway.