Today, when people refer to "Platonic Love" they are referring to an affectionate relationship without sexual intimacy. This is not what Plato meant when referring to love. Plato's Symposium
addresses love and presents various opinions on the subject. A symposium was a banquet, usually accompanied by much wine, but at this particular symposium, the diners chose to remain relatively sober. Likewise, the customary symposium entertainment was sent away. This made the discussion of love the central aspect of the feast. The recounted speech of Diotima is taken to be closest to Plato's own ideas on love.
The type of love Plato seems to have admired most was that in which one man loved another because of his intelligence or virtue, rather than because of his physical attractions -- a love of the idea of beauty more than the physical appearance, and a love of a person is a lesser love to that of absolute beauty, the ideal form.
Platonic love in the modern world can also refer to love between gay men.
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