Thursday, July 07, 2005

Friends with Benefits (I've got a long post, if size matters to you...)

Friends with Benefits. Remember the term? I can think back to high school for the first time I ever heard it. Back then, friends with benefits meant that you had a friend who you weren't dating that you would hook up with. Although at that time in life hooking up sometimes just meant making out.

Nowadays people who aren't in relationships will sometimes take lovers (I actually prefer the term luva, wink wink)... or F-Buddies... Whatever term you may wish to use, you get the gist:

I have a few thoughts, which stemmed from a recent conversation, on this topic. I'm sure most people do.

First of all most (single) guys I know go out trying to get laid. They have fun with their friends and get wasted in the mean time, but are always on the look out for an easy lay. (I'm well aware that some of our readers may not be this way though.) When I go out with my girls, we go out to get drunk and have fun with each other. Perhaps we occasionally look for some harmless flirting with a hottie... every once in a while there may be a little making out at the end of the night... but that's it.

And if anyone even tries to say that it's because guys have a stronger sex drive than women, I can tell you right now that you're wrong. I believe that (for the most part) it's because women have had it drilled in their heads that, while it's normal for guys to go out on sexual conquests, when women sleep around they're sluts. Logically, I know that this is a ridiculous double standard, but emotionally I tend to believe it. I don't really judge my guy friends for taking girls home, (ok maybe I roll my eyes at them and tell them that they're pigs) but I certainly judge the girls who go home with them.

And I also look at it from this angle as well (not that I think it's fair). While most girls assume that the guys that they date have been with tons of women, most of the guys I know wouldn't want to date a girl who's slept with a lot of people. This puts women (unless they are the morally casual girls going home with my friends) in the unfortunate position of not having sex unless in relationships. And this brings me back to the "friends with benefits" type of situation that I began the post with.

While I do think poorly of women who sleep around, if you're a young woman who isn't looking for a relationship and you take one luva to keep around, I don't see anything wrong with it. This is not to say that it is something that I'd do. But it's just what I think.

So then you break it down further. You may decide to start hooking up with someone, but whom do you choose? The ex or a friend? (because I think a random should be completely out of the question.)

The Ex Factor (yes, it is a Sex and the City title). It could be amazing because, most likely, you already know what the other likes; it's familiar territory. It won't be awkward, you've already seen each other naked and there probably won't be any fumbling moments because you've already got your pattern down pat. HOWEVER, personally I think this could be tricky to do with out feelings getting hurt. Think about it, if you once were in a relationship with them, you once held (probably) strong feelings for them which can come back easily and confuse things. So there are bound to be feelings involved here. And even if those are ignored, what about when one is ready to move on to something with someone else? Or if the physical spark fizzles on one side but not the other? If you're not very careful, you could hurt someone that you care about. I'm not knocking it, I'm just saying that it's something you should be careful with.

And then there's the friendly hook up. Perhaps you decide to pass some sexual time with someone who's only just been your friend in the past. It could be great... Think about it... Sexual inhibitions could fall away because you know they're your friend and (hopefully) not judging you. You can have fun and be totally playful. And afterwards you can go right back to watching TV together or playing drinking games or whatever. If you wake up next to each other in the morning, you can laugh about it. And then think about doing it again for good measure ;) At the same time, there could be an adjustment period while you learn what the other likes... what if you're unlucky and don't match well sexually?? And you have to wonder, if you have a great friendship to begin with, will it ever really be the same if you take that sexual dip together? And the same thing as with an ex, what if one wants out first... How do you end it with out someone getting hurt?

And in either case, either an ex or a friend, what if one person secretly is hoping for more than just a hook up... It's not that they're being dishonest to you on purpose - more that they're lying to themselves about being fine with it just being a physical thing. A slippery little slope that you have to watch for here.

At the same time, what if you go on a date while you have a luva? Do you break it off with your "special friend" or wait until you see a possibility of something more serious with whom you're dating? Would you ever let somebody kiss you goodnight knowing that you are still hooking up with someone else? (Personally, there's no way that I would.)

Finally, I have to wonder... Could a physical relationship equal better sex? No strings attached = no inhibitions? Or is the emotional pull that you feel for someone that you're in a relationship with necessary to make the best love?

And again, let me just reiterate that these are just thoughts in my head. Not about myself in particular but about the topic in general.


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Asian Mistress said...

Oh there is much I have to say on this topic. I may even blog about it myself. But really...I think it all depends on your thoughts toward the person...if it's a good friend, you may not want to risk that - if it's a casual friend, it may work out ok. As for an ex, that usually isn't a good idea because one person will more than likely want more.

I personally think it's fine for men and women alike to have a "buddy" every now and long as both parties know what they are in for from the beginning.

Oh...perhaps I'll just blog my own thoughts later.

Great post Sara!

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Lil DC Diva said...

I believe sex is only confusing/questioning when it is outside of a relationship. Yet when one is in a secure, loving, and healthy relationship/commitment, sex is promising and beautiful, and anything but confusing.

*Good post Sara - many different aspects of sex to think about.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post - although 'causal girls' may be sought by some for quick fun, a relationship with one is a completely different matter. You want to have some pride in the partner you're with, and there's nothing to be proud of when you match up with a girl that's easy. As for the "luva" thing - another reason that it's a potentially dangerous move imo: sleeping with someone under the premise that it's only physical can seem seriously wrong (morally) to someone that considers sex far more than just a physical act... and there are fewer things worse than having someone you actually like being disappointed in you.

But then again, if you're completely fine with it - who are they to judge? {shrug}

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous bk said...

As a guy, I have to ask this question... simply because I love how girls try to fight the double standard and say it's fine to have a friend with benefits. (which I think it's great) But! Ladies, ask yourself this... what do you do when you find out your friend with benefits has a lot of other friends with benefits? Do you yourself get a few other friends with benefits? Do you really want to stoop as low as us dirty rotten men and start sleeping with 4-5 partners each week. (I don't claim to do this, but I claim that it is a common goal among most men, and I claim to know dudes who have this envious set up) I think a girl is better off banging the ex, because at least she can say we just couldn't get it together or it was just ex-sex... however, when it's friends with benefits and the guy has a plethora of hotties he is boinking before and after you, you are just another girl in standing in line at the STD clinic the next day, and not going to the nice guys house for dinner! I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you cannot find a NICE friend who hasn't been around the block thousands of times you might as well just take your luck with the random hotties and try out something new (which could lead into a great relationship, and if it doesn't... it's not like you lost a friendship or hurt a spineless ex's feelings) Great Post Sara! ROCK ON GIRLFRIEND!

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Texas Cutie said...

Agreed...great post! I have many many thoughts about this. I've tried the ex and the friend at one point or another, and the friends were definately better emotionally. Trying to be "friends" with the ex was too confusing and we always ended up with the talks about whether we had found ourselves back together as an official couple. With friends, no one friends were hurt because there was never an official cut off. Responses like: "I should probably go home alone tonight. You have a fun night." or "Haven't heard from you in a while, who's the lucky person?" would be normal signs that it wasn't going to continue...that is, until after the current fling ended and friendship sparks flew again. No drama, no jealousy...just a good time when both were single. However, in retrospect those were really hot, pretty casual friends. The good guy friends I have now, we flirt and stuff but would never hook up. In the case of current male friends, I'm leaving town when college is over so I'm a little more cautious because I want them to stick around...don't want things to get wierd...which is always probable. Ok, I'm sure I've rambled enough already. Good post!

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Texas Cutie said...

**friends = feelings

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Texas Cutie said...

**I'm NOT leaving town after college.

I should probably proof read BEFORE I post. Sorry.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger I-66 said...

I think the problem (and I use that word very very loosely) with casual sex is that there's no right way to do it.. and by right I mean there's no zero-risk scenario:

if it's with an ex, there's the chance of drumming up old feelings

if it's with a friend, there's the chance that one person develops feelings and the other doesn't which can lead to the end of the friendship

if it's with a random, you don't know much about their history and there's an STD risk

...less worrying leads to more enjoyment.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DCB + Sara... F-buddies??

Can anyone else see this happening

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Sara said...

anon... for the love... your match making skills are lacking and please stop leaving comments about that :-)

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flame on... if you just want a bone from time to time go for the married guy. Disgusting to most I'm sure, but it's cheap and easy. Flame off...

At 1:12 PM, Blogger hotwheelz said...

Ya know... I think this thread probably has some legs and should be modded up to the top post. I'd hate to see this post get lost so early.

Deja-Booty, Euphoric Recall, or whatever you want to call it, with an Ex can get messy. It is fun, but I think you forget why you got out in the first place and end up having remorse later.

Total strangers are out because of STDs and the fact that I've seen Fatal Attraction too many times to be comfortable there.

From a male perspective, (like some comedian said), girl-friends fall into two categories: girls you've f*cked and girls you haven't f*cked yet. Friends can be fun too, but inevitably jealousy grows.

I also think age can be an issue. When you're a male in your 20s you're basically a dickhead in relationships. But take heart girls, we do grow up and get wiser. We (at least me) use our earlier experiences to fully function as expected in a relationship. We take a long time to train but it get's worth it.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous JC said...

yes pleaze put this to thetop. very curious to see what others have to say. just thinking about having sex with a friend.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is DEFINITELY a touchy topic that I have considered thoroughly in the past. First, though, I have to say that it is socially more acceptable for guys to sleep with multiple partners because we actually have to try to get laid. The time an effort we put forth should result in some props upon achievement, right? On the other hand, girls can get laid anytime they want so they get no props. Just my opinion Sara :) Anyways, I think friendship sex is most definitely risky business but possible. A strict set of rules must be followed in this particular situation (I know you've seen this Seinfeld episode).
Rule #1: No calls the day after.
Rule #1: Spending the night is optional.
Rule #3: No kiss goodnight. You both must remember that it was just sex, nothing more.

Follow these rules to the tee and you will lessen the chance of someone getting hurt.

The Ex-Factor, I believe, is a lot riskier. You would need an even stricter set of rules that are beyond me. Personally I would never attempt this one. You broke up for a reason and should keep it that way.

I don't know why everyone is knocking the casual sexual encounter with a stranger. This is my favorite because there are absolutely no strings attached and if you really don't want to associate with the person again you can just give them the rejection hotline as your number ;). Granted there is the STD factor, but hopefully you are sober or coherent enough to use a condom with a random.

This was a great post, as are the rest of yours Sara. Keep em comin.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is sara trying to get railed?

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Interestingly enough, I just found another blog about the same topic! Is It Really "Just Sex"?

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Dallasguy647 said...

Guys have to players in a sense. Women expect men to be the ones to make a move and to know what to do in the bedroom. There is no mercy for men who don't know what to do in the bedroom or whose skills are lacking. Men who don't make a move are considered less than manly.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Dallasguy647 said...

Practice makes perfect. Very few men are simply born knowing what to do.

At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did the ex/sex but he always wanted more. Only guy I was attracted to was 15+ yrs younger and has a gf. We've been friends 4yrs with no flirting or sex mentioned until 6 mos ago. He came/comes on to me, I never initiate it, doesn't happen every time, no intimacy at all outside bedroom. He doesn't want me to do "anything" to him, which being an experienced, older woman is a little strange and frustrating. He always takes care of my needs, not selfish there. I'm addicted. Nobody has ever turned me on like this guy does. Definitely knows what he is doing as far as the wam-bam part 2 but it could be so, so much better with the foreplay part 1. I tried to explain the journey could be just as good as the destination but decided what the hell I don't have to do anything but sit back and enjoy. Don't have to worry about the relationship part because of age diff. Is no kissing part of the rules also. I've never met a guy that didn't want the woman to "participate". Anybody have any advice, I could use it.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Pixie Dust said...

What a wonderful post! Really thought provoking.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in a 5 year relationship. I've also had a few friends with benefits. I don't value one over the other or think that one is better than the other. It all depends on what YOU as a person wants. I liked being in a relationship for a while but things didn't work out. The problem with being single after a 5 year relationship is the lack of consistent sex. So one day my buddy and I had a conversation about the topic and my frustrations with not getting laid. Turns out he was looking for the same thing I was- a physical relation with no strings attached. Luckily I'm very good at separating emotions from physical pleasure so we haven't had any issues thus far. And its not awkward at all after. We still hang out as much as we used to and our mutual friends don't suspect a thing. As long as both people are honest and up front about everything, having a friend with benefits could be one of the most exciting things you do. No inhibition. No emotional committment. Just pure physical and sexual gratification.


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