Diana Fritz Cates on delight in friendship (Choosing to Feel: Virtue, Friendship, and Compassion for Friends):
“Intimate character-friends not only respect each other’s goodness and experience a kind of “intellectual pleasure” in the sharing of conversation and other activities. They also long for each other’s company. They are physically and emotionally stirred and delight by each other’s embodied presence (where these feelings may or may not have a genitally sexual component).
“Friends can and do choose, for example, to engage in activities that bring them sheer delight in each other’s embodied presence. They can and do choose to take up new activities with each other when the fire in their relationship begins to smolder. They can and do choose to cultivate ways of perceiving each other that highlight each other’s most attractive intellectual, emotional, and physical qualities. True enough, character-friends are attracted to each other chiefly on the basis of each other’s character, but it cannot be denied that a person’s character often finds partial expression in things like her physical appearance and her level of physical fitness. Friends can and do choose, to some extent, to attend in their passionate perceptions to those physical expressions that bespeak what they take to be each other’s most lovable qualities of character. They can and do choose, to some extent, to regard tenderly those expressions that bespeak each other’s deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.”
Yes, authentic delight can be expressed in friendship betwen men and women.