Thanks everyone for your posts! Please don't take the delay in my response as a lack of appreciation.
I have been blessed with opposite-sex friends since I was a teenager, a few quite close. I say "blessed" not only because they are friends, but because they are women. Women see things differently, and sometimes a guy just needs a female perspective that a guy cannot provide. And like one of the interviewees in the film said, friendships with women tend to be less superficial. I don't mean that in a bad way -- it is OK and necessary to have casual friends and co-workers, but you need some people in your life who are more.
Based on my experience, I do not see that the opposition to opposite-sex friendships within Christian circles is warranted.
What interested me about the people in the video is that they were apparently single, and probably had no qualms about premarital sex. Yet they seemed quite capable of refraining from sex with their opposite-sex pal. No one reported having an oopsie. No doubt the interviewees that appeared on the film were hand-selected. But it does show that the possibility of being just friends with someone of the opposite sex is possible and not rare.
Yes, the pairs in the video reported sexual attraction. That's to be expected. By definition, there is non-sexual attraction to any friend -- even same-sex friends. If you didn't like them, you wouldn't be friends. Couple the non-sexual attraction part of the friendship with the appreciation of female beauty/male handsomeness, plus the option of having sex, then you have sexual attraction. But the sexual attraction between the pairs in the video was not strong enough for them to actually have sex.
When you are in the stage of life where you are dating various people, the degree of attraction varies. Most of the time, it isn't a match because of personality conflicts, character defects, or incompatible beliefs. Other times the other person is attractive, intelligent, a good Christian, and has no deal-breakers. You enjoy their company, but the spark just isn't there.
But sometimes the spark is there and turns into a fire. My wife and I started out as opposite-sex friends. She was a foreign student leaving at the end of the school year. We quickly became good friends. We were both to young to be seeking marriage. But, we soon were in love. Long story short, we have been married 36 years now.
Let me carry my perspective of opposite-sex friends when dating to having opposite-sex friends when married, and why I believe that the risk of anything sinful happening is quite manageable.
With most female friends, it will be just like dating -- the women are friendship material, but usually not someone I would fall in love with and enthusiastically commit to having exclusive sex with for the rest of my life. Most women are good friend material, but would not good wife material.
As the pairs in the video realize, sex complicates things. It complicates things less when you are married, but it still complicates things. In our marriage, maintaining the friendship part of the relationship is more difficult than the sex part. The pairs in the video did not have sex because the attraction wasn't strong enough to risk the friendship part. If me and all of my female friends were to wake up tomorrow morning and find ourselves single, I don't think I would be sexually attracted enough to any of them to risk the friendship by entering into a romantic relationship. And, most of them would not be interested in me in that way anyway
Most of my female friends would not me interested in me sexually, because they have a husband or boyfriend. Even if it is a workplace friendship or a friendship formed thru some mutual interest that the spouse does not share, spouses will be aware of the friendship and will probably meet me at some point.
Many times there are practicalities that shield the friendship from going down the wrong road. Oftentimes, there is a significant age difference. One woman who became a close lifetime friend was my boss and friend when I was 18. She was 40. In many cases, distance is a factor. I no longer live close to the friends I made in college or my hometown. Nowdays with the internet, long-distance friendships are more common. Even if I wanted to have sex with some of my female friends, the distance may make that difficult if not impossible, and certainly removes temptation.
But perhaps the most significant factor is that my desire to have sex with someone extends only to my wife. The sexual attraction was strong before we had sex. It became stronger after we actually had sex, and has gotten progressively stronger as we have had sex over the 36 years we have been married. Objectively speaking, she is one of the most attractive women I have ever seen. And I am enthralled with her distinct attributes -- hair color, breast size and shape, eyes, etc. She has taken good care of herself, and while she is high-mileage now, she looks better than most women who are 20 years younger.
Are some of my friends younger? Of course. Are they prettier? Perhaps. But sexier? No. My wife is the SEXIEST woman I know. Her personality, attitude, and body just scream out TAKE ME TO BED NOW! I cannot imagine any scenario where I would not desire sex with her.
I have drop-dead gorgeous female friends and occasionally notice super-sexy strangers. But I can appreciate feminine beauty without wanting to get in the pants of every pretty woman I see. I am just do not love them in that way, and not attracted to them in that way.
Suppose that changes, and I did want to have sex with someone else? Precautions must be taken of course. When meeting someone, I mention my wife as soon as practicable. If it becomes a friendship, she will know that I am really into my wife. I wear a wedding band whenever possible. I did not wear one when mountain biking for safety reasons, but married people are starting to wear rubber ones. I got one as soon as I was made aware of them.
I assume anything I say to a married woman may be passed on to her husband. If we are close enough to potentially discuss marriage problems, I do not discuss marriage problems with them unless I know that she respects my marriage and wants to help make it stronger. If she is married, I expect her to have the same commitment to her marriage.
Finally, if I ever wanted to have sex with another woman, and in spite of the safeguards, an opportunity presented itself, I simply would not act on it. The cost to my marriage and my soul would be too great. And the cost to the friendship. Entering into a sexual relationship is risky even when you do it God's way with His blessing, via marriage. A sexual relationship that occurs outside of God's will is doomed to failure. It's not worth losing the friend over what would probably be mediocre sex anyway.