With two films about sex without romance being released within just months of each other. I thought as part of my “Off Topic” I’d hit on the pros and cons of such an arrangement. The two movies that are set my mind in motion are “No Strings Attached,” starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, that just came out last week. Later this summer Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis will star in “Friends With Benefits.”
For some it works and works very well. Why so well? Uncommitted sex is just that, a commit to nothing more than sex. In most cases these situations are transparent. Nobody’s trying to be anything they’re not or make promises they don’t intend to keep; it’s all just about having fun. You should have some strict boundary: no sleepovers, insists on no cuddling and no morning-after breakfasts. You don’t want to make things messy.
That is the problem with “Friends with Benefits” sometimes, ok not sometimes; it always gets messy. “I’ve been in a few of these situations and, basically, they work until they don’t.” When you’re in crisis or in vulnerable state there is something oddly comforting about the idea of someone is emotionally no danger of getting attached to.
There are however risk. Here are the signs that you are getting emotionally attached to your friend. If you see these signs and know it will not work out. Its time to get out and transition to “friends who do not sleep together” .
- If at anytime you find yourself thinking “I actually liked him or her.”
- You get invited out for an evening that seems a lot like a date.
- You think why aren’t we dating?
As with any human relationship, there are often ulterior motives. So lets say you didn’t listen to me and you ignored my suggestion to pull out at the first sign of attachment. You may end up being the one they are forced to stop hooking up with because it has become really dramatic or awkward. Or even worse you send out mix signals out. They may think that they are doing something casual and but it doesn’t seem casual in you mind. You are not being open about how serious you feel, in which case you will be caught off-guard.
The reverse is also true. You have to be very skeptical when somebody tells you that it’s OK with them, because a lot of times it’s not OK with them. They may be in such desperation to have a relationship with you that the option for FWB was the only thing they could think of as a way to keep interested with them.
The last thing you want is a casual pretense. The sad this is that is a common experience. A friend of my mine said “It was fun at first, but of course my emotions got jerked around which was totally my fault,” she said. “Why I thought something serious would evolve still makes no sense at all”
We all know the high stakes that goes with friends with benefits. After all this person is your friend. Not just a booty call. So, why do we do it? Well as a guy I can tell you the idea of sex without consequences is one of the most alluring things on the planet. The mixture of freedom and dependability that comes with a Friend with benefits is unlike any other relationship that I can think of or experienced. You get to not commit but still kinda be committed. Non-committal commitment, if you will.
- Sex Will Change Your Friendship
Adding sex to any relationship especially just a casual one changes it. So if you’re having intercourse with a friend it will with out a doubt change the way that relationship will proceed. It’s possible that the two of you will remain friends, but you’ll never be as close as you were before you crossed the physical line. Besides that, it may take several years before you are truly able to think of your friend in the platonic way you did before you slept with him or her.
- Casual Sex Is never just Casual
One mistake people make in a “FWB” situation is thinking that casual sex with a friend is no big deal. There are usually underlying feelings of attraction involved already when two friends decide to have sex. If one person likes the other more, it can cause embarrassment and hurt feelings.
The other problem is when you have sexual intercourse your body naturally releases hormones which are shown to increase feelings of love and attraction. In other words, if you’re trying to deny your feelings, you’re kidding yourself. Often a “friends with benefits” situation begins because singles simply get tired of waiting for the right person to come along. This is especially true if you have been single for a while, or if the rest of your social group is married. It can be difficult to have patience and trust that there is someone special out there for you. But trust me there is.
- Having a Friends with benefits comes at the cost of that friendship
This is especially true if you’ve tried to stay pals with him or her. When you meet someone new, how will you feel about your friend then? Will you really want to continue to hang out with him or her once you’ve finally fallen for someone else for real? People that were close for years as friends find it slightly awkward to be around each other when they try to have relationships with other people. More than that, when you know you have someone you can always fall back into bed with, it makes it more difficult to truly let go when you meet someone new. You end up sabotaging a new relationship before it even begins.